Category Archives: Practice

Bounty Huntress

As a bit of practice I do random portraits of my friends on Facebook, based on their photos. Most of them are overseas so I find it difficult to sit them down to do a proper portrait. having said this, I don’t even do that with my friends who live nearby!


This one is based on a friend in Canada who has a thing for Star Wars. I decided to put her in the female version of Boba Fett’s outfit. As always, there’s a sketch of sorts. This one was a little more detailed because I had to stay true to Boba Fett’s outfit – so i left in more details and references.



The background was pretty simple. I had a reference of an explosion on another screen which I used as a guide. I didn’t want it to be too realistically detailed because these portrait pieces are meant to be fast and loose. I dropped some block colour on the character and then adjusted it with some  Color Balance to match the reds and oranges of the explosion. The greens got darker, the greys got brown.


After painting the body, I finally started working on the head. Unfortunately I had to actually think about this one, because she had to photos of herself being lit from behind, so there was a fair bit of guess-work involved on casting light and shadow. I also took her neck down eventually – for some reason I like drawing long necks …



As always, the final image had a Brightness/Contrast adjustment because I was working in muted tones for too long. Anyone else notice how your eyes just get used to the dull tones and colours, until you walk away and come back to the image much latera and go WTF? 🙂

Battle of the Elements

Recently I’ve been watching some inspiring YouTube videos produced by Feng Zhu Design (School, in Singapore). There’s a few videos about his method of setting up MMORPG environs and (digitally) painting fantasy characters. The bit that inspired me (more than his excessive use of the Chalk Brush in PS (I normally use the Soft Round Airbrush)) was the speed at which he would work. All things considered, he works on very large files, but that reduces down a fair bit once he starts detailing – similar to my own method, but I usually spend a lot of time over detailing sections.

He also makes the comment to keep the overall image at percentile stages of completion, in order to facilitate the design schedule. This way each image can be sent on to the production team to “finish” instead of getting int he trap of finishing your own work.

Here’s something I threw together in under 3 hours. It’s rough but finished enough to convey the intent of the battle.


The rough sketch just in brush work – no line. Here I also adjusted the Saturation/Lightness of parts for perspective and depth.


Semi detailing each section to get a better feel for the characters. At this point I have no idea what they are supposed to look like. Here’s my fat druid.


There wasn’t really a progress screen capture of the Mage cause i went into a detailing-zone mindset. Having said this, the reduced image here is still rough. He’s a manipulator of Frost and Fire.


Here’s a more refined image of the Phoenix Fireball and the Druid with his Elemental Monster in the background. The ground was originally meant to be more solid, but I seem to have found them in a body of water as I was painting.



And the final image in all it’s glory. Even with the original adjustment of Hue/Saturation, I had to push it back a bit more to establish depth. I didn’t want it to take 3 hours, but it did due to fiddling with details. I’m finding the longer I work on the Cintiq these days, the more my neck/back aches due to the poor posturing.