How I Make Art – Space Battles Part 3

Wow, I started this back in November as a personal project and due to work on commissions I have had to put my own work on hold, sadly this means that I didn't get to finish this Star Trek themed space battle until now!

The idea is inspired by Wayne Thomason's writing, who you can find under the name of Turblence1973 on Deviant Art, and the simple theme behind this painting was a huge low (or high depending on where you are stood I guess) orbit battle.

If you are interested you can find the first two parts here:

Part One

Part Two

This is how the painting looked back in November when I get distracted by other work:



At this stage most of the ships are blocked in and I was starting to block in colours and some of the more simple effects. Depending on how I was feeling at the time each ship is completed to different degrees, it's just how I work on I big image!




To start with I have to finish the mid-ground ships, I start by going to the last two 'bugs' on the right. This is where I start to hit a problem, if you keep up with my blogs I've been working with new brushes and new methods of painting to develop a new style. This means that by the time I'm mostly done with the two bugs, the look a little different to the others in the image. Not a worry though as I am still to do the hard bit of blending in all the ships with the action and the background.



At this stage all of the background and mid-ground ships are as far as I dare take them, it is on to the foreground ships now. The first one I am going to tackle is the 'bug' at the top of the image.



First off I block in the colours and some detail, the problem I have is that I can't find any good photo reference images of the underside of the ship – Doh!

So I do my best with an image I have found trawling the internet that shows a good side/front/top view and botch what I think is right together. It's Star Trek, no fan is going to notice a mistake in the ship design... are they?


Next step is to add in the engine glow. For 'glowy things' I follow a simple process of blocking in white as a base for the glowing object and then using an airbrush paint in the glow. If it needs colour I still follow this process, block in in white and airbrush in the glow. However, when it comes to the airbrushing I add in the colour, red for example or in this case purple.



Coming close to the end of the time I put aside to work on this image for this session I figure that I should work on something that wont take to long and so I will tackle the huge battle cruiser at the bottom of the image next session. There is a lot of work going to be needed on that one!

So I settle for adding in a little glow on the engines of the mid-ground 'bugs' just because I was working on the glow for the foreground one and it will be nice quick and easy.

And that was it for this session.


I'm now at a stage where I'm starting to worry, I get that when I work on a big image like this. If you are familiar with my work you'll know that I keep things quite simple, a character or two on a straight forward background. When things start to get a little crowed and chaotic like this painting, which is the idea behind it, I tend to panic and wonder if it is going to turnout as planned. In these situations you just have to suck it up and keep going as you are beyond the point of no return!

In my next session/post I plan to tackle the battle cruiser and if there is time finish the background and start to add in the 'fireworks' such as phaser fire, torpedoes, and stuff blowing up – all good fun! 

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