Over the holidays I had some art time, yay! I did a bunch of sketching. Also, I did a fun thing, a "master copy" of a Syd Mead piece, the one that's featured on his Gnomon DVDs.
Specifically, I followed along with the Step 3: Color Preliminary DVD.
Here's a shot of Mr. Mead's final for comparison:
You can see I didn't nail it exactly, the color of the stone is off and the vehicle proportions are wrong. I wasn't really trying to perfectly duplicate this, I just wanted to try painting with gouache, which is what Mr. Mead has used for his whole career. It's a very different thing, painting with a brush on art board, compared to digital, and completely new to me; I've never used gouache before ever. Rather than try to learn the paint while also struggling to design a nice image, I decided to copy this one.
It's a standard practice among art students to do master copies, and I sure learned a lot from it. It was fun! Gouache is reputed to be really difficult to work with, but I didn't find it too hard once I got going. The key thing is the consistency or thickness of the paint. If it's too dry and gooey, it doesn't spread well and gets lumpy. If it's too wet and thin, it can lift up any color beneath it and cause bleeding. There's a definite sweet spot where the paint is just right, and that's sort of hard to hit unless you mix up a big batch of whatever color you're using, rather than mixing small amounts on your palette.
Here's some details:
Compare to a similar detail from Mr. Mead's piece:
A couple more of my details:
So that was really enjoyable, I have to do some more pieces with gouache. Next time I'll try something I design myself.