Three Kings from the East

Three Kings from the East

I’ve never illustrated anything with a religious theme before, but felt that this idea would suit my favoured palette knife technique, and would also be a perfect opportunity to create something a little different for Christmas.

This piece was initially created in Corel Painter 12, in black & white only, as I focussed on the overall layout and the specific look of each camel and their wise man. It was then imported into Adobe Photoshop where the colour and some texture overlays were added.

Merry Christmas to you!

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Tales of Quahnarren: Buhldaag of the Northern Scourge

Buhldaag_The Northern Scourge

From the wild northern regions they came – determined men with empty hearts and pure uncontrolled fire in their hateful eyes. They flowed unhindered into the settled central areas of Quahnarren like a breaking wave eagerly seeking the shoreline, intent only on reaching its destination without hesitation or pause. Their tumultuous wailing attack cries struck a cold paralyzing fear into all peaceful inhabitants south of their homelands, and they created confusion and disharmony amongst normally calm men, who dishearteningly understood that they had neither the strength, nor will, to halt the plundering advancements of the accurately labeled Northern Scourge.

Their raids had quickly become more numerous, more murderous and increasingly uncontrollable. No longer content to just take what they desired, whole villages were now burned to the ground, simply in spite, for sport, and to feed a destructive longing. These men of immoral and vicious temperament were also acquiring a fondness for taking gruesome souvenirs, and reveled in the violence and chaotic mayhem created during their southern incursions.

Chief tormenter amongst them was their unscrupulous leader, Buhldaag – a fearless and driven character, who commanded a horde of easily fooled lesser men, deceitfully misled to serve his own egotistical madness.

• • •

A new piece for my Tales of Quahnarren illustrated short story collection. This black & white character illustration was completed in Painter 12, using a smeary palette knife in a similar style to The Dreamer.

Sketch of the day: Bowled

Bowled

The nervous batsman awaits the demon bowler. The scoreboard details uninspired performances from those proceeding him this innings; his team needs solid runs from him now to avoid an embarrassingly heavy defeat. He taps his bat on the crease, organizes his racing thoughts, and concentrates on the approaching delivery.

The death rattle is the last thing he wanted to hear…

(inspired by a song)

Tales of Quahnarren: The Dreamer

Tales of Quahnarren: The DreamerThe Dreamer

The Dreamer is the latest addition to my Tales of Quahnarren illustrated short story project.

This character went through an interesting visual development process, during which he transformed from a troublesome outlaw into a civilised musician and entertainer – quite a switch!

As is my normal working process, I saved many stages of completion whilst producing the illustration, which captures the evolution of the image over time. Below I’ve set up four individual versions into one image, which tracks development (top, left to right, then bottom, left to right) and shows the way I like to work on specific areas of importance, before making balancing adjustments or detail improvements across the overall piece.

The Dreamer: development steps

This illustration initially started with a loose sketch drawn directly in Painter with my Wacom tablet, which at the time was little more than just a head shot without any preplanning for a particular background design or treatment. A key element for this particular character was to capture an expression that matched his nature, which partly explains his personal change in destiny. This pose presented a nice faraway look, which helped to solidify the character in my mind and brought forth the idea to place him in an outdoor setting, suggesting his travels through the countryside as a wandering entertainer. As the focus was purely on the main interest area of the face I only needed to suggest organic shapes and continued to blend his form with the background itself.

As can be seen I wasn’t originally working with any colour, and was unsure until almost complete about changing it from a duotone to a colour piece. I regularly import my finished Painter files into Photoshop for final colour, contrast and saturation adjustments, so after completing that stage added some colour overlays to decide if a suitable effect could be achieved without losing the simplicity of the piece that I favoured. Introducing a light brown for the character of Leahslee and supporting that with a blue-green background added a bit more mood and interest, so I was happy to finish with the final version you see as the main image.

The illustration took about 8-9 hours to complete and is a welcome new part of my Quahnarren series.