Alex Magill

Think, draw, drink coffee, repeat



Island ruin

I've just started with a quick sketch. I've got a fairly clear idea of what I'm looking to achieve - an island in the middle of a lake with some sort of ruin on it. I want to achieve an eerie, perhaps even lonely feel to the whole thing.

Phase one, sketching


After some scribbling, erasing, flipping and moving, I've settled on a view down on the lake and island. this gives me the excuse to have a clear view 'in' to the ruin itself and I'm currently thinking of adding some sort of statue to it. You, the viewer, would be standing on that outcropping of rock at the front-left.

For the mountainous background, I'm thinking of very spikey mountains - possibly snow-topped - with and almost tooth-like feel. I want these to loom over the rest of the composition.

I'm also playing with a path running down the side of the biggest mountain, perhaps with more ruined archetectural elements along it to help tie it to the island. Finally, I've also suggested a sunken causeway (the stones fading out left of the island) perhaps to tie the path to it.

Phase two - atmospheric tones


I re-thought this after going out for a walk and seeing a fantastic sunset with the sun reflected off the bottom of the cloud. I'm not sure I've quite captured it yet - so I'll probably re-think colour and cloud structure (clouds are hard!), but I really like how it allows me to draw attention to areas with lighting. 

I'm thinking of having some sort of eerie glow from the ruins, and perhaps even torches climbing the mountain. 


I wasn't 100% happy with the colour palette so I've tested out a few quick ideas on a much smaller sketch. 


I really like the reds and purples - though perhaps not as threatening looking as I've got them here. However, the biggest thing I found is that the ruin on the island works far better if it's a much larger structure.

Next step: re-thinking the island ruin.


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