This tutorial is the last of a 3-part series. In part 1 we created a beginner friend jaguar. In part 2 we built upon the artwork completed in part 1 giving it more tonal depth and a better 3d appearance. Now we will add a background to the artwork. I did my best to keep the format similar to the jaguar in that we start out with basic steps and build upon them.
The background will be done in 3 stages; each stage gets progressively more difficult. Stage one creates vague tree trunks and is very beginner friendly. Stage two adds color to the background. It is beginner friendly, but a touch more challenging because it relies on the ability to create smooth and fairly uniform color. Stage three adds the out-of-focus underbrush. Depending on your skill and/or comfort level this might be challenging to do.
Here’s a link to the part 1 tutorial: https://wp.me/p8j0lZ-5Se
Here’s a link to the part 2 tutorial: https://wp.me/p8j0lZ-5Uf
Now, let’s get to work.
SKILL LEVEL: 1-3
- Shading tip
- Completed artwork from part 1 or 2
STAGE 1 – TREE TRUNKS
Here’s a progress photo. Yes, I had started to add color to the background along the lower left of the board. Fortunately I remembered that I wanted it to be a separate step and stopped. Just ignore that for now.
Again, do not worry about making the trees uniform in color or thickness. The irregularities will help make them appear out-of-focus. Also the slight blurriness will help push them into the background.
STAGE 2 – BASE COLOR
I am using the flat of the shader as I burn uniform strokes. Uniform strokes are easier to do if you burn with the wood grain. My board has a horizontal wood grain, so that is why I rotated the board.
How dark you burn the background is your choice. I didn’t make mine very dark because I knew I’d be adding the underbrush. The underbrush will darken up the background by a number of shades. If you don’t plan to do the underbrush then you might want to burn the background darker than what I did.
STAGE 3 – THE UNDERBRUSH
The underbrush is the last thing we’ll add to the background. This is an option step. if you feel like this is too difficult or more work than you want to do then don’t do it. Heck the jaguar with just the dark tree trunks looks pretty good!
I started by the back leg because it was the smallest section and the far from the face. This area isn’t that noticeable, so perfect place to experiment. Which is what I did. I will explain what I did, but keep in mind that the process is clearer in the next section I work on.
Begin by burning small random shaped patches of circular motion to break up the uniform color.
I highly recommend starting with the small areas under the body. These areas aren’t the focal point, so they won’t receive as much attention as the focal point does. That makes them the perfect place to get familiar with the underbrush creation process. I’m sure you know that the face is the focal point.
With the next section I started out burning the thin branches and twigs. My underbrush isn’t near as dark as the tree trunks. Should the underbrush be darker? The darker it is the more the jaguar will stand out, so you can decide if you want your background darker than what I made mine.
With the really dark blotches or patches of color I put them randomly on the background. I didn’t add a lot of them. Just keep in mind that the more you add the darker the overall color of the background will appear. If you want a darker overall color, then adding more blotches is an easy way to do it.
Here’s a progress photo. I do like how the darker background is helping the top of the log stand out a bit more. In a way I also like how the jaguar stands out in this photo. If I had noticed this while I was working on it, I might had stopped burning the underbrush as this point. Ok, no I wouldn’t have because it’s too abrupt, but I might have just darkened up the upper portion and not bothered with the underbrush.
As you can see the overall color along the upper portion of the board is considerable lighter than the bottom. Again you may or may not like what I did. I’m just explaining what I did, so feel free to make changes.
BONUS – THE WHISKERS
BEFORE / AFTER
The below photos show the artwork after different parts and stages have been completed.
We are done with the jaguar tutorial series. I am very curious what you thought about this series. Did you like it? Hate it? Want to see more projects presented in this format? Leave a comment and let me know.
Before I go, I’ll answer a couple of common questions I get. The artwork was burned on birch plywood. It measures 4 ¾ x 6 ¾ inches (12.1 x 17.1 cm) and the background took me 4 1/2 hours to create. Part 1 took me 2 1/2 hours, part 2 took me 3 hours, so my total time on this artwork is 10 hours.
Until the next blog,
Apr 6, 2021
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