This artwork resulted from one of the sketches I made for a project concerning griffins. The final piece however ended up to be totally different (see the artwork entitled "Griffin Rider").
This was one of the initial pencil sketches with ideas on a griffin-themed artwork. It was adapted later-on and scanned to continue working digitally.
I adapted the initial pencil sketch a bit, already thinking about the title of the work. The sketch was scanned and all further work was done digitally, working in Adobe Photoshop, with a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet.
The composition guides were put on a separate layer, and a rough sketch of the total picture was made. The horizon was tilted to help increase the feeling of a snapshot from a chaotic scene.
Basic colors were laid down on three new layers: the griffins and characters, the background, and the sky. This to facilitate the creation of clear sharp boundaries of the foreground objects, and the editing of different parts of the scene without risking to destroy the others - one of the main advantages of using layers with freehand drawing.
Next, a bit more detail was laid down on the foreground layers, with some shading too.
The background got a bit more detail, and the layer containing the sketch has become useless, since all elements and detail are present within the three color layers.
The sky and clouds are given more detail in this step. Also, two layers are added for the bushes in the foreground. One behind and one in front of the two most important characters, who are hence separated in an additional layer too. The location of the lens flare is also added in a layer for additional light effects in the end.
Final addition of detail to all characters. The flying griffin is cleaned up a bit, so it has a nice sharp contrasting boundary with the background light.
Some final shading of the characters, clouds and background rocks.
Shading & highlighting
Brightness of the foreground objects was adapted, and some highlights were added to the flock of griffins. At this point, I wasn't completely satisfied with the trees at the horizon in front of the sun, so I redrew those. The spear piercing the griffin was also shaded at this point.
The green branches were replaced with bare black branches, being a bit more appropriate within the scene. I did use some of Adobe Photoshop's built-in layer effects for these I believe. Bevel and Emboss, on each set of branches, with the light direction depending on where they are positioned with regard to the light source. This could easily be done freehand too, but it was just quicker this way. Next, the branches more close to the viewer are blurred to create an out-of-focus feel.
Colors of the entire picture are adapted. Saturation is decreased too, making it more of a whole. The effects layer is used to create sun rays all over the place, and the lens flare was made more notable.
The effects layer is cleaned a bit in front of the flying griffin to make it block the light more clearly. The throwed spear is blurred a bit to create the feel of motion. Finally, some spider webs are added to the branches in the front, and the blood on the griffin's neck is lightened up a bit.
The final piece was printed on a 80x60 cm canvas.