Tag Archives: fantasy

The Sidhe

Monrachy - Sidhe thumbnails

It’s been a wee while since I’ve posted anything, thought it was about time to share some stuff I’d been working on. These are some more concept sketches for Oliver Piotrowski for his online game Monarchy. I’d previously designed some vampires characters.

These characters are elven in design, and very magic oriented. I wanted to stay away from the usual clothing that elves are depicted with in a bid to make their appearance look a bit more unique. I felt my initial attempts made them a little too druidic looking, so I decided to try out a more ’emo’ feel to them. I’d also played around with giving them tattoos and markings with a triangular theme, but again I thought this made them a little too scholarly. Instead I kept the triangle theme and adapted it into their outfits, to try to give them a little consistency in their clothing.

There are five troop types in total, and I’ve already inked up three, so I’ll wait until I’ve finished the other two before I post them up.

Sketch Dump #2

I’m not getting as much time as I’d like to get any finished drawings done these days, between one thing and another, but still I’m still managing to get a few sketches done here and there. Here’s a few randoms from my Moleskin.

Vampires of Tonan concepts

Here are the current set of Vampire concepts for Table Warfare for the online browser game at Monarchy.com as per my previous posts. At some stage in the not too distant future, these will be used as reference for some miniature character sculpts, I’m pretty very excited to see that happen.

There’s a few tweaks to some of the costumes partly because I didn’t like some of the designs and partly because I don’t think they were done very well! Really like the way these have progressed and I’m pretty pleased with how they’re looking now.

Hexumi – Page 2

Here’s pencils and inks for page 2 of the Hexumi comic for Conflicting Kingdoms. The red ink is some amendments I made to the pencils after I’d scanned it into Photoshop to see how it would look (I really only scan the pencils to have a record of them before I ink them with the G-pen). Again, it’s a slow process with not much spare time, but the colouring is going a bit quicker now, so I’ll just keep plugging away at it.

Painting a Minotaur: Part 3

Woohoo, at last, here’s the third and final part of the Minotaur painting. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, although I still think I’d have liked to work some more on his face. I also like how the background looks, it really helps to give it a lot of depth. I’ve spent approximately 7 hours on the whole thing. Here’s the final image, let me know what you think…


Painting a Minotaur: Part 2

Here’s part 2 of the Minotaur timelapse. I was hoping there would only be two parts, but I really got sucked into it. One good thing is that I’ll be able to see exactly how long I’ve spent on this from my screen recordings. I’m guessing Part 3 will be the last.

Painting a Minotaur: Part 1

I’ve been doing a few more rough sketches for Conflicting Kingdoms and I’ve been trying to settle on a few designs for minotaurs which will be included in some of the paintings. Some of the other artists have already done a lot of the minotaur cards, I always like to try to get a new creature design right before I start incorporating them into a full-blown illo. Then I decided to take one of them a bit further and paint him up, since I hadn’t done any painting for a wee while. I’m still working on it, but here’s Part 1 of the time-lapse. Keep an eye open for Part 2.

Colouring the Light – Part 3

Once you have the grayscale values done, it’s time to move on to the colouring. You still want to keep it flexible and loose at this stage, to make it easier for quick decisions-making.
Taking your grayscale from the previous stage, pull your blacks down to about 70% using Levels. Then create a new layer on top and set it to Multiply. When you start painting on this layer with colour it will darken what’s below, so pulling the blacks down in the previous step will counter this. Switch your brush to hard round with no pressure and start colouring. Just work in solid, flat colours for now, it will make them easier to change, since you’ll be able to Magic Wand a block of colour. This might take a bit of getting used to getting the colours right, but just play around and you’ll get the hang of it.


I’m not going to go into colour theory here, that’s a whole other set of blog posts and there’s plenty of them around. Work individually on each character and try not to let one influence the other, and play around with skin tones. Even if a colour isn’t working on one character, you can always try it on another. It also helps to keep some coordination within the colour palette for each character if you can.

Once you’re done with the basic colours, you can move on to the final stage of highlighting. Add another layer on top and switch the layer mode to Lighten. You should be able to colour pick beneath where you want to highlight, pull up the lightness and saturation of your picked colour and start painting. Work over the characters, you’ve already added the highlights at the value stage so this shouldn’t take too long. Try adding in a bit of complimentary light to the rim on one side to imply a secondary light source, just to punch the characters out a little more.
You could leave that as the final state but I’ve gone a little further and added a Normal layer and just painted over some areas to blend them in a little better and tidy it all up. I also added in a Colour layer to tweak some of the colours here and there, like the flames coming from the Sorceress’ hands. Then I added a Colour Dodge layer and lightly painted over some of the highlights to bring out more contrast. I also worked over some of the metal areas on that same layer, like the swords and armour, since the Colour Dodge method is great for adding sheen for these types of material.

Once you’re all done, hey presto! You should have a decent set of characters for your portfolio!

Later on, I’ll take two or three of these designs and work them up to a more polished character design with side and back views.

If you have any questions, or even any tips to add to this just pop them in the comments below.

Part One – Embrace the Shadow

Part Two – Lighting the Shadows

Lighting the Shadows – Part 2

Taking the silhouettes and scanning them into Photoshop, you can start working on adding some depth. It is more obvious on some of the silhouettes what type of character they will end up as, but you shouldn’t be afraid to completely change them if an idea comes up, just keep doodling and sculpting it into something you think works. What you shouldn’t do is use reference of any kind at this point, it all has to be loose and come straight from your head, just rely solely on your imagination.

The biggest advantage of working with silhouettes is that you haven’t invested too much time with them yet, so there’s no need to get precious about them. If you compare the original scan you can see I drastically changed the complete design of the sorceress while still keeping the same basic pose. What you also should do at this point though, is use the opportunity to fix any proportion issues.

I just used a round hard brush with pressure set to Opacity and switched back and forward between various sizes. Don’t worry about any textured brushes, just concentrate on filling out the characters and getting your values right. The other thing you should do at this stage is to pull the black of the image down to 50% gray, this will give you the scope to add both highlights and shadow to the figures.

PS POWERUSER TIPS:
d key – Switches the Foreground and Background to black and white respectively.
x key – Toggles the Foreground and Background colours.

Here’s a few stages with a couple of the figures to show you what I mean.

Sorceress silhouette: Click to enlarge

Cowboy silhouette: Click to enlarge

And here is the final set. I’ve given them all names to make them easier to identify, and also to help me remember what direction I want to push them to the finished stage. Next up is colouring.

Click to enlarge

Part One – Embrace the Shadow

Part Three – Colouring the Light

Conflicting Kingdoms Set 6

Here’s the final set of cards for now, I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks from them while I get a few other things sorted out, and maybe work on a couple of other things. This set finishes the Konk themed, all five are location cards: a training dojo, a bridge over the waterfall, the air shrine, the Konk’s ‘canteen’, and finally the Konk’s treehouse market. The market was probably my most complicated and detailed card I’ve done, it was a tricky one to plan out.
I first did a couple of colour sketches to figure out the composition and settled on this:

After that I decided to go and build a rough primitive version in 3D, to help me both with the perspective and the lighting and shadows:

I’ve only tried this method once before, but it was a big help with getting the artwork finished quickly and on time, and I was really pleased with how it turned out.
Really looking forward to seeing these printed and part of the deck.

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