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The Dreamer and The Dreamed 1 [13]

Realm Ethereal Ch 1, 13

The Dreamer and The Dreamed 1 [13]

Is there an echo in here…echo in here…echo in here…?

 
Okay, so Casia throws the first punch. Although, if you go back to page 9, it sure does seem like Kor may have technically thrown “the first punch”. I”ll let you decide.
 
As the story progresses on from this point, I’m hoping to really push the series and give it more of a feeling that seems dreamlike and perhaps even more nonsensical. In fact, I think the last 3 or 4 pages have really started to look visually different, if not nonsensical, yeah? I have the story and a visual narrative only I can see in my mind’s eye. I’ll be honest, this is a work in progress. Every page I pump out for The Realm Ethereal seems like it might be getting closer or going in the direction of that visual narrative.
 
As such, I’m ever-striving to push myself to take my own storytelling to greater heights. The decision to go to purely black and white in the artwork has placed me in a better mental state for gearing up for each page. I can’t stress how much that shift artistically has taken me to a new level.
 

The excitement is back.

 

Till Monday,
Rene

Realm Ethereal Patreon Rene Arreola

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Work in progress: “Caelestis, Ethereal Guard” ***UPDATE 4-1-19

Caelestis Ethereal Guard featured

Work in progress: “Caelestis, Ethereal Guard” ***UPDATE 4-1-19

I’m going to be detailing my working methods with this blog post regarding this new painting “Caelestis, Ethereal Guard”. As an experiment, I’ll be updating this particular article post as the painting progresses.

For the most part, I have been painting digitally since early 2018, using my iPad Pro along with the Apple Pencil. My app of choice is Procreate. I do have several other apps and from time to time I used them for miscellaneous things. Such as I’ll use Affinity Photo to sometimes adjust the levels of some sketches for posting directly online from my iPad to social media and the like.

Other times, I’ll just want to get out of Procreate and work in a different app. Isn’t that kind of funny? I like the simplicity and how light weight Procreate feels. I’ve read online that Photoshop is coming to the iPad Pro and I’m very interested to see what the experience and file handling is like for digital painting. When I do work outside of Procreate, I find myself using Adobe Sketch. These first images here show my attempt at working up some really loose sketching, trying to hit something that captures my interest. The sketch of the lady just went nowhere for me. But, as I worked smaller and smaller, finally I hit upon something.

 

In the image above, the small thumbnail toward the upper right is where things just finally clicked for me. The app I’m using is Adobe Sketch.

Zoomed in 400%, you can see the basic, rough sketch of Caelestis. The sketch itself is tiny, but therein is where I finally hit upon a certain satisfaction sketch-wise.

The initial thumbnail then gets ported into Procreate, my app of choice for more detailed sketching and rendering. A quick side note here, I am currently fully drawing my Realm Ethereal comic book pages all within the Procreate app. Getting back to the topic at hand, here is the thumbnail now in Procreate.

Here is the tightened up sketch, fully rendered in Procreate.

As a bonus of sorts, I’m including a downloadable PSD file if you’d like to see my layers for this first stage of sketching. It’s not too involved, but you can check it out just to get an idea of how I work. Interesting note: you are limited in how many layers you can use in Procreate based on how large your canvas is. I’m also including a video time-lapse of the sketching phase. Enjoy!

As I mentioned, I’ll be updating this blog post as I progress further with this painting in the coming days. The next stage is a fully rendered greyscale painting. So check back in a few days (or subscribe to my email list and get notified when the next update happens) to see how things are coming along.

UPDATE: 3-25-19

The next phase of the painting involves working entirely in grayscale. It’s been quite some time since I’ve worked this way and when I did, it was using traditional media. Bringing it back for this painting is motivated by the fact that I am curious to add color using gradient maps in Photoshop. What I’ve done so far is leveraged my comfort painting in Procreate to do much of the heavy lifting in drawing and establishing value first hand.

So right of the bat, I’m delaying any colors. Instead, colors will be added using a totally different approach. I’m still a little nervous because I’m really comfortable with working in Procreate. I know Photoshop inside and out, but have never really used it to paint with. The adventure continues.
Caelestis fantasy art

UPDATE: 4-1-19

As I finish up this blog post, and after having completed the painting shown below, I’ve come to the realization that working in grayscale was of tremendous benefit to the outcome of this piece. After making the very first print, I could see how the time I spent working on my values really paid off in the end. But the other element that struck me was this: my color palette. Painting digitally, it’s so easy to use almost any color you can dial up on the color picker. But since I was “painting” color in Photoshop, I was able to see what I was not seeing before: how a limited color palette helps to unify a piece throughout.
 
Using the gradient map method in Photoshop was a bit of a struggle at first. And I’m sure I’m still going to learn a lot more the more I stick with it and pick away at the process. But, for the first time, I think this painting gets as close to what I would define as being ideal. Ideal in the sense that the composition clearly has the main subject in focus (the robed figure) with stark contrast to help keep the focus right on him. The background element of the bird, although busy with my mark making, is kept in check due to the values I had worked out beforehand in the grayscale painting.
 
To put things in perspective, I spent (according to the time clocked in the Procreate app) 14 hours and 33 minutes refining that grayscale painting. That’s a big deal, but in a good way. I was really able to focus on more of the drawing aspects in the grayscale since I was not worrying at all about color. I see the advantage in working in this fashion. The painting below is the final result. I’m excited to try the next painting I work on to see what the process reveals as I delve more into gradient maps and painting.
 
 “Caelestis, Ethereal Guard” is available in my online store as a limited edition, 17″ x 22″ art print.
 
 

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The Dreamer and The Dreamed 1 [12]

Realm Ethereal Ch 1 page 12

The Dreamer and The Dreamed 1 [12]

Since shifting the style of this series to purely black and white, I’ve really come to focus on the drawing aspects of this story. I have to say, it feels quite liberating being able to focus on really just the drawing and rendering. I’ve reserved any color work for the full color paintings I turn into art prints.
 
I had a reply on a forum after I posted the last page and stated my reason for making the shift. The reply on the form was that the series would somehow be “harder to prefer” in “B&W.” I thanked the person for making the reply since they really seemed to like my coloring on the comic book pages.
 
When I stated my reasons for not wanting to color the series anymore, the person applauded my efforts and stated they would continue to follow my work anyway. That was a good feeling, knowing that I would still be followed after making the decision to alter the look of the art for this story.
 
In that moment I realized that as much as I want to make “good art” that people will enjoy, the only thing I really should focus on first is just make “good art” that I can enjoy. If I don’t enjoy making it, it’s going to show. For the most part, the art style I’m working with here is more of an experimentation.  By the way, the first person who can identify which artist I’m, ahem, emulating and responds to this post first in the comments section below, I will send you any print from my art store…absolutely free 🙂

 

Cheers,
Rene

Rene Arreola Patreon

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The Dreamer and The Dreamed 1 [11]

Realm Ethereal Ch 1 page 11 featured

The Dreamer and The Dreamed 1 [11]

He’s here…the big baddie of the series…the one…the only…Kor, the Ethereal of Chaos.

Kor was one of my very first designs early into my exploration of creating characters for my Realm Ethereal idea. You can see a glimpse of literally the very first, real pen sketch here. And of course, the full character painting here.

I often don’t know what these characters’ stories are until I start to draw them more or paint them more. That was the initial take when painting. Now that I’m crafting a world here that is expanded by the comic book stories, I’ll be able to really find out who and what these characters are all about.

Together, we’ll discover what these characters have to say.

On the journey together…

-Rene

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