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Giant Killer


“Giant Killer” by Chris Beatrice

I started with a really rough and simple sketch, about 4″ x 5″, to establish the basic composition. recommendation:

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I then laid down some basic values in Painter. Using the buildup method and a very saturated color (reddish), the color will build to black, while midtones remain pretty bright. First I laid down a medium value “wash”, then jumped back and forth between painting on the main layer, “erasing” via a layer mask (and then applying the mask). For me this is similar to laying down thin oil washes and wiping away with a rag, which is how I usually underpaint with oils.

Next step is to start to introduce some opaque colors over the monochrome underpaint (which is kind of like a value study), and begin to establish a color scheme.

With the basic color scheme established, I began adding details to each of the elements. Here I tried a new method I came up with for painting the stone texture, which was very promising but in the end didn’t work well for this particular piece. I’m sure I’ll resurrect it for something later.

Continuing to develop details, in this case the giant’s face, while also moving toward a more final color scheme.

At this point I decided to take the Jack figure in a different direction – a little older, less cartoony, and more centrally located in the picture. I also enlarged the giant so his weight presses down on Jack more. Originally I wanted the giant to be really dim, lurking way in the background kind of just waking up, while Jack sneaked out the bottom of the scene. But I opted to make the giant more prominent, and the picture more about the interaction between the two figures.

Here I’ve narrowed in on the final expression (bodily and facial) of the giant, and developed the interior objects a bit more. I’ve also continued to refine the Jack figure, and to try different things with the stone texture. The picture is essentially all on one layer, with the exception of the light beam and Jack’s shadow on the wall. These are on separate layers so I can tweak them more easily. Jack moves back and forth between being on his own layer and being on the main layer. If I need to move him I cut him out with a layer mask, and repaint behind him.

Once more I decided to rejig Jack, this time just his facial expression. I’m trying to walk a delicate balance between the happy go lucky (and seemingly fearless) Jack, vs. the cannibalistic serial killer and his lair. I’m also playing with the intensity of the light beam – I want it there for compositional reasons but don’t want to overdue it so it looks cheezy.

Almost done… Here I’m playing a little with the scale and perspective, moving the giant up a bit and lengthening the floor. I’m also continuing to add objects to the interior, and rearrange the interior composition a bit. I introduced a third light source at this point, in the form of a fairly saturated reddish light in the interior (off scene, to the right), to help pick out some of the objects in the kitchen. This also alludes to the fire that awaited Jack… I’m also still playing with Jack’s position in space, by adjusting his shadow on the wall.

At this stage I do all the finished painting: the interior objects (I add another pot rack), the harp, Jack and the wall. I adjust Jack’s left arm one more time… and finalize the colors
You can also download the brushes used in this picture and download other brush sets on the Brush Download Page

(c) Chris Beatrice,

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