"Forgive me. I feel it again... the call from the light... Show me again the power of the darkness, and I'll let nothing stand in our way. Show me, grandfather, and I will finish what you started."
What a powerful scene from the highly acclaimed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A scene that reveals a deep obsession with Darth Vader. A scene that shows Kylo Ren in a vulnerable disposition. Unto a lifeless helmet, he confesses his inner struggle between the light and darkness. Kylo Ren has a resistance to the light, even if he finds it appealing at times, he ultimately has an appetite for darkness above all else...
This was a challenging yet fun scene to illustrate. The extremely dark and cool palette reflects Kylo Ren's state of mind: a cold soul cloaked in the shadow of a dark phantom. I'll walk you through the main stages of the piece from start to finish. Enjoy!
It all started with the drawing. After dedicating some time to draftsmanship, I was able to lay in the big parts of the picture plane. I indicated some dark values in small areas to prevent confusion later on down the line. After I had enough information to paint with, I sealed the drawing with a fixative, which avoids smudging the important pencil lines. I then put a very thin layer of burnt umber and turpentine across the whole canvas, adding a nice tone to paint on.
On the thin turpentine layer, I began to add the thicker oil paint. Being a lefty, I worked from right to left. I painted in the deep shadows first and didn't use any black paint. All the dark areas are mixed using other colors.
From this point on, I tried to complete the piece in as little layers as possible (a non-traditional way). My goal was to complete Kylo Ren first. I used simple paint dabs to emulate the unique pattern on his robes.
I then moved onto painting a cool, blue background. To increase the sense of depth, I painted it in a soft manner. Next was the challenging, ashed helmet of Darth Vader. His helmet consisted of many abstract shapes and plane shifts. It was easy to get lost in Vader's visual complexities, but stepping back every now then put shapes into better perspective.
After completing Vader's helmet, it was smooth sailing from then on out! The previous progress photos were taken in tungsten light (extremely orange light), and the final high quality photos were taken in white light (closer to true color). The blue tones further amplify the cool approach I was going for.
And there you have it! "Kylo Ren's Confession" was created using oil paint on 3ft x 2ft canvas. I hope you enjoyed this visual journey. To view more of my work, feel free to check out my website, instagram, facebook, and twitter collections! Thanks!