Final Initiation of the Baku-Rider WIP 1

So I’ve started this new image, I may enter it for the ImagineFX cover competition, which closes on the 10th of January, but it started off as another personal piece. Now before you think ‘How’s he gonna ever get that done in time, there’s only a few days left?’ I started it about a month ago, and have been working on it on and off between a very busy December in work, and a very busy Christmas, so I’m only getting back to it now.

I’ve been wanting to do a dragon type pic for a while, since I haven’t really done a finished one before (there’s so many things I haven’t painted in a finished painting before). I was trying to think of something a little bit different, and came up with some initial sketches and colour studies, and also the final lineart, which was done with pencil and paper then tweaked in Photoshop. For the record, the dragon-like creature is called a Baku, and the guy being chased is a member of a race called the Mastro from the continent of Krame. He has been training all his life to be a Baku-Rider, and this is his last initiation, a flight with the Baku. If he survives, he passes, if he dies, he fails. Just so you know 🙂

I wanted to get a good flow to the image, and make the composition very dynamic, and to have the guy in front really pop out with some foreshortened perspective, to help with the sense of scale of the lizard. Scale within my images is something I always struggle with, so every now and then I have a go at hitting it head on to see if I can further my efforts.

This is the next stage, I’ve gone quite far on with the colouring, pretty happy with how the background and the Baku are going after a bit of colour tweaking. I chose to go for a blue creature (I like painting blue!) but especially since I’d decided the ground was going to be a orangey-brown, grand canyon style background (after browsing on the web and collecting a few reference photos for inspiration) I also pulled a cracked mud texture from, overlayed it onto the ground before painting a lot of detail over it.

However, I’m still not happy with the flyer guy. He’s just not standing out enough for me. He’s the punchline of the pic, he’s the story element. He needs to be at the end of the that compositional s-shape of the dragon, and be really focused. So after a bit of advice from the guys and gals over on the ImagineFX forums, it’s back to the drawing board with him:

It’s better, but it’s still not getting the feeling of depth across that I want. His pose looks awkward now too, especially the wings. Again back to the drawing board. Each time I’ve been sketching him out with pencil and paper, then scanning it in and colouring. I find it easier to concentrate on his pose when I’m just working on him with a pencil. One of the biggest problems I realised I was having was that I had no reference for the pose or perspective of his body, it’s quite difficult to find pictures of people flying, until I had a brainwave of searching for photos of skydivers (Doh! Why didn’t I think of that before?) Boy, did that help. So here’s my next attempt:

And now I’m happy at last, he’s sitting a lot better over the mouth of the dragon, the line flows up nicely through him, and he’s extremely foreshortened in a way I think works well within the scale of the painting.

It’s definitely been worth spending time on this guy, since, as I said before, he really is the main storytelling element to the pic. I’m not completely happy with his skin colour yet, it’s a bit too purple, but I’ll leave that to end as a final tweak.

I did some more work to the background, I decided I wanted it to be a bit more misty. Also made some colour tweaks to the background and started texturing the dragon:

The gliders wing feathers still need worked on, and I need to finish texturing the dragon, a few colour tweaks and background details and I should be all done.


About Alan Henry Perry
Art for heart's sake...

2 Responses to Final Initiation of the Baku-Rider WIP 1

  1. Andre Allen says:

    Hey it’s poetryman from DA- I critiqued this piece…

    this is good stuff here! I like the way you professionally approached the concept of this final image. You showed your process from thumbnails, to color schemes, to figuring out solutions for composition well done on that! In that case I think this is a good portfolio piece (added with some of your rough work)- it shows (well to me) that you know and understand the process it takes, and you have executed it.

    well that’s my thoughts on that. Good job friend.

    peace out! see you on DA…

    • starfox99 says:

      Thanks again Andre for taking the time to have a look and reply. I’m finding that writing all this down as I go is actually helping me as much as the process of painting. It means I can look over it at a later date and remind myself of anything I’d done wrong or right during the painting for future reference. Cheers again!

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