View Full Version : Secret Agent Entry: Stephanie Maulding
06-20-2009, 08:27 PM
Stephanie Maulding is entered in the "Secret Agent" update: View Challenge Page (http://features.cgsociety.org/challenge/secret_agent/view_entries.php?challenger=18188)
Latest Update: Work In Progress: Sequins!
06-23-2009, 09:41 PM
"But there was a new strength in me, a sensation of change, a new darkness in my heart which filled me with terror and rejoicing. I felt protected by it as the formless butterfly gropes in the darkness of its hard chrysalis, as the wasp shifts in its silk cocoon and dreams uneasy, vengeful dreams of flight.
And I? Would I fly? Or would I sting?"
-Joanne Harris, Sleep, Pale Sister
Code Name B, Classic Femme Fatale. I know who she is, but I've yet to decide exactly what she's doing. These are a few quick thumbnail ideas for scenarios and compositions along with my color palette. (I work really rough at this phase.)
I think I've narrowed it down to 2 or 3 ideas that I'm going to develop into more detailed sketches.
06-26-2009, 07:55 PM
With the vault nearly breached, Bea hears a stirring behind her...
I'm still waffling over what sort of infiltration this is. I'm a bit stuck on my first thought of her picking a lock, but I'm not sure I can justify my lighting coming through that small an opening. I'll probably wait and see how it's looking some way into the actual piece as the figure will stay essentially the same regardless.
I've pretty much got my composition and lighting established. I've decided to go with the top left/bottom version with a few modifications. Primarily, I want to compress her pose to add tension. She should be crouched lower over her leg. I'm gathering some anatomical references for this before I start on the actual piece.
06-30-2009, 09:05 PM
So I'm actually a bit stuck on my concept. I've done a few false starts and just deleted them outright. I think my problem is that I'm trying to crowbar a concept that just isn't my style. I'm more interested in designing a character who evokes a mood than a scene of action that fits my stereotyped idea of a secret agent. I've been trying to come up with a concept full of action, suspense, bombshell sex appeal, weaponry and all the usual spy accoutrement. But that's just not me, so all my ideas are coming out horribly cliche and boring.
Because of this, I've decided to step back and brainstorm what sort of scene and character I actually want to work on.
I've settled on a motif that I'm jokingly referring to as Neo-Futuristic Art Deco Noir. Above is a selection of the images I pulled as references. I won't post them all because I probably assembled a few hundred of them yesterday. Plus I'm way too lazy to scan in the various things I've marked in the pages of my old Sotheby's catalogs. :D
At this point I've decided the following:
-I want a nifty art deco archway or tiled ceiling in the background
-I'm sticking with my original color palette
-I know how Bea looks and that I want her to evoke a mood of untouchable allure
-I want at least part of Bea's back visible. Mostly just because I feel like painting a back. I could make up some metaphorical meaning for this, but I'd be lying. This is just an arbitrary whim. :)
As for fitting Bea and her world to the Secret Agent theme, I think I have it narrowed down to these two ideas:
-Embracing an anonymous male figure while picking his pocket
-Escaping out a locked window/Breaking into a locked window
I want the scenario very simple and secondary to the character herself.
(I apologize for rambling on a bit here. I'm just trying to collect my thoughts.)
07-16-2009, 07:23 PM
Sorry to disappear for a while. I was away for the U.S. Independence Day holiday and then had a family crisis to deal with. But I'm still in the challenge!
I've gotten back to work and am developing some firm sketches. Here's the first. I'm going to work on a few more to fine tune my composition and pose.
I'm thinking about going a little tighter into the face because I really want to work with some subtle injuries and expression, but I'm also kind of digging the S curve of the body. I need to play with the pose and dress because I want to work with some tears in the clothing as well
Your image is looking really good :) Like a lot your color oalette, puts a nice and evocative touch on your image! Good luck and waiting for more updates! Cheers!! :D
07-20-2009, 08:11 PM
Thank you so much Ferx! I'm working on a different version today and will hopefully post it in a few hours.
07-21-2009, 12:17 AM
Another really rough sketch. I'm still not sure how I want to frame her or pose her so I'm playing. I've resolved to settle on a final sketch by Wednesday.
