Over the past few months, I've been creating and coloring many of the monsters of Orbis for a person project. Here's one of the finished character illustrations. By spending more time in photoshop, my digital skills have grown since September. Learning more color theory, harmonIous color palettes and experimenting has a major part of this project. It's one thing to read about color theory and another to put it in action. I hope by the end of January/ early February to have 50 inked and colored monsters to share as a cohesive work. Time to pull out the paper, grab a pencil, and get drawing.
Lately I've been working in photoshop more then usual to improve my digital skills as well as color theory. Over the past 2 weeks, I've colored a large amount of character drawings and about half way done with my new full illustration. The other night while sketching, I drew an interesting Dwarf character that I knew I had to bring to life as a colored design. I created a step by step process tutorial of each major step that went into creating the final illustration.
Here's the final image on it's own.
Overall I'm pleased with how the paladin looks in the end and I learned new ways of approaching color with this piece. Now to take a similar approach into my next illustration.
Haven't done a process post in a while, and don't think I've ever shown how I digitally color. Starting a design or illustration always starts in a sketchbook or on random straps of paper. The Fungus Behemoth started a while back in my last sketchbook.
I like to sketch in ball point pen, the one thing that always bothered me about pencil is that it smudged everywhere and made a huge mess and I always forgot a pencil sharpener when I needed it. Ball point pens are usually easy to find, even if I forget to bring a pen with me. I start out sketching in red pen then add details and clean up the shapes with black. There's a small sketch of the Fungus Behemoth on the left of a pose and design. Then I experimented with what the face should look like. And in the corner of the page is a little Brownie randomly crashing the party.
Then I'll take the ideas I like, sketch the design and ink it. I always ink with a brush, sometimes I'll use a pen for some details but not often. Like I've said in other posts, FW ink is what I use and will always use. Watery Ink is not my thing.
Next, I scan the ink drawing. I have a Scan Express Pro scanner, it can scan up to an 11 by 17 drawing, which is nice so I don't have to stitch multiple scans together saving time. I'll clean up any random ink and pencil that is scanned before I start coloring. Using multiple layers in folders, I create the base for the piece.
Most of the time, I have an idea of the kind of color palette. But I like to experiment before I settle on the base colors for a piece. Since the Fungus Behemoth lives in swampy forests, it helped flesh out the colors. I try not to use to many colors so it doesn't look like a box of crayons threw up on my drawing, limited colors are better (for me).
After settling on base colors, I start to render the monster. Most people say render as in adding layers of value to create a more realistic look. For me, I am doing the same but not in an ultra rendered way of smooth gradients, more graphically for my work.
Laying in the shadows can be easy sometimes and challenging most times. Adding black to the base color does not create interesting shadows, shadows are color, light is a spectrum, and just because I don't render photo realistic does not mean I don't take the physics of light into account. On the top layer, I'll draw lines that show where the light is coming. After laying in the shadows and experimenting with colors for the shadows, I place color on the base that the creature stands on and add a cast shadow.
Currently I am juggling a few monsters in photoshop at various stages for a personal project in the works. The Fungus Behemoth is a part of it as well. But more on the personal project another day.
Another Bugbear for Monster Monday. I continued with experimenting with adding texture to my ink drawings and have been getting positive results. The Bugbear is a part of a small book that I am creating for promotions to send to Art directors. It's a small accordion book of black and white drawings of monster. On instagram I post a dummy version of the book that helped me decide what changes to add to the final version of the book. The dummy is a little to big for the envelopes I purchased and stronger glue to hold it all together. With the next few days off, I'll be formatting and being the production of my book.
A while back I posted the ink drawing of tihs Forest elemental. I began to digitally color the piece a few months ago and it sat in my work in progress folder. I decided to finish the character as a way to practice digital coloring since I want to continue to improve. Having a Work in Progress folder is helpful, when I feel stumped on a project; I'll search the folder and work on the piece while thinking of how to solve a problem on the other piece. And this helped me finish a new illustration I created for the Art Order challenge that I'll be posting this week.
This week's monster is a Hobgoblin based off of a similar design I created a month back inspired by AD&D. The design follows more classic idea of pig nosed orcs and goblins with a nonstandard nose. In this case a bat nose. These goblins live in dark caves and have larger ears to hear better down the tunnel systems. They also can see better in the dark then other goblins. In the caves the goblins mine for different metals to create armor and use rocks to create weapons. The bat nose goblins are rare and are only seen if one ventures into the tunnels they inhabit.
Late Night Monster Monday, the past few days have been busy between working shifts at work and creating new drawings. The last post was a Hobgoblin and decided to draw a Bugbear that would match. Added similar textures like the other piece. So far, I like adding more texture then normally. I was browsing notes from Illuxcon last year and was reading over the portfolio review notes from Chris Seaman. He talked about adding texture and pattern, which I am applying to my drawings. The textures also look good when I am coloring in photoshop. I prefer to create the texture with line then adding textures digitally. Next I plan to draw a goblin to match the hobgoblin and bugbear.
