New art for the new year! Steps below:
I had the idea of doing a Hunger Games and Dota 2 crossover artwork after I read Catching Fire, the second book in the trilogy. Although I am not a huge fan of the movie adaptation, I felt that Jennifer Lawrence was the right fit for Katniss, so I decided to portray her likeness in the painting. I started scribbing thumbnails on paper. Initially, I preferred the left layout, as it felt more dynamic (the mount was supposed to be leaping through the air) but I felt that left a ton of empty spaces around the painting. I wanted to do a desktop wallpaper-friendly resolution and already planned to have a simple fire background, so I went with the right layout eventually.
Starting with a gradient, I quickly blocked in the basic colors of the painting. I decided to extend the fire to frame Katniss and her mount.
I didn't want to spend too much time on the fire, so I simply took a fire texture and overlayed above the base colors.
One of the initial goals of this painting was to capture the likeness of Jennifer Lawrence. I realized quickly that I'm not hitting the mark at all. I continued to spend hours, trying several techniques, even resorting to superimposing a photo of her on top of the painting for guidance. After numerous failed attempts, I begin to worry that I will abandon this painting altogether because of it.
I decided to take a step back and work on the other aspects of the painting. This gave me some confidence, but I knew I had to tackle the face again later.
I normally leave the color adjustments and curves editing to the final step, but I was feeling so bad about the painting that I needed more morale boost at this stage of the painting.
After detailing the mount, I proceeded back with work on her face.
Edits after edits and I still could not achieve any form of likeness. At times, I felt I even made it worse. I became quite frustration and the painting was going nowhere. I decided to stop working at it at a certain point and left the face alone.
Added the bow and cleaned up the fires behind. The image is completed.
Here's the final image again. I originally intended to have a decorative text at the bottom of the image (thereby extending the image to a wallpaper-friendly 1920x1080 resolution) but I was tired of the image after failing repeatedly on the face. I decided to crop it off and call it a day.
Definitely not the best of starts for the new year, but I will work on improving my human facial painting skills!