Discover how Shannon Maer made this ethereal digital painting
Getting an overall feel for the direction of a piece is vital at an early stage. Limiting it to black and white helps me to focus on the image in a purely graphic manner.
Laying down a base for all the colours as well as the basic shading, sets a tone before all the heavy lifting goes into detailing.
Here, I both adjusted the pose to add some life to the figure as well as the early stages of adding some contrast and lighting to the environment.
With the base already laid in, I could see that a warmer tone for the atmosphere would both complement and draw your attention, while still retaining a separation from the background.
In order to solidify the picture as a whole, it is important to maintain a unified colour palette throughout the entire image. Here I brought much of the background colours into the foreground elements as well.
I wanted the mermaid to feel more inviting and open to the viewer. Here I feel the image took a step forward and became more interesting.
With the revised posed in place, the same colouring and lighting needed to be matched. The warm glow of the environment lighting is beginning to take shape.
You might hesitate to make a significant change to your work because of all the time that you’ve invested, but often these choices are what brings your characters to life.