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Illustrating an Art Book Chapter for 3DTOTAL

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

I've been working on another new book by 3DTOTAL called ART FUNDAMENTALS - Theory in Practice, which is a sequel to one of their bestsellers "Art Fundamentals". In this chapter I had to redraw an old artwork to demonstrate how I'd approach the design with todays experience level.



In this book you will find different chapters by various artists who took an old artwork and recreated the image with their "current" knowledge of art fundamentals by showing and explaining why they changed certain things.

TITLE: Art Fundamentals: Theory in Practice

YEAR: 2021 PUBLISHER: 3DTOTAL Publishing ISBN: 978-1-912843-37-4

Purchase the book here! If you purchase and support me via my affiliate link, I will earn a small percentage of the sale.

The table of contents gives you a brief overview of the entire book. The first part is a recap of art fundamentals such as light, color, composition, perspective, anatomy and narrative. After that, you will find 9 in-depth chapters from different artists (including me) who recreate an old artwork by using their knowledge of art fundamentals.

The last part of the book includes a Gallery with even more artists redoing their old artworks. This is more like a short and compressed version of the detailed chapters. Artists compare both artworks and explain why they decided to change or stick with certain things.

Last but not least you will find the glossary and list of contributors.

In my 24 pages-long chapter you will get insights into my painting and thinking process when illustrating a scene. I'll give you useful tips on how to tell better stories - which was the main critique I had about my old artwork from 2015!

THE STARCATCHER was one of the first digital paintings I created. I had started my first job as 3D Artist and was super excited about using a graphics tablet, as I had only used traditional tools before. This character was a very early attempt at the main character for a children's book idea I had. I wanted to learn about lighting and shading, and was inspired by Goro Fujita's artwork - his lighting skills were amazing, and I wanted to practice mine. I think I've chosen the colours well, even if they're more "fantasy-like". I also still like the outfit and overall character concept. However, the composition feels too heavy on the right side, and the image lacks storytelling. The shading also feels smudged in some areas.

CREATING KEY STORY MOMENTS TO CHOOSE FROM After deciding on a story for my illustration and creating a character design, I like to work out the key moments of the story to focus on the action and narrative to keep the viewer engaged while looking at the image. In the book I will explain in detail why I chose composition 2 and what I like/dislike about the other two options.

TESTING THE CHOSEN PALETTES BY CREATING SIMPLE COLOR THUMBNAILS I also talk about my coloring process and how I work with color thumbnails and color theory. I tried different variations for this scene and finally went with a slightly different palette than I did on my old artwork from 2015.

SKETCHING THE SCENE MORE CLEANLY WITH A REDDISH BRUSH It's important to make the outlines perfect and clean, so you don't notice any shape problems while colouring. It's annoying to go back and forth between sketch and colour blocking.


This is probably the most time-consuming step of all, where I block out all of the main shapes on separate layers. I usually stick to one or two brushes to keep the piece consistent. In the book I will talk a bit more in depth on what kind of brushes I use and with what details I start first when shading the entire image.


In Part 12 of my chapter I talk about my process when creating light after I did the base colours. I usually start by adding ambient light to my scene. In my painting the dark blue sky casts a blue ambient light, giving the shaded areas a more bluish color.


Before painting the lighting that reflects on other objects, I like to create the light sources first. It helps me to understand how far away objects are from each other and how much light hits certain areas on my characters and props. In the book I'm talking specifically on how I shade the characters skin and how the light behaves in this scene.


Finally comparing both images, I really like how the new illustration gives us much more information about the character's personality, his interests, and what he's actually doing in the scene. The new composition is more balanced and is not as heavy on one side as the old one. While I still like the previous greenish color theme for the sky, the new image provides more contrast for the glowing stars, and also feels slightly more natural and believable.

Last but not least, the remake has a more defined and unique colouring style; the old version had areas with many details, but some important parts, such as the stars, looked hastily painted and did not match the style of the character.

This was just a super basic overview on how my chapter looks like and what's it about! In the book I give you a much deeper insight into my painting process and thinking. I also add some important tips that I personally like to use when finding good color palettes and compositions.

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