Poster Design

Rough Poster Design


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My rough poster design for my major project really laid the foundations for what I was trying to accomplish; a slightly moody, mysterious, intriguing side profile of my main character, Aros. I wanted to create a poster that showcases the main character in all his glory; makes it clear he is the focus of the game by having his profile take up most of the poster,  a font which alludes to the time period and a colour scheme which has a dark, mysterious undertone to it.

I feel that there is much to be improved upon in my second pass, such as:

  • Better theme colours
  • Improved skin colours
  • More detail in face features
  • Improved lighting
  • More readable text
  • A more interesting tagline

Poster Design Inspiration



I tried to take inspiration for my poster design from many different genres of movie and games; not just ones set in the same time period, as I felt that might actually stifle my creativity.  Although the bottom left picture is not of a poster, it was the kind of look I was going for in terms of painting style.

While I was starting to repaint my original portrait, I hit a wall. I was starting to feel like I was getting nowhere with getting a better skin tone and the face was lacking depth. I decided to delve into some research.

The reason why I have so many reference videos for understanding shadows and highlights in paintings is because I have come to realise that I haven’t actively tried to grasp this methodology until now.

This video broke down in a simplified way the main concepts of understanding shadows in paintings and drawings. I learnt about some concepts I had never thought of in depth before like “ambient occlusion” and how shadows make a face’s features more blurry compared to the lit side.

This video below wasn’t something I took upon myself to practice physically after seeing, but I did learn how values are paramount in a painting. It was incredible to see how you can use almost any colours together if you have a good understanding of values.

The main takeaway:

“Get your values right, and you can get away with almost any colour”

This video on understanding shadow colours and ambient light explained in great detail the basic science behind how light effects colour. Grasping the understanding of how the subject is effected by not just the sun, but the world light colour as well e.g. sky.                  I have tried to apply the knowledge gained from these discoveries into my portrait and I believe it has increased greatly the quality of my work.


I have found it beneficial to watch both digital and traditional art painting processes, even when painting digitally. This video was helpful after watching the previous videos on understanding shadow colours, as I could see how the methodology played out in a practical way. Painting traditionally is also my comfort zone!

These two books which I have picked up over the years were a great help when I wanted to see traditional paintings of skin tones and get good visual references of several portraits of different skin tones. Chris Saper’s Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light in oil, pastel and watercolor was great for comprehending the effects of the time of day and weather on both the subject, and the world around them. I tried to implement James Gurney’s technique of painting realistic male faces through understanding his very particular advice on colour zones:

The complexion of a light-skinned face is divided into three zones. The forehead is a whitish or golden color. From the forehead to the bottom of the nose is reddish. The zone from the nose to the chin tends toward a bluish, greenish, or grayish color.



Photo reference and website with info about technique:

There’s reason behind this. The central zone of the face has more capillaries carrying oxygenated blood near the surface. The forehead, by contrast, is much more free of muscles and red blood cells. And the chin, especially on a man with a black beard, is bluish from the microscopic hairs. Around the lips are relatively more veins carrying blue deoxygenated blood.

Like all general rules, there are plenty of exceptions. But it’s good thing to keep in mind next time you’re painting a head.

I found while painting my portrait of Aros, I looked at other artists’ paintings with red-headed males and females to better understand other artists’ approach to the very individual, cool colour of a redhead’s skin. The top picture on the left was the most helpful as a reference for my piece as it had a similar light source and time of day.


Development of the painting


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Final Design


Throughout this digital painting process, I realised that at the beginning, I was trying to fit into an art style that wasn’t my own. I looked at the hyper detailed, hyper realistic digital art made by my peers and in art magazines and felt that I had to fit INTO that style. However, whilst painting this portrait of my main character design, I have learnt to appreciate my own style: painterly, sketchy and with energy. My favourite part of painting traditionally has always been to capture a sudden moment; a gesture of sorts. I now understand that this can be translated into my digital work without fighting that gut instinct.


Coming up with new taglines


One man’s story will be retold for generations.

Beyond the legend…lies a truth.

The story that would have been retold for generations.

“How far would you go to rewrite your history?”


Most listened to album while painting:



Photo References

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