🚩 This is more of a general creative principle rather than a »step«, since it should be applied to most stages in the process. But it pays off most when employed early on.
⚡ Work large to small.
💡 Here is another strong contender for the single most prudent rendering advice. Especially for people with a penchant for perfectionism. It is simple: Invest your energy first in drawing up the most striking features, and fill these with details only afterwards. The method is similar to how experienced painters work.
While obsessing over details is one way to success – if done well – more often it is a sign of fear. Not finishing helps avoid approaching more important stuff, letting go, and being judged.
Rendering boasts tons of abstract parameters. It often attracts people who like to dial knobs. The whole is difficult to master. Parts are easy to understand. It is thus tempting to start letting the parts command the whole. This is a big mistake.
⚡ Begin with the big idea, the large-scale composition, the outline.
💡 Don’t be precious – try sketching on cheap paper napkins to a three-minute egg timer. Only when some reach a promising general form may you continue.
You may make several draft scenes, play around with them, and compare. Then, fill in with broad inner strokes, as it were, that build character or mood. As a last step, add and fine-tune those small details that create surface realism. At every step in the process, identify what in your work is dragging behind most, and improve this first. Only add what is needed most.
When a good composition is beginning to mature, approach it from where you are standing.
⚡ Work near to far.
Independently of your visual style, things near the camera call for far more attention than those that are seen only in the distance. There is plenty of time to be saved by giving faraway objects a stepmotherly eye and instead focusing attention on closeup assets. It is surprising how much you can get away with.
This simple approach helps avoid wasting time on insignificant details.
🧐 Next week, we’ll get our hands dirty.