Archive by Author | davidsondered


Time for another update.

A week went past pretty fast.

Things are rocking and rolling in the studio. I (David) got approached for something to do on the side aswell: a Super-Secret-Project(tm). It will be a while before anything on this will surface, but if you see random posts on Facebook about doing “super-secret- project” things, then you know.

Meanwhile, London Film and Comicon came and past this last weekend. From what we have heard, it was a fantastic hit.

Last week you were promised a look on the illustration that got done for “Excelsior!”; the tribute booklet for Stan Lee.

We give You: Mysterio (oh, and Spidey…)



To make things even more exciting, here is a newly completed Primarch:




If you remember seeing this before, we started a tutorial in regards to how this one was being painted. Quite some bits changed since then, mainly to try to not be too influenced by the model that came out from Forgeworld. Simplicity is the key.


Summer-time usually means vacations for everyone. The studio is not different, much.

Mid-August until the first week of September we are on vacation. This means that we will still be reachable for talks about commissions and such, but activity on the blog et al will be lessened.

This past year has been crazy, and as such we really need a break. So please keep in mind that even though you can get ahold of us during that time, it might take us a little while to reply.


Our contest, Ars Scribendi, is a huge success! We have more than 15 entries and two weeks to go before the deadline. If you had in mind to join the competition for a chance to win your narrative as an illustration, printed, signed and sent to you, there is still time, but keep the deadline of the 1st of August in mind. Entries accepted here on the blog (on the Ars Scribendi post) or on the event’s page on Facebook.


This week there are three slots open for commissions.

If you have an idea for a commission, a question or query, or just praise or critique, just use the contactform on the About page (Link just before this or in the blue field on the top of this page).

And now for something completely different…



Another week, another update.

Yes, I return to dispell some orkiness from the blog and bring you a new update.

As summer rages on, the studio finds itself at a good pace. Commercial work, as well as commissions, are coming in and are being completed at a steady pace.

If you are following our Facebook Page, and our Twitter account, you should be a bit up to date with the fact that we started posting sketches through Tumblr not that long ago.

We are picking up the pace with these sketches, but they represent quick studies, moodsketches and will possibly also be more elaborate sketches in the future. It’s a good opportunity to see what some of our works start out as, and what we do for practice, fun and research. For example

If you’re interested in following our Tumblr the link is here:

Studio Colrouphobia’s Tumblr


In other news, we were approached to participate in a tribute to Stan Lee when he will have his last public appearance in Europe at the London Film and Comicon this weekend.

We will show our contribution next Tuesday, after the event, but the tribute comes in the form of a comicbook-sized artbooklet. The blurb and the cover can be found below:

EXCELSIOR: Steve Rude, Mark Buckingham, Alan Davis, Jose Delbo, Bryan Talbot, Mike Perkins, Chris Weston and Gary Frank are among the horde of artists from around the world paying tribute to Stan Lee on the occasion of his last European public appearance. Running to 68 pages in colour and black and white, Excelsior is a limited edition of 250 copies. It is available exclusively at the London Film and Comic Con, priced £10. If you can’t make it to the show, copies can be sent to you for £15 each (unsigned) or £80 (signed by Lee) within the UK. Email Mike Conroy at for full details, to enquire about price if you live elsewhere in the world and to obtain details of the originals that will be auctioned over the weekend as well as how to bid on them.



If you want the chance to win an illustration of your own narrative then our Ars Scribendi-competition is the place to be. We are receiving some stellar entries. The deadline is the first of August and the information can be found here: Ars Scribendi

What else?

How about a new private commission that just cleared for being viewed by the public?

This is called “Out of the Dust”



This week we have two new slots open for commissions. So if you have an idea, or want a new piece to hang on your wall, do not hesitate to contact us!





The world is gonna end tonight- Random post

Hey there people!


We are extremely busy here at the studio with some exciting things for us.

In the meanwhile, here is a random update with some Artwork that where completed a little while ago.

These where all done for the same client as the Maori-Styled Space Marines where done: the Lantern Marines.


Here are some variations for their Chapterlogo-

Some Iconography


And then something completely different-

Pandoran Crabs

An Imperial Regiment.


Hopefully we can share a few tidbits every post from now on, but things are under contracts so we will see.

Look out for future installments of ” To be Inspired and Driven by”, as well as some more personal artwork and hopefully a fully fledged tutorial in the not-too-distant future.

Until next time!





Aaron Dembski-Bowden just saw my last piece of art (featured in the previous blogpost )…
Here is what he had to say:

Originally posted on Aaron Dembski-Bowden:

Oh, man, just when I was thinking I’d have to kill someone with my replica Gears of War Lancer in order to actually have something to  post this week, this bad boy drops into my lap.

Ladies and gentlemen: Talos on the bridge of the Echo of Damnation, circa the beginning of Void Stalker, when he’s… ah, ‘communing’ with Ruven.

