Rob Gale's Slowvember - Spider Witch

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    Here’s a black and white sketch for a painting I’m working on based loosely on Shelob from the Return of the King. I took some liberties with the character and made her more of a half-woman / spider witch.

    The process I’m experimenting with is one I learned from Stéphane Wootha Richard who likes to start his 2D paintings in this purely black and white world, creating interesting shadow shapes and focusing on the composition of light and dark to create form and tell a story.

    He’s got a lot of great tutorials on Gumroad if you want to learn more about his process. He’s french so sometimes his english is a bit hard to understand, but he’s phenomenal, and he started his art journey relatively late in life (36), so he’s an inspiration to me in that regard as well.

    The next step for me is to continue to refine these shapes and try to think about how they are actually describing form. Right now the forms are somewhat loose, and my focus was on trying to get an interesting composition. The challenge is getting the form in there without losing the sense of gesture, texture and balance that I have right now, and to improve that rather than detract from it.

    It’s this step where I often can get stuck, and gathering good reference materials will be key to help me move forward with confidence. So it’s all about slowing down and making sure I set myself up well.

    The real goal though with this piece is really just to take it to a finish, a task that I’ve historically struggled with. After the quick bursts of the daily Inktober sketches, Slowvember is a great new challenge in a different direction.

    As always, comments and critiques are more than welcome!

  • I don't have any critique, but this is really cool and abstract and powerful so far. I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

    Also, I've totally gotta look up this Stephane guy now. Thanks for the link!

  • @twiggyt Thanks! Of course, I like sharing artists who I like, especially if they have lots of good content online. Hope you like his work!

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    As I continue to work on this Spider Witch piece, I’m finally solidifying some of the compositional elements, and while I will continue to refine and work on the shape language, I’ve mostly got the composition as I want it. I’ve started to add in some color, lighting and atmospheric effects to see how the black and white shapes play out.

    The lighting in my first version didn’t totally make sense to me, so I started thinking of the light as a hole in the cave coming down from above, with the background light being more of a secondary source rather than the main source. My next steps will be to do one more pass on refining shapes, and move more into trying to create a sense of realism and atmosphere, before moving into textures, local colors, and edges. I’ll finish everything off with a pass at giving everything a more painterly quality.

    As always, if anyone has any thoughts, comments or critiques, I'd love to hear them, particularly on the composition and how the image reads right now.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @robgale looking creepy! I like it. Looking forward to seeing more of your process.

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  • @chip-valecek Thanks! It's been really interesting, I'm definitely trying to be super deliberate, we'll see how it goes, but I'm learning a lot no matter what.

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    @robgale Thanx fo posting those links. I’m going to check out the how to create brushes tutorial.
    This process your using is interesting. Im going to watch till the end. So far it’s pretty cool. 👍 👍

  • This is intense!

  • This looks epic already!
    Such a strong composition.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops!

  • @burvantill Yeah! I am learning so much, would love to hear if you start using any of his techniques in your process. I love how his point of view is just, do whatever it takes to make a great picture. Anything goes sort of thing

    @TwiggyT@Feleri Thank you so much! I've been looking at it so long already, it's sometimes hard to still see it clearly, you know? It's nice to hear that it still reads and has some sort of impact.

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