Tuesday, 13 July 2010

One Good, Two Better! - the Cloneforge process.

My second component card in the Doomsday Machine was Ignite The Cloneforge and I also took photographs of this painting as it progressed. Here follows a walkthrough of my painting process.

Masked and Washed.

My first step was to mask off the Cloneforge with some masking film. This meant that I could get some nice big loose brushstrokes onto the background without worrying about the integrity of this part of the image. I loosely applied a wash across the whole page in a blue/grey tone. This helps give a base underpainting to work into and fixes the graphite.

The Background.

I had already decided that the Dragons would be Red and Blue, and therefore opted for a complimentary indigo-ish shade for the background. However the colour was deliberately desaturated, and the contrast very low, so that the focal elements would stand out clearly against the background. I also faded the elements out towards the bottom of the image. The lack of clutter would help the wires and cables I would be painting there to read clearly, plus it helped create the sense of a large space.

Foreground Elements.

As with the background I painted the foreground cogs and gears with low contrast, and deliberately looser marks. Again this would help keep the focus where I wanted it; tighter rendering and high contrast help attract the eye. I also opted for dark values to seperate these elements very strongly from the background. Although the Cloneforge has no rendering at all yet it is already crying out to occupy that middle ground.

Mapping Out

The foreground has had some highlights added. it needed a little bit more attention than the background, and this has also helped define the features somewhat.

I have then made first pass on the Cloneforge. Red and Blue for the Dragons ties them in with the overall background colour scheme, but also gives them huge contrast with each other. The brass of the device itself then contrasts nicely with all the surrounding elements.

As with the first wash at the start of the painting this pass fixes the graphite, and provides a basic layer to paint into.It also allows me to see the colours clearly mapped out. At this point if I didn't like the interaction of these colours I could  make chnages. Later on it would become a lot harder.

Dragon Cloned.

The Dragons have been rendered, and I am beginning to make inroads on the Cloneforge itself. The colours appear quite saturated in contrast to the fore/background elements, and this aids their readability.


The Cloneforge is nearly finsihed, and the additional cables have been painted in. The latter deliberately fan out in all directions, helping place the Cloneforge in it's own space. The details are tightly rendered, and the contrast between them and the foreground features is very noticeable.


Finally I add in the walkway. This is almost a silhouette with the same colour scheme as the rest of the foreground. It helps add further depth and scale, especially when one picks out the figure at the control panel.

Scanned, Tweaked And Approved.

Acrylic. Approx 14" x 19.5"© Wizards of the Coast.


  1. Thanks for the walkthrough, it's very useful as always!

    This piece is really cool, I like how it's quite different to Your usual crazy action compositions. The masses in the painting are fairly static and solid (way to make a dark metal blob interesting!) and it's still very interesting and full of tension.

  2. Yeah I was really waiting for the walkthrough on this one as it does seem compositionally different to your other stuff- almost graphic in some ways. I like the way the strong shapes and spaces hold all the movement within the glass clone machine. It is very intense and controlled. Kudos.

  3. Jan; Please the walkthroughs continue to be of interest. I did enjoy trying to create the sense of epic space in this piece, and the static masses interacting with the drama of teh Dragons did make an interesting change.

    Tommi; I guess I have been doing a lot of action pieces recently, and I do enjoy them, but this was a refreshing change.

    I have now been trying to make a point of taking photos as I go along, so more should follow :)

  4. Ralph!Ralph!Ralph! He's our man...if he cant scrawl it no one can.....:)

    Thanks for these step by step postings Ralph, I really dig seeing your artistic processes, inspirational stuff! Ta.

  5. Lol - Thanks Atom. I'm very pleased these are of interest :)


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