What's up? I'm back, feeling a bit more energized than usual. No, I didn't have coffee or any other... ahem, enhancements. I just finished a new image (which I'll be sharing pretty soon), and that always leaves me physically tired, but mentally energized. By the way, random fact: I don't drink caffeine. I love the taste and smell of coffee, but caffeine really makes a number on me after a while (hint: headaches). So, decaf is the way to go for me (I know, decaf still has caffeine, but that amount seems to be ok for my system).
Anyway, so where were we?... oh, yeah, I'm energized. Many things going on, many plans, many expectations, and that's good. In case you don't know or don't remember, I just opened my online store a few days ago, and in fact, right now I have a 40% off coupon on all prints, which expires in two days from now (November 2nd). Soooo, hurry up if you want to take advantage of that offer. Just go to store.popeyewong.com (or click the Store link above, at the main menu), select any print or prints you want to buy and enter the code SPOOK when checking out. Yep, that simple.
Ok, so today is Halloween. For me, that doesn't mean candy or costumes... well, it does too, but mainly means that by now my yearly Halloween image is already up. This year is not exception. As I mentioned in a previous post, the model that I used as a reference this year is the beautiful Seffana (Seffy Moon), an outstanding fetish model and dear friend of mine (again: thanks Seff!). But, I want to talk about the process of doing this image, from the "why" to the "how".
Why did I create this image? Well, the obvious answer is to continue my personal (but not unique) tradition of doing a Halloween pin-up, a tradition that I love. Ok, that's clear, but, why did I choose this kind of image? Why a witch? Why a pumpkin? Why a more realistic approximation? In other words: what was the thought behind this image? As I mentioned before, I've been experimenting with a more realistic look, less of a cartoon, without getting to a point of a portrait. So, following that tendency, I wanted to portray Seffana in slightly darker tone, without getting it to be too serious. The Halloween pin-up is one of the three images that I do every year, and the basis for the three of them is the same: work with the overworked, the stereotype concept. Basically, I revisit the very same concept every year and approach it in a different way. In the case of my Halloween image, the basis is pretty clear: a witch and a pumpkin. Also, elements like a broom, a bat, a ghost, a bat, a moon, etc. can come in play as well. Since I'm experimenting with a new style, I didn't want to include too many elements, in order to focus more in the rendition of the main element, in this case the witch. Again, I'm revisiting old elements, like the pointy hat, the stripped stockings, etc., but trying to give it a more polished look. The pumpkin went through the same process. Unlike most of my images in the past, this pumpkin looks a bit more mischievous, and even a bit creepy, but not really evil. This pumpkin is pretty much harmless, controlled by Seffana... or it could be the other way around? I guess it all comes down to interpretation.
Now, let's go to the "How" in this image. How did I render this pin-up? Same as in every other image, I started with a semi-rough sketch. Since this is not a full cartoon piece, the sketch looked very similar to the photo reference. Once I was happy enough with how the sketch and the idea looked, I proceeded to scan it and color/render it in Photoshop.
Nowadays, I typically start with a greyish tan background as a base, emulating colored paper. That will be my medium tone, so I can work shadows and highlights to my discretion. I tend to work in layers, especially when I'm not sure about details like the outfit, the colors, etc., that way I can go back and forth and decide which look I like the best. I worked in many layers, both for Seffana and the wicked pumpkin. Basically, I worked the two characters independently from each other. This is an advantage of working digitally, and makes work easier and faster. Of course, there are disadvantages too, compared to traditional mediums, but for this kind of personal project, digital is the way to go, due mainly to time limitations. Another advantage of working in layers is the background rendition, again, independently from the other two elements (the characters). I've been experimenting with brushes, so I can emulate a bit better what I would do on paper or canvas.
Obviously, this is a compacted version of how I render my pin-ups, but that gives you a glimpse of how I work. By the way, if you would like to see a bit more of my work in process, please consider becoming a patron of my work. Visit patreon.com/popeyewongart to support my artwork, while receiving rewards by doing so.
That's all for now. Again, thank you for reading this and for your support. I hope that this kind of postings will help you understand my work a bit better... or even help you in your journey as an artist. Either way, I just hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to leave a comment, like this post on Facebook. As always, if you have any questions or comments, you know where to find me (hint: scroll to the top of this page for my social media links).
Last but not least: Have a Happy Halloween, full of candy and naughty bits!
See you next time! ~Pops.
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.