Making of an Image - Howl's Moving Castle
Updated: Jul 19
Today I wanted to talk about the process behind my painting of the castle in Howl's Moving Castle, a fantasy book by Diana Wynne Jones.
I knew I wanted to have a dramatic angle in this piece to convey the scale of the castle. In the book, the castle moves in mysterious ways, so I wanted to have pieces of it float around. I also thought it would be fun to incorporate some patterns, tiles and sharp shapes that reminded me of Edinburgh. The architecture includes fragments of my old Student Union building and bits inspired by various monuments from around the city.
Below you see the ink drawing. I spent many hours sketching and tweaking it.
Next I started blocking the values and to see how to shade in the shapes. I thought a dark sky would look nice (initially it was a sunset) and decided to add some light sources in some of the windows.
Here you can see some colours coming in. I was still indecisive, unsure whether the castle should have red, purple, blue or green hues. I painted the smoke and flowers below in a line-less technique so the castle would stand out more and so that the other elements would not overcrowd the image.
The castle had so much intricate detail that I thought I would darken & blur all the other elements surrounding it. This is why the stars are faint, the smoke looks soft and the grass is quite dark.
The smoke looked bottom-heavy so I decided to add it into the top section of the illustration as well. I made it wavy and stylised so it would lead the viewers eye towards the castle (again). Sophie is outlined and defined but so far down in the bottom right corner that the golden ratio still makes the castle is the main focus. Sophie helps with the sense of scale; the colours of her clothes are similar to the ones in the castle.
The image looked a bit too purple for my liking and the shapes did not feel as defined as I wanted them to be. I decided to keep the darker areas purple but re-painted a lot of areas blue and turquoise. The blue also helped the pink highlights stand out more. I wanted the castle to blend in more with the night sky.
That's it! This is the final image.
Hope you liked seeing a bit more about how it was made.