Concept Art: Drawing Imaginary Worlds | Ira Marcks | Skillshare

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Concept Art: Drawing Imaginary Worlds

teacher avatar Ira Marcks, Graphic Novelist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Reality meets Fantasy


    • 3.

      Questioning Existence


    • 4.

      When Where What & Why


    • 5.

      The Nature of Time


    • 6.

      Environmental Effects


    • 7.

      Details of Civilization Part 1


    • 8.

      Details of Civilization Part 2


    • 9.

      Distribution of Power


    • 10.

      Cultural Values


    • 11.

      Designing Technology


    • 12.

      Signs from Other Worlds


    • 13.

      The Right Ingredients


    • 14.

      Finding Framing, Drawing Depth


    • 15.

      Inking with Character


    • 16.

      Tonal Planes


    • 17.

      Color Scheme


    • 18.

      Class Project & Wrap Up


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About This Class

Have you ever looked at a drawing of a strange alien world or futuristic city and wondered: How did someone come up with that crazy idea? Me too!

Concept art usually refers to world-building artwork used to inspire the development of a bigger project. It's an approach to drawing utilized by visual artists, authors, game designers, filmmakers and many creative storytellers. For me, it's a way to mix real-life and imagination and bring new depth to a drawing.

Here are the topics I'll be covering:

  • World Building
  • Utilizing Fantasy/Sci-Fi Tropes
  • Finding Inspiration
  • Gathering References
  • Planning a Composition
  • Illustrating Depth
  • Styling Line Art
  • Using Tonal Planes
  • Choosing Colors

All you'll need for this class is a pencil and paper but I'm working in Clip Studio Paint for visual clarity.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ira Marcks

Graphic Novelist

Top Teacher

Ira Marcks is an award-winning and New York Times recommended cartoonist. His love of strange fiction and scientific research has led to an unlikely list of collaborators including the Hugo Award-winning magazine Weird Tales, European Research Council, and a White House Fellowship Scientist. His online courses have inspired 100,000 students.

