When I was requested to develop a custom cover for the new issue of the Creativ Magazine, the first thing I thought was that it should be something iconic with a lot of fresh air around the main figure. The first idea was to create a face emerging from fire and lava, showing power and awakening. But soon I moved on into the idea of depicting what the magazine is actually all about: creativity.
As far as I remember, I have never done any illustration about art or creativity, so this became such a nice challenge for myself to do something vivid, colorful and inspiring.
From the first sketches to the final production the composition and elements stood quite much the same, excepting that, at first, the piece was going to be called "The Artist" and inside the giant head there was going to be a mountain of color with a guy on top, rather sketching in a notebook or painting on a canvas. When assembling everything digitally, I noticed that the end result would look a bit obvious for my taste, so I switched that to a classic Greek statue depicting a muse.
Since my time was short to arrange a photo session, I had to model and render the head in 3D, trying a relaxed, peaceful expression. Once exported to Photoshop, and knowing that the background would remain plain blue or slightly cloudy, I started to develop all the paint splatters coming from the head to define the main composition, movement and direction, so I would be able to define the rhythm of the image later on adding all the tiny details orbiting around the head.
Most of these elements are photographs, but some are hand-painted or rendered in 3D. They are carefully placed all over the direction of the head, so I could be able to show an arranged chaos (which, from my point of view, is what art is all about), with the golden, muse statue presiding this symphony of colors and leading the direction of the head. I placed a floating eye on top of her head (instead of placing it in the main head's forehead) as a sort of a crown, depicting the sense of intuition we artists serve from sometimes.
When most of the things were on place, it began the less fun part of the development, which was correcting all the lights and color to create something homogeneous, as well as refining all layers' masking (which was a lengthy task considering the amount of elements featured in the illustration).
For finishing, I created the overall post-production using diffuse HDR toning, fixing the background and adjusting the midtones with adjustments layers and color difference patinas to get the balanced color range I was aiming for, and that was all!