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Making an Ent - Part 3 of 3

I posted a making of series a while ago, where I show the process of making an illustration of an ent from Lord of the Rings. Here's part 1, which concerns the roll that illustrations play and my struggles to figure out how to illustrate an ent as described in the original text by J. R. Tolkein .In part 2, I show the actual process of designing a complicated image which includes elvish text. This is part 3, where you can see some of the stages of painting the final result.

First off, I projected the final sketch onto a very thick very expensive sheet of watercolor paper. Here are a few photos of outlines being sketched.

And this is the result. I drew these lines lightly (hopefully) enough that I will be able to erase them after doing the initial watercolor.

And the watercoloring begins! I already made an accidental blotch beside the ent's elbow.

O Watercolor be an unforgivin' mistress. Hopefully I'll be able to minimize this with a yellowish tint I plan to do over the whole background.

Here's details. You can see here I wasn't too careful about perfectly tracing the hobbit's faces. I can do that by hand later. The purpose of tracing from a projector was simply to keep the overall proportions of my sketch.

In this initial tinting, I'll let the purple of the ent's skin and the green of his hair blend. Distinctions can be made with darker subsequent layers.

Now the basic color-flats have been defined. I've also painstakingly traced out the elvish script. I used the projector for this. It took about two hours, and was the most difficult part of drawing this picture. I'm no calligrapher.

Here's a detail showing the words and additional laters that help define the ent in more detail.

I didn't take photos of the ent's creation beyond this because I forgot. The rest of the ent took about a week to get to 95% finished, and another two months to actually finish. I'm trying to get better about finishing projects I start, but I'm a perfectionist and I tend to loose steam about five feet from the finish line. Anyway, here's the final result! And now I can check this illustration and this blog post off my to-do list!

I hope to make more of these. I think it's useful to document my process, not only for others to get ideas about technique, but for myself too. It's happened more than once that I've looked at a picture I've made months later and asked myself how the hell did I do that?

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