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1. Introduction: Have you ever looked at a drawing of a strange alien world or a futuristic city and wondered, how did somebody come up with that? Me too. My name's Ira Marcks. I'm a cartoonist, and I've been creating imaginary worlds for about as long as I can remember. In this class, I'm going to show you how to train your imagination and your hand to create some immersive and exciting concept art. Concept art is where new ideas are born. It's a creative approach utilized by visual artists, authors, game designers, filmmakers or any other type of artists that need storytelling in their work. For me, concept art is a way to mix my real life experiences and imagination, and push my art to more evocative and expressive places. I think everyone deserves a chance to share their weird little worlds with others, and I hope you can join me for all the weird fun we're going to have in Concept Art 101, drawing imaginary worlds. Here we go. 2. Reality meets Fantasy: Fantastic worlds are the settings for the most popular forms of storytelling we have. Yet, we're always inclined to call these indulgences our guilty pleasures or forms of escapism, just because they don't seem as important as other types of media, like say, the news or stories based in quote, unquote, reality. Yet, some of the best authors of the fantastic were present during the most real and traumatic events in human history. For example, novelist George Orwell was there during the rise of fascism and he was part of the British Army's Home Guard. Novelist and poet William Golding who wrote Lord of the Flies, was set in the Navy during World War II, and Slaughterhouse Five author, Kurt Vonnegut, was captured by the Germans and in Dresden during that historic allied firebombing of the city. The largest figure in all of fantasy is Lord of The Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, a man who was part of the British Army posted on the Western Front during World War I, where he lost two of his closest friends. After the war, he returned home to continue his studies in literature, becoming an expert on the structure, historical development, and relationships of our languages, and used his writing skills to build his own fantastic world that takes very seriously the emergence of a truly terrible force of evil, that casts its shadow over all the land. So, is that the charming whimsy that makes fantastic world building so engaging and immersive? No, it's how a fictional world can put our own reality into focus. 3. Questioning Existence: I'm going to start this next section with a quote from Franz Kafka, the surrealist and absurdist author. "By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we created it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired". Like in real life, a fictional world operates within a really narrow spectrum of physical and societal rules. So, believe it or not, creating some limits on our fictional worlds is our best chance for getting our creative energies to flourish. A fictional world is a brand new space adjacent to our daily lives where we can safely explore ideas as silly or as serious as we want. Fictional worlds are less complex than our reality and involve much faster, developing the wrong symbols and languages and histories and other cultural aspects faster than reality ever could. So why are we drawn to designing fictional worlds? Well, probably because fictional worlds make up our earliest memories. Interacting with the poems, and songs, in rhymes, in little stories our parents would tell us. Before we knew with the outside world was really like, we had these inner worlds of these imaginary spaces, and all those memories become part of our emotional journey through our lives, and they grow into the desires we have as adults of the way we want to see the world around us, and the way we want to live our lives. With all this experience we have with fictional worlds and the high bar we set for quality of fictional places, you can probably guess, it's really important to create immersive, interesting, and incredible locations as we do our world building. We often imagine the best world builders like Tolkien and George RR Martin and J.K. Rowling, have their worlds all planned out before they even start telling the stories that make up their books or TV shows or movies. Many popular worlds of fantasy and science fiction have rich archives of details that exist in and around the stories and characters we've grown to love. So, it's easy to dig into the mythologies, histories, maps, cultures, races, lineages, languages of all of these popular fictional worlds like the Hobbits, Middle Earth, or the faraway galaxy of Star Wars, or Hogwarts for Harry Potter. It's really fun to be involved in this creative process and building all these details, but it can also be really overwhelming to know where to start and when to stop, because if you're any sort of creative person, you know all too well that you can get burnt out during a creative process. So, we need to figure out what's necessary and what's unnecessary when we're building our world. The good news is, you don't have to create a whole encyclopedia for your fictional world to make it exist. Think back again to when you were young and began exploring the real world for the first time. You learnt through experience, gaining pieces of information like clues, looking at the mysteries of the world, and more than anything, you'd learn by asking the right questions. 4. When Where What & Why: Let's practice asking our questions with this painting here. This is by Ralph McQuarrie who was the main StarWars concept artist, back in the mid-70s when George Lucas was developing this project. So, Ralph McQuarrie was in charge of creating visuals that helped translate George Lucas's script into something that his set designers and prop makers would be able to connect with. This painting is called Mos Eisley and it's from April 1975. So, our imaginations do a lot of work into kind of projecting on this image, a story, but if we break that process down, we can see there's some key questions that are going on here. The usual questions like, when is this story happening? Well, if we look closely, we can see a couple clues right? We know we're on a planet not unlike Earth with a normal sense of gravity, and in the distance, the Mos Eisley city, that the painting is named after seems fairly primitive. It's very tan. It blends in with the landscape. The structures aren't very tall. There doesn't seem to be a lot of technology involved. So, we could guess that this image is set in the past but if we look in the foreground more, we see the character is standing next to obviously a spaceship, but even the spaceship doesn't seem high-tech in any specific way. So there, you get your long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It's a more primitive culture but they've made technological advancements that we haven't in the world we know. Where is the story taking place? We're on some desert landscape that's not unlike something you might see in New Mexico, but we know it's a fantasy world. So, how can we twist that reality? Well, a simple way that's very iconic is by the dual suns we see in the sky over the planet and then, we start to wonder what's going on around in this moment. We see the character looking down over the city. They have a weapon slung over their back and there's a couple secondary characters coming up from the side maybe to check in or to report back and then we start to wonder why is this happening in the first place, and we could see since we're in the midst of a story, the characters on some sort of journey or adventure, or quest and the city they're looking at is their next destination. And we could assume it's a dangerous place otherwise, why carry a super giant rifle on your back. So, we can see that our imagination is just prone to investigation and we go through all these questions whenever we look at an image, or read a passage in a book, or hear a song or experiencing any creative product. Now, we're going to take those basic questions and break down what they can mean for our own creative process. 5. The Nature of Time: How about another quote? And the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. The Book of Genesis. A world as an object may have existed for billions of years, but the story of that world begins in a single moment. Let's take our question of when and relative to right now, the moment you and I are currently living in is the story of our world set in the past, present, or future. All right. These are kind of abstract terms, I know. So, let's try to break it down a little more. A more specific way of looking at this question of when, is how does the civilization of our world relate to the nature of the world? If we're looking at genres of storytelling that are rich with world building, we can see more specifically the role of nature in each of these different specific type time frames. Fantasy is set in the civilized past, heightened reality is set in the modern day, alternate reality is the modern day but with a twisted past, and sci-fi is usually the civilized future. I'll start with fantasy. Fantasy worlds feel like they're set in the past because they give us a more primitive civilization than the one we're used to living in, and therefore the people of the world have a bit more of a direct relationship with the mysteries of the natural world. Here's how JK Rowling introduces Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to the readers in her book. