I'm writing this post with a rather bittersweet feeling, because I'm now officially off the Trade Frontiers Project. With me back on Prison Architect there our schedules just didn't work out but I wish Chris Brind and co. the best for their game and I'll make sure to post about their Kickstarter project once it's announced. I had a lot of fun with this piece, as surprisingly it's one of the few science fiction artworks that I've ever made. I was thinking about turning this into a tutorial piece but frankly I'm just too lazy to write a decent tutorial so I'll just go step by step and talk about my thought process along the way.
This was the first rough sketch I made based on the large thumbnail from the previous post.
I colored the original sketch blue to make it easier to trace over it with cleaner lines.
I make two important changes here. I noticed that the sizes of my images (namely the signal officer and the docking ship, did not help convey a sense of perspective and size very well. I moved the officer to the center and enlarged him and made the ship a little smaller as well to highlight the distance between them.
Laid down flat colors.
Painted some texturing.
More texturing, and some shadows. Getting near the end here.
Final image. The last big change I made here was the decision to turn the yellowish planet into a blue one. Firstly because yellow heavenly body is too commonly thought of as being a sun, but also because the warm yellow color was very eye catching and there was a lot of tension between it and the signal officer. by turning the planet blue the eye naturally gravitates towards the officer, then diagonally upward towards the ship and the planet behind it. I also pushed the second ship farther back into the background to furhter highlight the distance between the objects in the image. And that's it! You can see a larger sized image at the start of this post, hope someone finds this useful!