Nice sketch, the girl looks really great. You have a nice color palette for the concept, and a beauty design for the secret agent woman, now you need to found a round concept for her :) I´m thinking in your first composition, you can put a police car out there ( maybe with only red and blue lights you can put the idea of a patrol outside) You can extend a bit the canvas to the left, and put a dark shadow of an enemy entering to the room, only the shadow, and perhaps the shadow with a gun, You can change too the direction of the eyes of the girl, looking to that enemy ( comming from right of the image) Only a silly idea :D Good work and waiting for more updates! Cheers!! :D
07-21-2009, 07:51 PM
Hey Stephanie !
The last sketch is sweet. May I suggest to play with her expression a bit. If she looking at the camera , maybe a suprised look could involve the spectator . Or maybe a side view of her face , the look a bit bored as she is starting to be sick of this job ... Some lousy ideas here !
Looking forward for your progress !
07-21-2009, 08:37 PM
Thanks for the input to both Ferx and Zapan!
My concept at this point is really that I want to focus on her as a character and push myself to fully realize the secret agent herself more than a scene that she's caught in. I want to leave any overt action out of it and imply tension within a quiet scene.
In thinking about secret agents and struggling with the idea of an action scene--which is just not my style at all--I realized that a true secret agent could fit with my style very well. A good secret agent is likely going to be far from the action. Covert Operations are all about stealth and subtlety; getting out before anyone knows you've been there.
However, a secret agent is also probably going to have seen some problems along the way. I want the "secret agent" part of my piece to be drawn exclusively from her expression and subtle clues like various wounds she's got. I want her dress to be damaged and her hair to be falling down. She's gotten in trouble on this job but she's swiftly taken care of it, like she's always done, and now it's time to just get out. Looking into her eyes, she's not even ruffled despite the blood trickling down her chin and the silenced bullet she's just dodged. In fact, she looks bored.
At this phase I'm just trying to finalize my composition and pose as I have her expression and features solid in my mind. I'll tackle that once I start actually detailing a rough color block sketch.
Any thoughts about a close in composition versus a wider one?
07-22-2009, 12:04 AM
I decided I was spending way too much time obsessing over her pose and needed to dive in, so I did some alteration and detailing on that first sketch I posted. I can always start in on one of the others if I decide this is a dead end, but I'm driving myself crazy not getting into the nitty gritty.
Usually I'm guilty of doing little to no pre-visualization. I think I really overcompensated this time. For now, lets see where this goes. :)
I'm still really indecisive on what to do with her hand, so for the moment I'm focused on the face. I may alter the current, boring "resting on curtain" position to have her either holding a bag or going for a weapon, but I want to avoid being quite that obvious if possible. Like I said: going to wait and see how far I can push the face first and then determine how much I need to add to drive home the secret agent theme.
07-22-2009, 10:17 PM
I've added a rough background idea. Think it's too much? I'm also trying to figure out the anatomy to have one leg up on the windowsill or out the window. The curtains are going to be sheer and half revealing the leg and window panes.
08-07-2009, 12:32 AM
Not much to say about this update except that I've been working on detailing. The face is pretty close except for lashes and some more pore texturing. I need to do some major work on her hair tonight and find some references to help with how the glass should be cracking.
I'm running a bit behind on this challenge because I leave for a trip to Russia a few days after the CG Challenge deadline and have been running around preparing. Between that and jobs, this weekend has really snuck up on me! But no worries. I'm sure I can make the deadline. I just may not be getting much sleep tonight. :)
08-07-2009, 10:19 PM
More detailing and I added a scarf and some more injuries. The few little ones I had just weren't enough. I think I just escalated the degree to which Bea's mission went wrong.
I really love this -- the face is so surreal.
08-08-2009, 04:15 AM
Thank you so much! I am still frantically working on it to get something in by the deadline. Somehow, when my eyes read "August 9th" my brain heard "August 19th." Go me!
08-08-2009, 05:42 AM
Sequins, Scarves and Shading, Oh my!
That's about it for this update. I'm a little wary about uploading a final piece for this challenge. I'm still heavily in the learning phase of digital painting and am not thrilled with my results so far. I'm certainly not on the same level as most of the amazing top rung artists on this site. There is truly some incredible work being done for this challenge!
I'm probably going to finish this and submit just for my own sense of accomplishment and continue to study and improve in hopes of having a better piece in the next challenge. I still really struggle quite a bit with anatomy and texture.
Oh well, I joined as a learning experience and definitely have learned a lot! :)
08-09-2009, 11:33 PM
you're well on your way, the face is very beautiful, keep at it, and good luck in the future
08-09-2009, 11:33 PM
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