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side of a black lake, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers. So the Hogwarts school feels kind of like a medieval castle from that description, and we're reminded of the Dark Ages, a time of superstition and fear. The beliefs of an older world leave more room for magic to exist. The tools of the wizard world are rooted in nature as well. Think of the magic wands in Harry Potter. All of them are combinations of elements of the natural world. A wand is the object through which a witch or wizard channels his or her magic. It is made from wood, it has a magical substance at its core. Wands made of Olah Vandar have cores a Phoenix feather, unicorn hair or dragon heartstring, and are Varien would lengths and flexibilities. Heightened reality is usually set in the modern day. Civilization keeps nature at a safe distance. Author Edward Bulwer Lin opened his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford with this sentence, it might sound familiar, ''It was a dark and stormy night, the rain fell in torrents except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets, for it is in London that our scene lies, rattling along the housetops and fiercely agitating the scantly flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.'' The beginning of that sentence has become a lame literary joke, thanks to Snoopy, but you got to admit, you can almost feel that wind and rain, right? We can use nature to imply hints of the tone, and time of the era. So look at that last part of the sentence. How does it read, if I tell you this book is set during the French Revolution? Setting a story in the all too familiar modern day allows for nature to function as a melodramatic device. Nature can be a great emotive tool because it's all too real. Alternate reality is a variation of the modern day world because it's fuelled or twisted by the past, right? George Orwell's 1984 is probably the most well known alternate reality story. At first glance, the world seems to be run by a utilitarian nation that seems so distant from what we know, but when we look a little deeper, the whole story is kind of an allegory for Soviet Union politics, and life in wartime Britain. So alternative reality makes us ask, not only when we are, but how did we get here. What traits of our civilization brought us to this moment. Science fiction is set in the civilized future, a time when humans have all but conquered nature. Futuristic stories tend to not look so closely at our relationship with nature, but focus on our relationship with science. Science fiction world speculate on where specific cultural path is going to lead us, like take the world of Blade Runner. It's a place totally disconnected from nature. Everything the characters see and experience is a simulation of reality to the point where they're not even convinced that their feelings are real. Here's a quote from the short story that Blade Runner was based on Philip K. Dicks, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Once he thought, ''I would have seen the stars years ago, but now it's only the dust. No one has seen a star in years, at least not from Earth, maybe I'll go where I can see the stars,'' he said to himself as the car gained velocity and altitude, it headed away from San Francisco toward the uninhabited desolation to the north, to the place where no living thing would go, not unless it felt that the end had come. You've probably noticed that a lot of fantastic worlds are set in a type of dark ages. I don't specifically mean the aesthetic of the medieval world, I mean like a dark age. A time when a sense of fear outweighed a sense of hope in civilization. So like consider where the human race was in medieval times, closed behind castle walls, all the libraries of ancient Greece and Rome had been pretty much destroyed along with their philosophies and theories. Cities overrun with plumbing and sewage problems, you know, that alone is going to get you down. The idea of a dark age can be draped over any point of history. You could set it in the future and more of a neo dark age like you see in a lot of popular video games like Fallout, or you can set it in the past again like in another video game, like Sky Rim. It's really helpful to establish the nature of time in your world early on. A time period, a relationship of nature and civilization sets the tone for your world. So, now that we've settled that, let's zoom in a little closer. 6. Environmental Effects: This quote is from The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm wracked northeast sea is a land famous for wizards. From the towns in its high valleys, and the ports on its dark narrow bays, many a Gontish man has gone forth to serve the lords of the archipelago in their cities as wizzard or mage, or looking for adventure to wander, working magic from isle to isle in all of Earthsea. The environment affects all aspects of your world. Specifically, why people to choose to settle somewhere, and how they go about their daily lives. For example, the world of Ariel, the little Mermaid is very different than the world of WALL-E, the robot. Questions you want to ask yourself, how does the environment shape, maybe literally the people of your world? What are the main geographic features of your world? Mountains, forests, deserts? Where are your rivers? How far away is the ocean? It's not enough to simply place geography to build a world, the world has to have a feeling, and feeling comes from the characteristics of the environmental elements, and how they interact. So, add descriptions to flavor your environment. Here's a couple of good ones I came up with. The fathomless ocean, the eternal desert, the mysterious swamp. Here's a weird one, the frozen jungle, the quiet city. In Chapter Five of The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien token, the author describes the protective hedge, a defense for the hobbits from the trees of the neighboring old forest. Here's a nice environmental description. Their land was originally unprotected from the east, but on the side, they had built a hedge. The high hay. It had been planted there many generations ago, and was now thick and tall for it was constantly tended. It ran all the way from Brandywine Bridge in a big loop curving all along the river to Haysend, well over 20 miles from end to end. But of course, it was not a complete protection. The forest drew close to the hedge in many places. The Bucklanders kept their doors locked after dark, and that also was not unusual in The Shire. 7. Details of Civilization Part 1: When designing a world, scale is always relative. The place you're making could be as small as a barricaded town after a zombie apocalypse, or as big as a solar system, or as complex as 1,000 islands floating in the sky over an ocean of lava. The real question here is, what unifies the world? The answer, civilization. That is people who share a society, culture and a certain way of life. Of course stories have characters that travel through time and space, and part of their character development is how they interact with different worlds. This is all the more reason for you to make your world unique, and that begins with details. I did a little googling and I found this pretty cool world generator that looks like it was designed in 1996, but it gets the job done. So, I'm going to create a world description from it, and then let's break it down and see how we can put it to use. 8. Details of Civilization Part 2: So, I just generated a phrase and I'm going to build myself a word list to help inspire different civil aspects of my fictional world. So, here's the phrase I was given: "This aggressive civilization was famous for its sports, architecture and music. It declined as pollution and unstable farming practices rendered the land barren and toxic." You want to begin here with trying to understand what the civilization might value and how it might have and how it came to be. Let's take that phrase "aggressive civilization", especially with the sports and architecture and music aspect, I can't help but think of the Roman Empire as being an aggressive civilization. So, that's the model I'm going to look at here as I build my word list. So, I did a little bit of research. It's what makes the Roman Empire such an aggressive civilization. And a lot of that was rooted in this idea of the imperial cult, which was the emperors saying, ''Okay, we're going to have this sort of religious routine of worship being our deceased emperors as like basically demigods, people that passed away and live kind of at the status of the gods." Well, at first the Emperors didn't claim to be gods while they were alive, that kind of changed as they got more egotistical and eventually led to the downfall of the Roman Empire. But early on, the sort of Romanization of the world is rooted in the imperial cult, upper class citizens in Rome and then expanding colonies and then smaller nations and other religious groups would take on this idea of the imperial cult because it endeared them to the Roman Empire. And as this cultish, which doesn't mean like cult as we know it, but just sort of a religious following as this idea of the imperial cult grew, it changed the way people went about their daily lives. They started bringing in other aspects of Roman culture right on down to the language. So, when you say your language has been Romanized, it's basically been turned from its natural cultural form into either Roman letters or inflections and symbols. So, that's our base for our aggressive civilization. Now, let's look at the things that their culture cherishes round again, perfect example. So, in terms of sports, sports really originated as kind of an offshoot of the military structure. They had all the space used for training and they would turn it into recreational spaces. So, you get your track and field events based on Roman training. So, jumping events and wrestling, boxing and racing, all these kind of Olympic events are rooted in that military structure. Then the