It’s by David Sondered (whom many of y’all will know from his Colrouphobia blog and his Deviantart site), and was commissioned by Ash Timms.



What, exactly, am I supposed to say to this? It’s fucking breathtaking. You can see that. What is there for me to say except “SSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII—–” which is more or less what I said when I first saw it?

C’est incredible. 

And in much less thrilling news, to answer some of the endless questions I’ve been getting about ‘Prince of Crows’ in Shadows…

View original 620 more words

Evil by Proxy

I have wanted to paint one illustration for a very, very long time.

The first book by Aaron Dembski-Bowden I ever read was “First Heretic”.

It was a gust of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I like reading any Black Library books that come out because I love the worlds they describe, both the Fantasy and sci-fi genres. The problem for me has been two things really:

1) No patience. Not from me, but from the writers. They go from beginning, rush over descriptions of characters that usually are pretty shallow or just straight archetypes and then rush head-on to the FIGHTING (dum du duum!).

I understand that these are books based upon a strategic war–game. I understand that the people writing these obviously write with that audience in mind, but I just find it such a big shame that the writing has o be that bad. Especially since ADB, in First Heretic, make the characters come out so well (in comparison) in just one chapter, and then build layers n them the rest of the time.

2) The bombasticness. This is especially true with the books describing the Space Marines.

Again, I understand that the need to show off how fanatical the SM’s are, and how proud, stoic, heroic and just abut every other bombastic adjective you can think of, the Space Marines are. I get that, but you do not need to repeat the “Hail the Primarch” with every other sentence to get this across. Your characters do not need to be carbon copies of one-another and they certainly do not need to have every thought about their Brothers be “He was filled with pride of how they where so fantastic in all ways”.
They are killing-machines, psychologically trained to react in certain ways during battle, that doesn’t mean they like one another at all times.

But that mostly went away with First Heretic.

So I got hooked, I picked up another book written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

Soul Hunter

And there my standard got set so much higher then before.

After reading Soul Hunter, I wanted to paint the members of First Claw. The characters where very vivid and evolved throughout the book.
But I didn’t feel I could do them justice at the time.
So after that, I rushed to a friends who had the second book in the series, Blood Reaver.
I read it from cover to cover and decided to buy them all three in ebook-form, once the last book was out.

So just after I got the third and last book in the series, Void Stalker, I got contacted by a guy who has commissioned me work in the past. A really nice guy, who asked me to paint Talos.


I had a couple of other projects at the same time and so I asked if deadline was important, which he graciously said it was important that I had fun painting it. Because of this, I did the sketch for it, we agreed on it and some extra ideas, and then I put it aside to work on the other jobs I had at the time.

I did this for two reasons- it would have been fantastic to paint it right away, but all the other jobs would have felt a little less after it. And secondly, I wanted to evolve a little. I have had a burst of evolution in my skills lately, something I was aware of happening just around the time when I got the commission and I just new that every illustration I made this summer would be better then the previous. I put in every effort into every piece of illustration I do, I don’t do half-measures. It is bad towards the client, it makes me feel bad and just doesn’t go well. But this summer I knew that the image I needed to be the best at to make it come out as I wanted it was this image.

So here I give you-

Talos, on the bridge of the Echo of Damnation, chained to the commandseat and speaking to the ghost/ephemera of Ruven.
Some things aren’t exactly as in the book (the weaponry where in his quarters when this happened, and he was walking in a dreamlandscape of the bridge, speaking to th corpse rather then the ghost) but it is how me and the commissioner agreed on it.

Here is a close-up of Talos

And here is a filmic-format version

I hope you enjoy!



Hello followers of!
After a longer period of downtime I return with some private commissioned artwork.
The guest-blogposts are going to return after a summer-holdup, keep your eyes peeled!

The future has some interesting things happening for the Studio, which we cannot really speak of just yet but what it means is that private commissions will be a little fewer, look out for some more personal paintings in the future and a bit more focus on tutorials and guests then before.

All in all, we sincerely hope that you readers will benefit more from the changes then not.

In the meanwhile, here are three private commissions.

Salamander and Sister

Valrak – Imperial Fist

(Done for Valrak, over at the Vigilia Mortis forums - )

Kahuna – Chaplain of the Lantern Marines

The Lantern Marines are always fun to paint and this time I got to paint the Kahuna, the equivalent of a Chaplain, of the Lantern Marines.

Don’t forget to add us on twitter or Facebook (just click the images below)!

Until next time!



A little bit of terror, a little bit of Iron – Tiny Art Update

Hello watchers,

Time for a tiny art-update.

I am currently working on three commissions that are expected to be done within a very short time, but in the meanwhile, here are three images that just got released (and thus I am allowed to show right here) plus a commission that got completed yesterday.

