I decided to recreate Madonna by Edvard Munch as an experiment (as much for fun as for the end result) using photographs, brushes and actions in Photoshop.
First step was to identify a good version on which to base the concept, so I went to my book by John Boulton Smith and photographed the print. In the end, I also used another version which had more blue in it to change the colours and tone in the final background, but this wasn’t strictly necessary, more a matter of aesthetics than anything else as the blues in the version below are subdued and arguably too dark.
In Photoshop, I used the Gaussian blur around 140 to completely blur the details, yet retain the colour and the red halo effect in particular.
Then I used a brush I made (edit/define brush preset) from another photo of a cathedral arch and overlaid the brush on the blurred layers of the original paintings.
To accentuate the red halo, I reused the original photo of the painting with less blur and created another layer along with another brush made from skeletal trees.
I worked with Tinkerbella (@tinkfacerh on Instagram) in my studio and isolated her from the background in Photoshop. The hair is a little untidy from the isolation, but given the backdrop that will be used, it isn’t as bad as it looks. Normally, I would painstakingly edit the hair, but hey, if it’s not necessary, then I won’t. I used a mask to erase some of the wilder strands that got frizzed during isolation – you can see the result in the final image.
Then I added Tink as a layer over the background with a clipping mask to improve levels:
There is a mismatch between the tonality of the background and the skin, so once again, I used the blurred layer of the painting and set it as a clipping mask using the colour blending option. This is a very useful method of blending tones between composite components.
It’s getting there. Still not fully convinced about the hair though! So I added a mask and tidied it up a little. Finally, I ran it through Color Efex Pro 4 using a ‘recipe’ I created.
For another version, I used the graphic pen filter in Photoshop and added grain to see if a sketch type effect would work:
I always keep the PSD file with all the layers to allow me to make alterations with minimum disruption. If I had merged all the layers and discarded the PSD, I would have to redo a lot of work. I was able to tidy up the hair with a minimum amount of effort.