The makings of… a Primarch

So Halloween passed, thank you all for making it special by participating in ourcompetition.

Starting this week, there will be a new series of posts.
These posts are about following the creation of an illustration from concept to finish.

For the beginning illustration, I chose to use one of my personal Primarch illustrations.
I will go through wwhat ideas I have, how to flesh out the image, what thoughts and knowledge must be sought. Sketching, colour composition, painting roughs, using reference, when to use texturess and not and any number of other topics that come up along the way.

So let’s begin with the start, shall we?

For this particular illustration, I knew I wanted to tackle another Primarch.
But which one?
I have a list of Primarchs I am completing, where I have saved some general ideas and cool stuff to inspire.
Her’s what the folder look like:
Capture

You will notice that some are missing, which does not meant that they are completed, but rather that I haven’t ound anything yet to make me feel it is suitable to save as reference or inspiration for that particular Primarch.

So let’s choose one-

Let’s choose/
Mortarion.

It is, after-all, the season to be dreary.

So I look at what Mortarion has.
Capture1

Not that much, but we can work with it.

So I do a quick sketch, without looking at my ref/inspiration images, but after I have looked at them/

This is the result:
sketch

So, its loose, crappy and not much to see. But it gives an indication, a hint at where I wan to take this piece.

Let me explain it to you.
Mortarion, for me, was always a riddle.
He grew up as a son of an alien (or a mutant, it seem to have shifted over the years). Taking control over the planet of Barbarus, a lethal place for humans to live and so poisons and poisonous gases are a part of his culture.
Likewise, the figure of Mortarion has this “Angel of Death” over it. A hooded figure, slender and agile, with hints of wings and a scythe.

The above is the way I think about Mortarion in passing, without investing any real tought to the character.

So the next step, is to look at the sheer physical aspects of Mortarion.

I did a Google-search, and ended up with a few images. I show them here to give you an idea, but I am in no means taking any credit fore these:

Mortarion-print – John Blanche
Mortarion – Alex Boyd
Mortarion1 (2) – Adrian Smith
Mortarion work in progress1 -Ibrahim Swaid ( http://holypixels.blogspot.be/2011/08/mortarion-work-in-progress-1.html )

So that’s the four first ones I got..

Now comes the choosing.
What do I like, what don’t I like.

I like the general features, the hood, the gaunt look of Alex Boyd’s version. The plain-ness of the armour. In fact, even though I usually really like Adrian Smith’s work, in this case, I find it completely out of tune with what I want to portray.

So I make a list of things to add in the illustrration-

Scythe (obviously, I even drew that in the sketch, before thinkking about it).
Hood (again).
Slender – like in the Alex Boyd image. – usually PlagueMarines are bloated, which is fine, but I want him to look like death/ This is not neccesarily going to be after he joined chaos.
Exhausts.
High Collar.
Censer- holding poisonous gasses.

Things to concider-

Colours, not sure about wite, or even green. I need to do some research.
Shoulderpads. I sketched something like the Angron or Curze shoulderpads, not sure if I will keep that or go with something else.
Smoke- I want poisonous gases to come out at the collar and from the Censers. Need to make them visible without looking lame.

Things to not take-
No Green, no White. Not on Armour in any case. I want him to be dull in armour/clothing. He will be pale, so he need to stand out a bit.
Chest from Hulk- I really need him to look like death, he cannot have the most powerful look, not bodywise in any case.
No face-mask.
Perhaps the fumes will cover some of his face, but I want his face to show mostly.

After writing these things down, I do a new sketch. And i failed (I lost the file). So I decide to do a tested methood when I need ideas.
I use an older image and duplicate layers, moving, reshaping, twisting and turning them around, using layer-effects to get “happy accidents”.
In this case, I used my Angron Painting.

This is the “sketch”:
Mortarion1
So I add some brushstrokes to give a hint at my figure (using the same pose as before)
Mortarion2
It still doesnt do it, so I do a little altering and adding a coloursplash, followed by a proper silouhete (next two images)
Mortarion3

Mortarion4

And after moving the arm and scythe, I am getting happy about the pose.
I know I said no facemask, but at this time, I am unsure how to make him look, so I have left the lower part of the face.
I will most likely make him look similar to curze, as I use roughly the same features for all the Primarchs, just changing them ever so slightly, to show they are siblings, rather then the same characer (or, indeed, completely different from one another).

That thing above his head?
Yeah, I dont know, perhaps I will keep it, perhaps not.
I thought I saw something like that in the back of Ibrahim Swaids Mortarion… it has potential. Maybe some sort of machinery, part of his exhausts…

We’ll see.

Till next time.

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3 responses to “The makings of… a Primarch”

  1. Stefmanovic says :

    I’ve always been wondering how Mortarion can see since his eyes seem to have no iris, pupil or anything. Maybe they are so light blue/yellow that they seem white?

    As for the mask, I know some of the artwork seems to depict it as some sort of piece of the armor, a grillplate like thing almost (especially if you look at the Adrian Smith piece), but what about making it more akin to a traditional gas mask or mouthpiece. In one of the novels it’s mentioned that Mortarion often grabs his mouthpiece/mask to take a breath in it. More akin to a medical breathing mask. Could make it in such a way that the tube goes to a hidden tank inside Mortarion’s armor, maybe something akin to this?

    • studiocolrouphobia says :

      Thanks for your comment Stefmanovic-
      I am uncertain on how to do the eyes right now. Perhaps I will let them be ghostly white/pale-blue, perhaps I will make them completely black… I find no information on the eyes and how they look anywhere so not sure.

      In rgards t the mask- It is a good idea, but I will show his complete face, and I have more or less set on a high collar with poisonous gasses creeping up from inside the suite/collar..

      🙂

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