As the image resolution was extremely large I decided to divide it into five pieces - the four corners plus the centre - to make small compositions. This allowed me to focus on each part individually, to work in a more comfortable way and to think step-by-step about things such as texture, perspective and light.
I completed each image using brush strokes and reference pictures. That took me to the coloring part. I wanted the illustration to look warm or exotic and threatening at the same time, full of dirty materials, contrasts and imposing textures, etc (Fig.07 - 09).
After several tests of different weapons and poses I decided that I wanted the sheep to look as threatening as possible (Fig.10).
I gathered everything and homogenized the light and materials using a combination of personal brushes and ones by artists like Djahalland and Barontieri. The goal was to make the illustration and photo references look alike without making it look too clean. To do so I stained the pictures and added a few filters.
The image was then finished. I could send it to my colleague StÃ©phane so that he could place his characters (Fig.11).
Writing the Making Of for this image has been a great opportunity to have fun and apply the virtues of different techniques, such as the use of 3D and reference images. Thanks for reading!
To see more by Xavier Etchepare, check out Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection