The Princess of Demons depicted by me once again.

Demonica Sex Demon Princess

I really enjoyed working this one and used a lot of hard brushes. Lately I’ve adopted a new workflow and it really helps me to refine the edges better which I hope is somewhat obvious in this drawing. This was done entirely in Photoshop, I’m guessing about 5 hours of work went into it.

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Ok I made this a couple of weeks ago, I’m not too pleased with it but I’m posting it simply because of the amount of time I inviested in this.

Digital

All done in Photoshop, didn’t keep track of time but I spent at least a couple of hours on this. The mouth and nose and eyes, all gave me trouble. I learned a couple of things from this but it’s hard to say so looking at the results.

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A friend turned me on to the Elric series by Michael Moorcock and I finished everything I could find in the local bookstore sometime last year. While I don’t think the Elric books are as amazing as some cultists make them out to be there are some real good concepts here, most centering around the central character. What I found most fascinating about the books is the method by which these stories were originally published and this is another reason why I’ve been so motivated lately. Ever since finishing Elric I’ve made a big push with my writing though I’m afraid to show it yet.

Anyways, here’s a scene from the Elric series. Those who have read the books should be able to recognize it without the need of the post’s title.

Elric and the Sad Giant's Shield

As usual, this began as a tiny pencil sketch which I scanned and painted over digitally. It doesn’t look like much but I spent quite a bit of time trying to get this right and it’s still not right. In particular I really struggled with the colors of the giant but this is it for now. I have a hunch this one might get updated but I have a few other works in the hopper that really need some attention.

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I’m dedicating this drawing to my great friend Mortimer and his insatiable love for Pearls Before Swine!

The Hellhound below was abandoned on our plane after his master was murdered. The confused pup ended up wondering the Earth aimlessly until finding and adopting a baby duck.

Hellhound - Guard Duck the Pocket Dog

This originally started as a pencil drawing which was then painted in Photoshop rather too quickly. I like it though, here’s the WIP:

WIP animation of the Hellhound Digital Painting

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The following digital painting was done for the CHOW 190 at conceptart.org

The idea was to depict a Kitsune which is the Japanese variant of a creature who is half fox half female… basically a vixen. I went ahead with a very orange haired green eyed girl who exhibits both traits of beautiful female and a fox. Perhaps I should’ve made her look more asian but I’ve yet to meet any natural asian redheads. Was that racist of me?

Nude Vixen - Kitsune

As usual here comes the obligatory WIP animated GIF:

Vixen animated WIP image tutorial

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Every time I hear someone refer to “the Magus” or “a Magus” I can’t help but think of the character from Chrono Trigger who is perhaps one of the first really evil villains in a video game who ultimately turned out to be a good guy. Well maybe that’s not true, I’m sure others can bring up other examples, but the fact is that The Magus was extremely memorable. Well today I finished this drawing after about 3 hours worth of work on it, it was my rendition of the character though it was done for the CHOW 188 activity at conceptart.org

The Magus with a book of spells

Pencil sketch first, matter of fact you can see the WIP below:

The MAGUS drawing WIP animation

Enjoy, and long live the Magus!

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Below you can see our final entries which we submitted for the Team CHOW 3 contest. The topic which was thrown out to the teams was to create a Tarot Deck and each team had to choose cards which to illustrate. While the restrictions were to do a minimum of two cards per team member (artist) each team could only choose half of their cards to be of the High Arcana. Our team initially chose only two high arcana cards, the Fool and the High Priestess, because it was said bonus points would be awarded to the teams who did mostly regular cards. Unfortunately we never managed to finish the High Priestess, also no bonus points were awarded which makes me cringe because the High Arcana cards definitely seemed more interesting to draw. Now that I’ve been through two team challenges I’ve learned that following the guidelines is pretty pointless. Also it was very disappointing because conceptart.org decided to not publicize this challenge, especially compared to the previous one, as a result the artists who worked on this got very little exposure. Still, great work was done, and many of us learned a lot by participating (I sure did.)

