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Nidhogg Walkthrough

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By KatieHofgard   |   
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© 2010 - 2020 KatieHofgard
While I was working on my piece of Nidhogg, I captured some WIP images I thought I'd share along with a walkthrough!

1) Sketch stage. Working out basic shapes, anatomy and a good composition are essential for a piece to look good once painted. He looks a little naked without scales, hehe.

2) Ink stage. Scales have been worked out in the sketch stage. I transfer my drawing to a sheet of smooth bristol using my light box and black miron inking pens

3) Greyscale Texture. Using a variety of cool grey markers, I work out the texture. This way it's all there before I get into the nitty gritty of the color stage, and can focus on color completely separate from texture.

4) Greyscale shading. At this point I've scanned the marker drawing and working digitally in Photoshop. I've added shadows using a layer set to multiply.

5) Base color. The original marker drawing layer is set to multiply, and underneath that I lay in base colors. The dragon and the roots are on separate layers so I can manipulate and paint them separately.

6) Details and a little Paint. I've worked out what colors I want the dragon to be at this point. Now I start painting on top of everything on a new layer (set to normal). I use the regular photoshop round brush with varying opacity, diameter and hardness. I have a tablet, so pressure sensitivity in the pen is very helpful to get varying strokes.

7) More paint. I continue to paint on the surface, building up the volume and the lights with lighter more saturated and warmer colors as I go.

8) I notice Nidhogg is looking a little "brand new" with no texture. So I add pock marks and broken scales on a new paint layer. I also thought I'd try adding moss on the roots, but since I didn't plan for it in the sketch stages it looked awkward and I abandoned the idea. I did add some mushrooms into the final piece so distribute the red colors a little more and make the roots a bit more interesting.

And here's the final piece!
Image size
1100x1640px 544.92 KB
Comments49
anonymous's avatar
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shadowblade275's avatar
shadowblade275Hobbyist Digital Artist
very interesting... i still have to get into the habit of using a light box or a window to transfer drawings. i keep trying to draw everything in photoshop which makes it a challenge, but i have done it before.
Killer-Sweet's avatar
Killer-SweetStudent
This is exactly the kind of tutorial I've been looking for! Thank you so much for sharing! :iconla-plz:
Sprucetail's avatar
wouldn't having it set to normal cover all the lines up underneath it?
FaxeTheOutsider's avatar
FaxeTheOutsiderHobbyist General Artist
Omg its crazy! :heart:
gourou123's avatar
WOW! you mean that you did this on paper??! i thoug it was on computer!!! xD
Eraili's avatar
ErailiHobbyist Digital Artist
the first three pictures are on paper, the rest on the computer ^^
zelaznostopy's avatar
zelaznostopyHobbyist Traditional Artist
That's strange... It's written: "Digital Art" under the name of the pic :confused:
XXSTYLIONWOLFXXbones's avatar
XXSTYLIONWOLFXXbonesHobbyist General Artist
ah just saw this, great idea to start with shading :)
Grag0n's avatar
aw3some :3
Genevieve24's avatar
Genevieve24Hobbyist Traditional Artist
all of this stuff goes WAY over my head but it looks great
Natasha-Donovan1989's avatar
i really love the step by step illustration very good :) have you ever thought of creating a tutorial book or digital tutorials? i think many ppl could learn off of you :)
KatieHofgard's avatar
KatieHofgardProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you very much! I have a little section of my gallery here with some tutorials and whatnot actually. [link]
Natasha-Donovan1989's avatar
er welcome :)and ill def check the link out :D
Lady-Owl's avatar
Lady-Owl Digital Artist
Your sketch stage is so fluid yet your line art so crisp. I wonder how your final would look if you didn't do the ink stage.
KatieHofgard's avatar
KatieHofgardProfessional Digital Artist
It'd be a lot more work since the pencil smudges and disappears underneath the marker. I've done that sort of lineless work before with markers, but it usually ends up fairly fuzzy looking without a lot of extra work to make it more crisp looking.
Lady-Owl's avatar
Lady-Owl Digital Artist
Very true but I wasn't meaning lineless, just the fluid and wispy look of the sketch lines being used as your line work instead of the inked one. But I understand and know all too well, unfortunately, that those lines can easily become lost beneath the colors. :c

I usually go over the lines again after I apply color to make them stand out again. Sometimes I lose them completely and need the help of my original sketch to reline it with the light box. I just usually like the soft pencil line art a little more than inked so I don't mind the extra hassle. x_x
KatieHofgard's avatar
KatieHofgardProfessional Digital Artist
Well, I guess that's kinda the problem. This process goes linework > marker > digital color. And since using the pencil as the linework means the pencil lines get smudged out/disappear when marker is applied on top of it, it essentially becomes lineless. At that point it's a fuzzy edged marker drawing that I need to carefully work over digitally to make the edges more crisp. Soft pencil lineart is one thing (an awesome thing), but blurry edges can ruin an otherwise awesome piece.
OnyxSerpent's avatar
OnyxSerpentProfessional Digital Artist
*pokes nose in again*
Tried scanning then printing at the pencil stage, then using markers over that? Adds extra steps, but may be the best compromise if you don't want to risk losing the spontaneity of pencil.

I'll go away now and leave you be, haha. XD
Lady-Owl's avatar
Lady-Owl Digital Artist
I agree. That's another benefit of digital artwork. I know Klar draws out her drawings on paper and colors them digitally allowing her pencil work to be preserved perfectly which looks really nice.
fazzle's avatar
fazzleProfessional General Artist
I love seeing how people do it differently. Something i will certainly have to try ^^
OnyxSerpent's avatar
OnyxSerpentProfessional Digital Artist
Random drive-by question here... :P Would it have been better to have pushed the darker values in step 4-ish in order to give the figure and form more depth? It seems like it's perhaps all too close in value than it should be, in my opinion. It seems to me that mister Nidhogg doesn't "pop" as much as he maybe should in the final.

Always nice to see how other people work though. :P
KatieHofgard's avatar
KatieHofgardProfessional Digital Artist
That's something I struggle with actually. I enjoy dark high contrast pieces, but I also like seeing the detail in the shadows. So I think I focus a lot on seeing those details in the shadows and it ruins the contrast. I might go back and adjust the contrast to help make Nidhogg pop a bit more, that's a good suggestion!
OnyxSerpent's avatar
OnyxSerpentProfessional Digital Artist
You still have a lot of range to work with. :D If you desaturate the final image and take a look at the values, there's nothing above 50% grey, really. But at the same time, there's nothing too much darker than 75%. So you can still darken the far branches a fair bit and make Nidhogg all bright 'n' shiny and still keep all the details you've done. Or make SOMETHING bright and shiny at least, haha.

One of my teachers keeps going on about making sure to have light, medium, and dark in all images -- so may be worth planning in comp stages. :nod: It really helps make sure ya don't lock yourself into a constricted value range.
KatieHofgard's avatar
KatieHofgardProfessional Digital Artist
I'll give it a shot, thanks so much! =D
anonymous's avatar
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