Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The One

We “met” almost 5 years ago and it felt like love at first sight (at least from my side). Since then I wanted to draw this building many times but somehow the right moment never came… under those 5 years (doesn’t sound convincing, I  know). I always had a soft spot for old wooden buildings with charming details and this one was very old and really beautifully detailed.

It’s called Vastveitsloftet and was originally build in  XIVth century in Norway. After a few hundred years it was transported to Stockholm’s Skansen.

The surrounding is really picturesque as the building is placed on a high rock, overlooking a bay. If we have poor eyesight we probably won’t even see gigantic, grey socialist architecture on the other side of the bay.

The building originally served as a storehouse and maybe that’s why it was so carefully decorated.
What I find charming in a wooden architecture, are imperfections in the material: knots, cracks, signs of deteriorations, and elements in different sizes.

One day later...

Sweet, but… dark, desaturated tones would be much more sufficient.

And one more day... 

Gloomy, but not too gloomy (i.e. lagom gloomy). For some strange reason, this mood fits old Scandinavian buildings quite well :)

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Concept Designs - Tabletop Miniatures

"I don't dislike to be alone"
Ingmar Bergman

What would you do, if you had plenty of spare time and wouldn’t have to worry too much about economic issues? Well, most of the people would like to travel the world and spend time with their friends (which is not such a bad idea), but I would love to create my own, miniature cities and other fantasy sceneries like those from tabletop RPG games. Okay, maybe I would also travel here and there...

True, I don’t have time for creating physical models, painting them and building fantasy lands of them, but lately, I had (again!) an opportunity to work on concept designs for a company producing such 3D models. Their Kickstarter campaign has just ended and, considering how successful it was, I can guess, that there are quite a lot people interested in spending hours and days on building their miniature worlds and probably even fight battles there. The only difference is, that they actually HAVE time for that 😊

To the point! My task was to design ships, a little bizarre harbor city buildings, and various scenery objects for “lost tribes”. Below you can see, among others, a boathouse, a navigator’s guild, a port tavern, a governor’s mansion, a wizard’s tower, a shaman’s hut and tribal tree houses.

 I hope that all the backers will have fun with these sceneries!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

"Magician's Palace" - Designing Imaginary Architecture

Hi there! In snowy and cold winter days like these, there’s nothing better than warm tea near the burning fireplace. As I don’t have a burning fireplace (or any other fireplace for that matter), warm tea near the computer has to suffice.

So! Here is the last of the four “case studies” but just one of the whole mass of drawings made for a course in designing imaginaryarchitecture. The concept process behind this design has been described in the course and below you can see the drawing process. This illustration is called “The Magician’s Palace” and the form of the building is strongly influenced by gothic cathedrals.

1.      Well, an expression “concept sketch” may be too generous, but this tangle of lines really helped me to capture the idea.

2.      Just a few fine, accurate lines, which will determine the size of the building on a large piece of paper.

3.      Sketches of details, which I wanted to capture as soon as possible before I forget them (I avoid using reference photos while drawing architectural objects).

Repeating the previous step in ink with “copying” repeatable elements. I’ve been using here the same waterproof Faber-Castell pens, size S. Actually, if I could find size XS, it would be even better.

4.      Further delving into details… and a moment of doubt. It’s going to take a looooong time before…

5.      …finish!

Well, it’s not the real finish yet. Below you can take a look at a short video, where I’ve been painting it with watercolors in sepia tones.

Keep warm!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Swamp Fortress

We are moving forward with exploring medieval fantasy architecture. After simple wooden huts and decaying townhouses, it’s time for a larger building - a castle in the middle of wetlands.

1.      In the case of fantasy objects, imagination is crucial, so…

Yes, that’s the fruit of my imagination. If you saw some of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed, that thumbnail concept sketches made for my own projects are barely legible and they rarely foretell success in further works on a drawing. Let’s see what will happen this time!

2.      A really fast sketch on a large paper which will develop in a finished, detailed drawing

3.      More cautious drawing with ink

4.      Details

5.      Adding materials and shading. A few hours of adding materials and shading, actually. There is also a place for a mysterious creature from the thumbnail sketch, hurray!

This could be a finished drawing, but, in fact, I added watercolors to it. You can take a look at a short video, to see the results.

If you would like to know how to design imaginary buildings, like this one, you can watch my Skillshare course. I’m talking here about using more or less fantastical building materials, creating feasible structures, but also telling how life in various types of buildings could look like and how their function would influence their look. And of course, I couldn’t ignore my favorite subject: The Frequently Made Mistakes 😊

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 :)