Not What It Seems: Process

Final render of Not What It Seems
Final render of Not What It Seems

This is the first digital painting I made specifically to showcase a more nautical theme for the Facebook page of Paper Pirate while I was still planning it out. I had been studying and practicing rendering at that time and thought I might give it a go, and I told myself I wanted to make something for the cover photo.

What I first noticed while planning it out was that the cover photo gets cropped in the actual page, and you’d only see the entire picture when you click it. This bummed me out a little when my first thought was that I’m limited to making something that’s within the size that’ll appear on the page. I thought of making a ship sailing across the sea, spotting an island; and that was it from there, I thought.

But later on I started thinking about how close the ship could go before it was too dangerous to take shore. I’ve seen it in movies, how they’d say “It’s too dangerous to go close” or something like that, I made a little comment in my head saying “Why? Something will pull it under?” THEN BOOM. Literally, just like that it hit me.

Drafting the ship and Blinky the Sea Monster

Like I often do before getting started, I make little notes and drafts on my sketchbook. I do this to brainstorm ideas and to jot down some details I wanna make sure I add later. Besides this, it gives me an opportunity to lay things out.

So the idea was to let Facebook crop out the entire picture, to only show the surface and the perspective of the ship. Clear skies and I safe island to take ashore to, nothing else. But things are not always as they seem, as the whole picture reveals that the island was a trap! The island was the top of Blinky’s head and it was his way of luring ships into their deaths.

Rendering the Ship
Rendering the Ship

The Ship
Every detail doesn’t necessarily make it into the final output in my case. When I was rendering the ship I decided to remove the canon windows to show more of the wood texture on the wider side of the ship. I was, and still am, practicing on rendering and I wanted to experiment on lighting it. After I was satisfied with the texture of the ship, I added a bit more green; I wanted to show that the ship has been sailing for quite some time now.

The wooden texture was created with black, levels of brown, green, and blue
The wooden texture was created with black, levels of brown, green, and blue

Blinky- The Sea Monster
Now this big guy was fun to make. I kept in mind that Blinky had one eye, a rocky skin, tentacles, and that he’s been doing this trap of his for a very long time now. So if you’d notice, Blinky has a rather bulky and rugged texture, which couldn’t make me happier because it was a chance to experiment on lighting (and to make me just a bit more jumpy? There was a challenge to show underwater lighting).

Making the Monster
Making the Monster

I drafted Blinky out based from the rough sketches I did on my notebook. Later on I gave him a sandy brown skin to work on and added the lighting. After that I placed him under the sea and added the boat to be able to create the focus of his one eye. And here comes the fun part, I added him some wrinkles, he was an old fella I guess, and I made sure the light was easily spotted on top of him and the darkness of the sea followed right under him as he would cast a shadow himself. I added some seaweed rested all over his tentacles before adding the sunken ships he had already kept for himself.

Finishing Up
After putting the ship and Blink together, I added the rays above the water and the bounce light from the surface as the sunlight would reflect from it.

Final Thoughts
As I was making this I told myself that I wanted to tell stories with my goofy paintings, and with this one I wanted to show humor to it too somehow and a sense of adventure and danger. I’m still practicing rendering and all that, learning from anywhere I can and just using works like this to learn from as well. I had a lot of fun making this one, and you can bet there’ll be more coming up.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

TIP JAR: Send Some Love!

As simple as a tip of $1 you, my dear reader, would be supporting me, Paper Pirate, in making more art, writing more content, and creating more learning materials for everyone! This would mean so much to me, and I will be forever grateful for your kindness and generosity.


Paper Pirate

Paper Pirate (Mary Cruz) is a teacher by day, artist by night, and an entrepreneur in between. Inspiring others to keep making art and taking on adventures. The is the official site and blog of Paper Pirate, showcasing the art and illustration of Mary Cruz.

3 thoughts on “Not What It Seems: Process

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