Here is the finished illustration. With the theme for this illustration being "adventure", I drew inspiration from Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible. Whenever you get free reigns to essentially do what you want, I find a good place to start is to stick to subject matters and themes that interest you or things you think would be fun to draw. So for me, Egyptian culture has always interested me, so a big part of this illustration was just me giving myself the opportunity to add all the detailing and decorations to the walls and the treasure box.
So follow me as I go through my process;
With the theme and idea firmly in my head, I started out with a simple sketch. Because the theme of this piece is adventure, I wanted to make it easy for myself and designed the composition using diagonals and some forced perspective, these naturally give you a sense of action and movement, which are things I am looking for. So after my initial gestures and established composition, I began to start refining and adding in the details. This is where Google Images will be your best friend. Along with what you find on the internet,
This is just a sample of photos I found on the web. In addition to this, I also took reference photos of myself to help me figure out the pose better. This was especially the case for the foreshortening of the arm reaching for the treasure.
For the background of my sketch, I basically left it loose and blank, I more or less had a plan in my head to add in the details and etching but I wanted to do that once I move onto the painting phase. Not only did it save me time, it also gave me the freedom to play and have fun with it.
Just by going through the research process, it gave me a good idea of the colors I wanted to use for the illustration. So first stage, like always, is to lay in the general colors. I did this in a multiply layer so my initial sketch remains intact. After that I started my first pass on the main figure and the foreground elements. This layer is on top of my sketch layer and is set to normal, that way my marks will start covering up my drawing. BUT not to fear, I always keep a separate copy of my sketch at the very top of my layer stack, that way I can switch it on and off if I need to refer to something.
After that, I made a similar pass with the background. As I rendered out the stones, I decided to go with the dark shadowy patch at the top right cause it provided a natural framing element to the composition. In addition, it meant I wouldn't have to render that area of the stone...so win win!
With that, my attention went back to the main figure. In addition to rendering him out and adding all the details to his clothing and harness, I made sure I tinted him so he would blend better with the color scheme.
With some minor adjustments to my adventurer's arm, I turned my focus to the treasure box. My plan all along was to have a glow emanate from the top, but while I was adding the details, I decided it needed a "lid" of some kind to make it more obvious that it's an opened box. Once that was done, I started adding the decorative elements to the stones.
I guess I was having so much fun that I added detailing on all the walls! After that I worked out what was going on the ceiling. I added the two kids and tried to design some "believable" rope-lowering apparatus. With that, I was almost done...
All that was left was to add in some rim light coming from the moon. This helped separate the figure from the background. Lastly, I made some final color adjustments and I called this one a wrap!