Tag Archives: Malazan Empire


Silchas Ruin is one of three brothers from the Malazan Empire series of books written by Steven Erikson. He is one of the first sons of darkness, but unlike most other Tiste Andii he is white, because he is an albino and even the darkness taking him did not change the color of his skin. The character is rather evil but even when the author puts him in bad light you can’t help but cheer for him, and he is involved in some sheer badassery in the later books.

Silchas Ruin from the Malazan Empire

I took some artistic liberty with the glowing fiery swords.

I started this drawing on Christmas Eve 2014 and worked on it over close to 3 weeks. It’s one of my biggest efforts in recent years in terms of time I’ve put into a drawing. Here’s a tweened animated GIF from 6 of the major stages of the drawing.

Silchas Ruin WIP animated GIF

I had multiple references for inspiration, most notably this work: The Hunt

Updated on 1/18/2015 with more tweaks to details and mainly fixing the scale of the head which had somehow become too small! Thanks to the comments I received on Google+ and the Malazan Empire Art Forum.

Forkrul Assail – Sister Calm

Here’s my take on yet another character from the Malazan Empire series of books. I made previous attempts to draw a Forkrul Assail and don’t feel I did them any justice. This is one of the ancient humanoid races which inhabits Steven Erikson’s world, they have extra joints in the arms and legs. While these creatures are portrayed as incredibly strong their main power is in their voice, a mere word from one of the pure-blooded Forkrul Assail can enslave those who can hear it. This race is introduced very late into the books and is by far the most mysterious of all the various races. One thing which can be said for certain is that nobody likes these evil bastards.

Sister Calm is the first Forkrul Assail character introduced in the books. While I don’t think she has red eyes in the story I felt like drawing red eyes on her.

A drawing of Sister Calm - a Forkrul Assail character from the Malazan Empire Series by Steven Erikson

I made this over the last day, started with a pencil sketch and for some reason I became obsessed with getting this colored. It has been a while since I worked with such focus on a drawing. Here is the breakdown:

WIP for Sister Calm Drawing

As you can see I started with a pencil sketch, and added colors and painted on top. I did most of this work on a single layer but at times more layers were added before being merged into the main painting. I’m guessing I spent at least 10 hours on this.

Dark Imperial Claw Assassin

Another concept sketch of a Malazan Empire character.

Malazan Empire - Imperial Claw Assassin

The Claw is an organization of elite assassins in the Malazan Empire. These highly trained ruthless killers are feared throughout the entire territory of the Empire. As the events unfold in the first book of the series it becomes apparent that the current Empress Laseen rose through the ranks of the Claw and took over the throne through assassination of the former ruler.

This is a rather simple sketch, it took very little time to make, approx 2 hours. I used a completely different workflow than usual, and dare say that I learned something in the process.

Hood eats brains! He also has balls, we’ve been assured…

Hood is the God of Death from the Malazan Empire series of books written by Steven Erikson.

Hood Jaghut eats the brains of a female Forkrul Assail

Ever since I picked up this series I’ve been churning out characters from the books in my spare time. I’m going to give you a little backdrop of what the story is about. The Malazan Empire wants to take over the world, and it is extremely successful! As they take over the various continents the books describe the ordeals of their armies, in particular the focus is mostly on the soldiers themselves. The books are very difficult to get into, and frankly I think the author was stoned out of his mind prior to writing these, but I found them very interesting. In particular what the author manages to do, is fit some extremely powerful characters into his story, and every once in a while, these characters clash and typically someone dies. The scene below depicts one such clash, yet despite the brutality of the scene it was something which made me laugh when I read it.

Hood is from an ancient and extremely powerful race called the Jaghut. These are humanoid creatures with tusks and greenish skin color, who usually live a very isolated life. At some point in ancient history the Jaghut were the supreme race in the world, but have subsequently been hunted into near extinction after a lesser race rebelled against their decadence. Still the Jaghut are extremely powerful, and among them have risen ones called Jaghut Tyrants who can enslave just about anyone with their telepathic powers. Among their many powers Jaghut have the ability to summon ice, so much ice that a single Jaghut can cover an entire continent with it. There were very few Jaghut Tyrants in the history of the world, though each time one rose up they caused destruction and wars on the global scale until they either got killed or imprisoned. The first book in the series has a scene with a Jaghut Tyrant named Raest who has been sleeping within a prison for thousands of years. There’s little known about Hood himself in the stories, except that he died during the ancient times and somehow became the God of Death subsequently. This is not unusual, one must usually die before they undergo a process known as ascension, which brings them their divine powers. In general almost all gods in the Malazan series are creatures who died, yet they still persist and can manifest in the realm of the living. More frequently they prefer possession, or small nudges, rather than showing themselves, because subsequent death might become permanent. What is known about Hood though is that he was unmatched among other Jaghut in terms of power. The sheer badassery of Hood is only elaborated upon in the last books of the series.

The Malazan soldiers in particular are extremely fascinated with Hood, and the realm of the dead. Usually when soldiers curse they invoke Hood’s name, and they typically talk about his awesome breath, and hairy balls. It doesn’t take but a few pages of reading the books to realize the Malazan marines are absolutely insane though…

The other creature represented in this picture (the one with the tasty brain tissue) is a member of a race called the Forkrul Assail. You have to get to the last book of the series to really understand more about this race. Here’s a concept sketch I put together of what the creature should look like.

Forkrul Assail Concept

The Forkrul Assail are humanoid in appearance but have extra joints in their arms and legs. They could breed with other humanoid races, but the pure blooded Forkrul are very powerful warriors and can enslave other creatures with the power of their voice. Read the books to get more info, if you can get through the complicated weave of characters and impossible events, the books offer some of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read about.


This is Apsalar, a character from the Malazan Empire series written by Steven Erikson.


Sorry, is one of the main characters in the first book of the series called Gardens of the Moon. She is possessed by Cotilion, the patron god of assassins, and despite being very young and beautiful is described as the embodiment of pure evil by her fellow soldiers in the Bridgeburners unit. The Bridgeberners themselves are the most fanatical soldiers of the empire, so coming from them that’s indicative as to just how evil Sorry is while possessed by the Rope.

Drawing done entirely in Photoshop. Even though it’s pretty simple I spent a lot of time on this one and worked on it over the span of about 5 months.