Cú Chulainn is an Irish hero from Celtic/Gaelic culture. He also appears in Scottish and Manx storytelling. He was a knight of the 1st century and often compared to Achilles in Greek Mythology. When enraged he would become a ‘bezerker’ as in Viking culture. He was slain in a fight and like El Cid in later history, was propped up in an heroic pose, spear in hand to strike fear into his enemies even after death, and it was only when a raven landed on his shoulder that his demise was revealed.
He was seen as an Irish hero, riding a chariot, and defending Ulster against usurpers including Queen Medb of Connaught and even appeared to Saint Patrick as a ghost.
Cú Chulainn‘s appearance is open to interpretation, but he is described as clean shaven, young ( he died at 27 ), and some tales tell he had seven fingers on each hand and seven toes on each foot. And seven pupils in each eye. There is much description of him on his Wikipedia page, as there is of his life. There should be plenty of inspiration there in his adventures for an interesting version of this mythological hero.
I wanted to work on painting some original characters again but then I realized I already had some decent ones started--it's just a couple years ago I didn't really know how to push them farther so I just called them "finished sketches" and left them alone.
Originally conceived for a ConceptArt.org CHoW in which I was unable to participate, I figured I'd finish it up. According to what I read there, "berserker" literally means "bear shirt", so I took the idea of a guy who uses bear parts to scare his enemies. Thus the bear skull and claws on his back. *shrug*
I did a lot of experimenting with texture in this one, laying it down early and strong, and building up on top of it. Also my first outing with Photoshop CS5, which is a huge improvement over my old CS2.
Thanks to *jbcasacop for his excellent texture brush tutorial and to =Smoko-Stock for his great textures.