Students often roll their eyes when I tell them to do thumbnails because they believe thumbnails are a school exercise rather than a tool utilized by professionals. The truth is the more artwork one produces the more thumbnails a prep work they do before the final sketch or layout.
I decided the painting would be another in my series of Baroque-style images featuring angels. I knew that I wanted the main character to be in a strong, defensive, pose while the secondary villain hid in the shadows.
The original layout featured another angel, dead on the floor of the crypts, but I decided the composition was going to be too complicated for the feeling I wanted to convey.
I began by blocking in areas of color and value. This is where some of the design decisions for the painting began to clarify. I deviated from the character sketch in two main ways: the hair style and the armor details. I wanted more armor coverage and a little less shampoo ad hair blowing in the final pose.
I’m pretty satisfied with the final image. My only problem is that depending on the digital display the painting looks far too dark. It’s difficult to lecture and show this image because most projectors tend to lack color and value calibration.