So here’s a a little Pratchett fan art piece I did, of Susan Sto Helit as Death. I don’t do fan art very often and when I do I prefer doing characters from literature, as I feel that gives me a more interesting creative challenge then going off from a visual design someone else has already come up with. I’ve always thought Susan was a fun character so it was interesting to visualize her.
This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought, as when I started I had this nice vision of having a fleshy face visible with the skull just showing through it as nice and white, sounds good right? I just couldn’t get it to work visually, as you’ll see in the progress pics, so I ended up just going full skull. A more symbolic and less rendered approach might have gotten it to work, and I’m now almost sad I didn’t go that way now. I also ended up having trouble with the character in another way. In the books she’s described as “pretty, in a skinny way” so at first I made her, well, pretty. But I really didn’t feel like the character was just “a pretty face” and ended up in a sort of conflict with myself over it. In the end of course I sidestepped that issue with the more prominent skull.
Here are the steps.
1. Pencil sketch
2. Value sketch on top of pencils, and trying out the color scheme.
3.Â Played with color until I found something that felt right, Tried to make character less cute – now she just looked grumpy though.
4. Adding more skull, not feeling good.
5.Â Abandoned fleshy face as not working, went all out skull. At least she feels scary now! Spent tons of time studying ravens, and then painted it in. At this point raven takes way too much attention, so started to doubt my bg and values
6. Redid the cloud shapes in the bg, and tuned the bg darker and lightened the hair – now the attention is back on the character.
Final. Added some secondary lights, refined the clouds and other details.
See full post here: jaanaheiska.com/blog2014-09-30.