gladiators of course, which is like an armed warrior who is fighting with a condemned criminal, or an animal, or against another famous gladiator. This became part of not only their entertainment, but their art and storytelling which celebrate their sports to the point where it became a fundamental part of their culture. So, now the architecture of Rome is super influential obviously. You have certain forms that we still put in our most celebrated buildings like the idea of the Dome and the Arch are rooted in Roman architecture. And then, that's sort of famous form of concrete that they use that survived through centuries. So, architecture has been staying power of an aggressive civilization. Then we get to music. So, in Rome, music is a word that basically meant the art of the muse, like something that was an inspiration to everybody. So, it was part of lots of different aspects of their culture. Military parades and different maneuvers would have a soundtrack to them basically. People would play music during nightly events or dining. So, it was entertainment, but also it was like an inspiration for other aspects of the civilization. For the first half of this phrase, I looked at history and found my inspiration and built my world list from there. But we don't have to do it that way, we can find inspiration in other fictional worlds. This phrase, "It declined as pollution and unsustainable farming practices rendered the land barren and toxic." What does that bring to mind? Okay, I'm thinking of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's film from 1984, ''Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind'', which is an amazing animated movie, one of my favorites and the setting for that is that far distant future after this event called the ''Seven Days of Fire'', which was like an apocalyptic war that destroyed civilization and created what they call the "Toxic Jungle," which is like a poisonous forest that's got these giant mutant insects in it. The story is also set in a really desert, barren landscape. So, I'm going to take this influence of the far distant future and what has evolved from this toxic landscape. So, the unsustainable farming practices are rooted deep in the past and I've kind of expanded on that. So, now that opens this world up to giant creatures and monsters, things that are far removed from the immediate consequences of what we might call in a modern sense, unsustainable farming practices. So, exaggeration is always a big part of the message and world building. So, what we've got now is a really rich, heavily detailed set of descriptors for civilization. Things that we can pick and choose from when we're designing our fictional world. 9. Distribution of Power: Let's look more closely at some of the aspects of civilization. A main one that's going to have a lot of influence over your fictional world is the distribution of power. The question that comes from that is who holds this power and who doesn't? A lot of fictional worlds like to put into place a totalitarian political system. That basically means a single political power has full control over the civilization and they pull it off through a bunch of different types of techniques that we see as visual cues in the world. So, like propaganda, political repression or like assassination, personal cultism, putting celebrities in a political place to speak the views of the government, taking control over the economy, creating regulations and restrictions over what people eat, purchase, say, then surveillance systems that are tracking people's movements, and then, of course, like fear, and terror, and more general ideas. You can probably think of a million fictional worlds that put this kind of the lynch pin of a plot or character arc in a story, but it's also a good way to just generate a feel and a tone for a fictional world because it can give the whole society of your world a direction to follow or to fight against. One of the more famous fictional worlds is the world of the Hunger Games. So, in the Hunger Games, you have a government system called The Capitol, and they hold control over all of the wealth in the world, and they've broken the world down into different districts just to separate communications, and retain control. The Hunger Games themselves is kind of like a Roman gladiator event. It's the government's ultimate display of power. It's also more subtly designed to warn the people of the districts against rebellion and show the consequences. In the books and the movies, The Capitol and the Hunger Games are established because they're like symbolic meanings for fear and oppression, and it gives the characters of the story something to fight against or team up against. Of course, The Capitol uses the media to broadcast the show live on television and that further enforces the kind of cultural significance of the Hunger Games. It's really easy to use the government as an antagonistic role in your world building because mythology and stories like that, fantasy narratives tell us a quest for too much power and control over people is the root of evil. So, if you have a government like the government in George Orwell's dystopian book, 1984, which has it's distinct organizations, they're all taking control over different aspects of people's life. They're all kind of ironically named, of course. You've got the Ministry of Love, which enforces the loyalty of the people to the government. You've got the Ministry of Peace, which helps maintain like a constant state of war. You've got the Ministry of Plenty, which rations out the food and supplies, and the Ministry of Truce is the propaganda branch, which comes out through the media. So, there's some good building blocks for creating your power dynamic in your world and your systems of government. Okay. Let's move on to something a little less dark. 10. Cultural Values: Let's talk about designing the culture of our world, which becomes a lot easier once we've established the dynamics of the government. I've built a whole list of questions that when we answer them, they'll enlighten us to different details and points of view in our culture. I'm going to answer them in the frame of the world of Mad Max, that the time of this recording the latest installment of this series is Fury Road. I chose Mad Max because it's a really simple setting and world, but also really rich if you want to look further into it. Mad Max is set in the Australian desert and post-apocalyptic wasteland. It seems to be roughly 50 years of who knows? From our current day, and there's no civilization left as we know it. We've just got these isolated cities, bullett farm, gas town and then the main city, The Citadel which has the water. So now we want to look at through these questions, what does the society value for better or for worse? Let's start with the lower class. In the world of Mad Max, the lower class values just basic survival, water, shelter, food, mostly water, because they're in the desert. The government enlists other lower class people that seem to have cancer-like sickness after the nuclear fall out. They're basically disposable soldiers, and the only thing they really value is a memorable death. The upper class, since they have control of the water, values, breeding, and carrying on their legacy. The world of Mad Max is another dark age "Type of setting", where the needs of the characters really outweigh any recreational wants. Basic survival is so essential to this world, so elders are pushed aside because there's no medicine really. Children are a commodity. There aren't even any animals in this world to be traded or used for food. The political authority comes from the simple idea of whoever controls the water in the Citadel, the bullets in Bullet farm, and the gas in Gas town. There's a lack of communication system in this dark age world, so the only way people communicate is by physically being in each other's presence. Therefore, travel is essential to this world and it's also a great visual element. It's a war-based society and other vehicles are souped up rigs and dangerous-looking vehicles with all kinds of spiky stuff welded on the outside of the vehicles. The cultural expectations of Mad Max are really low. Letting just fundamental needs of a world take priority over societal wants is a good way to make your fictional world timeless. We're always going to relate to the need for food or shelter, or the need to escape control. 