I first heard of The Rookies last year, when some classmates of mine were posting their entries on social media and was determined to enter this year after I completed my coursework and demo reel at Gnomon School. The first piece I knew I would enter was this very one, and I’m super excited that The Rookies gave me this opportunity to discuss it with their viewers!
When I was a kid, my sister and I would engage in Street Fighter battles on our SNES or later Playstation, fighting for hours until our thumbs were raw and too sore to continue. I loved the ever-evolving character roster, but when she debuted, I couldn’t think of a cooler character than Street Fighter’s Rose.
Armed with scarves like lightning bolts, Rose was Italian, and a fortune-teller (I’m half-Italian, though sadly NOT a martial mystic) and she quickly became a favorite. Recently, I wanted to depict my take on her with more detail and realism, while paying homage to her original design.
Stylized in that Capcom way, Rose often had massive shoulders, crazy hair, and let’s not forget those giant Minnie Mouse pumps! The project also gave me the chance to practice adding sparkly effects and a boat-load of rim lighting, plus painting a likeness. I couldn’t think of someone I’d rather see as Rose than the stunningly beautiful Italian actress and Bond girl, Monica Bellucci. Here’s how I made her come to life
Fighting for hours until our thumbs were raw and too sore to continue
Not only did I need good reference for Monica’s gorgeous face, but I also needed to do some research and find a scene in which I’d like to imagine her fighting. Faithful to the game, it needed to be somewhere that tied in with her heritage, and after googling lots of piazzas and palazzos, I finally settled on the quite famous Piazza San Marco in Venice with lots of fun elements to paint.
I started with a middle gray value for my background and laid in a sketch to form the basis of my character. I sketched in her figure before adding clothes to it, so I could understand the forms and get a good foundation I wouldn’t need to keep correcting later, and I stick to gray values before attempting color.
Painting from reference, I knew I wanted to depict the piazza at night with a dramatic sky. The main focus of the piece needed to remain the character and a night scene allowed me to simplify and silhouette the architecture, so Rose wasn’t lost in all the glorious Renaissance details, with those quaint street lamps serving as an excellent contrast. After painting in the buildings, I used a dark blue layer on Screen mode to tone everything, then laid in the colors of my sky with a chalky brush.
Another hugely important thing to remember is atmospheric dispersion
To push the depth of the environment, I used a mask and added some fog between the midground and background. Another hugely important thing to remember is atmospheric dispersion, or elements in the background tend to lose contrast, so crunching down distant dark values will make your foreground elements pop.
Likeness & detail
My first pass at painting her face resembled the actress vaguely enough, but to nail a likeness, I had to be patient and pay attention to the spatial relationships between features. One of my favorite techniques to harmonize my color palette is to fill the entire canvas with a color set to Overlay or Soft Light at a low opacity.
Another simple way of leading your viewer’s eye is to vignette the piece by darkening the corners or less important elements on a Multiply layer.
Using some fun sparkle and effects brushes I’ve collected over the years, I started designing Rose’s magic, and used the warp tool to make them swirl around her both above and below the character layers. When painting mine, I found it hugely helpful to reference my favorite artists to see how they handled rim lighting.
Thank you for viewing my tutorial, and I hope you found it helpful!