November 2, 2012

Northern Light Workshop

Back in October, I had the first experience as an instructor holding a class at the Northern Light Workshop in lovely Stockholm in tandem with Jesper Ejsing. I was a tad nervous I have to admit but fortunately I loosened up after a beer :P Definitely can see myself doing more teaching in the future - as long as there's a bar somewhere close...

We focused on character art and character development, explaining what's going on behind the whole process, what to consider, what to research, how to make the figure look like it has its own story and is not just standing around decoratively. Over the whole weekend all students created their own characters and all of them turned out so great and full of ideas.

For the demonstration I chose the RPG character of my husband Martin. I asked him to give me a brief description of his characters he created over the years and I instantly fell in love with his wizard, which doesn't look like a wizard at all. Rather a travelling fortune teller disguised as a gypsy, hiding his face behind a scarf or cloth and a wide brimmed hat. And inspired a bit by Duncan McCloud, look-wise.

So I started to do my research of all the objects and styles that popped into my mind, I collected pictures and put them on an image reference board so I won't loose an idea in this inspirational thunderstorm:

I quite often use reference boards. Not for plainly copying parts but to be constantly inspired by looking over the details whilst drawing and painting the character. It keeps my motivation up and I get new ideas by simply combining styles, patterns or colours.

Here's a simple step by step of the character art:

Jesper actually pushed me to be bolder with the highlights and I learned a lot by painting this guy. He was working on his own RPG character at the same time, so we sat next to each other, furiously digi-painting and drooling over each others artwork ;) Jesper had to start twice though, his Photoshop crashed and the first painting would have been lost forever... if I wouldn't have taken a sneaky picture of his screen a few minutes earlier. So, that's all that's left of it, ha ha...

PS: Martin loved the character I created for him! But still I failed :P I was so enthusiastic with throwing colour and patterns on the character, that I completely missed the fact that this guy was supposed to wear dark clothes since he's a shadow mage... uhm, yes... will do the revisions, Sir!


  1. What a fantastic character. Part wizard, part gypsy, part Highlander, part gunslinger...all adds up to BITCHIN! I'm a boots and hat (sometimes poncho) guy myself. How long did this take? What would be your price for a b&w commission?

  2. Love that wizard. How your husband is able to not ask you to do pictures of all his characters is beyond me.

    Another Jesper

  3. Very cool! I love Wizard's relaxed natural pose, and the costuming is great! Glad I'm not the only one who fills half their screen with reference photos :)

    (Interesting to see Jesper painting on a computer, I assumed he was 100% traditional).

  4. Looks like it was an awesome time! It's really cool seeing the reference sheet laid out. Awesome post, Eva :)