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Tag: digital art

Finnhorse progress



I decided I really ought to add some horse power to my portfolio, since I’ve spend such a long time studying them, but currently had nothing to show for it. This was also a convenient excuse to give digital pencils a try, and to see if I could get traditional looking results with them.


The initial drawing. I knew I was not quite happy with the head, but knew I’d better catch an expression I liked in paint then with line, so I didn’t worry about it too much at this stage.


Initial values laid out with a broad brush.


Threw a gradient map filter on top of the black and white to get a ground of color.


Color worked in. lots of lots of small strokes with digital pencils. Time consuming but strangely satisfying. I was actually really happy with this version, but alas I had decided to paint a finnhorse, and the coloring was just too yellow to pass off as a breed color, even with artistic license. The horse is a bit elegant for a finnhorse too, but since there’s so much variance in the breed between the different uses, I felt I could pass that off better. I do love palominos though!


Did another gradient map to adjust color, and worked on the color until I was happy with it. Added fine detail. Fine tuned background from this to reach the final image.


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Art for Level Pack: Hell

Another illustration I did for iBear last year, for display on a level pack in game.


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Personal Project Roughs

Here are the color roughs for the personal project I introduced a few posts back. The purpose of this stage was to try to find a color scheme that works with all the images and start out rendering, so I can get a handle on which features of the animals I’m happy abstracting and which ones I really want to depict as far as form and color goes. I also refined the drawings, because as usual I can imagine my pictures better in values, so when I start adding values I always end up making changes to an initial drawing.

Next step will be completing final drawings, and starting out experimentation in traditional media. I’m honestly a bit scared of this step. I haven’t used traditional mediums in ages for one. Another problem is that I’m actually very satisfied with my color scheme, and I know I won’t be achieving equal brightness and saturation in traditional mediums. It might still turn out with something I like even better, who knows. It’s kinda silly to be scared, because I will always be able to come back to these roughs and finish the images digitally if I don’t like the result, but fear is rarely rational.


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Personal project thumbnails

Some of you might have been wondering about my sudden urge to study bears (among others) lately, and here it is! I’m taking part in the Lamp Post Guild course “Art of personal work”, that provides a structure and deadlines for completing a personal project. As my other work tends to steamroll my personal ideas, I jumped at the chance to have a deadline structure for trying out something new. I’m completely neurotic about deadlines when other people are concerned, but totally blow them when they are just for myself.

It’s working too, I would have quit so many times already if I wouldn’t have been too embarrassed to not turn in my thumbnails on time!

I had no idea how big a project I set up for myself here, first of all I’m working on a lot more stylized way than normally, which gets some time getting used to. Secondly, actually the only animal I was familiar with beforehand was the horse, and being able to stylize animals requires a lot more complete understanding of them than just doing a realistic image with reference. And as the final nail in the coffin I plan on finishing these in a different way from my usual stuff, using traditional mediums (gasp).

It took 54 pages of sketches to arrive at these drawings, and I dread moving on to the next stage where I’ll be forced pound the different finishing options into submission.

On the positive side once everything is done, doing more work like this should prove pretty straight forward, that’s what I keep thinking about at least. I’m really happy I set this challenge for myself though, I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to push your boundaries and try something completely different!

I’ll update with more finished drawings and my traditional media mess ups as they happen!


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Sproggiwood Promo Art Step by Step

Here are the steps on the Sproggiwood promo art, as you can see it was quite a complicated picture to work with. I started by doing a simple 3 value composition based on a pencil thumbnail, then added simple color and lines on top of that. I think the first steps actually have quite an interesting ink drawing look, it’s feels bad to loose that to go to the painting.

sproggipromo_step0 sproggipromo_step1sproggipromo_step2 sproggipromo_step3sproggipromo_step4 sproggipromo_step5

After I had my greens more lively I went back to photohop and upped the contrast, as I felt I’d lost it. I was originally going for cold light/ warm shadows, but eventually realized I just couldn’t create convincing sunlight that way.

sproggipromo_step6 sproggipromo_step7

As you can see the tree trunk at the lower right was a another trouble point, I REALLY liked how it was coming along, and yup, it was definitely a problem for the composition. Usually things you like too much end up being the problem areas. As it was supposed to be a simple framing element and not a focal point I eventually decided to get rid of it all together and added in some rocks instead.

sproggipromo_step8 sproggipromo_step9sproggipromo_step10 sproggipromo_step11

The slimes ended up being extremely tricky to paint too, for the simple reason that it was incredibly hard to find any reference that would apply. I can hardly buy jelly at the store here, and all the jelly photographers seem to think white background and photographic lightning are the bees knees. I think taking that into account the finished result actually looks surprisingly good.

Another time consuming bit was the pile of leaves, you wouldn’t think that it would be hard to find good reference pictures of them, but for some reason people don’t seem to think that seeing the details on leaves is important. As it was a focal point I really wanted it to look right and interesting, though I suspect I might have overdone that a bit.

sproggipromo_step12 wallpaper_painting12

Here is the supposed final, with the mockup title.


And the actual final after some further tweaks , clarity and contrast.  I really wish the next painting I do won’t be full of leaves and grass, because I need a break!

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Bear Study


Here’s a study of a bear (from reference), meant to help me explore a more flat and textured look. I don’t feel like it came out particularly well, but it has certainly given me something to think about. As I’ve never drawn bears before just getting used to the forms was hard work, let alone effectively stylizing them. I really fell into the trap of describing the forms too much, in an attempt to understand the structure myself. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of over rendering when you’re unsure about the design and structure. However I’m hoping I can take what I learned here, and try again with a more stylized drawing as a starting point.

I thought it would be interesting to share this one as a kind of starting point, so that evolving the style and look of the animal can be easily observed.


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Sproggiwood Promotional Art



Finally done! This was a real fight, but now it’s over. A promotional painting for an indie game project I’m a part of, Sproggiwood. As I don’t plan to do a lot of different paintings for promotion, this one is designed in a way where we can take different cross sections and still arrive at interesting graphics that represent the game well. The actual painting has extra space for the title on top, but I prefer to cut it off here, as there is no text yet. I’ll do a post a bit later on the steps this took, but for now I just want to rejoice in the fact that it’s done.

You can watch some steps along the way on livestream

For more info on Sproggiwood see:


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Tree Bark Tutorial

bark_sample                 tree bark tutorial

I have made another tutorial! Whew they are hard work. I tried not to fall into the “here watch me do a thing one way and get no use out of it whatsoever” -trap, instead I want over the basic building blocks you need to consider when doing bark, and how a few different situations will affect your outcome. Hopefully it will have something useful for everyone. Click the thumbnail to read the tutorial.


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Old tree and a Fairy

Did a tree painting, watch the whole painting process on livestream at

This was a really fun experiment on a more spot illustration style, I’m really happy about the way the framing came out. I love old trees and don’t paint them nearly often enough. This was also in foreshadowing of the tree bark tutorial, coming soon!




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Another 1 hour drawing, these are fun. I’m growing fond of this texture.

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