"A remnant of papa's fate
Long ago was his Glisterharp Gate
The January days his glassy eyes would contemplate
On this night by still waters I could
Feel in that dark dreaminess
Above refined ripples a sceptre of oakwood
From his brother’s scatheless berth
And mighty wine’s clement hearth
Through the moon-misted gate, I have strength"
1 | Thumbnail Sketch
A quick and dirty thumbnail sketch. I mainly want to explore environment shapes, character poses, and general flow of the composition.
2 | Character Sketch
A more refined, but quick sketch for the characters in the boat. I would normally do this as a quick lineart, but because the characters are small in the composition, this helps more for filling in shapes.
3 | Silhouettes
Filling in the overall shapes from the sketches, I fill in a silhouette for the characters' figures.
4 | Flat Colors
Added hues and colours to the characters, while creating a silhouette for the gate ruins. To add hues to the characters, I used a soft light layer at 80% and clipped it to the character silhouette.
The flat hues layer
5 | Details and Textures
Adding nuance to the foreground details, pushing back the background, softening some edges, textures, etc.
An extra layer for mist would be sandwiched between foreground and background elements. Most extra details would be done in a layer above the rest.
6 | Color Correction, Refining
Further adding minor details, adding glows and particles, and touching up water reflections. After this, I would add some adjustment layers to give the piece a more iridescent, rich presence.
A nice trick is topping with a divide mode layer, setting it to low opacity, and filling it with jittery bright colours.
The divide layer
7 | Final Revisions
The center pole of the gate was a little too jarring, so I needed to find a way to make it less apparent. An idea was to cut off the pole from the bottom, but I found it best to have the pole receded into the mist more.
B Short trim
C Long trim
D Fade to mist
After a few more minor adjustments and tweaking, the illustration is finished. Thanks for following along!