Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Medieval Town - video courses

Recently I finished preparing a Skillshare course about designing fantasyarchitecture. I presented there many architectonic details drawn from imagination, talked about the rules accompanying medieval builders and highlighted many frequently made mistakes in designing fantasy architecture. An important part of the course are “case studies” - four detailed illustrations summarizing four chapters of the course.

I explained there a designing process based, among others, on historical and constructional aspects. In this blog post, I’ll shortly present how they were drawn step by step. Today it’s time for a little, medieval town square.    

1.      If you don’t know, what is presented here, I don’t blame you. Luckily for me, shortly after that (i.e. before I forgot what I was thinking about) I began to draw a full-size, neat sketch.

2.      If you don’t know what to draw, just start with a horizon line placed in 1/3 or 2/3 of the height of the frame. Drawing vertical lines in 1/3 and2/3 of the width of the frame should be also helpful in setting the composition. I added also a few other divisions. Easy stuff so far 😊

3.      Probably now you can see, that there will be two fragments of buildings on the foreground (on the right and the left) and some houses with a bridge/gate in the background. Medieval towns quite often had irregularly shaped roads and “squares”. That’s why there are two different vanishing points for these two foreground buildings, as they are not meant to be parallel. It’s also time to decide how high the floors should be.

4.      Defining actual shapes of the buildings. Do you see the striking similarities with the first concept sketch?

5.      Marking the most important details, which should give some character to the scene.

6.      Further delving into the details…

7.      Erasing pencil lines and leaving only the fine, ink drawing.

8.      Seems like a big step forward in comparison with the previous one, but this part in fact required relatively little thinking and lots of arduous work. The one important aspect here was a decision about the light direction.

The next post will be dedicated to the third “case study” from the course - “Swamp Fortress” (I hope that the title is a bit intriguing).

In the meantime, you can take a look at how this medieval town square was colored with watercolors in sepia tones!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Slavic Hut - video courses

Some time ago I decided to focus on making video classes. I’ve been asked for that quite a few times, but it required resources and time, so the courses have been postponed constantly. Until now! The course about designing fantasy architecture was prepared (with loooong breaks) for about a year. For some strange reason, the hardest part appeared to be self-presentation…

Anyway, now it’s finished, so if you would like to get to know the rules of designing imagined buildings for a need of games or books, or if you just would like to take a look at the whole mass of hand-drawn more or less fantasy details and listen about medieval buildings you can visit my Skillshare page (link to my profile). 

In this course, besides plenty of many details, I presented also a few “case studies” which are detailed illustrations based on the knowledge handed in the course. I explained there WHY these illustrations look the way they look and here I’ll explain HOW they were drawn step by step.

1.      A small and super fast concept sketch with side notes. What a potential, Ladies and Gentleman! Nah, the aesthetic aspect is not the strongest point here. What does matter is capturing the right composition and it’s much easier on a small piece of paper and without worrying about drawing fine, straight lines.

2.      The first line was the horizon line. Then I marked the basic parts of the composition. The corner of the hut is placed in the 1/3 of the width of the frame. The boat and the roof lines are pointing to the main tree.

3.      Adding more structure: reed, a fence, some strange skulls, a large stone with magic symbols (also placed in 1/3 of the width of the frame). The “Thundermark” on the stone is a symbol of Perun – the God of warriors and lighting (in other words a Slavic version of Nordic Thor).

4.      After clarifying the most important elements in the previous step, I feel confident enough to draw with ink. I traced here the pencil sketch with a little more awareness of materials(note that wooden beams and the forked pole are more organic than geometric now).

5.      Textures and shadows - part I. In my humble opinion, the XIXth century craftsmen were absolute masters in capturing textures and material structures, so after short googling, I got some inspiration.

6.      Textures and shadows - part II. It took me ages… or at least a few hours.

And then I colored it with watercolors! If you are curious about how it proceeded and eventually the illustration turned out, just click below 😊

In the next post, I’ll present another “case study” from my course – a medieval town square.

Friday, 19 January 2018


“Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”

I guess I haven’t painted any existing landscapes since a long time... Oh, I just had to check it. I haven’t painted any existing landscapes since May 2015, which gives us over 2,5 year! Looks like my record. This previous painting presented a high school building from my hometown.

This one is a view of an island where I’m living right now. Nah, I’m not living in any of those buildings, but the surrounding is pretty awesome anyway.

There are sooo many inspiring places in Stockholm that I would like to draw. I’ve even made a short to-do list, but, as always, lack of spare time can thwart my plans.

To the point! Drawing process:

1.      An accurate pencil sketch:

2.      I started painting (as usually) with the sky. Then it came turn for roofs. 

3.      And the walls. I used here a thin brush with a flat tip.

4.      The next step was painting windows and finally, the water reflection. OH, MY GOD, I’ve been struggling with this reflection so hard.

I'm glad that it's finished. I just hope that I won't have to wait another 2,5 year for painting some nice, real view :) 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

BLIGHTINGALES - music album illustrations

Based on my long and insightful researches (i.e. checking “likes” on Facebook and Behance and posting a one-question questionnaire on DeviantArt) I discovered, that my viewers/readers are most interested in my gothic illustrations.

Oddly enough, I don’t have too many opportunities to make such artworks. But today I can finally share with you a mysterious, ruined gothic cathedral painted as a cover illustration for a grey-metal (doom-death-symphonic black) band “Darken My Grief”.

So far I could only listen to a few demo fragments, but I hope I managed to capture an appropriate atmosphere. Luckily the band’s frontman – Duddu had quite a clear vision regarding the whole graphic design.  Considering this, the task may sound like a piece of cake, but in practice, it meant seemingly endless editions of the whole mass of tiny little elements. Apparently, that’s what happens, when two perfectionists meet. Anyway, the final result was worth the effort!

One of my ugly concept sketches – let’s call this phase “a necessary pain”. Probably at this stage the clients are seriously wondering whether they made the right choice when hiring me:

The final illustration – I had almost a total freedom here. The only requirement was to capture a woman and a flock of birds. So I decided to put them in a gothic environment (with cathedral’s ruins in a shade of whitened bones. Charming, I know):

The front cover design:

The back cover illustration (probably you can notice letters DMG hidden in the central symbol resembling an angel – this symbol is actually frontman’s brilliant idea):

Some of the lyrics backgrounds:

And now I’m waiting impatiently to listen to their music...