Â© Geoffrey Cramm
The idea behind this image was actually triggered by a Stylised Animal challenge on the 3DTotal forums (http://forums.3dtotal.com)
, titled "Carnivorous Plant", almost about a year ago now, I think. I started with a quick concept sketch (Fig.01) but unfortunately couldn't find the time to continue with the challenge. So, it stayed in the lost sketches archive for a while, until I happened to stumble upon it, some months later.
I liked the idea of a giant evil flytrap with a monstrous grin, versus a small, helpless prey.Â I decided to take a different approach and finish the sketch only in 2D. This way I could keep more control over small details and vegetation, as I'm not a particularly good 3D modeller. Painting it would definitely give a more satisfying result.
I found that the image lacked action elements and drama. The pose was boring and the composition too straightforward. I redesigned the scene in a second sketch and changed the camera angle, added some flies, small flytraps and a bit of environment around it (Fig.02). It created some potential storytelling possibilities, which can be an important aspect of an image. A good illustration should make the viewer curious to know more about the subject and its background story. By creating a battle scene with multiple creatures interacting with each other, I tried to achieve that effect.
As you can see this image is quite similar to the final illustration, composition wise. I always like to keep early sketches as a base of the final image. If it feels right at the start, I tend to change as little as I can on that part. Of course I can always move some minor elements around, but the general composition often stays the same. Having the composition nailed, I then took some minutes for a few sketches of creatures flying around him (Fig.03).
Lines, Colouring & Shading
In the line art stage I created rough outlines for all of the final shapes (Fig.04). I then moved on to the colouring process. In this case, I started working on the head and kept working on the head without starting on other parts of the image. I often get a bit too excited on a particular part without paying attention to the rest. It's probably a bad habit of mine, since it is easier to keep consistency in an image by gradually building it up step by step. Instead, I have to make everything else match with the "head" element, in terms of lighting and amount of detail. Can't help it though, it's hard to change a personal workflow!