Of the six cards we finished I only made the King of Pentacles and worked on the Fool and the Ace of Cups as collaboration.


Tarot Card - The Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups initial concept (giant figure holding a cup filled with lava in a fiery landscape) was proposed by me. Clanlord did the initial drawing of the one depicted above which I then modified and colored, Headhunter put on the finishing touches to this piece.


Tarot Card - King of Pentacles

Tarot Card - The Fool

Headhunter created the remaining 3 cards by himself: the Queen of Pentacles, the Four of Wands and the Two of Wands.


Tarot Card - The Queen of Pentacles

Tarot Card - Four of Wands

Tarot Card - Two of Wands

I’m real proud of the work we did during this challenge, I also feel I learned a lot as opposed to the previous challenge where I just did a big push in terms of gruntwork. You can see we didn’t do well in the final voting section but by looking at the quality of the work I’m now convinced it’s a popularity contest in ca.org when the final votes are tallied up. The good part is that we did great work and finished before the deadline while following the rules and sticking to the topic.

Special thanks to Clanlord and Headhunter for being on the same team with me, it really was an honor.

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I was just doodling a few days ago when this ended up solidifying in just a few minutes, I decided to post it after looking at it again tonight.

Soldier wearing a spiked helmet with a weird design

All done in Photoshop, about 20 minutes of work.

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Some concept work done by me for the Doomsday Dream Clan entry. It seems we will use the Fool’s design in the finals. The version of the High Priestess portrayed here will probably not be used in the finals, just testing ideas and coloring methods.

Tarot Card Concept Art for The Fool and The High Priestess done by the Doomsday Dream Clan

All done in Photoshop, cheers!

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OK, so Doomsday Dream Clan has been on a tear lately despite me being sick and miserable. While we were discussing topics for the Tarot Challenge I came up with the idea to do a dark torture theme for our cards. As I started doing concept sketches with this dark theme I kept drawing chains and even simple chains can be a pain in the ass if you try to draw every link… So I searched last night for Photoshop chain brushes and didn’t quickly find a good result. So here I am today to hopefully help some people out with a free download of a brush I created.

Download Niva’s Simple Chain Brush – Photoshop CS3

Disclaimer: This brush is being released AS IS. It may not work as advertised in Photoshop versions older than CS3. Use it in whatever way you’d want, though if you make something cool with it comment below and send me a link so I can check it out!

Tutorial on how to create a Chain Brush for Photoshop

I’m also going to explain how to create this brush for those of you who would like to create your own. This will be a somewhat advanced tutorial in how the Photoshop Brush engine works. While it may seem complicated at first the power of Photoshop brushes is immense. If you use the program to do digital painting, like I do, you owe it to yourself to learn this stuff and use custom brushes.

I’m going to discuss the problem before we begin. A chain is composed of usually identical links which interlock with each other to form the actual chain. The simplest chains are ones with straight oval links which fit into each other at a 90 degree angle of rotation from the axis of the chain as it is stretched out. There is slack in chains though, and generally not all links come together at 90 degrees as the chain hangs loosely.

Step 1 – Create a basic pattern which will be repeated in order to get the desired result: In this case a chain!

Two links of the chain which will be used in Photoshop as a custom brush

As you can see the drawing is very simple. I wasn’t even too worried about making it look accurate and good. There are many other ways in which a chain can come together but the primary purpose of this brush is for concept work and visualization so it will be quick and dirty. Notice that I did create some shading in the image above. It’s very important to make the image on pure white. The Photoshop brush engine when it samples an image to define a brush pattern uses white (or gray) in order to define opacity. Only pure black will be filled in completely as you use this brush, the gray areas will be somewhat transparent depending on how white they are.

Last night while I was searching for chain brushes I found many which are simply too long and are impossible to repeat properly to be used in the way I need this brush to be used. So it’s important to make sure the pattern is short enough so that when you repeat it and curve the links can still come together without adding too much illusion as being “double linked” pattern… which they are in terms of the brush.

