Wind Valley Castle (wips and done)


Photoshop CS, about 3-4 hours (most of it spent nitpicking the castle architecture). The Wind Valley is difficult to get to and even more difficult to travel through, but an old castle with a mysterious magic pool is rumored to sit at the furthest end.

wind_valley_castle_wip02 wind_valley_castle_wip03 wind_valley_castle_wip04


Meet me on the stairs behind the market (wips and done)


I told you they would get to meet again. ūüėÄ The sketch looked like crap here in this first wip, but it got the idea down.


Next, I added some faint color to get a feel for the palette. I knew I wanted to do some kind of bright day light / dark shadow contrast thing, so I roughed the color palette in before starting on any details. (Later, it would turn out, I’d have to go a lot darker on the shadowed part. But eh, this got the job done enough to keep going.)


Next up was a first pass on details to get a better feel for what the composition might look like when it’s done. This is about an hour in and this is often the point at which¬†I scrap a painting if I’m not enjoying it, but I liked this one enough to keep going.

In the next step, I worked mostly on the two foreground characters. I used darker colors and tried to get a better sense of what will be light / what will be dark. I work all over the canvas, trying not to neglect any one part for too long (lest the part I neglected until the end become impossible to fill in with something decent).

I draw these two characters a lot, and since they both have dark hair and are about the same height they sometimes they blend together if I’m not careful, so I like to figure that part out early on, too.

Render render render render.¬†Here’s where the next hour or two went, but at this point I was¬†certain I’d be finishing it.


And done! I spent (probably) another hour and a half from the previous step¬†to get to “done”, and I mostly spent it nitpicking little things like canvas width and coloration. I find¬†“Auto Tone” can sometimes work miracles, hence the nice “warming” the final piece¬†has over the previous step.


Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

My new job is awesome, by the way, and its reasonable¬†hours (ie: not game industry hours) are leaving plenty of time for painting. I think I’ve already made more art in 2015 than I made in the previous 3 years combined.


Waking the ghosts (done + wips)


Vince frees some of the ghosts trapped in the echo blade. Airika thinks a sword that leaks ghosts on command is totally metal, but Tren is completely wigged out by so many undead presences flooding into the world (like any good cleric school dropout should be).

waking_the_ghosts_wip02 waking_the_ghosts_wip03 waking_the_ghosts_wip04

waking_the_ghosts_done(I finished this like a week ago but I got really backlogged for a while on sharing stuff, since it is much more fun to start a new painting than it is to stop and post the previous one. :D)

Old River Keep (wips and done)


It was just gonna be a 20 minute warmup, but then it took on a life of its own.

Blocked in:


The first buildings appear at left, plus some rendering throughout:old_river_keep_wip02Gave up on that bridge, I think it looks better now. Added a stone cairn thingy to the right. old_river_keep_wip03

Rendering, rendering, rendering:


Above is the full-size version, but I like the crop just as much if not more. Hope you enjoyed!


Battle in the Boneyard (Astrid 2015) (wips and done)

Regular readers of this blog will recognize this scene as an abandoned attempt at Astrid 2014. I dusted it off and spiced it up a bit for 2015.
battle_in_the_boneyard_wip01Between The Cauldron and The Keep lies the Boneyard.

Only crazy people try to fight their way through.battle_in_the_boneyard_wip03

Most groups just hire a wizard for a teleport.battle_in_the_boneyard_wip04

But Airika spent the last of their coins on Alacrity potions.


There are upsides to being an Alacrity addict.
battle_in_the_boneyard_doneSurviving the Boneyard is just one of them!

Photoshop CS and many, many hours. Sorry, future me, this will be a high bar to clear in 2016!

Here’s the rest of the annual series. Watch me go from sucking to sucking less over the course of a decade!