Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dragons de Cluny: a new (technically Parisian) print

So -- you may remember this sketch (though frankly I cannot remember whether I posted it here or not): a sketch of a medieval column capital from the National Museum of the Middle Ages (also known as the Musée de Cluny) in Paris, composed toward the beginning of the Fontainebleau experience. 

I decided that this was the first candidate of this batch of European sketches for print-ification for Society6. So! What is interesting about this column? DRAGONS are what is interesting about this column.

The column drawing by itself didn't seem to show really strongly the sort of whimsical, dark feeling I got from the actual piece I was drawing, so I decided to, for lack of a better phrase, beef it up some. I pulled out the dragon silhouettes in bright colors and set them behind the column, which I shaded a bit to pop it out more.

The dragons by themselves were a bit hard to pick out, so I decided to shade and detail the feathers/scales to make it clear that these were creatures rather than amorphous shadows.

That worked quite well, and I liked the texture of the feathers on the red dragon's lower body.

The background was just not doing it for me -- the flat gradient seemed both dull and a little inauthentic to the weathered texture of the medieval piece of stone this idea came from. I thought about using a stone pattern from the internet, but the only patterns I found were a) expensive and b) too regular to be interesting. I then took a piece of watercolor paper and made a large speckled "gradient" of my own, which I put behind all the other layers (set on "multiply," my favorite setting for layers) in the Photoshop file.

More shading of the purple dragon ensued to make him seem more like he was becoming more solid. The way the purple dragon's body stopped looked odd, but I didn't really want to muck up the clean line of the neck with the somewhat clunky body that is actually on the column, so I attempted some graphic swirls to make the two figures seem a little less like they were floating.

After more contemplation, I decided the swirls were two busy, and replaced them with one solid shape to indicate the purple dragon's body.

And, the final print (with bonus shading!) It's now on sale at my Society6 page -- click over to purchase and/or promote.

Dragon de Cluny, a print by Sharon Gochenour

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