Digital Painting – Black Eyes

Welcome to another digital painting time-lapse screen recording. This is one of my most viewed videos on youtube.



When ever you are creating something unique and original, you need to make a conscious effort not to be led by what has gone before or what looks cool. To be truly unique it needs to come from within, from that area of your mind that surfaces just before you drift off to sleep in the evening, or where your mind wanders to when performing a mundane task.

With this in mind, I have listed my top 5 tips for creating original creature concepts. Each one was put into practice as I created the image that follows. I encourage you to think about these tips the next time you create your own creature designs. They are not too prescriptive, and should give you food for thought. The goal here is to encourage your creative self to express itself and come to the foreground when you are in the ‘Zone’.

5 Tips for original designs:

  1. Open Mind : Quite often when creating this type of digital painting, I start with an empty mind! That is not to say that I am in some kind of zen like state, rather, I know I want to create an image and I prefer not to be too influenced by some of the other great concept art and create designs available on the internet today. SO, I approach each new drawing with an open mind, no fearful of whether it will look good, or if it resembles something that has come before.
  2. Chaos : When starting with a blank slate, you have an unlimited number of possible directions you can take. I typically like to start by scribbling a line or random shape, and try to let my mind see what ever it wants to! It is a bit like looking at clouds drift by on a lazy summers day. Once your mind latches onto something that loosely resembles something from the real world, then it is over to your analytical side to try and extrapolate a believable concept. It can be useful (as seen in  this video) to copy the current layer, and flip it 180 degrees. This gives you a fresh perspective and a level of symmetry.
  3. Reality : In order for your creature to ‘read’ as something that could just possible be real, you need to add elements that resemble what we are accustomed to seeing in the real world. For example, the placement of the eyes in relation to the nose in relation to the mouth, are reminiscent of the human form. This single aspect gives your creatures a personality.
  4. Colour : Colour is one of those elements in a digital painting that really bring it to life. Otherworldly colours like pinks, blues, aquas and greens are very natural looking, in so much as they look plausible in a creature design, that is quite clearly not from this earth. Be mindful of your colour choices and what they say about your creature the next time you paint. If you are going for a land based animal that hunts smaller prey consider what elements of camouflage it might need, on the other hand if your creature lives in the total darkness of a cave, it might appear more albino in appearance.
  5. Fun : Digital painting is a pleasurable pastime, where no one can tell you how something must look. As an artist you have complete freedom over the images that you create. If you want your creature to have 26 eyes and 4 noses, then go for it! Its about having fun, its about letting your mind run free, its about letting your creative self have FUN…

I hope you give this a go yourself, and I would love to hear how it went, what problems you might of encountered and if there is anything specific that you would like me to create a tutorial about.

Good luck and happy painting ;-)

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Posted in Creature, PhotoShop, SpeedPaint, Tutorial and tagged , , , , .

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