I was contacted last year to create a couple of pieces of artwork – Kylo Ren and Rey from The Force Awakens.
Personally, I thought the new characters were the highlight of the new movie, so I was pleased someone wanted to commission me to work on them.
Since creating the artwork, I’ve spoken with the customer, and after a bit of negotiation (and the promise of a new piece of artwork for them), we agreed that I could go ahead and sell my Kylo and Rey pieces as prints. I must admit, I really enjoyed making these, so it’ll be fun to put them out on my convention table and see if they sell.
So – here’s the Kylo piece. I’ve broken it down into a few stages.
I’ve seen a lot of Kylo art since we first started to see images of him online, and one thing is obvious – many artists have chosen to draw him in the same pose as the photos we’ve been seeing. I tend to want to add my own stamp to my artwork, so I thought I’d build the image from the ground up. And that starts with finding a cool pose.
After a couple of sketched ideas that looked like a little too much like poses from the movie, I figured the best way to get what I wanted was to grab a lightsaber and act like a villain (making sure no-one is watching, of course).
I know, I know – look at that face, right?
Anyway, I thought the last one had something about it, and so I took it on to the next stage.
Once I had the pose, I took it into photoshop and dropped the opacity.
I then opened another layer and started to sketch over the pose, making a few slight exaggerations here and there to emphasise Kylo’s attitude, and adding a few elements behind him to make him look that little bit cooler, like his command shuttle (my favourite of the new ships) and a squadron of his First Order T.I.E. Fighters.
Once I had the rough verion ready, I wanted to concentrate on getting the details right, so I grabbed a couple of images of Kylo’s costume and mask and started to draw out my version.
I’ve really started to enjoy using digital pencils – mainly because they’re now of such a good quality that they’re ‘almost’ comparable to real pencils.
I don’t think that’s ever going to be the case, to be honest, but they’re fun as Hell, so I’ll stick with them for now.
I started to add the details to Kylo, which solidify the image and give me something solid to colour up. Having reference pics of his mask and costume right next to the art really helps you pick out details and make the final version really tight. It’s the same as having photos stuck to your canvas, I guess.
I tend to stick to using brush strokes to create artwork digitally, as I like to maintain that natural feel in the finished image, but I thought I would try something a little different this time.
Once I had the basic tones and colours ready, I grabbed a material texture from google and dragged it into photoshop.
I wanted to recreate that awesome rough material that Kylo has in his cloak, so I ‘wrapped’ the texture material around the drawing where his cloak shows, making sure to follow the contours of his body beneath it. If I were to simply lay the cloth pattern over the top, it would look unnatural – a bit like Chips’ coat from ‘Bully Beef and Chips’ (showing my age there – google it if you’re way too young to remember that).
Once I’d nailed the cloth, Kylo was finished.
I just had to work on the details in the background.
Like I said – I love those new ships – the shuttle and the new T.I.E. fighters look awesome. So much so, that I’d already treated myself to the die-cast toy versions of them for my shelf – which came in very handy when I had to figure out how to draw them.
I threw in a few perspective lines and straightened out the squadron to make them look a little more imposing, and dropped them in behind Kylo.
Once everyone was in place, I finished the piece off by using a bit of colour in the background to exaggerate Kylo’s forceful (pardon the pun) pose, and to keep the mood nice and foreboding.
Aaand there you go – Kylo Ren. Not the friendliest guy, I’ll give you that, but he is one cool dude.
Posted on: 19Jan By: admin