To be more precise, it is a Fusus rostrauctus of the Clade Fishes IV (Proculcapiti). I may have to check naming conventions here though. Anyway, I revealed a glimpse of Fish evolution previously, which I will not repeat. You may observe the typical traits of the Clade, but I will focus on artistic matters here (just as well, as there were some sudden changes in their anatomy compared to the rough sketch in the earlier post!). Having done a fairly large number of full paintings in oils for the eventual Book, I felt I needed additional illustrations, highlighting individual species, cladograms, things like that. This is the first of those. I wished to keep the painting style more or less the same as that of my previous oil paintings, and think I managed. After messing about with Painter's very large assortment of brushes, I settled on just two, and used those throughout (for those in the know, I used a detail oil brush and a blender, but tweaked size, opacity, 'resaturation' and 'bleed' continuously).
Just for fun I will show some layers of the final painting. The nice thing with digital painting is that you can use layers of colour that stay separate, so you can go back to a deep layer even after you painted others over it. In a 'real' painting ('physical' painting?) the only way to correct a deep layer is to scrape it, and everything on top of it, away altogether.
So here is the start of my project (it's not a tutorial: I'm not good enough for that). I started with a rough sketch and simply changed lines and shapes until the concept became more or less ready; that is the image on the left. I then drew a much neater line drawing on another layer, and used that as a guide for the painting job: the one on the right. In old times, I would have done exactly the same, but using various sheets of paper for the sketches on the left and one sheet of transparent paper for the one on the right.
After that you start painting. In this case I chose flat colours to start with. With oils, this basic colour layer would have obscured the line drawing on the board. Digitally, things are different: you can paint underneath your sketch, so that stays visible. Very odd at first, but extremely useful. The base colours are on the left, but without the line drawing. After that, another layer was added (on the right), and that is where it becomes interesting: that one modifies the base colours with shadows and highlights, as well as with some subtler colour changes here and there.
After that I decided to add another colour layer (I should have done that before, but, as I said, I am new at this). The rest comprises adding some reflections, details, some final shadows etc., and there we are. Mind you, the original is almost 7 times bigger, so some detail is lost. Anyway, here's my first digital painting. I hope you like it.