Painting Process: Blending Steampunk and Cyberpunk

Another in my Painting Process blog posts, where I discuss my approach to my robot paintings. As with all the other ones, this was painted in Photoshop, RGB, 12"x18", at 300dpi.

This was my first attempt at blending both Steampunk and Cyberpunk robots in the same image, working with the idea of a Steampunk robot waking in a Cyberpunk future. I started with photos of Richelle and Emily from two different shoots, where Emily had been photographed first, and then I came up with the rough idea before the shoot with Richelle. I had Richelle pose in this 'reaching out' position for this piece, figuring to incorporate the two models together.

Going with an above-ground city railway station idea, I started developing the setting, including a lot of overhead lighting and hanging signage.

Breaking down the robot designs. Curiously, I ended up using the 'glass energy' designs on Emily, even though I haven't used that in my Steampunk work in the past. I also did a very different treatment for her hair, wanting to make it very distinct from Richelle's. I based Richelle's eye design on sunglass designs that were popular in the 80's, the era that much of Cyberpunk springs from.

Starting to create the base painting layers for Richelle. As with all of these, the colours used here won't reflect the final colours to be painted with, but just to visually separate the various layers from each other.

Creating the flat painting layers for Emily. Being Steampunk, I know I want to go with warm tones with her, but I used the same colours to create these layers as I did with Richelle, even though they are all separate from each other, because the two robots don't overlap so there won't be any confusion as to which 'blue' belongs to which robot.

Background painting layers dropped in.

Deep background painted. With Emily needing to be warm tones, I went with very cool tones back there, going all the way to blue.

Middle row of buildings painted, with lighting effects and warmer colours pulling it forward from the background.

Overhead lighting and signage started, and starting to soften the background a bit more.

Platform and tracks painted.

Train and lighting effects painted. It's always raining in Cyberpunk, hence the lighting effects on the ground. And that's a quick painting of Emily's face in the advertising on the side of the train.

Foreground post painted. Definitely a more neutral colour palette with that.

Richelle painted. A mix of cool and neutral colours with her, but with enough contrast in the cool colours to keep her separate from the cool tones behind her.

Lighting effects on Richelle. Going with a green treatment on her internal lighting also pulls her out of the background even more.

Painting Emily. Very warm tones here.

Adding in the lighting and glass energy effects on Emily, with the strong oranges setting her further and further away from everything behind her.

Final polishing and lighting effects added, including a strong light source on Emily's left (from the viewer's point of view) to line up with the lighting on Richelle, making Emily stand out while still obviously in the same setting.

I was very pleased with how this piece went, and it led to more experimenting with blending the two styles together in following pieces. The final piece can be seen, and prints purchased, on my RedBubble page.