22 progress shots were saved for this particular image. From start to completion took around 30 hours, time which could have been cut down if I had worked differently. Live and learn, etc.

As I was drawing for Mystling I began looking for anatomy references I had drawn before, and found this sketch on the back of one of those papers. It must have been from a year ago when I played Divinity II: Ego Draconis, and decided I wanted to recreate that, as the pose and idea seemed pretty cool. The lore I made up for it is that the ‘dragonmancer’ wear and arm themselves with dragon skin and tooth, then uses sacrificial blood to transform their body partially or completely. In this case, the idea is that one unfortunate explorer was quickly finished off (the blood stains on the rune stone where he or she was supposedly stabbed and then glided down along the wall) and the other is seen very vaguely in the reflection of the helmet, retreating.

Now for breaking it down!
One thing in particular that just took forever to get right was the cape. I just couldn’t make it appear right no matter how I processed it. I can mostly attribute that to the random-hue brush that I used which garbled between red and green, for that splattered, colour-blind look. I then proceeded to use textures of an aligator to get the texture to look more organized and used it as base to draw on, and finally the hurdle was overcome. The veins in the cape and the light shining through was a neat suggestion from Kunal Luthra. And lastly the metallic reflection in the helmet, something I’ve never done before, was definitely a challenge. I can see myself doing some metallic armour drawing studies in the future…

The background was made very quickly using brushes and lasso tool, but even though it looks pretty lush it does not really distinguish itself in any way. I chose not to work too much on the background though, as the character was definitely the centerpiece. I tried to downplay the contrast from the background as a result of that philosophy, and using a Hue/Saturation layer which removed all colour it allowed me to see how well the character contrasted against the background.

All in all, I’m happy to have done something which showcases my current skill. Especially that of brushes, background and colour. And of course all the mistakes I made during the way to the finished picture will stay with me, and help to smooth out the work on my next piece.

Here’s the finished picture.

Thanks for reading!