Zombie Train Digital Paint Detail

Jan 22

Zombie Train Digital Painting Update

Has it really been since September? Gagh! The months move too quickly, and for what I have to show for the Zombie Train…well, it doesn’t look like much.

In the time I have had to chip away at this, time that was probably in larger supply than I admitted to myself, I’ve taken two approaches to our zombie friends. Admittedly, I feel I’m on the cusp of trying a third. Let me explain.


First Approach: Fifty Shades of Zombie Grey

zombie train grey base


My first approach was to block out and fill the zombie sketch with shades of grey, with the idea that you then go over it with color. I watched a number of painting videos and a comic page tutorial, and it seemed this might be a viable approach.

And it probably is. Yet as I was fleshing out the zombies in fifty plus shades of grey I had the nagging feeling that all I was doing was setting myself up for more work. I felt I was going to end up painting the thing twice. While I may have more free time than I think, I don’t have that much free time.

Also, I’m not completely sold on the final look of the color using this technique. While David Revoy’s final image is great, I doubt I’d be able to pull that off anytime soon. My fear was spending a hundred hours on an image that I hated in the end. Not only that, I’m still learning to use Krita. I’ve barely scratched the surface on it’s functionality, spending the majority of my efforts trying to find brushes that have a feel and style that I feel good working with.


Second Approach: Straight Painterly Color

zombie train paint comparison


I began a new image, going straight to paint. This has been much slower but I’m enjoying the results to an extent. As you can see in the above image, our fair lady has gone through quite a bit of change.

Am I sold on this approach? Kind of. The thing is, I’ve spent a fair amount of hours on what you see, and a bit more that I cropped out that was too unfinished to show. At that pace, I may be finished with the image in a year. Not viable. I want to work on other drawings.

Also, I can see that there is going to be little to no cohesiveness to the finished image. I should be working in blocks and filling out the whole painting instead of hyper-focusing on one figure, then hyper-focusing on the next, etc. I have to remind myself that while it’s digital painting, it doesn’t mean it has to be treated like a canvas and set of oil paints. In the end, I’m looking to get a drawing.


Third Time the Charm?

I’m considering beginning again with a different approach.

What I need to do is fill out with solid blocks of color, working the whole of the image. Then dive in for detail. Larger areas of color, and then build up on that, but without the hyper detail. Either more painterly, or more cartoon like.

I want the image to have cohesiveness, but also energy, and a looser, fluid style will lend it that. At the present clip, it’ll be a dead and disjointed image that will take a year to complete. This shouldn’t take more than a month or so.

This is part of the learning process, and while I wish I was knocking out images left and right, I do take comfort in knowing that I am figuring things out as I go along, and eventually there will come a greater understanding of tools, approaches, and techniques.


Some of What I’ve learned So Far

  • Probably a good idea to start with some type of background color. Something other than white. I saw this recommendation and ignored it. I’m beginning to feel this may be a great idea.
  • Save a color palette of some sort, even if just color swatches on a layer in the image.
  • Don’t forget to set your resolution to at least 300dpi.
  • Work your image as a whole, keep moving around it.
  • Keep it loose, it’s not that precious. It’s a drawing, you can scrap it and start again.