Wednesday, November 9, 2011

James Fullmer

The Perfect Model
So I was working on an illustration of a witch to go along with a poem, "Listen to the WItch." I had an idea that I wanted to try that would require a rather complicated and ghoulish lighting so I needed a reference. Where could I find a model who would pose exactly the way I wanted and perform just the expression I needed? Oh, and they had to be OK being used to paint an ugly witch.
MYSELF! BRILLIANT! I set the lights up high and behind me and put a silver reflector as the "table" so to reflect the haunting light up from below. It didn't end up as strong as I wanted but I was able to punch it in the illustration. I just needed information about where the light would reflect. The image was shot in RAW and so I could tint it how I wanted before exporting it to Photoshop. Now it may look perfect but it took me about 15 shots to get the angle of the face and the mouth. I had wanted to have poofy cheeks but my eyes open in a dreamy ecstasy but anatomically that just doesn't happen. There was more than enough information, however to paint from.

I decided to try it digitally and first sketched out the values and basic color scheme:
Afterward I rendered the shapes more and used digital color as well as the liquefy filter to make some adjustments to the original drawing. I used the smudge tool to do much of the blending.


  1. I LOVE this! How clever to use yourself as the model and what a model you are! Love the raised pinkies! Thanks for explaining the steps. Could you even provide a few more details? Do you print out the photo and look at it as you sketch, or? That sandwich is really giving me the creeps! Thanks for this enlightening lesson.

  2. Nice. Is this a portfolio piece or are you working on a bok or dummy? Part of the reason I ask is that I'd love to see a wing or leg sticking out of her mouth, but that might be too much for kids. The cool lighting on the face sets a fun mood.

  3. I love the humor! Your witch is hillarious in an over-the-top way. Just what kids love! And thanks for sharing your process. I must say though, I don't see much likeness between your model and the final witch. I think that's a good thing!

  4. To Maureen, I just keep the digital reference on the screen while I sketch out the image digitally. In this case I also sampled colors from the reference and that really helped speed things along. I used Photoshop, Wacom tablet, and just round brushes of different sizes and softnesses. Any other questions just let me know.

    Ned, just a portfolio piece. I had thought of that too but when I tried it in this lighting set up, it didn't read clearly enough. Maybe I should try again. I think I would like to push that mouth a bit more - make it a little funnier.

    Deborah - awww your nice.

    Thanks guys!