The Curse of Monkey Island – Quicksand part 3: paint and finish

I continued painting my sketch with a first layer for every surface, with the end result being this:

Every color is kinda bright, so there’s a lot of contrast missing..when searching for some background on the original Monkey Island art, I came across a great presentation by Bill Tiller, the lead background artist Monkey Island 3:  How_to_Draw_Monkeys_the_LucasArts_Way.pdf.

Some good quotes:

Use extreme values and contrast to draw the eye to toward the focal point of the action. This will highlight the area in the room that is most important for the player.

Use contrasting and varied shapes in background compositions.
Various shapes next to each other at odd angles are more interesting than like shapes all in a row.

Define the shapes of your objects by positioning them in front of one another, posing them to create positive and negative space and then, when rendering them, use contrasting shades to distinguish one from the other.

The site has some more cool tutorials and is worth checking out, even though it hasn’t been updated in over a decade:

I don’t think I achieved the perfect contrast in my final picture, but the end result is still kinda nice:

When comparing to the original, it’s good to notice that the original has a really warm tone; the sand and trees are all a kind of red/yellow, with cool blues and purples used for shadow. I tried replicating this effect, but I think my colors aren’t dark/yellow enough.

Still, this was a fun project and gave me a good insight into the philosophy of the original artist.

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