Alternate Worlds – Fantasy Genre Guide illustration

This was done last year (9 Feb 2006) for the library’s “Alternate Worlds – Fantasy Genre Guide”. Composed, drawn and illustrated entirely with Photoshop Elements on a Windows PC.
Alternate Worlds - Fantasy Genre Guide

My colleague, Wai Ling, suggested that I think along these lines for the illustration:

” Alternate Fantasy – stories featuring alternate & parallel worlds, for e.g. being 2 places at one time…Or 2 very contrasting landscapes within 1 sphere… Or some thing/person making the jump/cross between 2 worlds via some portal…”

I ran out of ideas for this illustration — or rather, I couldn’t think of anything that could fit into 800 x 800 space without being too elaborate. I’d originally pictured a man jumping through a time portal, or walking through a time portal into settings with differences (e.g. jungle instead of buildings). In the end, I used some website references sourced by my colleague, which showed a man in a spacesuit standing at the mouth of a cave, staring out into a vast space with stars. Unfortunately, I don’t know where’s the source of the photo, so I don’t know who to credit.

Anyway, I adapted the “Suited-man at mouth of cave” idea by sketching, cropped a cloud-burst photo from my stock collection (of a cloud burst) as the background.

For the cave, I used various brush settings (Dry brush, Wet) and Opacity settings to add highlights to the cave entrance. Then I used the Spot Healing Brush (“Create Texture” settings) to blend in the colours, using the traditional pastel technique of starting with dark colours and gradually working towards lighter tones.

For the suited-man, it was also pretty much using the same pastel technique.

Then I added in the three coloured-spheres in the sky, with a Wet Brush and Opacity setting.

For final touches, I used the Lens Flare filter (Filter-> Render-> Lens Flare) on the sky image. Also used the flared lens filter on the suited-man layer, to make it blend better into the overall picture (or else it would’ve looked like a cut-out).


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