Floating Castle

Floating Dark CastleOver the past couple of months, I’ve been having a weird concept in my head. The basic idea was of a dark scene with a floating castle made of something blue-ish like ice, reached by a stone bridge suspended in the air and sorrounded by nothing but dark miasma and evil mist.
Eventually, I worked on the concept and added a few differences, like the energy vortex and a perspective that is totally different from my original idea, where the castle itself was seen only partially from a first-person view at the entrance.

This is my very first complete illustration, as well as the first oil painting on illustration board and not primarily wet-on-wet. There are at least 6-7 layers of paint overall, the last one being mixed with a good amount of medium (50/50 of linseed oil and turpentine)

The surface being mainly smooth, I pre-textured it following James Gurney’s method

The following images are the very first overall concept, followed by the entrance (yes, there is a strong Lord Of The Rings inspiration here!)
Floating Dark Castle Concept 1I had to go for something a lot simpler given the size and my incapacity (ugh) of rendering fine details in oil, still.

Floating Dark Castle Entrance


Experimenting sketchy shading

Sketchy Shading of a rusty metal still life
Once more following Artur Guptill’s “Sketching and Rendering in Pencil”, I somehow tried to applied the sketchy way of rendering shading he describes in Chapter IV, Part I.
I used a single pencil, 2b Mars Lumograph, although it’s recommended to use different grades for finished pieces. I guess this is fine since mine was more of an experiment. I setup a pretty simple still life with old, rusty metal objects:
Rusty Metal Still Life Photo Reference(notice the camera angle was slightly different from mine when I was drawing).
As you can see from my notes on the side, it took me roughly 3 hours. More to get the drawing accurate, to be honest, since the shading was pretty quick and probably not careful enough.


Tales of the Shepherd

Tales of Zestiria - Sorey

I’ve been playing this amazing game named Tales of Zestiria recently. Since the style resemble japanese anime, and the protagonist is so cool (!) I thought I could spend a few hours drawing him. The english name is wrongly translitterated to Sorey, although it should really be Slay.

2b and mechanical 2b (for the refined parts) on Winsor & Newton Cartridge pad, A4


Post Office dudes strike back

Post Office dudes strike back

I had some time to sketch at the post office again (heh). I started sketching when I saw an old man getting to the employee to do something, and throwing his bike helmet into… a trash bin. It was his way to avoid the helmet from getting dirty on the floor as there was no place where to put it, and he needed both hands.
Then, I spotted another interesting subject. A middle-aged man was yawning in boredom while waiting, probably since quite a  lot before I came in. You can see him on the bottom left. The others are just generic doodles, quick faces and a pose of people passing by.


Psyche Abduct – Master Study of Bouguereau

Psyche Abduct - Master Study of Bouguereau


I’ve been working on this study for the last week. Following the shading principle of parallel lines, as described in the 1917 classic “The Practice and Science of Drawing” by Harold Speed (Free version here). I chose this famous painting by Bouguereau because the original has a very delicate shading, which the parallel lines help to achieve in pencil, not making shapes too bold or strong)


Painting the British Graveyard in Gouache

English Graveyard in Gouache
Having joined the “Paint a Graveyard on Location” challenge at Gurney Journey, I went to a small english cemetery located at about 20 minutes from my town. It was the graveyard of an old castle that belonged to the Nelson family (the one of Admiral Nelson).

It was the first test run of my new lightweight sketch easel (on which I will write a blog post soon), and gouache as well, having only used it a couple of times at home.

The result is… well. I am not happy with it. The dapples light caused by the tree canopy above me encouraged me to try some warm/cool contrast between the lit and shaded areas, but I took it excessively far and got a terrible effect.

The challenge requiring to use only 3 colors, I chose Raw Sienna, Burt Sienna and Ultramarine Light, all by Winsor&Netwon, with the addition of white of course.

I have really struggled to get smooth edges, as Gouache is so opaque that it dried the very second after I put it down on paper. Need more practice on this.


Sketching at the Natural History Museum

My town has a tiny but interesting collection of stuffed animals (mainly birds), and a few archaeological artifacts, stack together and showcased in some old school rooms. I wanted to do some life drawings today, so I packed up some water soluble pencils, a water brush, and my loyal Lumograph 2b, and made my way to the museum.

Big Shell of the museum - water soluble pencils
The first sketch is a big, white shell I came across in one of the rooms. I cursed myself for not having brought some darker ink to paint the background and make the shell look as white as it was. It was kind of back lit because of an open window, and had some tiny led lights over it as well. It was sitting on a blue  carpet so there was a lot of that blue in the bottom part’s shade. Sadly, I failed to capture the right darkness of this bottom part.

Pencil Sketches at the museum
I then move to the archaeological area where I sketched out various things in pencil (it’s not the same sketchbook, this is one I made myself with Fabriano extra smooth paper). That Ursus thing is actually a Bear’s leg. Ursu Spelaeus should mean Cave Bear.

Sketch of a White Stork at the museumIn my last 50 minutes I headed over to the birds collection, and find this white stork pretty inspiring. The beak was of a flame red but I didn’t have any bright color of the red family. My only reddish hue was brown, so I tried using that. The yellowish areas were made by blending a light olive with brown/umber. I used the black pencil again to get the background and try having those white feathers stand out a bit.

Next time, I should really take the inks with me as well.


Dancing Woman

A couple of days ago I got my first toned paper sketchbook. Yeah, I actually never tried toned paper before.
I obviously fell in love for it already 😀 Getting both darks and lights was a lot easier than I expected, and am pretty satisfied with my first sketch:
Dancing Woman Sketch on toned paperIt’s nothing more than a couple of inches tall sketch I made out of an image of Wetcanvas’ Reference Image Library. A lot can be improved, especially because I used a 2b pencil for the darks and white colored pencil (Caran D’Ache Supracolor) for the lights. I’m pretty sure I can go better with some charcoal pencils.