Decoding Daily Deviations: The Cordyceps King

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Decoding Daily Deviations is the series that aims to unlock the secrets of what it took to create these magnificent artworks and motivate others to work towards similar recognition. Each week we will present an interview with one artist who has recently received a DD and have them share the details on that specific piece, relating to their creative process, techniques, and narrative inspirations. If you've ever wanted to know more about a beloved artwork and the talented skills applied to it, this is the series to keep track of!"

FEATURED ART: The Cordyceps King by JoelChaimHoltzman
DD DATE: 2017-01-27

The Cordyceps King by JoelChaimHoltzman

Share with readers the details of how this piece came into being. Did you have a clear story idea/inspiration from the beginning?  

I recently started playing around with my own intellectual property, a world set in the 16th century, where fallen angels, the biblical lost tribes, and grand empires have an emphasis. This particular piece is a remnant of one of these lost tribes, ''the Scythians,'' having been corrupted by a fallen angel (see story for more details)."

In “The Cordyceps King” you manage to achieve a high level of detail and many characters without overwhelming the scenery. Please, take us through your creative process on the painting and the choices you made with respect to colour and composition. 

It was pretty hard to keep the image readable, but I managed to do it through the following:

1. Rule of thirds (compositional points of an image where the eyes tend to linger): The focal point of the image is placed on one of these.
2. Value Hierarchy: The largest amount of contrast is in the focal point.
3. Detail: While the entire piece is detailed, that made me obliged to do even more details at the focal point.
4. Color: While the entire piece has a blueish hue, I gave the main character at the focal point a red bandanna to make that area pop even more. If one of these 4 aspects was missing I think that the piece would be pretty unstable and more chaotic."


1 by lovelessdevotions 2 (2) by lovelessdevotions
3 by lovelessdevotions 4 by lovelessdevotions 5 by lovelessdevotions

Did you encounter any creative challenges when working on the piece? If so, how did you tackle them? Is there anything you would do differently now if you could? 

The readability was a major struggle. I had to cut two more characters from the image, and remove the cloak the main character was wearing.

Furthermore, I had a lot of troubles with the value ranges of the materials, which I fixed only way after the image was released. The main lesson I learned is stick a while longer in the black-and-white phase, and not deviate from it too much with detailing too fast."

What’s one piece of advice that you would share with other artists hoping to reach this standard of work in the future? 

Besides working your ass off on the fundamentals, try daring subjects, even though you think it will scare people away. When you articulate it properly and it comes from your heart, I can guarantee that you will make your best pieces."

What does this DD feature represent or mean to you at this stage of your artistic development? What can your watchers look forward to next? 

It is my first DD and it really gave me a boost of acknowledgement that I am heading in the right direction. My watchers can expect to delve deeper into a world where sanity is questioned."

Bonus question: Can you cite a memorable reaction to this piece in the comments at DA? 

From :iconblackrocklegacies:: 'auh, what the fuck? He's wearing jewelry and makeup like he doesn't even know what makes those things look good. Do you see his fingernails? that guy's carrying a rippled torture sword,.. I'd fucking kill somebody for carrying a weapon like that.
I've seen veins and dress like that before, that's a hell lord. this is the stuff of nightmares, so, well captured, and trippy.'

A reaction that represents the feeling I wanted to convey by making this image. Huge compliment!"

Thanks to JoelChaimHoltzman for kindly consenting to the interview!

See his gallery for more amazing works: 

Joker Redesign by JoelChaimHoltzman The Khan and the Horselord by JoelChaimHoltzman

Previous Decoding DDs:

Vicious Cycle
Spoiled Princess
Artificial Guardian

Mountain View
Monster Eating Vampire
Death Knight
Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
Dragon Watchers
The journey and the big fish
Forrest Defender
Red Snow
Catching Spirits
The Tomb King
I'm fine
Cat Girl
Forest of Bunnies
The Journey
Malavestros: Muse of Madness
Jet Futura
The Northern Administration
Prisoned Singer
Don Kichote
On The Hunt
The Platform
I know a bank
Love and war
Chase, The Dreamer
Until the End of the World..
Crow Temple
Dragon's Breath

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DinowCookie's avatar
Great series of journals! ^_^ Watching!