The Fantastic people over at Bolter and Chainsword contacted me quite a while back about doing one or two images for one of their Legio Imprints.

The first Legio Imprint was an alternative setting for Warhammer 40k called “Dornian Heresy” which was a very well thought out book. The one I had the chance to work on was just released a few days ago and is called Legio Imprint 2: The Eye of Terror” , where I had the oportunity to both get to do the cover and two interior illustrations.

So here are the images I did for this Imprint:

Eye of Terror cover – click to see large

Eye of Terror banner – click to see large

Excorsists Librarian – click to see large

Yesterday I had the benefit of finalizing one of my latest commissions. The commissioner has asked me to only post this image at my webpage and at the deviantArt gallery.

I am sure you will like it though, especially those of you who follow my series of Primarchs, as I got a chance to illustgrate a fairly unrepresented Primarch- Ferrus Manus. 

Ferrus Manus, the 10th Primarch – click to see large

(Though the illustration above has some of my influence in it, it is important that you know that I follow a brief on commissions. If this is not how you envision Ferrus Manus, then I’d be happy to do another version for you if you’d like to commission me.)

Feel free to add your thoughts on Ferrus Manus, or any of the other Primarchs. Or if you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share.


Until next time,




On reference – part I

Hello there Studio Colrouphobia-followers!

Today I thought I’d take a little time to talk about how I use reference. There are many things to consider about references and many rules people
mention in regards to reference, so I thought we should discuss a little about it and I will also let you know how I use reference when I paint.

Lets start with the only rule you really should think about at all times. It’s divided into three parts.

If you are uncertain about copyrights and other rights- Shoot the reference yourself! Take a camera, locate a suitable view and take a
photograph of it!

The second part of the rule is:
If you bought a book with the reference in, and unless it say anything specifically about it on the image itself or on the publication-page (Where the information about edition and publisher  and where it was printed etc. can be found) about using as reference , you can use it as reference!

And the third part of the rule:
When in doubt-  Do not use as reference!

Now, before moving on to discussing other things, please do remember that the moment you use a piece of reference by cutting and pasting it into your work it’s not a reference any more- it’s a manipulation, manipulation wont bring you further towards being an accomplished painter or illustrator, it wont bring you anything but sorrow down the road (mainly because eventually people will find out and, rightfully, call you a fraud).

How I use reference and why

A lot of artists will say they do not use reference, or use it sparingly. I am not yet such an accomplished artist that I could do without reference though, and many of my illustrations defy life in such a way that using life as a base for painting them would only get me so far.

So I use photos to help me get certain things correct. It could be understanding a certain type of lighting, texture or shape of something. I used to copy photographs and drawings when I was young, it is an excellent way of learning how to sketch and/or paint, to copy something that already is well done.
But that was for practice. Nowadays I still do copies on occasion, though I would rather call them “studies”. Using a photo of an apple to try to paint a similar apple
(note “similar”, not “the same”). It needs to be believable, not a copy. I also do the occasional actual copy, trying to copy a work of a master such as RubensCaravaggio or Rembrandt to get the idea behind their work with colour and light, or to do a copy of a Pyle or one of the Orientalists to understand composition and how to use colours to strengthen it. But these are meant as practice, for me. They are not shown outside my family (and barely even that) and are not used for anything else but to further my own skill. A boxer need to shadowbox, an athlete need to run laps, painters and illustrators need to paint.

When it comes to actual illustration of something I use images, whether photos or other illustrations, as guides towards what I want to paint.

Consider Babar. If you have never heard of Babar: he is an elefant that grow up around humans, learn to walk on two feet and dress in clothes. Eventually he becomes king in his own land. A very nice set of children’s stories that teach basic ethics at the same time as being entertaining and sweet.

I have, for a longer time, been pondering to paint a classical portrait of Babar. He is a cartoony-like elephant, but only because the illustrated book was supposed to be for children, not education on the looks of  elephants.

Since I illustrate with a certain amount of realism, and try to get to the part where seeing an illustration of mine is believing the illustration, I wanted to paint Babar a little more realistic. So I went about doing a little sketch of him:

This is my sketch: Babar, now an old king, sitting infront of a fireplace in a victorian styled chair sipping a Cognac. Behind him sits the head of Rataxes a friend and enemy (it’s a complicated relationship) of Babar’s. The size of the paper, and the fact that I had not truly planned this image  much, mean that the head of Rataxes sit more behind the head of Babar then being visible.
After completing the sketch, knowing that I need to alter some things once I start painting it, I go about getting me some reference:

I find an image of a Rhinoceros, amazingly enough I find exactly the type of chair I wanted to seat Babar in, though not at the perfect angle, but still. I find three different elephant-heads, african ones, and I find a set of crown jewels (the Danish ones, but I like the Kings crown and it looks somewhat like the one I drew on Babars’ head).

