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Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings

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Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings

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Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings

Blog reader Jeff Jordan asks: "I was wondering if you're using gouache strictly as a sketching medium, or if you've done or are doing finished works, illustrations, whatever, in gouache?"

Jeff, yes, I love using gouache for illustrations of vehicles, robots, and architecture. For example, this small (about 6x12") painting: "The Sinking of the Hagfish" shows a giant fish-like ship, burning and sinking, with its survivors standing along the top, hoping to be rescued.

Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings
It's part of Dinotopia backstory development, documenting dramatic events thousands of years ago in Dinotopia's Age of Heroes, when humans and saurians defended Dinotopia from an invasion of drones and mech dinos from Poseidos.

Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings

The inspiration for this composition came from this historic World War II photo of the burning carrier "Franklin" off the coast of Japan after it was struck by two bombs. Over 772 of the crew were lost, but the ship returned to port on its own steam.

In my composition, I kept the figures on the far left watching the unfolding drama. The feeling that we're among those watching adds a sense of vérité to the science fiction image.

The painting appears in the expanded edition of Dinotopia: First Flight.
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1 Comments on Gurney Journey: Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings

  • Bevan
    on March 17, 2022 | 16:51 Bevansaid :
    "I like how you used the yellow to add that little bit of color. The painting really reminds me of the old war photos my dad had."
Using Historical Reference Photos for Sci-Fi Paintings

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