Dragons, maidens and faeries – Where to begin with art and inspiration?

Hello blog-readers,
David here and the time has come for another blogpost!
It has been a while (again) and there are schedule-related reasons for this.
Because of these reasons, we are restructuring the postingorder.
Monday sketchposts will remain as they are and, hopefully, continue to be
posted every Monday for your enjoyment.
Wednesday blogposts will move to Thursdays due to it being more fitting in
the week for us schedulewise. Thursday blogposts, then, will not happen
every week unless we have a mass of things to share with you.
Thursday blogposts will also be alternated with tutorial posts so eventually
we think these will become more or less weekly anyway.

This week I thought I’d show you some completed work, as well as let you
know some excellent pages on the internet to improve your skill as an artist
whether professional or happy amateur.

This lady-knight on a blue dragon, is my sister-in-law. It’s a gift to her
and since she likes dragons I thought I’d paint her riding a dragon.
If you remember well, you have seen a couple of compositional sketches for
this painting in an earlier blogpost. The makings of this painting has been
veiled in secrecy, to not let her know it in advance we had to fake
referenceshoot with a sword and “tring to figure out lighting” with a
camera to get good face-reference.
The reference used for the dragon was a blue-white monitorlizzard,
to get the scales and colours correct.
The final illustration will be printed and given to my sister-in-law as a
birthdaypresent. This will also go into my portfolio, and if enough people
are intrested, might make a limited-run as a poster or print.

Next up is a little something that I think you will recognize.

This is the beginnings of completing the illustration I made in pen on paper
into a fully painted illustration. I am doing this as a test to see how far
I can move the digital medium toward traditional painting. Using the Flemish
technique in digital form, I took the pencilsketch, added a light
yellow/olive “imprimatura” cover over it (after having lessened the opacity
of the lines to make them barely visible).
I then flattened the entire painting, duplicated the layer and used the
real-bristle brushes in Photoshop CS5 to do a two layered underpaintig in
This, of course is an aproximation of the colours, and I am doing a lot of
trial and error. Finally (up to this point) I am doing what is called a
“dead layer”. A Grayscale painting with a hint of cool respective warm tones
to lay as a base for the final painting.
This might seem timeconsuming, but the truth behind it all is that I want
to see how close one can get to the traditional means of painting using pure
digital means.
It is not going to be a substitute, and I am not expecting it to look like a
traditional oil-painting once done, but to evolve one must break with ones
patterns and try out some new things. This is how we get ideas and evolve.
What I am expecting to get out of this is an improved workflow, better
colourmanagement and perhaps a more subtle way of painting skintones.
As far as painting skintones, this way of painting will not be more
timeconsuming for me then what I already go through, so possibly it might
help me speed things up.
The Ahadi-painting is a personal piece, and something that I work on on-and-off.

And here is a sketch of something I am painting for a client.

This is going to be the cover for a tabletop miniature skirmrish-game called
Scrapyard. More about that in a later blogpost.

In other, artrelated, news, I am also making an illustration for something
called Feast of Blades: http://www.feastofblades.com/
This illustration will be featured in our next free tutorial and so I’m
saving images for that post. Hope you do not mind.

So with the art displayed, let’s get back to a topic I have promised
Where on the net can you learn to improve, reach out to the crowd you want
and generally get hints and tips on what to do to have more fun and success
with painting or doing art in general?
Let’s start with some of the heavy hitters-

The blogspots where you can just get buckettoads of information:
(and bucketloads,if you rather would have that!)

This is the big one ladies and gentlemen. Although there are forums such as
conceptart.org, which I wholeheartedly suggest you check out if you haven’t
already, muddycolors is just the best spot to find information, inspiration
and help with just about anything in your art-aspirations.
Essentially, it’s a blog where several professional artists joined together
to post inspiration, ideas and information on what to think about when you
do art.
It’s not the names that make the place, though there are some impressive
ones: Dan Dos Santos, Donato Giancola, Arnie Fenner, Jesper Esjing, Petar
Meseldzija and Greg Manchess to name some of them.
No, it’s the information and what they share that makes this worth it!
Mostly, the information is concerning traditional painting when a choice
between digital or traditional has to be made, but in general, the
information and inspiration can be used for any medium. Ranging from
exhibitions to check out to how to compose, set your digital version of art
to best suit printing, through art critiques on readers works and all the
way down to how to handle turpentine and the dangers with it.
In short, the amount of goodness that comes from this blogspot to anyone
interested in doing art is just astounding.

Possibly not as known as muddycolours, Enliighten is a great place to
learn art. Mike “Daarken” Lim (Wizards of the Coast, Blizzard Entertainment,
Fantasy Flight Games, BioWare, Mythic etc.) decided to give back to the
community through giving awa free tutorials and discussions on art on his
boards. This is great resource for anyone beginning with art.

Jon Schindehette’s, Art Director at Wizzards of the Coast, exemplary
blogspot for helping aspiring artists and freelancers with tips, tricks and
challenges to get better at reaching future clients. This spot is just as
useful as the muddycolors spot, except this is more directed to those who
want to make art for a living.
Artorder used to be on ning, but has now moved to wipnation.

