Feb 23, 2015


I was kinda sick of looking at the header image on my Twitter profile page, and it seemed like a great opportunity to create something that would fit perfectly in that space. Others online have been good about tracking the exact size of a Twitter header image, so it was just a matter of making something in that very horizontal layout.

It thought it'd be fun to paint up a really long, skinny fish, and I've always liked the looks of barracudas, especially with their weird lower jaws jutting out. Even though they're super long fish, that jaw and those teeth make them feel like they're 90% mouth. So, I did a few sketched based on some random images from the internet, including some more scientific paintings I found.

From there I blocked in my colors and tried to tighten everything up. The biggest challenge was not to rely on sharp final edges when I was still getting my basic layout down. I wanted to focus on the fish as a whole and not worry about the minutiae of each edge and shape interaction. Digital art is really easy to micromanage because you can zoom in to 600% size and undo every little change you make. It was important that I treated this as more like a traditional painting. It sounds strange, but all the freedom you gain from digital art can be paralyzing if you don't have a good plan about how to move forward with a piece.

That being said, when I got some general idea of a clean, colored form, the details started adding up, and eventually I added final lines over everything. This meant I didn't really need tight colored shapes at all, since they were getting covered by those lines anyway. And the lines themselves weren't finitely detailed or perfectly sharp, they were just added with the paintbrush tool.

The background came much easier than the fish, maybe because I knew it needed to be simple and a little abstract. Believe it or not, the hook in his mouth was a last-minute addition. It seems like that'd be something added in right away, but I didn't even think of it till I walked away for a few hours. Seeing it again after that break triggered that idea immediately. That's a good lesson too; always walk away from a project and come back with fresh eyes, if you've got the luxury of time.

(Click for the big fish)

Until Next Time.

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