11. Designing Technology: Look, it's OK to admit that when you read the title of this chapter you thought we're going to be talking about giant robots, and flying cars, and time travel, and cool stuff like that. But I want to talk about the more general idea of technology when it comes to world building. So, you can put it to use in many ways. So, the way technology comes into being and develops through history is through a reflection of the culture or, more importantly, the political motives of a society. So, there's a distinction between technology and science. Technology is often used to control society. So, let's look at the world of the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It's like that dystopian novel from the early 30s, I'm pretty sure. So the book opens at a location called the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre where they take human embryos during that crucial gestation period and they conditioned them to fit into one of five different social castes. You've got the alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and epsilon. So, at the top of the list, the alpha embryos, they're set up to become the leaders and thinkers of the world, the state. Then as you move down the list of castes, each section is slightly less physically skilled and slightly less, intellectually impressive until you get all the way down to the bluest of the blue collars, the epsilons, who've been stunted by oxygen deprivation and little subtle chemical treatments. So, the epsilons are set from birth to perform menial labor, in the same way the alpha are set from birth to be the leaders and thinkers of the world. So, they're using technology to break down the society from its earliest stages. There's basically no escape. So in this case, technology is the most evil of all evils. You know it's important to understand the difference between science and fiction, and technology and fiction. So, the idea behind science is to explore and experiment and better understand the world, but the state is using science as a way to build technology that can create just a superficial structure. The government controls and limits the research of the world. So, if science is the search for truth, technology is the search for control. Lots of scientific worlds like to imply the dangers of misuse of science through technology. Okay. So, given that understanding of the role of technology versus the role of science, let's ask ourselves some questions. What does technology look like in your world? What are the industries that are important to the culture? Think of agriculture, where does the food in your world come from? Think of manufacturing, what goods and resources are being made by the lower social classes? What utilities exist in your world? What are the main sources of energy? Is it electric, nuclear, gas, water power? How are things disposed off in your world? What's the sewer system like? Are things thrown out to a vast degree, or does recycling exist in your world? Think of the people that do these types of jobs. Then what are some other service industries that exist in your world? More specifically what service industries are in demand in your world? All of these pieces come into play to represent the technologies and the sense of control over your fictional world. 12. Signs from Other Worlds: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die. That's the tears in rain. Monologue from Ridley Scott's original film, Blade Runner. I've always loved those four sentences because they're just so evocative and emotive. They're spoken by a character named Roy Batty, who's a replicant or an Android, and the actor, Rutger Hauer, who plays the character said in an interview, the character of Roy Batty wanted to make his mark on existence. The replicant in the final scene by dying shows Deckard what a real man is made of. The terms and ideas that emerge from our fictional worlds are evoked by deeper emotions and are real experiences. So, they act like a poetic filter that make it easier for us to share our emotions and experience with the world. I've always been really fascinated with the tropes of fantasy and science fiction, these things that reflect back on us, how we view science and technology and nature and civilization. I spent a whole year researching the history of fantasy and science fiction, literature and storytelling, and I started building a collection of illustrations that stand for these tropes that have spanned over a century of modern storytelling. Since we're about to jump into the illustration part of this class, I thought I would share that project that I call Signs From Other Worlds, a Field Guide to Realms of the Unreal. Feel free to use anything from this collection as inspiration. I hope it'll make you more aware of the things creatives are trying to say when they create their fictional worlds and tell fantastic stories. 13. The Right Ingredients: Now, hopefully at this point, we've got a whole lot of ideas we want to express through our fictional world. The next step is to figure out how to put everything together. Our goal here is to create an illustration inspired by our fictional world. Think about design as if you're preparing a meal for yourself. You've got a kitchen full of ingredients. You can make this meal simple or as complicated as you want. But of course, the goal is to make it taste good. Now, our taste come from a combination of things that make us comfortable. So, we're going to take all our ideas, and all our inspiration, and we're going to create something that feels right to us. In a composition, there is a balance of mystery and information. There's the things you tell your audience and the things you hold back. This gives your viewer a chance to add some of their own feelings and ideas into your composition. I'm going to look back at our chapter on civilization and take the phrase that came out of our world generator. Now, I've got a whole bunch of notes based on that idea. Now, as I design my composition, I have to think more specifically about my point of view and the details of this world. What are the buildings look like? What are the cultural artifacts of this world? I really like the post-apocalyptic future desert setting, but I want to put my own spin on it. I wanted to be a little more melancholy than the world of Mad Max. I started thinking about one of my favorite artist, Georgia O'Keeffe, and how she spent a lot of time in the new Mexico desert, finding inspiration in the landscape. So, after doing a little research, I find that before she officially moved there, she used to take a lot of trips to Taos, New Mexico in the early 1930s. She stayed in a house that's now called the Taos Hotel, sits at the end of a quiet road not far from the center of town. For Georgia O'Keeffe, it was kind of a spiritual retreat. You could look out of the third floor windows and see the sacred Taos mountains off in the distance. There was a tranquility to it and she was able to find a lot of inspiration. I liked the feeling of that sighting. I actually think it could complement a post-apocalyptic world as a retreat for a survivor of a nuclear fallout. All right. We've got enough research and I've got some pretty interesting photographs to work from. My first step here is to find some inspiration in the framing of my scene. 14. Finding Framing, Drawing Depth: For me, framing an illustration is about knowing the moments that come before and after. So, to get myself started, I wrote a little paragraph based on the notes I made earlier that's going to inspire this moment. She sat on the back porch of the old farmhouse, staring at the horizon where a giant stadium rose up like a mountain range to meet a neon sunset. It had been quiet in the arena since the war turned athletes to soldiers. But for her, the fanfare of the games still hung in the lifeless desert air. There's a lot of visual elements and colors and things that I'm going to pull from as I build my drawing. Creating depth is going to be a big part of our composition. So, I'm going to share with you some tips on doing that. First, you need to establish a horizon line that's going to light your objects settle on the ground, give the viewer a sense of how close they are to that object. Now, just when I moved the horizon line, it gives a different scale to the object. Now, you want to decide on the position in the frame. Objects that are near the bottom of the frame feel bigger than objects that are near the top of the frame. You can enforce the sense of depth by adding scale to the mix. So, those objects that are near the top make them smaller than the objects near the bottom of the frame. Overlap is a big one with depth and sometimes it's a challenging one for people to work into their illustrations. Practice with some basic shapes like triangles or circles. You can see by putting one object behind another, we give a sense of a point of view of the world. Contrast is going to come in handy later in this illustration. A good rule of thumb is objects in the foreground have much higher contrast than objects in the mid-ground and objects in the background. By contrast, I mean a difference between black and white. So, you can see that triangle in the foreground, it's either black or white. The mid-ground triangle has a hatching technique to give it a feeling of gray, and the one in the background is just a softer gray with no real light accents. Contrast also implies a light source, something you can push even further by bringing details to your objects. So, we've got a basic pyramid shape here, and I can add some textures that imply the blocks that make up the structure. But I can further that by adding a bit more definition to the edge and changing the silhouette just a little. So, now it looks more like a broken down temple of some sort. I imply the same things with these other triangles in the background. I add some hatching to the ground. Again, contrast and overlap are crucial here. So, now what was once just a couple geometric shapes sit on the ground feels like a whole landscape. By deciding on a horizon line where your objects fall in the frame, how scale affects them, what objects can be overlapped, how you create contrast and build details into the contrast, that stuff is all going to come together to give you a sense of depth in your illustration. So, now that we've got these tips in place, let's start our drawing. To start my composition, I'm going to pull one of my reference images to stand in for the old farmhouse. This is the Taos Hotel where Georgia O'Keeffe stayed. I like this image because it's got a nice point of view, the sort of low angle makes the structure very dramatic looking. I'm just going to trace right over it finding the crucial geometries in this image, so you can see a setup of horizon line, and I'm just going to start to block out what I see are the main shapes of this structure. Notice I'm not really using any points of perspective, but I'm still keeping it in mind. Objects and lines that are moving farther away from us have a more abrupt angle to them. So, there is the old farmhouse in the foreground and in the background, I put a basic shape that's going to represent the giant