A method to the madness!
One question I get asked a lot is how I tackle a digital painting. I usually hate to answer this question, because my method changes depending on the painting. So trying to give someone a consistent answer usually turns into a 2 hour explanation that usually leaves the person more confused. With that said I think it crucial to explain what I mean when I say my style changes depending on the painting. For me, there are two basic types of paintings, character concept and viz dev (visual development). Character concept will include costumes, accessories, weapons, head designs, etc. I usually start off with a bazillion thumbnail silhouettes and once I have the look I’m going for I then tackle highlights, shading, and color. A super simple example of this would be this handsom couple…
However, if I’m working on a bust, I will tackle it in a more traditional way by sketching out the character or creature then laying down my shadows and highlights, then color and textures. I have an example here
You can check out the process here. When I’m working on a viz dev piece, I concentrate on composition and storytelling. I have to deliver the entire feeling of a scene in one shot while maintaining visual interest with some type of style. Not an easy task. I like the big three concept personally. Major point of interest, good lighting, and atmosphere (ie: fog, clouds, mist, etc). Sounds crazy, but look at some professional viz dev pieces and you’ll see this demonstrated. Hope this helps in some way. Have fun, and keep creating!