Painting Process: Steampunk Cowgirl Robot

Here's another in my series of process posts, where I discuss how I put together one of my robot paintings. As with all of these pieces, this one was painted in Photoshop, at 12"x18", 300dpi, in RGB.

The basic design was sketched around a photo of August, one where she's standing on the front of a train. Looking at steam engines, I developed this design from a few different sources, removing the 'cow catcher' portion as it would end up blocking her left leg, and I didn't want anything to get in the way of her elegant look.

Robot design sketched in. I'm finding, overall, that my steampunk robot designs are most easily differentiated from the more cyberpunk designs by using much less in the way of internal lighting, usually just leaving that for the eyes, and relying almost entirely on external lighting on the figure.

Flat colour layers dropped in for painting later. As with all of these pieces, the colours used here won't reflect the final colour choices when painting the piece, but just serve to visually differentiate the various layers from each other.

Train, railway, and background painting layers dropped in.

Ground and sky painting beginning. All of these textures are hand-painted, using brushes that I've built over the years.

Train station and rail painted. I haven't done much painting of wood textures, so this was a fun challenge.

Train painted, as well as adding in fog and steam from the engine enveloping the background. There will be almost a spotlight effect on August in the final piece, so I wanted to carry that through with the shadow she is casting on the engine, reinforcing the sense of mass to her and the piece overall.

Hair and revolver painted.

Metal painting completed. Going with the steampunk nature of the piece, I'm keeping the contrast in the figure a bit lower than in other ones, giving her less of a shiny look than I do with the more futuristic or cyberpunk pieces, although the spotlight effect and cast shadows still give her lots of overall contrast. Just less in the way of shine and highlights than I go with in some other designs.

Adjusting the colour on August, making her very warm and pulling her forward in the image (with steampunk robots veering more towards bronze and brass colouration as opposed to the cooler silver and steel colouration of much of my cyberpunk work), adding additional polish and effects over the rest of the piece.

This piece can be seen on my RedBubble gallery, where prints of it can also be purchased.