stadium or arena. I'm going to erase the overlap of the horizon line just to get a feel for the sketch. Notice, I sped up the footage but I still drew this really quick. I don't want to exhaust myself in this early framing stage because I actually don't think I'm going to use this composition. I kind of like it, but something that feels odd about the angle of the building and the placement of the horizon line. So, that reference image isn't going to really work for me because I want my horizon line around the middle of the page so I can put the coliseum arena building in the background. Let's try another photograph. So here's another older version of the Taos Hotel. A little more rugged, which actually I think is going to work pretty well for this. I'm going to skew the image to give it a little bit more of a sense of depth. That's just one of those things I like to do when I'm working for a reference image, to lead the viewer into the same. I'm going to lighten the opacity, and first find my horizon line, make sure I'm pretty happy with its placement. I think that's going to be a lot better than the other image. I like the way in this photo, the hotel overlaps the horizon line more, and it makes it feel like it's more in the foreground. Lines are all I really need here to block out the forms. I have little hints of details like the staircase, the ladder, that curtain blowing off the front porch. But I don't want to add too much detail because I'm not sure if this is going to really work yet. I'm a lot happier with this one. In fact, it reminds me of the Ralph McCorry illustration we looked at earlier, where Luke is looking down on Mos Eisley. I'm gonna keep this composition. I have to figure out the scale of the arena in the background. Something needs to separate the arena from the farmhouse. They're not supposed to feel so close together. So, I got to create more space in this composition. I'm going to move the arena back in the farmhouse down into the far right corner. So, remember, when we talked about creating depth, objects lower in the frame feel closer, objects higher up feel farther away. I want the arena to be where our eye ends up in this composition. So, setting it around the center seems to work. Let's pull up a reference for the structure. Since we were talking about Roman architecture, here's the Colosseum. I'm going to use this photograph to get the curves of the structure and just a bit of its iconic silhouette. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep all these things, but it's going to be a good starting point for me. I'm going to double up the height of the coliseum. I want this to seem bigger. I'm thinking, since we're set in the future at some point, this stadium should feel more massive than anything that currently exists. That's looking pretty good. So, I'm gonna come back and focus on my foreground elements, establish the old lady on her back porch looking off at the coliseum. Look at this illustration. I'm starting to imagine the world more. I'm going to put a skull up here on the building, and a little reference to the Georgia O'Keeffe photo I had. I've got some dead trees in the foreground, and just like in the world of Mad Max, water is going to be crucial to this desert landscape. I'm going to put a well here in the foreground somewhere. That's probably going to be fine. You can see I put a little barbed wire fence to imply the sense of unused farmland that's fallen by the wayside. I'm going to darken my sketch and make sure the perspective is working. I also have the feeling of wind flowing through the scene because I was writing about her hearing the music and the fanfare of the coliseum, which is being carried to her and passed her by the breeze. So, look at the flag, that's going to be my clue to the wind in this world. I'm going to bend this tree a little more too, that can help. So, you notice, everything that's part of the human settlement is all pushed and locked into the right side of the frame. I'm blocking off the ground a bit. I might use that as almost a grassy patch, where there's some vegetation growing, trying to overlap a couple few elements. Here, I put a little bucket in front of the well and I had this idea of a car that's gone unused for many years, half buried in sand. All right. Now, I'm going to start working on the shape of the stadium. I want it to feel more futuristic than the coliseum. So, I'm going to ditch that idea, and I'm going to work on some more sci-fi shapes, these kind of curving ergonomic forms. But I also want a bit of danger. So, let's try some spikes on the roof, see how that looks. I want this building to feel a little bit more geometric and harsh and unfriendly. Almost like a, not a prison, but a secure structure. I'm going to take the back left side and make it a bit more blocky, add a staircase and give a hint of an arch door that's going to lead you into the stadium. So, for me, it seems to increase the scale of the structure by layering up the shapes. We've got the blocky frame around the back, kind of hull of the stadium. I don't have technical terms for parts of an arena, we'll call it a hull, and we've got the ramp in the middle, and then we've got this other part in the background that maybe is the seating. I've also noticed that my angle of the building is a little off and we should be seeing more of the roof of the structure. So, I'm darkening the top parts of the woman's farmhouse, shrink down the coliseum a bit. I'm going to play with horizon line just to make sure I've got it right where I want it. Okay. That feels pretty good. Now, let's give a sense of the sunset. The sun setting behind the stadium according to the little story I wrote. So, anything that's not facing the sun is going to be darkened. Also going to be a good way to give the coliseum arena a bit more of an empty isolated feeling. Okay. Here's the sketch of my composition. I'm going to move into inking now that I'm happy with what I've got. 15. Inking with Character: Before I start to ink my illustration, I'm going to go through some tips on line wait. No matter what type of marker or brush, or nib you're working with, whether it be traditional or digital, it's always going to help you to play with a line weight to add some character to your illustration. So, here are my tips on using line weight to your advantage. Right from the get go, line weight is going to add character to your drawing, you adjust the thickness of a line by tilting your pen and applying different amounts of pressure given the circumstance. So, even a crazy squiggly line, given it line weight, brings a whole lot of depth of character to that line. Moving on past the abstract, change in line weight shows variety in a line. So, it can create contrast in your illustration. So, all the lines don't feel like they're serving the same purpose in your drawing. Line weight can imply movement from thick to thin. This little squiggle here, the thinner part of the line feels like it's farther away than the thick part of the line, and the thick part of the line even feels like it's got more momentum. It's heavier and denser, which leads us into the next tip. Showing mass with your line weight. I draw a little egg shaped object, and I make it look heavier by thinning the line at the top, and pressing down harder as I come around the bend. and thinning out again as I reach the top. I can add a shadow below this, and I can take hatching and put it on the lower curve of it. All of these things go a long way to giving this object a sense of mass. Line weight can create shadow. Here's a strange little sculpture. So, try to look closely and see all the different line weights that appear. From the simple outline, and the thick and thin, as we move from top to bottom of the design. I put this little hole in it, but I'm not filling it in solid black, I'm using a swirly spiral to draw us into this kind of chaotic center. My hatching even goes at an angle that implies depth, and then I'm using hatching again on the back wall to give a sense of a grayish shadow. Filling in things solid can be good in some cases. But hatching and adjusting line weight can do a lot more for you when you're creating textures and shadow. Line weight can create form. We can curve hatching lines around an object to imply a sense of roundness and shadow at the same time. We can even use emotive lines to create invisible ideas like the sense of sound, or energy radiating from an object. When you're inking, you want to try to add character, show variety in the way you use your line, show movement when necessary, imply mass to your objects, create shadows and highlights to give a sense of a light source, and create forms instead of just flat feeling objects. All right, here we are back at our illustration. I'm going to start in the top right hand corner for no other reason than I can. When I used to ink with a pen and ink, I'd have to start in the bottom left hand corner, and work my way to the right, so I wouldn't smear the ink. But I don't have to do that anymore because I'm working digitally most of the time. I'm going to cover the main outline of the building first with a heavy weight line. This gives me the main structure, and it locks in all the crucial angles to give this house the right perspective to it. If I get caught up in details too early, I tend to lose the perspective of the drawing. So, I'm hitting all those crucial lines first. As I go, I'm taking some time to add just some visual notes on the textures of objects like the branches that are holding up that front porch area, I'm putting little curves to show that they are tree trunks. I'm also bringing some new details to the world. I've got some kitchenware sitting on the deck, maybe it's a post dinner situation, and those were some big salad bowls maybe. I want to create interest in