The following Rihanna art piece was created by me Kenal Louis, an illustrator and visual artist based in the Midwest. The artwork is part of a royalty series I begin creating in 2016.
Project Duration: 56 hours 31 minutes
The Thought Process Behind The Rihanna Art Illustration
Where do I begin? At the start of 2016, I decide to create a series of illustrations of entertainers, public figures I admire, and local models that I’ve worked with. For a while, I had in the back of my mind to create an illustration based on Rihanna. It wasn’t until the middle of September when an idea came to mind; it came naturally. Once the idea was in my head, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to portray Rihanna.
The Rihanna Sketch Drawing
Below you will find the sketch drawing I created of the Rihanna art piece as a guide for what I envisioned. Of course, I had ideas that came along as I produced the artwork and ideas that I scratched out completely.
In the sketch, you will notice elements that you do not see in the final complete illustration at the bottom of the page.
Creating The Rihanna Art Piece Along With Others
All of the illustrations thus far in the royalty art series have required research on each of the individuals I illustrated. As a fan of Rihanna’s music as well as her image I knew that she was an island girl who loves carnivals. With this in mind, I decided to create her as the center focus with carnival wings surrounded by gold.
Here are four beauties I also created illustrations of; Zendaya, Willow Smith, SZA, and Zoe Kravitz.
The Rihanna Art Piece From 2011
In 2011 I created the following Rihanna drawing. At the time I was extremely pleased with the artwork because it was not something I was capable of doing that well. I believed this was my best celebrity portrait, but I have evolved as an artist since then. The latest artwork I produced of the beauty is a testament to that.
The Rihanna Art Illustration Digital Painting Process
From the sketch, I begin to apply the base colors I wanted to focus on immediately. I thought about painting the wings white, but progressively as I worked on the project more ideas came to mind. In the following image, you will also notice I had the rough sketches of the Pisces fish in purple as well as yellow. This also changed once I got to the point where I started working on the fish for the illustration.
Rihanna Art Illustration Details
All of the illustrations that I’ve composed and produced for the series so far are also representational to each subjects Zodiac; this is one of the main reasons I place them in the foreground with the galaxy and star in the background. Each artwork is unique in their ways due to color selection, lighting and the components that make up the artwork.
Some of the pieces include things that I’ve discovered about the subjects. For the Rihanna art piece, it is the wings that I gave her that makes this artwork stand apart from the other illustrations I’ve created.
From Base Color To Value
After the based colors were applied, I begin to work on the shadows as well as highlights for the figure. The face took roughly 11 hours to work on. It must be noted that this project took the longest amount of time to create because I wanted it to be unique truly as well as the best it could be. All of all the project’s duration was 56 hours and 31 minutes in production.
All About The Details
Understanding value and applying value when dealing with portraiture is a major key factor in getting the facial expression of a subject right. For the artwork, I have to use several images and angles to see how Rihanna’s lips, eyes, and nose were shaped. At first, I believe I had her chin a bit more round than it was. Later, I would revise her chin to have it a bit more accurate.
I also challenged myself to push in the detail work of this illustration. I did something with the skin that I had not done in the previous art pieces from the royalty art series. Seriously, you can even see some of the tiny chin hairs and faint microscopic hairs around the nose.
With my experience doing beauty photography as well as photo retouching I learned that is imperative to give your eyes a rest after sitting in front of a computer screen working on something for hours. This is exactly what I ended up doing for this project because I did not want to rush the creative process, which took a course of 2 weeks to complete.
Parts of the Rihanna Digital Painting Elements
The red and blue fish were inspired by the concept of the “red and blue pill” from The Matrix; The red and blue bill, which signified balance and the personality or character traits of the Pisces; one of the traits being “artistic.” Each fish I also created to be uncommon and abnormal visually because I see Rihanna as an attractive figure and she is a rebellious beauty. The idea of a fish having a third eye symbolizes “intuition,” which is also a trait Pisces are said to have. With accents of gold, I wanted to emphasize the luxurious aspect of the entire project. Although Rihanna in this illustration is already dressed in gold as well as surrounded by it, I thought the Zodiac fish in this piece should also carry something as rich and yet materialistic as gold.
I could write an essay describing the thought process behind the blue fish, but I will leave the rest to your interpretation. You can click on the images below to the see the fish in detail.
Elements in The Rihanna Art Piece
Much of black culture is lost, and much was never cared for to be preserved. I’ve never traveled to the motherland of Africa, but being born in the Caribbean I know that much of the art culture in the islands was inspired by old knowledge black/slave artists. Certainly, their influence came from the countries they were taken from. The masks below represent the mystery as well as the history behind black culture today on an international level.
I think the illustration would be missing a lot if I did not include some elements of music notes somewhere in the Rihanna illustration.
The Final Details From The Rihanna Digital Painting
I took some time to work on the jewelry I designed to put on Rihanna in this artwork. From her armband, bracelet, choker, and necklace. Illustration her henna inspired tattoo was also something I researched and found reference photographs to draw from. After Rihanna had got this tattoo, many of her fans and others who only follow her fashion trends adopted the idea.
Below is the necklace, with the color of the Pisces.
The Complete Rihanna Art Illustration and Digital Painting
Prints of the “Queen Rihanna Illustration” are available on the store page.
Rihanna Art IllustrationPrints Available
Purchase a Queen Rihanna Throw Pillow for $32
Download The Rihanna Art Piece iPhone Wallpaper of the Artwork
Feel free to save the two iPhone of mobile phone Rihanna Wallpapers below to share the image with your friend or other fans of Rihanna.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, thank you for experiencing the journey with me regarding the thought process behind the artwork. Please share the post on your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest account if you have either.
If You Like The Rihanna Art Follow Me on Social Media
I often post steps and sequence shots on the social networks that I use to share my art with the world. You can follow me any or all of the following social media sites if you have an account for them.
Instagram – @kenallouis
Twitter – @kenallouis
Facebook – kenalart
Pinterest – Kenalsworld
If you would like to commission an artwork, please reach out via the contact page and email me regarding your inquiry.