Sunday, June 05, 2011

Illustration Friday - Shadows

For the past couple of 'Illustration Fridays,' I've used work that I had previously done that seemed to fit the theme. At the moment, I'm in limbo over the final details of an illustration job (an actual paying job!), so I decided I would paint something new for this week's 'Illustration Friday' word challenge which is "Shadows."

I actually ended up creating two pieces on this theme, both involving trees and their shadows. My first attempt was a digital pen and ink drawing that I created from my imagination. I'm not very good at drawing trees without a reference, so I'm not completely satisfied with this first attempt (see image at left). I'm especially dissatisfied with the middle tree, maybe because its branching structure is too symmetrical. I also couldn't get the shadows on the ground to look right.

I decided to give it another try, this time using Painter's digital oil brushes. But this time I also decided to use a photographic reference. I love photographing trees, especially in the fall when they put on their colorful show. I took this panorama photograph last year in Bryan Park which is just a couple of blocks from where I live.

I made a sketch based on the tree that is just to the left of center. Here is my image at an early stage with the sketch still visible. I wanted this to be a somewhat loose and impressionistic piece, so I kept my sketch fairly minimal. I started off painting with fairly light tones.  As I went along, I added new layers with darker glazes. Every once in a while I would collapse the layers so that everything was on one layer and then, when necessary, I would add a new layer and once again add darker glazes. I created my glazes by using Painter's Wet Oily Blender brush set to a low opacity. Since I would paint these glazes on their own layer, I could also layer the opacity of the layer itself, which gave me much more control over how dark the glaze appeared.
The finished piece


  1. congrats and good luck on the paying job; these are wonderful Vincent

  2. Beautiful Photograph! and I really like the effect of dappled sunlight in the finished piece.

  3. Forced you into some darker values!

  4. Appropriately beautiful piece here, from a blog calling itself "Light and Shade!" :o)

  5. Hello.
    I started to write blog in English.
    I will write about everythinkg, will be a lot of pictures, reviews of books, films, songs etc.
    So it would be nice if you visit my blog sometimes :)
    (Sorry for mistakes, I'm still learning English)

    Very interesting pics. ;)

  6. Hola hermosas ilustraciones!! te felicito por eso!!