Creating A Composite Model

Because I do not create illustrations the way other (and much better) professional digital artists do I have to create what I call a composite model over which I then "build". I am not in any way a professional graphics artist and I have no academic education in digital arts. My approach is from the perspective of a traditional artist with experience in graphite, chalk, charcoal, ink, water colors and acrylics. Everything I do is self-taught and I attempt to make my work appear hand-drawn and/or painted. I want it to look imperfect. In my opinion, most digital art today is too clean and perfect. Nothing wrong with that at all, just not what I want. 

In some ways what I do is both the easy way and the hard way. Building a composite model is, for the most part, the easy way. When I was younger I could create with my hands, and if I could do that now I certainly would. I truly miss it. But I now have osteoarthritis and it gets worse every day. I know someday I will no longer be able to create digital art and so I wish to create as much as I can now, letting the work speak for itself. 

To create a composite I must have a source. Some sources are DAZ. If you are unfamiliar with that please look it up. Other sources are free use sites. I have recently learned a valuable lesson that some "artists" who post to these sites do so under false pretenses, which has prompted me to now be thorough about what I use. 

Admittedly, when I am attempting to teach myself a new style I will copy another artist. This is not done with malicious intent. I'm really just a hobbyist so I am not making money from it. Sometimes I post these works if I feel they are good enough to be seen. Again, no intent to make money from it. 

Now I'm going to take you through the steps of creating a composite. My approach to this is sort of a collage; a mixed media approach. First there is the idea. What I have created for this post is somewhat simple and is made up of only three "elements". Others can be made up of many, many more. And so the idea here is that a client wants the image of a close-up on a woman's face with an expression of horror, and in the reflection of her eye we can see the killer. 

First I find a face. 

The face is cropped because I'm going to be going in for that close up. I like the wide eyes but they aren't wide enough, so the finished composite will be modified. 

Next is the killer. The reflection of a killer in someone's eye can lose a lot of detail. All I really want is something that conveys "killer", 

This image will be easy enough to crop. 

Now, the client didn't ask for it but I'm not convinced that the reflection is enough to sell the threat of impending murder. What if we are actually witnessing the murder as it happens? How best to convey that idea? Blood! 



Easy enough!

So now I have the elements to build my composite. What now? Well, you may know of the old trick of "tracing" over an image. Basically, I assemble the image the way in which I want it to appear. After that comes the "tracing". I know there are easier ways of doing this but I have to do this my way because I don't want to learn how to use new programs. I'm old. 

I use thick lines in some areas and thinner lines in others. These are my "guidelines" to help me with shading, coloring, and patterns. Now at this point I usually send this to the client to get their approval. If they have something they want added or removed I make the appropriate edits before moving on. And eventually we have a final product. 

I've been asked about my abstract lines and patterns, and all I can say about it is, I don't like empty space. But now you know how I create a composite. If you're the curious sort I hope this helps.  



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