Next week I will continue with more requests, still working out some anatomy and design on creatures.
Yesterday after I got home from work, I was checking out twitter to see that Sketch Dailies topic was Hobgoblin. I haven't drawn a Hobgoblin since the ink drawing that was published in Dungeons and Dragons: Against the Slave Lords book. This piece became a nice break from working on larger pieces. Tony DiTerlizzi's D&D work are some of my favorite illustrations and I was inspired by his ink drawings to work on adding more texture to my own work. So far I liked the results of playing with adding texture and pattern to my work.
While cleaning my room recently I found a folder that contained all the character sheets from Dungeon and Dragons' campaigns from college. After reading over some of the sheets I found my character sheet for Zorn, my warforge knight. Zorn had an interesting background before the campaign started. Zorn was really Ellen Claxton, a knight of the realm. She was known for her fierce nature on the battle field and great leadership. Even with her great skills, Ellen was killed in a battle against the army of Hel (demons, skeletons, orcs, and a Wyvern) leaving their kingdom in the volcanic lands. She became separated from her battalion leaving her to fight her way back to her allies. A Wyvern blocked her path and the two faced off. After an exhausting battle, the Wyvern pinned Ellen down to the ground killing her. When the battle was over and the army of Hel retreated back to their land, a necromancer of Hel stored the soul of Ellen in a bottle. At the necromancer's lair he built a mechanical metal suit to place the soul in. When the suit came to life, Ellen gained control counteracting the curse place upon it. And killed the necromancer leaving to return to her knightly duties.
I drew the original drawing of Zorn during the campaign but after reading the sheet decided to redraw the character. I cleaned up the design making the warforge out of mostly armor pieces and added pops of color so it wouldn't be some dark. Her legendary sword made of meteorite is in the design though she has fought with other blades. The two pipes on her back help from the mechanical armor from over heating. Over all, I am pleased with the color palette as well as the design. If you are interested in having your character drawn, email me at PaigeConnellyIllustration@gmail.com for a price quotes.
It's the last day of Goblin Week and I've finished this drawing in the last hour. Goblin Week is a great challenge in world building a goblin society. I didn't let myself to create concepts until Goblin Week started, making each a day a new problem to solve in drawing and writing. It really helped me just throw down any ideas I had in my sketchbook and weed out the best. There are many pages of sketches (maybe I'll do a post of Goblin Week Concepts).
For the last image of The Goblin Mining Company is a sad, beat up Goblin taking a break. Working in the mines is not always an enjoyable time, its hard labor and it doesn't always pay off in finding crystals. Goblins can get defeated when weeks or months go by with out physically finding anything. And this Goblin is wishing to be at home with a bowl of rat stew in his favorite arm chair.
The Goblin Mining Company owns many caves in a wide area of Orbis. Not all caves are active at the same time. To protect the cave from being mined before the company has a chance to, goblin guards are set up at the locations to protect the property. A watch tower is constructed at the mouth of the cave as well as a wooden gate; Two guards at the gate and three in the watch tower. The goblins that work at the sites are sword for hires, meaning they are trained in combat but don't owe allegiance to a person of power. The company pays the hires as well as provides them with food and a place to live with in the watch tower. Most of the time, there isn't anyone trying to enter the cave with out permission from the company. But there have been times of slaying thieves and competitor companies spies.
Goblin Week continues with a Goblin Climber to add to the Goblin Mining Company.
Some times mining crystals takes Goblins' to scale down water eroded holes to collect crystals. Often a Goblin will use rope and a harness to get down to the bottom with out breaking their necks. Though ropes have snapped in the past and goblins end up stuck at the bottom of the trench with no way out. Another rope line is scaled down to the goblin with a bucket to place the crystals in and raised continuously raised and lowered. A standard axe is used to remove the crystals in large junks and separated at the surface or brought out of the cave to be removed by a jeweler.
Next Goblin for the Goblin Mining Company is a crystal collector. Crystal collectors wander around the caves recently minded to pick up crystals to be transported to the carts to be brought out of the caves. These Goblins carry small pick axes to gently remove the crystals from the rocks and try to keep the crystals in the quality state. They place the crystals in their packs and walk back to the rails, where the carts are ready to transport the crystals out of the cave to the jewelers.
I started to flat the piece out in photoshop and have to make some adjustments to some of the colors, then render it. I plan on coloring all the pieces for Goblin Week, it just may not be possible with the other work I need to get done.
Today is the first day of Goblin Week on Tumblr and Twitter. Started last year by comic artist Evan Dahm (Rice-boy.com) as a week to world build using goblins. The theme that links all of the goblins I'm going to draw is crystal mining.
