Bare Bones Analysis of Eytan Zana

Ok, I live for stupid puns.

This image is actually part of Eytan's gumroad tutorial, but as I have yet to watch it, I'm going to be approaching it with fresh eyes.

The full image

The full image

Eytan is definitely playing with scale in this image, flipping the "use the human shape for scale" on its head and making the skeleton giant.  The birds are a great way to express this without beating people over the head, or having another human element.

His process involves painting over 3D elements, and I really like how he's made it feel somewhat "painterly" while still using the strengths of the 3D forms.

Colour-wise, this is a pretty standard "warm yellow & orange" contrasting with a cool blue.  I do like how he has sandwiched the warm between two layers of cool, which helps give depth to a fairly flat scene.   The sky looks like a simple photograph that has been painted over just a bit...very little point in concept art to painting natural skies, as there is no design in that part of the process that is valuable to the final project.

2 values

2 values

Very clear read of this in 2 values.  The helmet does a GREAT job of creating a silhouette to surround the white skull and keep everything readable.  Pretty standard radiating forms around the painting to draw your eye into the subject area.

3 value

3 value

Look how for the most part he's limited the "pure" black and white touching to just around the skull and the left eye socket, and to the two birds on top.  First and second reads get the contrast, the rest starts to fall away.

4 values

4 values

Almost no difference between the 3 and 4 value reads.  In a very painterly way, Zana has limited the value ranges.

The skull

The skull

Although this feels really tight when you look at the painting, closer examination shows that it's quite loose.  For the most part, he's following the form with his brush strokes, and using hard, opaque brushes.  It looks like he may have used a little chromatic distortion, but not "Mr. Concept Art" levels.  I think the tight detail around the eyes probably comes from the 3D render.

The Foreground rock

The Foreground rock

In contrast, the foreground is VERY loose.  For the rock, he's staying almost entirely "locked off" with the rock silhouette, but the sames are very painterly.  He's using the lasso tool to break up the form and give himself space for some of that grass...which is beautiful by the way.  Look how he's used a purple for the darker, cooler, shadowed grass variation.  No rendering in the grass, just a nice use of value.

The background

The background

Just a quick look to show how simple it is.  He has definitely blurred his strokes to push things back.  See how he uses brush spacing to create texture as he makes a stroke.

 

Learnings:

  • Think carefully about how you want to show scale in such a way as to be interesting to the viewer, and to give them something to discover.
  • When using 3D, don't be afraid to both paint out detail, and to leave detail, depending on when it is necessary.  
  • Things like helmets and trees are great for creating framing elements around brighter objects.
  • Layering cool,warm,cool is a good way to add depth to an otherwise flat image.

Thanks for taking a look at this one with me, I hope you found something useful that you can apply to your own paintings!

You should totally check out his gumroad site, here.