I wanted to share some steps of creating a environment concept with a bit of background story.
Main purpose of this painting was to design an interesting world, which is a bit similiar to our home planet. The story I came up with goes something like this: World of Lightning was a planet with an Earth like atmosphere. There were lots of jungle forests, but an alien civilization arrived and started abusing rare ore, which contained electric power. In their greed they have started overusing this rare ore, so nowadays ligtning storms are raging around the planet and forests are becoming deserts and wastelands.
First I start off with grayscale sketch, where I define basic composition, perspective, shapes and design elements. Everything is extremley rough but main shapes are already visible. Second step is to find some reference images and photo textures to add some visual noise, from which is for me faster and easier to paint. But almost all parts of phototextures end up completely covered with paint and are not visible any more in the final painting. I also define basic color pallet and overall mood.
When all this is established I continue with painting details. At this stage I might still tweak some design elements, which doesn’t work well. Up to final stage I don’t use any other brush than basic round brush set to pen pressure. When everything is pretty much finished I spice up painitng with some custom brushes for clouds, grass, leaves and branches. For defining architectural and manmade elements I use lasso tool, which enables me to make nice clean lines.
In the end when painting part is finished, I add some textures with overlay blending mode to big areas and adjust colors and values with Photoshop edit options, add signature and call it done.