My Digital Rugby Art

A selection of progress shots showing how my digital rugby art is created.

A selection of digital progress shots by Ronnie McInnes Example 1 © 2017.


Recently I have taken on a project to produce a number of new rugby themed digital artworks and those of you who follow my social media pages may be familiar with my progress shots. But I realised there aren't any on my website. So here are some.

The above jpg contains 2 progress shots I saved during the creation of and the final artwork from 3 such pieces.

I usually work from reference photos. These are often provided to me by the customer but I take my own reference shots too. Before I do any digital painting I think it's important to discuss what my customer would like and to make my own suggestions to the customer about what might make the artwork better than the reference/s. Often suggestions include simple things like keeping the background plain or clutter free and sometimes we discuss adding things that aren't in the reference photo/s. Like a limb that had been cropped out for example. Part of this process usually involves me sending edited versions of the reference shots back to the client so they can see what the artwork might resemble. Once we are in agreement (and I have received payment of course) I start the digital painting.

A lot of my digital rugby paintings use the same base layer of grass. I do that to not only keep a similar aesthetic, but to speed up my process a little in each of the rugby paintings. From there I paint block / opaque layers of colour (see the top left progress shot). I try to get the shapes in roughly the right position, but I don't get too concerned about accuracy at this stage. Once I have painted the base layers I can move on to the next step, of adding highlights and shadows, with a higher focus on accuracy. From that point on my digital brush strokes become semi-transparent.

Admittedly, it's hard to give you a complete idea of my entire process using just 3 shots from each of the digital paintings. Most of my digital work is made up from over 20 individual layers of brushstrokes. But what I do is, essentially, I finish painting one layer then I create a new layer on top of that. I use each new layer to adjust the position of lines with fresh brush strokes and to increase colour. This ultimately increases the accuracy in the features. By doing this over and over again I often manage to get both a good likeness to my subject and a good level of realism in the final artwork. If you compare the middle progress shot from each artwork with the other two shots, hopefully you'll see some of those adjustments.

A second selection of progress shots showing how my digital rugby art is created.

A selection of digital progress shots by Ronnie McInnes Example 2 © 2017.


Here are another six progress shots. The set at the top are from art which depicts Scottish rugby legend Gavin Hastings. The first progress shot from that digital painting is a bit different because I wanted to show the work I had done to the background first (the crowd is an important part of the painting). However it was completed in the same way. I blocked in a layer of opaque colours then I added lots of new layers of semi-transparent brushstrokes on top.

That artwork relied on my imagination a lot more than the others and shows some of the late decisions I made. The decisions to paint a pile of sand on the grass and clumps of dirt flying off the boot. Although I have a plan, before I start work, about how the final artwork should look, I sometimes make last minute changes in order to add something a bit extra. Gavin Hastings played rugby at a time when sand was often used as a tee. The clumps of dirt help to add an extra bit of movement and suggests a powerful kick.

With that, my website now has progress shots, for digital paintings at least. To see more progress shots or to leave comments please visit my social media pages (see bottom right of this page). Thanks for reading.

Ronnie