I wasn’t going to take all week to complete this week’s “assignment”. That much was certain. Less certain was the approach to take to the topic: Storm.
Thoughts of landscapes or people in the rain came to mind, of course. I initially gravitated toward the idea of focusing on a person indoors, with a storm raging outdoors. Instead, the picture ended up much less straightforwardly narrative than any of those concepts.
With the line, “there’s a storm coming” in mind, I started drawing. It was only meant to be a sketch, through successive rounds of adding and erasing, the sketch turned into the finished drawing in less than two hours:
The dark line work is not quite black. While not deliberate, it gives the picture a vague feeling of a graphite pencil drawing. The dark stuff was all drawn on a single layer, with the white lines being created with an eraser tool. Since you would never be able to create such precise subtractions with an actual eraser, this kind of undermines the pencil illusion. That’s fine. It’s not meant to look like anything other than what it is: a digital drawing.
With a solid drawing more-or-less completed, the next step was to give the background a more convincing storm-cloud effect.
I used a few images as reference for those bubbly-looking storm clouds. The effect was brought to life on the drawing with two subsequent layers under the main drawing layer. The first was a layer of medium-gray blobs that made up the majority of the background. Sandwiched between that and the drawing layer came a sketchy dark gray to bridge the gap between the two values already present.
The hardest part was adding the lightest gray highlights to the clouds on top of the medium-gray. I tried out a few different techniques in an attempt to achieve the desired effect. First up, a blended effect using the dodge tool. It looked cool and very cloud-like, but wasn’t in keeping with the raw look of the drawing as a whole. Light scribbles, similar to the dark scribbles already on the underside of the clouds didn’t quite do it, either.
Finally, the chunky washes of light gray turned out to be the way to go. This lightest color was then used to ‘fill in’ some of the deeper shadows of the figure, as well.
The signature was all that was needed to finish it off. Done. Posted. Next!