This week I’m continuing work on the final render for this character. I like to focus first on the most emotive parts of the figure, and last session I spent some time on the face. It’s not fully finished yet and I’ll be returning to that after a pass on the rest of the character, to give it the final details. This time, I’ll work on his hands and feet.

It’s really not easy to find exactly the hand position and lighting you want, and even more difficult to find that for bare feet (not that there aren’t a lot of foot pictures online, but lots of them are… intended for purposes other than painting reference). For that reason I almost always shoot self reference for hands and feet.

I use a lot of voice shutter selfies for this type of task, and in this case I’ve done just that and then dropped the results right into the file in a Ref folder.

I’ve also got a little problem solving to do; I recently binge-watched all of Our Flag Means Death and was excited to see some excellent banyans in Stede Bonnet’s wardrobe (and found a great article about these garments here, with a lot of the same references I used earlier). In my character design I was particularly inspired by an example in the collection of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, one which is shown in the above article as well. All of this makes me want to widen the separation between my historical inspiration and my design, to make sure it’s visually distinct from that wonderful gay pirate show.

Luckily, I’ve preserved my gradient maps on the banyan layers, so this adjustment is easy!

Here I have double-clicked on the gradient icon on the adjustment layer to open the properties for the main color of the banyan, clicked on the gradient to open the gradient editor, and replaced the dark-to-middle colors. I’m going for a kind of gory-looking dark red.

And then the same thing on the layer for the floral pattern. I’m aiming for disconcerting colors; this is a bad guy after all. A smoky charcoal for the leaves and ochre for the flowers feels right to me.
There. That took like 30 seconds. I will need to adjust the other layers to make the colors more unified with the deeper value pattern and higher saturation I’m using now, but this is a good start.

Then a curves adjustment on the Body layer to darken the midtones and increase the amount of red. I can then switch to the head and hair layers each in turn and hit CTRL+SHIFT+M to open the Curves adjustment window with the previous settings already applied, and either accept or adjust more.

I then used Curves and Hue/Saturation to adjust the colors of his breeches… And decided I still want to play with the design more. Here I’ve gotten rid of his shirt, gone darker for his hair, added a new gradient map layer for a lining inside the banyan, changed the colors for the outer fabric again…

Wait what if I make him more pale and change the robe colors again?!

But what if I bring back part of the shirt and make him even more sickly and put more eyeball-lookin’ things on his robe….

Next time, I’ll paint his hands and feet.