Big Burn WIP

This past Spring I read The Big Burn, by Timothy Egan, about the beginnings of the Forest Service  by Roosevelt and Pinchot and the fire of 1910 that took out millions of acres of forest land in Idaho and surrounding states.  It was quite a read and I totally recommend it.  Hundreds of railroad workers, miners and settles died in the fire.  The first hand accounts and descriptions pieced together by Egan burned a vision of the incident in my mind.   I’ve played with some thumbnail sketches and quick color comps before I finally decided to devote some tie to the painting.  I’m creating in in Photoshop, in hopes of becoming a better digital painter.  Here are some of the steps

original design done in B&W.  By using strong diagonals, I wanted to create a sense of drama.  Once Violet saw it and thought it looked scary, I new the design was working.

Here I started adding more detail.  Some people had to resort to climbing into mine shafts risking suffocation while others scrambled into shallow rivers during the drought that occurred over the summer.  Winds blew upwards of 100 mph and trees were falling all around.

I’m working in color now, slowly filling in more details.  I found no reference of the characters scrambling to get into the water so I shot some video reference of myself.  We’ll see how that turns out.  I still have a long ways to go.  Hopefully I can finish it up soon.  I’m open to critique if anyone wants to offer some.