ByJake Kontou, writer at Creators.co
Concept Artist
Jake Kontou

Hi! Here is a look at my latest painting for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The creation took over 20 hours and was my first digital painting. This walkthrough will look into my process and how the piece was constructed. Hope it helps and provides some useful insight.

If you are interested in purchasing a print I will be very grateful and appreciate the support.

Click here to view my shop and purchase prints.

Tools of the trade: Adobe Photoshop Time to completion: 20hrs+ Artist: Jake Kontou

Finished painting. 20hrs.
Finished painting. 20hrs.

Step One: Research and creating the comp

Firstly I needed to research my subject matter, banking a collection of images that could prove useful when creating my illustration. I mainly focus on character imagery as it is such a key part of the Star Wars lore and my present design ideas.

After collecting the images that appealed to me I started to edit them together in Photoshop to produces a composition that fits the specific ideas in my head. This is a trial and error stage which promotes experimentation.

Comp 1.
Comp 1.

This is the first comp I sketched together. I wanted to produce a piece which involved the characters Rey, Finn and Poe with homage to classic Star Wars poster designs which featured headshot of the main characters. Overall I wasn't 100% sold on this composition so I decided to experiment with different images.

Comp 2.
Comp 2.

This composition came quite naturally as the images of the characters fit together well, having all the shots being side profiles of each character while Finn provides a piercing gaze at the viewer. It attracts the viewers attention and entices them to stare back then work their way up the ladder of heroes.

Step Two: Line Art and Solid colors

After I produced the comp and and have visual understanding of the design, I begin with sketching out the line art, tracing over my comp and using it for references on the finer details. This is the first refinement stage where the line art must be accurate enough to capture the actors likeness.

Line art.
Line art.

After the Line art is produced I create new layers and using the lasso tool fill in the solid colors on each character.

Solid colors.
Solid colors.

Step Three: Shading

After the solid base colors are in place, I use the brush tool and work on shading each character while paying accurate attention to my reference comp. This achieves likeness and raises the quality of your work.

As the base colors on Poe's face were grey I only need to work in the lighting and shadows to form a realistic appearance, this also saves valuable time.

At first I painted Rey's face too dark, causing me to go back and alter the colors. This process is tedious and time consuming, but the tones must be refined in order for the piece to look crisp.

I found Finn the easiest to paint. As this was my first digital painting I slowly got familiar with the process while painting Poe and Rey, allowing me to feel quite confident when painting Finn's tones.

I decided to make the bottom of the canvas black to provide contrasting tones of the light and dark in the background. This also highlighted the lightsaber and allowed it to become a primary focus of the piece.

I slowly continued the shading process spending the most time on Finn's jacket. each curve and ripple on his leather needed to look natural and realistic. It was tedious but in the end I believe it turned out well.

The piece is coming to completion, just tightening up all the loose ends and giving it another once over to ensure the painting looks as good as possible.

Complete.

I hope this walkthrough provided a useful insightful look into my process. Thanks for taking the time to view my work.

If you are interested in purchasing a print I will be very grateful and appreciate the support.

Click here to view my shop and purchase prints.

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