Thumbnails come first (as ALWAYS). The one real direction with this piece, besides to make sure it looked like the established Yozo design, was to make it feel like the dragon is transforming from a comet or is in someway a comet. I didn't really have any idea just how I was going to pull that off going into this assignment, but I figured I would work it all out by the end. For the thumbnails I was aiming for a coiling streaming form for the dragon as it trailed off behind the focal point of the head. Here are how the two thumbnails for this piece turned out...
Yozo's Inspiration - Thumbnails
Looking back at this now, "B" is just a confusing mess. I put both forelimbs behind the first bend in the body and that just makes the whole thing look and feel weird. This may have played a big role in why option "A" was picked... or the fact that option "A" is just a whole lot better over all and helps tell the story of the character. Now that the a thumbnail has been selected, time for the drawing...
Yozo's Inspiration - Drawing
Coiling snaky eastern dragon? Yeah, I will draw that stuff ALL day long. So many scales though! The drawing came together without issue and was approved. Time for painting!
Yozo's Inspiration - Process Steps
As I was working up the value under painting in the third step above I began messing around with the idea of streaking color and light straight back from the dragon. Anywhere that there would be shadow there instead would be the tail of a comet, or the appearance of a comet. The day is saved and a design choice was made to give the client the intended look for this dragon. It will still be recognizable as Yozo and a dragon but have the feel of a comet. I don't like to leave such large important aspects of a painting to "happy accidents", but sometime I get the best results from doing just that. Please keep in mind, these types of "happy accidents" come after years and years of working EVERYTHING out before hand and really putting the time and energy into a piece to make sure it is all worked out and planned for. That time has given me a tool box of solutions and design choices to work from and play with in these less structured moments. I do not advise going into your first assignments with a client on a wing and a prayer without a plan of action or intended outcome. Save that stuff for assignment #30.
Again, here is how the final Yozo turned out and how it ended up looking on the final promotional card...
Yozo in handy dandy card form!
That is all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then...
For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: www.christopherburdett.com