So. Tobuscus, or Toby Turner to give him his real name, for those not in the know is one of a rising number of stars who make their living uploading various types of videos to Youtube. I've watched a great number of his videos ever since I found his Amnesia The Dark Descent vids a good year or two ago. Being so busy lately I hadn't had chance to watch many and was sad when I realised I'd missed a chance to help fund his IndieGoGo video game campaign. So I did fanart, as you do. Below are some of the steps of the image. You can find an animated gif with more steps in my dA scraps here.
1.Thumbnails: I knew wanted a portrait image with a slightly upwards facing perspective. Point of these is to get a feel for the flow of the image and the over all shape composition. Details like faces or intricacies of cloth and stone get figured out in the line work.
2. Lineart and first colour pass. I use the thumbnail as a guide for the lineart, but I don't stick exactly to it. I confess I didn't have an exact reference for the clothing, which tripped me up a little further into painting.
3. A few shadows and main colours laid in, trying to think about overall rough lighting layout. Super messy... no point in being neat and tidy, as you're less likely to change something if it's not working if you invest too much time in it. I'm basically looking for it to pass the very squinty squint test at this point.
4. Neatened it up once I'm happy with basic colours and add in a bit more saturation and some brighter highlights. Note how everything is still fairly mid and dark toned. This is to stop me getting too highlight happy and making everything tonally confusing. I know here that the fireball will be the brightest thing on screen.
5.Normally I'd advise against going straight into rendering on a face or specific part, but in this case the face is the singular most important thing there is, and I need a base for how much the rest of the image should be finished.
6. By this point I'd realised my error with not having figured out the arm position properly and I spent *ages* trying to find decent reference. Eventually jedi cosplayers came to my rescue. I've also jumped around the top of the image a lot more once the face is in and finished.
7.Pretty much done with Tobuscus and his robes. I leave out all the finicky details until the very end, so I can still see that my forms are reading well, not getting distracted by pretty patterning. Gryphon the dog is also more fleshed out, if still a little bright and lacking the right kind of lighting to settle him into the scene.
8.With Toby and Gryphon finished, the rest of the image comes together much faster as I can be looser and more off the top of my head with the details. They are deliberately not as detailed as the main focus of the image - toby himself - so the eye doesn't wander around the bottom of the image too much.
9. Most of the last 10-15% of the image is just adding details and textures - stuff like the rocks, the robes' patterns, the details of the zombie flesh. I actually get bored by this point, and it's often more of a force of will that I keep going with it.
Eventually after a few tweaks and adjustments, the finished image!