2D artist in wayyyy over his head. Help please.

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Old 10 October 2005   #1
2D artist in wayyyy over his head. Help please.

So I got this freelance job doing art for a new B Horror movie. I normally do anime or cartoony style stuff and realism isn't my forte. To make a long story short, I have 3 weeks to complete a piece similar to the reference picture I have included which is the conan the barbarian style fantasy oil painting variety. I have taken an oil painting class mind you so I can use oils to a certain extent but I still feel like I really need to to do a kick ass job as this will be the movie's cover and promotional material. Are there any down and dirty techniques or methods to create an image like this? I've heard of doing detailed and shaded pencil sketches and then laying in blocks of color combined with multiply to let the lineart show through but I've never tried it. I should be getting an 6"x8" intuos3 tablet which I believe comes with a basic version of painter so I'll have those at my disposal.

Any advice, links to tutorials or magic pencils you would like to give me would be highly welcome.
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File Type: jpg vacation.jpg (26.1 KB, 369 views)
Charred Dirt - Unofficial Sequel to Scorched Earth
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Sean White - Programmer
Old 10 October 2005   #2
Experimenting on a big job can blow up in your face. Good luck
Old 10 October 2005   #3
I accepted the job because the other portion of it is right up my alley but they kind of roped me into doing this cover as well. I'm willing to work hard on this but I have a few days before I begin so I'm trying to plot a course of action hence the need for advice.

BTW, I'm also from Baltimore, MD. I live in Cockeysville.
Charred Dirt - Unofficial Sequel to Scorched Earth
Jesse Davis - Artist (Me)
Sean White - Programmer
Old 10 October 2005   #4
Oh trouble.... I cant really help much.. but there is one place you might go ask for help.

2D WIP Anatomy Review with Rebecca Kimmel. Once you have your main characters sketched. Go there and ask for advice on how to make him more anatomically correct. She has tutorials there too..


There is a sticky with TONS of tutorials there.. here is the link.


For other painting tutorials go to Art Techniques and Theories Forum.


there are many tutorials there too!

sorry I am still a student and dont know much about painting really.. so this is all the help I can give.

good luck!!!
Whether you think you can or you can't, you probably right.


Last edited by Sagii : 10 October 2005 at 03:53 PM.
Old 10 October 2005   #5
Well, the artist that did that painting is the famous Boris Vallejo. He is of course using traditional oil painting to get this style. You can google his work to see how extensive it is and be able to find out how he works.

Seriously though, his style is nothing like comic book art...its more photographic if anything. If you can start out with a really tight pencil sketch you might be able to get some where

here are some tutorials from the pros


Old 10 October 2005   #6
Okay, first off, let me say that I used to have a linear style and I am now doing more painterly stuff. It only took me a year to make the transition.
First, I would buy a wacom and forget about actually painting in oil. If you want to paint in oil, you'll have to learn all the techniques of the medium on top of all the light and color techniques.
I'll show you my process, although this is for black and white, not color

Image Process
Old 10 October 2005   #7
Originally Posted by XLNT 3d: Experimenting on a big job can blow up in your face. Good luck

No risk no fun
Challenging jobs are always the most fun for me..

I'm not a 2D Artist, so take my advice with a grain of salt. But what about taking exact reference photos. As far as I know, Boris works with reference photos.
my portfolio: danybittel.ch
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Old 10 October 2005   #8


Thanks for the thread pimpin'. You're learning from the master, Roberto!


I'd be happy to help you if I can...but I kind of have limited time due to the fact that I'm teaching a CGWorkshop that starts today.

For Anatomy Reference, you may want to check out this thread:

Reference for Anatomical and Figurative Art

Ben Miller is a great model who has a number of nude poses here:

Hong Ly has a great website with nude femal reference here:

Check both of these out for basic reference. Do a line drawing. Do a shaded drawing in grayscale using the method outlined by Ninjas, or by Stahlberg:

Stahlberg's tutorial:


Post your work on the Anatomy Forum ~ create a thread called Help needed - figure assignment.

Good luck! I'll try to help you as much as I can.



Korpus School of Art + Gallery
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Downtown Los Angeles

Old 10 October 2005   #9
Rebecca, you start today?! Oh sweet! good luck girl!
and yes I have been pimping your and Roberto's Forums in many a post.
Well it is an easy sell considering the great product
Whether you think you can or you can't, you probably right.

Old 10 October 2005   #10

Aw, Ines, you're a sweetie. *passes Ines a 20*

Korpus School of Art + Gallery
Facebook Page | Blog
Downtown Los Angeles

Old 10 October 2005   #11
Ok, some tips.

Use Painter with well Intous. You can actually survive with a mouse as well but a brush is of course better. Don't use too many brushes. Use a Smeary oil brush (no impasto I would think) and use it for almost all the painting. Painter has pretty complex settings for brushes and you can easily get lost. I did this image with only one brush (smeary oil in Painter 6 I think it was) and actually a mouse.


Pictures, pictures are important to get realistic results. Grab as many pictures as you can and piece them together so you have a big scrollable image with lots images with the sky, details on the ground, leaves, and mainly the characters.

First of create a color scetch. Paint with big brushes so you have all the colors in the right place.

One cheap way to begin with the character may be to use Poser as a starting point. Pose the chars so they look like you want and take a snapshot of it for reference.

One way to create images pretty easily is to have strong contrasts. Have dark areas in the foreground. Sharp rocks, tree branches etc. Then the characters in the middle with action going on and perhaps medium light sky with some light elements. Sun rays or lightning perhaps.

I would use a technique like that myself, but I normally don't paint that much characters, mostly environments.
Good luck.

Rare - Lead VFX Artist
Old 10 October 2005   #12
Damn i LOVE that film!!

I think the best thing to do, is get a few rough idea's down first, then try to keep improving on them. To a bit i think it could almost be a case of practice, practice, practice.

Have you got anything you can show at the moment?
Old 10 October 2005   #13
Get a hair dryer and some acrylic paint. You can duplicate the same effect with oils by thowing down thinned acrylic glazes and then hitting it with a hairdryer. I've done oil-like paintings in fraction of the time. At the end, hit it with a varnish to give it the "lively" vibrance you usually get from oils.

This might actually be faster than pencils.


Meng Yang Lu
3D Generalist
Old 10 October 2005   #14
To get a piece anywhere close to Boris's work you're going to need models.

If it's for a B horror movie set up a photoshoot with the actors in the movie and shoot your reference. This is extremely important. To fake this type of draftsmanship is almost impossible (especially if you only have three weeks).

For the finish, I would head to the bookstore or library and get a tutorial from THE SOURCE!

Buy Fantasy Art techniques by Boris Vallejo.

It's a great book and also includes a step-by step of the National Lampoon's Vacation movie poster you referenced. Amazon has a used copy available for $3.14

If you're not familiar with oils I would use Painter to recreate the techniques he describes in the book. Hope that helps.

Sleep is for the weak.

Last edited by theCloudmover : 10 October 2005 at 05:51 PM.
Old 10 October 2005   #15
Honestly, if I were you, I'd get someone to pose and just take a picture. If I were really pressed for time, I'd just do a rough trace over the picture and use the lighting in the picture as a guide for the lighting of the painting. People say tracing is cheating but phooey to that if you have to get the job done. That should give you extra time to spend on the painting process.
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