variety at any possible occasion. In this post apocalyptic setting, there's a lot of history to these objects, and it's kind of a patchwork culture. So, there's lots of different types of fabrics that are draping and hanging. Everything is old and aged, and taken from different places and put into a new context. We're in a very barren desert, but I'm going to add a little bit of grass but it's not the healthiest looking grass you've seen. I just want to create a bit of a sense of movement in the wind which at this point, only the flags will be able to pick that up. Hopefully I can bring some more of that to the drawing when I go to color. I'm keeping in mind, the light source is straight in front of me. So, any object that's wide enough to have a shadow on its back, I'm going to try to slip it in your early. There's some crucial details that come into play that you take for granted you know what things look like, like the barbed wire fence here. I actually had to look that up and remember that there's the thin line of barbed wire at the top, and then a grid mesh style fence below. All right. Onto my stadium, which the more I work on it, the more it seems like a Mayan temple meets Mordor or Sauron Castle, which is kind of cool. It's got a bit more of a menacing ancient religious feel. So, I think that's helping dominate the landscape. The trick with the textures on the stadium is that they're kind of vague. I'm getting little hints of arches, and bricks, and stonework, and stairs. But a little bit of decoration, but not too much. This object needs to be far enough in the background that it's out of focus. So, any specific details are going to break that illusion. The horizon is going to have a little bit of New Mexico style rock formations. Those early soft kept stones. But nothing that gets close to challenging the height of the stadium. Now, I'm going to start blacking in shadows where I think I need them. Black shadows are going to help me obscure parts of the building that I don't want to draw attention to. Especially here where I zoom in on the second floor, I'm going to blackout underneath that decking, because I don't want to draw the eye there. Light hatching, light line weight can make things flow here. So, you can see me putting that to use on that blowy curtain, that's hanging down on the front porch. Big long movements, if you can manage it. It's easier with digital because you can always undo. But the big thing we're thinking is being confident with your line, and getting big long motions and gestures. The texture of this building is kind of ceramic and clay-like. I tried a couple brick patterns but I didn't really like them. So, they're a flat but organic dry brittle structure. You notice me coming back over basically the whole drawing a number of times. As I build the details, I need to even out those choices. So, if I had a whole lot of detail to this ladder, that might make other parts of the drawing uneven, and I have to go back and reassess those spaces. Empty spaces on the wall are now looking kind of strange as I've built the whole right side of the illustration up with thick texture. All right I'm going to wrap up the inking here, and everything that's going to go into developing this world from here on out is going to be accomplished with color. So, let's get coloring. 16. Tonal Planes: Before we look at color directly, let's look at the tonal planes of an image. Basically, that's the separations of black and white and the values of grey in between. Let's look at an example of how a pro does it. So, here's Ralph McCory's Mos Eisley painting again. We're going to strip the color out of this and up the levels just to create a bit more contrast so we can see the values of blacks and whites more distinctly. Now, I'm going to rebuild the tonal plains of this image in four different values. I'm going to start with light gray which seems to be the base background, in the more dominant mid ground we've got a darker gray which includes the rock formation in the foreground, the silhouette of the characters and the land speeder, and the front shadowy sides of the mountains, and some part of the landscape. Our blacks add details and contrast creating that kind of dry rocky crag vibe of the rock formation and also some little shadows in contrast, and the land speeder, and the gun, and back of the character. White is mostly the light, so of course, the two light sources in the sky, the two suns and we see little dots of high light on the land speeder because it's metal and then the robots have little dots of light, and also the top blond hair of the character is pretty much white. Then in the mid background here, we've got the light shining off the sand and the upper edges of some of the buildings and a little bit of the foreground rocks. So, those are the more fundamental tonal plains of that composition. The goal here is to create separation, and variety, and the light, you don't rely your image to feel like a flat pattern of camouflage where tones of gray are scattered randomly with no real focus or distinction. So, here's four different ways we can look at tonal plains: It begins with establishing the background color. So, with this first one we've got white in the background, our mid ground is black followed by a grey, and then the foreground is the light grey. Here's a variation with the light grey in the background, black against that, dark grey in the mid ground and white again in the foreground, and you can see the way the white is acting more like a highlight in this case. This one feels more like a night scene where we've got a dark grey in the background, black which is framing the highlights, and in the foreground we've got the light grey which is creating an interesting form in the highlight shadow. Then here we put the black in the background, but we don't allow the black to touch the white, so we have a step between black and white. The eye is going to be drawn to the darkest darks and the lightest lights, and we can control how those interact by stepping values of grey between those. So, we can see the black as an ever touching the white, the white is separated by these steps of grey. So your four basic planes; background, the minor mid ground, the main mid ground on top of that and then the foreground is the dominant plane, it's the one that's closest to the viewer. So as we're designing our tonal planes of our composition, you want to make sure each one has equal visibility, meaning, it's own location and it stands apart and plays a separate role than the other planes, and vitality means it's own importance and characteristic in the image. So, I'm going to choose one of these for tonal planes to apply to my composition. I like this third one where we have the dark grey in the background followed by black, white, and then a light grey in the foreground. I'm going to bring that in and I'm going to sample it as I start to paint tones and values in my image. Now, this is going to adapt and change as I develop the rules of this world. We know it's set at sunset, so we're not going to get a whole lot of light in this image, so where I put the light to use is going to be very distinct. I'm putting that light grey in the foreground to mask out the shape of the house. I'm going to try some blacks, and then I'm going to dump a big glob of dark grey in the sky. I'm going to use contrast sparingly so I focus a lot on the shades of grey and blocking out how these are related to each other. For me, it looks best if this mid ground including the building is the light grey and when I put my white in I'm going to be very sparing with it. I'm going to just accent the edge of these buildings because if we were standing on the other side of them we would see them well lit by the sunset light, but because we're behind them, we're just catching a little glint of the light on the edges. So, it's a nice subtle effect and it can bounce off any surface depending on how you want to treat it, even on the fence and the spires of the building in the background, and the edges of the mountains. The benefit of digital here is that I can try drastic design choices. So, what if the building was cast in a giant light grey shadow across the landscape and the land was light? Then we see how that looks and I'm going to create some more contrast here on the back side of this building. Now, I had in mind that the sun was going to be positioned right behind the building, and now that I actually place it here, it might change how I relate these shades of grey. First, I'm going to scale it down a little because I think it's going to look cool if the spires actually pop-up above the sun. See these are interesting choices that you wouldn't necessarily be making if you were working directly with color. Right now, we're still looking at the way values interact to create interesting and unique forms in the landscape and in the structures. So I still consider this blocking light, meaning the light operates in big chunks and sections, big globs of shadow and little specks of highlight. You can see me going back through and simplifying things even more. I took some of the highlights off that flowing current as I developed this image, I don't want that to stand out quite so much, to me it seems like the chair where the figures sit in the edge of the building, that little L shape that leads to them, and then the flag deserve the most highlight, and then of course, the cool skull positioned up on the third floor. I'm going to add some more blacks, but because this image is set at sunset, the tones are all going to be in this mid place between daylight and night. So, I've got a lot of mid greys, and my highlights are very sparing, and my shadows are heavy and just sat on the ground, but they're not too overpowering. I'm pretty happy with this tonal plane, it really helps me understand the time of day. So, now when I go to place my colors, I've already got a lot of rules established for what is going to go where. 