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Viking Ship - how I approach complex surfaces.

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A piece I did for a magazine 6 months ago. Maybe you find it useful to read how I approach something like that.


When I approach a complex painting I always try to think several steps ahead to figure
out the easiest and fastest way to my desired goal. So for this task I want to paint a viking
ship figurehead with a variety of materials. I also want it to have different and interesting
colors and patterns and place it in a atmospheric setting. Painting these ideas all at once
would be a real pain. So how to approach it? Splitting all tasks in little digestible bits of
course.
So I start off with the drawing, where I just focus on composition and design. It doesn’t
has to be too clean, but the more design questions I answer at this point the less I have to
work on the design later on.
After that I’ll block in the most important shapes on separate layers and lock the
transparency. This way I can go wild with my brushes but will always maintain a clean
shape.
Now that I got my shapes I start adding color. Just pick the ones I need and put it in
without thinking about light and shadow.
After that I get to the light and mood part. I use layer modes and brush modes like color dodge,
multiply, lighten, etc. I establish all light sources and start rendering the materials like I
think they would react to them.
Image details
Image size
3402x2964px 6.84 MB
© 2015 - 2021 yakonusuke
Comments34
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etinflation's avatar

Sumptuously! Gracefully, beautifully, subtly. A great experience exploring your worlds.

Unify01's avatar
magicaman's avatar
LauraBevon's avatar
wah the light on his "neck" ! This painterly style is great. You really master tons of different technics/approaches, that's nice, keep making great art ! :)
shy4's avatar
it's a really stunning piece. unusual approach to the viking theme i shall say - i love that with only clues left by you we can make a story! and al these bloodthirsty vikings hidden beneath mist, so cool!!
yakonusuke's avatar
Happy to hear you enjoy it!
yakonusuke's avatar
BiwerVincent's avatar
I really love this one. 
yakonusuke's avatar
Ururuty's avatar
awesome light
Maxa-art's avatar
You applied colors directly ?

A lot of artists starts with grayscale to get the volume first but I often have problems while transitioning from grayscale from colors, it usually doesn't look that good.

Anyway, great piece, I like how you painted the distinct materials.
yakonusuke's avatar
Well, you gave the reason for my approach yourself! :)
Thank you!
irismuddy's avatar
suuuuper helpful thank you :) beautiful result too
yakonusuke's avatar
Not a problem, Iris! And thanks to you!
Inkyh's avatar
Remember this one from the magazine, awesome stuff! :)
yakonusuke's avatar
Thank you! It was unfortunately a bit cropped, so this here is the full experience. ^^
J-AXR's avatar
I can't believe how perfect this image is.
You're one of my favourite artists on Deviantart. You're a huge inspiration and I hope I'll reach your level of drawing one day.
yakonusuke's avatar
Aww thank you for the warm words!
Entropician's avatar
welcome back man, amazing as usual, I totally love that flahs of light on the "neck" of the dragon, great atmospehre and use of easy solhuette for suggest a big emotion! wunderbar!
yakonusuke's avatar
Thanks man! Not back though, just posting old stuff... working my ass off for clients and no time for my own stuff. But I'll be back for real eventually!
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