Painting Process: Robot Angel Over Tokyo

Here's another in my progress posts, where I go over the basic steps I use to do one of my robot (and other) illustrations. Like all the other pieces in these posts, this was painted in Photoshop, 300dpi, in RGB, at 12"x18".

Starting with a photo I took of Selina, I worked out the idea of her as a winged robot, standing up high on scaffolding or something similar, over a city street inspired by Tokyo. I was thinking lots and lots of neon signage in the background, which worked as the photo was heavily in shadow, so there would be a lot of contrast between the background and foreground.

I laid out the basic robot pattern I wanted on her. Again, I knew that she would mostly be in shadow, so I included machinery that would give her a few internal light sources, especially from the lifting motors inside her wings, but not so many as to detract from the neon patterns behind her.

The next step was developing the buildings and signage in the background, as well as the very busy traffic patterns.

With the basics drawn out, I then lay out the various metal details on separate layers. As always, the colour scheme of these layers do not reflect the final colours I'll be using in the painting steps, but just serve to visually separate the various layers from each other.

Wing pattern layers laid down.

Buildings, vehicles, and roadways laid down.

Deep background and cityscape painted, including a certain amount of glows and reflections from the signs and lights.

Roadways and traffic painted, including more glowing light sources.

The scaffolding Selina is standing on is painted.

Initially, I had gone with a very cool colour scheme for the deep background. However, my friend Jamie pointed out how much warmer the neon in Tokyo usually is, so I rethought my approach. I then changed all the lights in the deep background to much warmer colours, varying most of them between red and orange, with a bit of green and blue to mix things up a bit. This leads to Selina herself being painted in cool tones, of course.

Basic painting done on Selina.

Wing patterns painted, with care paid to separate each of the wings from each other and from the main figure.

Finally, colours tweaked, and the internal lighting and other polishing done on Selina, including adding lighting effects from her light sources onto the scaffolding she is standing on.

The finished version of this can be seen on my RedBubble gallery, where prints of it can also be purchased.