After determining the general composition, the next stage was to produce pencil line art. When painting digitally in Photoshop, I prefer the painter approach by working to a scanned-in sketch. I drew the wings on a separate sheet of paper over the figure using a light box.
You can see in the original line art her head would be tilted downwards, in a more reflective stance. At Ion Nibiru’s suggestion this was changed to have her gazing upwards, giving a sense of anticipation to her actions: what is she looking towards?
Back in college I had a friend pose for a project with a similar theme, so that existing photo reference was mostly used to create the line art above. To get the particulars of lighting and posture, however I chose to do sketch from a model. The joy of housemates was having subjects on hand for impromptu life drawing sessions (primarily to make them suffer – the sketch material is an added perk).
Thing is the Guardian’s pose is very transient; she may be in the act of landing or about to take flight. Holding this in-between posture, as my subject discovered, felt like missing the door to the chiropractor, falling down a flight of stairs and landing in the shadow of the face-planting AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back. (Thanks Jade, hope the new spine works out for you).
A later addition was to have the Guardian perched above a vine-entangled ruined column or pedestal, with the text ‘Ion Nibiru’ etched into the marble. I printed out the lineart as thumbnails and drew different versions of said columns, finally going with option #5.
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