The first goblin in the series is a basic miner. They are the ones chipping away at the cave walls to harvest the crystals. Crystals are the main source of trade income for goblins. They trade with other races since the crystals hold magical properties and are located in only a few known places, which happen to be mined by either goblins or dwarves. The goblins have pale skin since they spend a lot of time in the darkness. The hard hats and goggles are used to help protect their heads and eyes from falling rocks. Many goblins have been knocked out and even killed by falling rock. Sometimes they use their scarf to cover their mouth from dust so they don't breath it in. The clothing they wear is different to each goblin, though many prefer to wear overalls. Though goblins often get a bad reputation for being wild and crazy, many people consider the mining goblins to be hard working and easy to trade with.
First Monster Monday of the new year.
I haven't drawn a Gnoll is maybe 2 years. It's not a creature I often think about, but I was browsing through the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual 4.0 edition and thought it was time to draw a Gnoll again. Instead of being more hyena like I made it look more wolfish, though a hyena crest was added to the gnoll's back. Added some armor and gave the gnoll a dagger, gnolls tend to not have the best armor and tools since weapon smithing isn't an important part of their life.
That's it for Monster Monday. This week I will post the last illustration I made for my undergrad.
Last Monster Monday of 2013, since I started Monster Monday in February I've only missed 2 Mondays. That was mostly due to the fact that my thesis was taking up my time. Missing 2 out of how many weeks is pretty good and I hope to create a new monster for every Monday of 2014!
This week I created an orc. I'm entering it to be included in a zine, but the zine version has gray values, rendered digitally. I usually have trouble getting started on an orc drawing because it always starts out a little too goblinish. But this time I started out bulkier so I wouldn't run into that problem. To make this orc different from my other ones, this guy has fur armor of a barbarian. Hopefully, this will make it to print.
Last month I created 2 spot illustrations to include in my portfolio. Drawing objects can have as much character as a figure and it's interesting to give objects there own personalty.
The first spot is a Alchemist's potion brewer. This idea was one of the first concepts I created in my sketchbook. The idea was to create 2 spot illustrations that played with light. This spot has two light sources, one being the fire at the bottom and the fire creating the glow on the bottle. I was taught new techniques that I used to create the glow in the illustration and will be really helpful for future images with creating interesting light source. This was a fun piece to draw and was helpful in to continuing my improvement in creating digital work.
The other spot I created was the dagger struck through the table. I like to draw super drippy candles, there almost like little sculptures created by the heat and not purposely controlled. The candle is the main light source that creates the shadow on the dagger. The same technique that I used to create the glow in the potion was used again, but taken to the next level by using multiple colors. I didn't want to go with boring colors on the dagger so I used the yellow, orange, and blue to add character. This piece turned out better then I could have imagined and I'm glad to have 2 more digital pieces to add to my portfolio.
This week I drew an orc. I found this green paper and was inspired to create an orc. It's interesting how a color can flash an idea in my head. I created this piece due to the excitement of Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. Though I had mixed feelings of the film, I have my own visual vocabulary that I associate with the Hobbit and the movies won't change that. The drawing came together pretty easily, sketched the piece out during a lecture, inked it between classes, and added whites while waiting for class to start. I'll be creating more drawings on the bright color paper in the future.
In other news, in January I will be open for personal character commissions on toned paper. This pieces are for non-comerial use, meaning for personal display only (hanging the original piece in home) and can not be used for publication. If you are interested in an already created piece displayed on the blog, they will be available as well. Paypal will be the only way to purchase an original drawing or created piece.
This week I drew an Owl Bear that was a request from twitter. Owl Bears are from Dungeons and Dragons and have been included in other games as well. For some reason, I never faced an Owl Bear in any D&D adventures, usually it was goblins or huge monsters. And I miss not being able to play D&D weekly, but I am hoping with the new gaming/comic store down the street will have games going on.
Any way, for my Owl Bear, I played with more of the owl aspect instead of drawing a bear then stick an owl face on it. For the arms I added feathers and gave the body a feather like feeling. The claws are similar to a bear and the head is obviously influenced by an owl, it is an owl...bear.... The head has 'horns' are like a horned owl and a larger beak then a normal owl. The beak was inspired by eagles.
I think the redesign is interesting and might even take my owl design into a finished spot illustration for a monster manual type book for RPGs.
This week's Monster Monday is a Bat Nosed Imp. The Bat Nosed Imp lives in dark caves and dungeons, it can see clearly in the dark and rarely leaves before sun down. They tend to gather in groups for safety while sleeping and hunt in a pack to take down larger pray. These Imps have been known to take down large birds and clean it to the bone.
I rushed on adding the whites which resulted in the paper buckling, I am once again reminded to have patience in the creation of a drawing. A good reminder to have in the illustration world and life in general. Though I do have to admit, watercolor has taught me the most of patience as well as juggling multiple pieces at a time (more like 24 illustrations for a book and having to finish 1 every day for a month... thesis)
I'll have new work to show this week so look out for it.