Dave Rapoza began with crimsondaggers and, together with his friend, Dan
Warren, they set up competitons, art-critiques and general awesomeness.
I found out about CrimsonDaggers through Daves Livestreamchannel,
http://www.livestream.com/fuckinartwithmrdelicious , which is also filled
with awesomeness. Metal, awesomeness and painting. Like Artorder,
crimsondaggers used to be something all on its ow, but has now also got a
spot at wipnation.

Speaking of awesome, awesomehorsestudios is also a good spot to find info
and critiques at. For me, this spot had a little less to offer since they
do their critiques live, and you can watch episodes for free as they air,
but have to pay (albeit a smal sum) to watch thm later. Unfortunately I sit
on the wrong side of the earth to be able to justify watching these live.
The really great one for me was watching their interview-athon at illuxcon
(found here: http://www.awesomehorsestudios.com/s1e5-illuxcon-interview-special/),
As a freelance artist this gave me so much. It was also cool to see some of
the persons I have worked with, as well as some I’d like to work with, even
if it wasn’t pressing hands. Emails are useful, but sometimes a little
Awesomehorsestudios also has a spot at wipnation, but be sure to check out
their own website. There is something for everyone there!

A little edit here: Thanks to Marc from Awesomehorsestudios for letting us know
that all episodes from Season 2 on are now free, live and always.
You can see everything up at http://www.awesomehorsestudios.com/watch-now
Thanks Marc!

Online Galleries and their use:
Online galleries can be really useful for the aspiring artist. It can give
help through comments and critique. It can give exposire and it can be
rewarding to exchange art with other artists.
Here are some of my favourites and their use.

In my opinion, this is the best gallery currently. I might be wrong, there
might be something more suitable for getting more exposure and contacts
with potential clients, but currently the entire website just flows with
proffessionalism, ease and goodness. Mainly aimed at professionals, I was
lucky to get an invitation in the early days, but my bias towards cghub has
more to do with the way you can mark your artwork (time it took to complete,
lists of medium-including programs used, etc.) and the fact that it is
really easy to manouver once you get a hang of it. Nowadays you can get an
account on cghub without an invite and if you want to go professional I
think this is the place you should put a portfolio-gallery at.
The forums of cgub are probably underrated, as I find something useful or
inspiring there verytime I check them out.
Here is a link to my own profile on cghub: http://colrouphobia.cghub.com/

This gallery is still fighting some early hickups, but in my opinion it is
still worth being there. There are several reasons for this: Many helpful
blogs or webspaces have recently aquired a spot under wipnations wings.
(see above), but the galleries can stand on their own. The most powerful
thing about wipnation, at this moment, is the opportunity to do redline
critiques. Redline critique is when you see something that you think
should/could be improved in an image and you take a red tool (for instance
photoshop brush) and paint on the image to show what you mean. Wipnation
allows for this in their own galleries, something that is really useful for
the aspiring artist.
This is a feature I miss on just about every other gallery online. If you
want to check out my own meager wipnation gallery, it is here:
I think it is safe to say that almost everyone into art knows about
deviantart nowadays. This place has it’s plus and minuses. For one, it is
large. This is very useful if you wish to find something inspiring. Chances
are you can find it on deviantart. The downside is that you might have to
search for it for a long time if you want something more specific.
Exposure, this is a tricky one. If you manage to get the eyes of a few
people, there is a chance you will get more exposure. For me, I had the
fortune of getting into th semifinalists in a huge competition on
deviantart. After that I just got more and more watchers. I am still not
getting as much exposure at deviantart as I would want to, but it is still
a useful tool for other things.

Pure inspiration?
The above gallries are for you to put your works in, and to look through
works of contemporary artists.
How about spots where you can check out the old masters, or where you can
get help with anatomy and such.
There are a multitude of such places on the internet, and so I share with
you only two such places:
Webgallery of art is a great place to see art from museums all over the
The first link leads to their mainpage, the second link directly to their
search engine. Explaining how to search will take a lot of time, so just
experiment, it’s worth it!

http://inspirationalartworks.blogspot.com/ is just pure gold.
This blogspot has really collected a great set of images, whether photos
or artwork, for an aspiring artist to check out and use for studies and
learning more.
for anatomy pictures and
http://inspirationalartworks.blogspot.com/p/photorefrence.html for
photoreference. Be advised that there is nudity or images deemed unsuitable
for the younger crowd in this spot.

I think that is about whatI have to give you today.
Until next time!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Dragons, maidens and faeries – Where to begin with art and inspiration?”

  1. Marc Scheff says :

    Hey David,

    Thanks for linking to Awesome Horse Studios.

    One correction to the information. All episodes from Season 2 on are now free, live and always. You can see everything up at http://www.awesomehorsestudios.com/watch-now

    Thanks again, and great work on this site!

  2. Kasha Kanthak says :

    It’s hard to discover expert within this topic,but you sound like do you know what you’re speaking about! I most certainly will recommend this site!An appealing discussion that is worth commenting. I do think that you can write more about this topic.On to the next Cheers! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: