I think I’ve proven with previous posts that I can’t leave well enough alone. This is a strength when I’m fiddling by addressing the weaknesses of a painting, not so much when I’m fiddling for the sake of fiddling.

What started out as what should have been a rushed painting with quick, loose strokes left to the viewer to complete turned into something more, something a little more detailed and still pretty minimalistic. I was pleased enough with that.

Then Squidgey poked and prodded it. Start by showing the environment reacting to the character, show the reflections of the light a little more. Simple things that I should have known, and didn’t do. So I added, here and there. Then I found a couple of places to tweak the composition, to not just present a flat image but apply what I’d learned from deconstructing other pictures, and try to make this painting a little more 3d, give the viewer a better sense of direction, lead the eye. Add a few more things here, fix how this looks there, pull it all together a little more cohesively and…

Well, this one was worth the fiddle 😀

Monsters and composition


Before the first strike

Those of you following my tumblr blog may have seen a couple of work-in-progress shots of this. I’ve found my happy place working on several paintings and sketches lately, and this has been the second biggest (and tied for first-most compelling) piece I’ve been doing.

I started this piece to explore the following ideas/tick them off in my folio:

  • a quick and rough-but-complete looking concept illustration (check – I even learned a bit more about using the palette knife!)
  • a complete scene (check – this piece isn’t just another portrait with a background)
  • composition (check that too – I had only a rough idea of what I wanted to do when I started, so I plotted it all out using divine proportion and kept those principles in the front of my mind throughout the painting)
  • values (yep – learned very, very quickly to stick to a distint and set value range for each ground)
  • working from a gamut mask (check and mate!)

I think I achieved most of what I set out to do. I feel the picture does look rough and concept-y enough. The one rude surprise I had working on the painting stemmed from point one: I’d started with a very small to print canvas, as I’d only intended to do a light digital sketch. My very patient partner, who provided critique and a fresh set of eyes throughout the process*, mentioned he wanted a print of the picture when I was done with it. Lucky for me, that got me looking at the picture dimensions and I blew it up just in time to put in the colour.

* as fresh as they could be when I was messaging him every ten minutes to show off a new development in the painting, anyway.

And there was plenty of my favourite part of painting: finding the mistakes myself and correcting them. A fun exercise where I learn a bit and get a painting at the end of it? Sense of achievement, fulfilled!


This is a concept illustration for a project I’ve got on the go at the moment. TTTSNB readers may already find the heroine familiar. And, dear readers of this blog, you’ll likely be seeing much more of her (and the Sweet cast) on this blog in the future.


She can’t eat neatly with that helmet on

June is for concepts and livestreaming

This month will be full of writing, planning and concept work!

Here’s a quick environment painting from imagination. Restricted myself to four tones for use throughout the image. Don’t think I quite got it, so I’ve set up a palette for my next black and white environment sketch that allows for three tones within three separate planes (nine tones total. Nine! I’ll be thoroughly spoilt.)

Also, here’s what that concept work looks like. I’m leaving this character’s weapon mutable, and I’ve left out some of the studies I did to get her to that broad silhouette. Readers of The Thing That Should Not Be might recognise this character…

And here’s a not terribly quick speedpaint. I referenced a shot of BigBang’s Daesung from the Monster music video.

I used to be a reluctant k-pop fan, and then I saw how awesome YG music videos were :B

Technical painting talk: Restricted myself to four tones for the initial value painting, then allowed to play a little bit more once I started laying down the colours. Also the first time I’ve worked from a gamut, which was very exciting! Overall painting took maybe two hours. I need to get back into painting more quickly and more often! I’ve livestreamed most of this painting, which you can find at my livestream channel here. Warning for length, this one clocks in at an hour and a half. I hope to do another livestream soon! 🙂