17. Color Scheme: The tonal plains of our composition tell us certain things about this world. But for me, the real emotion comes from the colors we choose. I'm going to go to the Internet here and find a color palette that's going to influence the color scheme of my image. I'm going to go right to the source, the Pantone website. If you scroll down the page here, they give you a whole bunch of sample palettes. They've got fun names like Purple Haze, Kindred Spirits, Drama Queen, Intrigue, Quietude, Attitude, Desert Sunset. That's sounds absolutely perfect for what I'm doing. So, let's just totally rip this right off the side with a little screenshot and bring it over into our composition. So, notice my window looks a little different. I haven't covered any tools in this class. It's been pretty conceptual and theoretical so far, but I'm going to show you on the right hand side my layers. The layer menu in this program which is clip studio paint is set up just like Photoshop or Procreate or any other Photoshop-like design program you might use. I'm not going to do anything fancy, I'm just going to use a single brush for my whole composition but I'm going to turn a couple of layer effects on and off. So, I'll bring those up when I get to them. I usually start from the back forward. So, I'm in going to lay a big yellow base, and then, I'm going to figure out where the sun goes because that's my main light source. It's sunset, so I'm going to use that pink to represent the sun. Then I'm going to block out the stadium and I'm going to use a cool purple because I think the building is made of metal and it's also going to make a nice contrast for the stone building in the foreground where I'm going to use brown. So, you can see the buildings are not made out of the same materials. That's the key for me here. I want to have a little grass in the foreground to set up the property of the building and separate it from the big sandy plain between the building and the stadium. Then I'm not going to just use certain colors from this palette and give them a certain role so that red is going to be the car. I'm going to use the sunset color and drape that over the mountains and see how it looks when I fill a sand in with an orange. A very warm composition, the only cool element up to this point is the stadium. I'm going to work with some different shades of orange here in the background. Everything is blocked out, meaning it sits in a certain place. It's got a certain role in the image. Colors are sticking together at this point. I personally have trouble making strong contrast in my images, so I'm going to force myself into that position right off the bat and make the sky dark purple. Before I go any further here, I'm going to reference my tonal planes and I'm going to turn the lines off and just see the shapes the tones make. I know I'm going to add more than four tonal planes to this finished composition but I'm still going to follow these basic points of reference. A thing that I like to do sometimes that might help you is, if you make up a tonal plane like I did, you don't actually use that in the final image but I go back to it as reference. So, I'm going to select dark gray for my tonal plane, hide that layer, and then, go back to a new layer. This is going to be my first shadow layer, so I'm going to use that selection. I made it with the Magic Wand tool. It allows you to select a color, and I'm going to grab that and just paint inside of that region. You'll notice, I'm painting with a purple but I have multiply on the layer effect. So, it's blending it with the colors that are right below it, which in this case is the dark brown of the building. So, you get a muted maroon brownish color. That's my preference for shadow. I'm not going to get any fancier than that. I'm going to add layers, apply a multiply effect, and most of the shadow layers are going to be a shade of purple. So, I'm going to fill in and tighten up some of the shadows, build a few of them out. You can see, I can use that same purple and multiply and it creates a different effect depending on the color I put it on. I'm going to do the same thing in the building in the back, filling that in with a dark purple. Painting in color is really just to feel it out sort of game. But some things you need to keep in mind no matter what tools you're using or what is the mood of the image. I'm playing the game of information and mystery with the shadows. What can I hide but still keep enough information that the viewer doesn't get totally confused as to what's going on. I've got a bit of work to do here on the stadium. It's a little too shadowy but that's fine for now. I'm going to move on and play with some of the highlights, which is the fun part that I've been waiting for. Something I envisioned early on, is this line of vibrant light hitting the edges of the building and parts of the stadium. So, it's the brightest part of the image and it's going to be what makes it pop. So, I've got a reddish, little bit of orange, and on top of that layer, I'm going to add an even more vibrant orange. So, this idea with coloring as a color moves towards shadow, right before it hits it, that's its most vibrant spot. So, you can see the dull red turns bright red, right before it moves into the shadows. I'm going to make a big change now. I'm going to take the sand in the mid ground and I'm going to make it a deep brownish color. I think the viewer is going to understand that we're in this hot deserty landscape, even if the color of the sand is not yellow. The mood of the image is warm and dry. So, I'm going to take a gamble here and darken the ground and that makes my sunset pop. For me, the time of day and the sunset and its effect on the building is way more important than getting the sand to read as sand. So, you always want to think about what are my priorities and what needs to be compromised to make those priorities stand out. I'm not happy with the sky. So, I'm going to start taking things the way. I'm not going to delete any layers. You can see I've got a sun, a sun glow, a night sky. I'm going to just turn some of those off and reshape this. I want a bit more of a sense of depth in the sky. So, I'm going to buildup some cloud formations with this dark purple and that's going to create something of an eye path that's going to lead you right into the stadium. So, the lines that form the edges of the clouds., their intent here is to lead you down to the horizon and hopefully the stadium era of the image. All right, I'm liking the weird lava lamp feel of the sky. Seems more in line with my style. This is finally starting to feel like a thing that I would make. Sometimes it takes a while to get there. You can see I turned back on some of my old sun glow layers. They seem to work pretty well underneath these clouds. So, glad I didn't delete those. Now, that my sky has opened up a little bit, I can put some stars in here. Right now, it seems like the shadows on this stadium are concealing it too much, you can't see the form of the object enough. So, I'm going to peel back some of that shadow layer. There you go, now you can see a bit more of the structure. The sky is still feeling pretty busy. I'm going to pull away some of those reflections, simplify the shadows on the stadium, and pull out this light space over on the right and just have this be all night sky. I don't want to lose track of my tree, so I'm going to darken this little yellowish sky region, which is going to make the trees highlight pop back out. All right. I'm pretty happy with this right now. This is cool, it's got a nice mood to it. I'm retaining that sunset feel, it's got that postapocalyptic vibe going on, and most importantly, it's got this lonely feel which is something that I had had in mind right from the beginning. I'm going to turn off the linework so you can see the shapes of the colors and the shadows and then jump over to the tonal layer for a second so you can see what I referenced, what I changed, and where I ended up. This is my finished image. After all that work, we've got a lonely evening on the post-nuclear desert. I can almost hear that flag flapping in the dry desert heat and taste that radioactive lemonade. What a night. 18. Class Project & Wrap Up: Okay. That's the class. I hope you had a good time. But before we go, let's talk about the class project. For this class, I'm going to leave the class project kind of open ended. As you can see, a lot of work goes behind creating good concept art. So, I'm not going to expect everybody to build a whole illustration from what I've gone through, but I'd love for you to share anything. In a fundamental level, concept art is basically just a drawing that evokes an idea. So, you could do a sketch of a location. You could photoshop a photograph. You could write a short little story. You could create a poem. Anything that puts us in a new setting and evokes some kind of unique emotion that's unlike anything we've known, something that's coming directly from you, that's all it takes to do good concept art and share whatever you want in the class project section. I'll have an example of a project. Those sort of things go a long way into creating a nice vibe in the class, and helping other students do the work too, and build their own imagination skills, and stuff like that. Okay. If you want to take some more classes with me because you're not sick of my voice yet, I have classes on cartooning, basic facial expressions, bodies, and poses, a class on comics, and drawing diary comics, and another class on illustration. I think they're all fun. So, if you like this class, check those out. I hope to see you soon. Keep drawing.