Step 2 – Define the brush pattern.

Select the entire image, if you’ve started with pure white this won’t matter as Photoshop will only select non-white areas. So effectively even though you’ve manually selected a large image the brush pattern will be smaller than your selection.

Define Brush Pattern - Tutorial Step 2

After making your selection go to Edit > Define Brush Preset…

Once this has been completed you will immediately have a new brush visible in your brush selection window. However, this brush is not very useful until we change it’s behaviour a bit which is what I will discuss next.

Step 3 – Modifying the brush behaviour in order to achieve desired results.

There are two main things to take care of here in regards to the chain brush. Right now the newly created brush is just the ugly two links I drew earlier, which by itself is not useful. However, if we modify some of the attributes of the brush we can get a really useful tool in the end. Go to the brush window and select the new brush. If you don’t have the brush window visible go from the main menu in Photoshop and select Window > Brushes.

Once you have the window visible and you’ve selected your brush navigate to the Brush Tip Shape window, and you’ll get the following screen.

Brush Tip Shape Window in Photoshop

The first thing you want to take care of is to re-orient the brush so that it flows better. Sadly I drew the brush vertical so it has to be rotated by 90 degrees. In the area where you have the circle visible you can grab the arrow and rotate it around manually. Or you can type in the value of 90 degrees in the window labeled “Angle”. Next you want to go to the very bottom of the window and drag the spacing bar utnil you get to about ~190%. This means that as you trace a path, after one brush appears, the next one will appear at 190% of the distance in that path where 100% is the length of the brush. This seems to make little sense, because remember the brush was originally positioned vertical, but we’ve now rotated it and are making it fit horizontally. Photoshop however still remembers the original brush positioning which was defined by the brush pattern at the start and uses that value to calculate when the next pattern gets put down. Don’t get lost in the numbers though, just drag the bar until you get the chain links to meet appropriately. It’s up to you as an artist to decide what looks good.

Lastly, still in the same window we must activate “Shape Dynamics” by checking it. Make sure to click on the text itself and turn everyting off. The only thing you should have is Angle Jitter at 0% and Angle Jitter Control selected as Direction. Here’s what it should look like:

Selecting Angle Jitter Control to Pen Direction

Once you make this selection the angle of the brush will be calculated based on how your pen is moving, or your mouse (shame on you if you don’t have a tablet and are trying to paint on a computer!) Ok, now it’s time to test the brush, you can reduce the size to a more managable value like 200 pixels tends to be best for this imo. Big brushes are useful sometimes but generally take up too much resources… then again, we’re using Photoshop so you better have some resources! Generally speaking most simple brushes can be kept small, however some texture brushes are good to be bigger so that more of the texture detail is retained within the brush. If you shrink texture brushes too much then the detail gets lost. In this case 200 pixels is fine since this is a brush which will be used for a concept art stage and you’ll probably paint over it manually to make the work look better. If it needs to be smaller then you can simply shrink the brush size down as you need without worries.

Step 4 – Once properly configured save your brush pattern so that you can quickly access it in the future!

Test your brush on a blank canvas, make sure it works as expected. Once you’re satisfied you want to make sure to save these settings. The problem is that to do this you must create a new brush. Unless you do this, if you select another brush, and want to go back later to using the chain brush, you’ll have to reconfigure it to look right again. Unless you have some strange fettish for reconfiguring Photoshop brushes you won’t want to repeat this process. So with your newly minted brush selected go to the Brushes Window, click on the menu window (little arrow just below the X to close the Brushes Window) and select “New Brush Preset…”

Last step - Saving your configured Brush Preset

This will create a new brush yet again, but you can go back and delete the old brush which is entirely too huge and useless. Now you have a very quick and easy brush you can use for making some evil looking chains in your drawings. Here is a test sample of what the brush should look like in a single spiral stroke:

Testing the newly created chain brush

I hope this was useful, remember that your comments make my day so drop me a line. Cheers!

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