I decide against using the elephants as final refferences, because I am uncertain where the images are from and whether there is a copyright on them. Normally, this would spur me to scour the internet for a massive amount of hours but my dear wife remind me that we have a zoo in the city, and that I have free admittance to it whenever I want to (one-year-subscription) and that, indeed, there are elephants there. Even though I will use the above elephants for my reference mash-up, I will still shoot new references to use once I begin the actual painting. (and on the plus-side, they also have a Rhinoceros or two at the zoo, which mean I might get some very nice photos of Rhinos as well, to use for this painting).

Now it’s time for a quick recomposition/colour-test:

In the above image, I have copy-pasted some of the references from above. I painted the clothes of Babar and the Head I had to paint because of the lighting but I did a lot of colour-picking. This stage is not really part of the painting itself, merely there to see if I “got it” or not. As such, it isn’t supposed to take that long. I believe I spent a glorious 30 minutes on getting the image above done. Obviously, the tone is very dark, but that is also partly because eventually I will look just as much on this image as the reference to get the final painting done correctly. The mash-up is meant to give a better understanding on the general look of the painting. The references are what will make the final painting come alive.

It is important for you to realize a couple of things here:

  1. This is meant to serves as a reference. I copy-pasted images in, to give me a better Idea on shapes. In the end, I might use the general tone of this, as well as using the photos copied into this document as reference, but I will paint the entire painting from scratch!
  2. I do not suggest painting over anything unless you really are starting out, and then only as practice! Don’t do paint-overs to get you “cool art that get me jobz”, because it wont. It will only tell people you aren’t good enough when they start putting pressure on you for deadlines and start seeing you painted over other peoples work, which in the end can cost them a lot of cash in the form of lawsuits and whatnot.
  3. I use reference as a visual guide, that does not men I have to stick to it rigorously all he time. There is still room for change along the way, but the reference is there to help me see things like light, shape, tone and texture.

Next time I come back to talk about reference, I will show you how I paint Babar from begin to end. With reusing the sketch as a base for the painting, painting under-layers and dead-layers, looking at the reference to get a good idea on what I need to think about with colour, lights and shapes/form etc. etc..

If you have any ideas on what to take up on this blog, or if you have any questions on this topic, other topics or such, please leave a comment and I will answer as promptly as I can.

I also wanted to know what you guys thought about Noah‘s guest-blog? Are you looking forward to the next art-hero to post one? Who are YOUR art-heroes?

Until next time,


Guest blogger: Noah Bradley – On the Shoulders of Giants

On the Shoulders of Giants

You don’t become an artist on your own.

Even if you lock yourself in your room and teach yourself, you’re still not on your own. You’re learning from the legacy of all the masters that have gone before you. You’re pulling on artistic traditions stretching back hundreds and thousands of years.

My art is heavily dependant on the artists that I look up to. I look up to my heroes and pick apart everything they did. I try and reverse engineer their brushstrokes, their compositions, even the ideas behind their pieces. When my art is feeling stuck I look to them for direction.

Rembrandt gave me an appreciation for rich contrast and thickly textural brushstrokes. Sargent showed me what artistic bravado really looked like. Albert Bierstadt taught me the meaning of epic and George Inness taught me the power of subtlety. Thomas Moran showed me an American ideal and Mark Rothko showed me the feeling of nothingness. Frazetta reawakened an adolescent boy and John Berkey inspired with his beautifully abstract representational paintings. Pyle taught me composition. Hopper taught me silence.

I have been blessed with countless teachers–some alive, most dead.


This blog-entry is part of a series of Guest-blogs on Studio Colrouphobia called To be Inspired and Driven where some of the greatest influences on art today are invited to tell about their inspirations, their thoughts on art and their musings on anything related to art.

Noah Bradley is an environment concept artist & illustrator. He’s young but has already worked for an international clientele and has been accepted into the industry’s most prestigious publications. Even if you haven’t heard of Noah, chances are you have seen work he has done for Wizards of the CoastL5R or AEG.

He is part of Awesomehorse Studios which do a great job of paying it forward to anyone and everyone who want to improve their skills and careers when it comes to art.

Noah Bradley is also the creator of The Art of Freelancing, a video aid to freelancers in art.
We here at Studio Colrouphobia did a review of this instructional video not that long ago. The review is found here:
The Art of Freelancing – a review with ducks

In want of something

A little update of some visuals whilst we prepare for the first guestbloggers and some other goodies.

Currently, the studio has quite a lot of work t do but if you’d be interested in hiring us for work, feel free to contact us, either through this blog or through our email:  “‘studio . colrouphobia @ gmail . com” (without the blank-spaces of course).

In the meanwhile, lets show some already completed private commissions:



Khullain of the Storm Wardens Space Marines


And Pax, a Black Shield Deathwatch Marine


(clicking on the images will open them in another window at a larger size).


Until next time!


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