First tutorial -or- Extra Mayo with that!

-Posted by David

Hello there people, David here with a little update. So last time we posted something, we had a couple of questions added: We wanted to know whether the readers of this blog  where interested in tutorials and workshops, both free and paid.  The response was good, just not in comments on here.

In the numerous forums that I personalty post on, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, there have been quite some answers to the questions, some in posts, most in private messages. You have also asked questions such as: What’s your favourite art galleries online, how do I protect my art and are there any art-tutorials or websites you recommend for me?

In the future I will let you all know what my personal favourite art-galleries online are, as well as giving info on how to protect your artwork and other tutorials or places to find good tutorials. But this time around, I thought I’d give you a bit of a tutorial myself. For free, to show what the future has in store for you.

(1) I wanted to paint Arbaal, a follower of Khorne in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. To get into it fast I opted to use another painting as a base, I don’t always do this, but it helps to find new things fast and it can really help to get the base values down quick and easy. So I decided to use the Angron painting I just finnised before the hollidays. This character is also follower of Khorne, but in the Sci-fi setting of Wh40k, I thought it was fitting.

-Note: if you are doing a painting in this way, make sure the the original plate, i.e. the painting or photo you start with, is YOURS. This is of particular importance if the painting is for commercial purposes. It also helps covering all your bases when it comes to copyrights and protecting your artwork. Remember, if you don’t steal, then others are more likely to not steal from you.-

(2) I then made the painting grayscale, copied the background and flipped it, setting the second layer to divide at a low opacity. To get to this I experimented with various settings on the layer, ranging through every layer setting and testing at opacity of 30%, 50%, 80% and 100%. Once content with what I had, I fine tuned the opacity to get to this mirrored image.

(3) I decided I didn’t want to make a portrait of Arbaal. He is a very real character in the game, as he has been a playable character (Something Angron hasn’t been) and as such I wanted to show some action. Cue copy/paste and shrink the top layer. This way I keep some of the tones I had, making the image keep in the same range all over.

(4) It looks a little dark, I want to keep the most of the painting at a middle range throughout most of the initial stage. With the portraits series it is easy to keep everything dark and just paint up to light values, but for this I need to maintain a certain atmosphere also. So I take another of my paintings; enlarge it to only show a background section, copy it into the document and set the layer to divide. I move the layer around a little to see how things look. Once content I flatten the image, duplicate the layer and save.

-At this point, I’d like to point out that if you can, and want to, keep the layers. I have learnt to just paint over my mistakes and so I flatten constantly. That way I can also paint at very high resolutions on my slow machine.-

(5) I see something in there, lets paint up the bottom background to look like there could be fire there. Fire good! Then add the typical Khornate helmet-guards. Maybe he is swinging his axe and he should sit on a Flesh-hound of Khorne, let’s add a hint of that in there also.

(6) A bit too bright anyway, darken a little and add in a demon-head for the hound. I used reference for Arbaal, the only one there truly is is of a miniatuer from way back. Hence I wanted to do some re-design. For a while I was pondering horns on the Fleshhound instead of a fleshy collar, since Fleshhounds come in various forms.

(7) Darken it down a little more, mainly to get some details out on the demon-body.

(8) Defining the head of the Flesh-hound a little more, adding some bright to the background again, I want that fire there. Did you notice I dropped the arm?

(9) All right, all Chaos Warriors that have a cloak seem to have fur-cloaks when I look through the internet for ref. So why not? It will bring a bit of character. Also, he need to hold the beast in some reigns and I still want an axe for him. So I paint that in. It looks good in the brighter areas, this way I can also keep his outlines a little less detailed since the bright background will make all sit well in space, at the same time as it makes the character seem more three dimensional.







(10) I didn’t like the background at all, too stagnant. So I added outlines of some structures. I make a mental note that this could be Praag at “the siege of Praag”, since Arbaal was present at the time. I also add the collar for the Hound proper, and decide I want to keep the front of the hound in this pose, but make it a little more flowing. A tail is added.

(11) Making some changes to te values to show more detail. The chain he has to “steer” the Hound with is added, twirling around its horns and through the mouth. I add spikes to the right-side shoulderguard, define the helmet more. Spikes on the axe, symbols of Khorne. I make the collar a bit more majestic and add some spikes and details to the body of the hound.

(12) First colourpass. This is something for an upcoming tutorial, but to get the colouration I use a hard-light layer. Watch out for tutorials and workshops on how to fully utilize this technique in the future.





(13) Second colourpass, after having flattened and saved the painting once more, I duplicate the background and paint onto it. I lessen the colours somewhat on the armour and begin to incorporate complementary colours of green and yellow/brown. At this point I am not too worried about the saturation as I am opaque-ly painting over it later.

(14) I had a skull on the left-side shoulderguard but I didnt like it. Que paint something else in. A new skull!

(15) And here is where we start to lessen the saturation somewhat. This is the last image in this tutorial as I am still painting this, but in the future there will be more tutorials coming. The free ones will be more loose and not go so much into details, much like this one was. In the workshops and paid tutorials I will go much more in depth and there will also be room for questions and one-on-one help. But more about that in the future.





For now, here is a final image, the 100% version of Arbaal’s face:

(Click to enlarge)

And that’s it for today. If you enjoyed this little tutorial, please let us know in the comments below. Also, if for some reason you cannot post a comment, or if there is anything else you feel we need to know, you can always mail us at and let us know, so we can look into it.

Now go back, enjoy reading it again, click the images to see them bigger and let us know what you think!  Next Wednesday, some of my favourite Art-Galleries online!



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5 responses to “First tutorial -or- Extra Mayo with that!”

  1. Axel Marques says :

    Great blog.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

    • davidsondered says :

      Thank you. I have more in the works, it’s just tedious work to get the tutorials done;

  2. Aubrie Orth says :

    A big thank you for your article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  3. Ladawn Bourget says :

    These are some good examples. Thank you for sharing.

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