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Tropical Environment Color Comps - Process

As I'm writing this process post, I'm still working on the final piece for this project. I was tasked with creating a tropical environment design that holds some mystery and has ties to Mayan/Aztec/Inca inhabitants. I was so excited to share my work in progress that I'm writing this up now before I've even chosen the final design!


So for this process, we have to start out with our ideation. If you're reporting to an art director, they want to know you have multiple ideas. I did some mind-mapping for the parameters of this project, and came up with some really solid thumbnails, all of which I was really happy with.

Following the thumbnail sketches where we made use of value to convey some depth, I brought them in to discuss the ideas with other artists, and we came to the decision that I'd be moving forward with thumbnails 4, 5, and 9 with some modifications.

The composition I had created with the rock jutting into the sky was an immediate favorite, and while I was scaling it up and adding color, I thought about adding a gaping maw to create even more mystery and perhaps even a little bit of an ominous feeling.

For the second, We talked about rather than a pirate or explorer's ship, blending the modern with the ancient, and so I added a dock with some modern boats pulling up to the mountainside where the mysterious temple sits under parted clouds. For a balanced foreground that frames the picture plane, I also added a nice overgrown rock and a depth gauge for the bay.

Finally, for the third, it was again brought back to my passion of blending the natural with the developed: about making the boring beautiful. So the story I created for this last composition is that perhaps an ancient people built a temple here long ago but it's since been overgrown. In that time, new developments have also happened in the same area and have created a new environment where the ancient and the contemporary are coexisting, and that all the constructs of the world will eventually be gobbled up by the all-powerful wilderness.

To bring all these compositions up to the next level of polished, I inked them in black and white, emphasizing important features and adding texture and particulates in the air!

I really am so excited about all three of them. When it comes to making the decision on which gets to be the final piece, I might go ahead and fully render more than just one! I'll make another process post later going deeper into the technical aspect of creating the actual final illustration for this project.

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