Thursday, September 19, 2013

Aes Sedai: Cadsuane Melaidhrin

I've always wanted to paint that scenario in Winter's Heart where Rand was being protected as he did his thing, but the cut scenes make it quite hard to compose into a single piece, even for the imagination.

Anyway, I gave it a try, and came up with the main person providing protection, Cadsuane.

Here she's using one of her ornaments to help her while she keeps a shield up, while using another to detect the One Power being used. I suppose most ornaments were in 'full gear' during the battle, but I wanted to highlight the two she used the most during the time, the shrike and the swallow. (Yes, they don't glow, but I wanted to show them 'active') By the way, you can also call her Cadsuane Squarepants - I'm not a fan of divided riding skirts, but I discovered that light passing through her legs gave her a ... stronger stance.

Also, I imagined the 'beacon' of saidar would be something focused, like Nynaeve shining like the round sun. The 'inconceivable amount' is such a convenient measure for RJ - inconvenient for artists! So to add some drama, I made the light bigger, taller and denser, like something you would see even if you're on the other side of the mountains - if you could channel.

Tried a new color scheme, so that I veer away from my usual brown. Oh, and Far Madding golden hand earrings!

cadsuane melaidhrin
Cadsuane using her ter'angreal near Shadar Logoth

I didn't post the step-by-step process this time, as I realize that searching the character names on google, also turns up the unfinished pieces!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Aes Sedai: Seaine Herimon, Yukiri, Egwene al'Vere and Saerin Asnobar


This is a scene from Towers of Midnight, where Egwene confers with three Aes Sedai atop the Tower. Although it is a blink-and-miss-it, boring scene, I found it quite appealing to me as a testament of loyal, senior Aes Sedai accepting Egwene's authority.

From left to right are, Seaine Herimon, Yukiri and Saerin Asnobar. I wanted to get the ageless look right (unidentifiable age between 25 - 40) in contrast to Egwene's youthful face. Maybe you can zoom in and see if I got some of the agelessness right. Oops, careful the file is big, might get your eyes poked!

Egwene actually is NOT my favorite character. I can simply relate to her more with the experience, status, and over-all character development. Like what Siuan said, I actually don't like her - she reminds me too much of myself!

Seaine Herimon, Yukiri, Egwene al'Vere and Saerin Asnobar

Also, earrings depict nationality! Seaine wears a bull's head design, while Yukiri has thin lacy rose earrings. I was supposed to put leopards in Saerin's earrings, but I found it too cougarish, so I settled for daggers with leopard hilts (not entirely visible). Egwene has reddish eagle earrings, and we all know what that conveys :)

I might release separate portraits of the background characters, as I have their parts complete although made invisible by Egwene's presence. Also, no stole. I kinda forgot about it, but settled with the idea that she doesn't need to wear them all the time - especially in a private windy area :D

Friday, August 2, 2013

Forces of the Light

Having identified my light source (upper right), I proceeded to add more highlights, even ahead of time.
This way, I can see which parts are given focus to when exposed to the light, which of course would lead to either details or corrections. For example is Egwene's (ok, there I identified her) sleeves. The bell sleeves would have to be toned down a bit as they look a little of a cross between candy and silk. Might add some last minute embroidery there.

I wanted the background not too dark, as the scene is in some time later in the day, but with clouds quickly forming to loom over the city. I must admit, I first planned to paint a snapshot of the city, but I'm not too confident with my cityscapes so I didn't go there. Instead, I just added some different hues to the sky, something I haven't done before, and I'm happy it turned out the way I wanted without too much strokes.

I also added a thin darkening of the opposite side of the highlights, which I think makes the effect more realistic.

So far, so good. Still got minute details to do like accessories, hands and maybe embroidery. I thought of having banners in the background so create that dramatic wind, but we'll have to see as I might overdo it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Aes Sedai Support

Been working on the three background characters for a time now, and I decided to complete each one's figure and clothing, as opposed to them being hidden by the foreground. Also, in the course of using the new style, I found it quite clean - in fact, too clean for my taste. So I roughed it up a bit, added some ruggedness to the characters - especially their hair, after all they're in a windy area.

I couldn't resist adding highlights before hand, just to see where things were going.

Hid the main character for the meantime as I finish off everyone's clothes. While doing so I added highlights putting in mind where the light was coming from. I think it's a little dirtied up now, much to my preference. Will have to see what would happen after I finish the foreground and the background.

Of course no hands yet - I like to put them last :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A New, but Traditional Style

It's strange that a certain scene in the Wheel of Time series that feels so boring is compelling me to paint it. Maybe it's the characters who do nothing but talk, plan and think on top of a building, but for me it's probably the feeling of 'acceptance' of one character's leadership, despite the age and experience gap.

This blog contains many spoilers, especially for people who have not yet advanced in the books. So I'll leave some details out, but I'd probably name the characters once I finish the piece, or near completing it.

I looked through various painting tutorials, and although they're methodically done, the pieces seem to achieve more than mine could in such a short time. So I tried changing my style, and opened my mind to learn what other digital artists have to offer. Here's a little of the process...

1. I did the traditional way of digital painting (again!), which is completing as much pencil as possible.

2. I colored the parts slowly and flatly. However, I couldn't resist painting faces, so yes I jumped a little back and forth.

3. Found out that painting faces the traditional way was soooo much easier!

4. Added the main character - here you can see I first painted her flat.

5. I learned that to paint correct light, an object must be taken as reference in the light of choice. So in normal light, the least amount would be the darkest shadows. Then second is the brightest highlights.
On average are the lesser shadows and highlights, while the most amount would be the midtone - the flat colors. It was a revelation to me.

6. Being (quickly) satisfied with the faces, I tried to do clothing so I wouldn't get bored. I first practiced with the leftmost character, using my old style. Surprisingly, I wasn't happy anymore. Then I tried the middle character using the new style - I was quickly impressed!

7. It took half the time to finish the middle character's clothes! I think that I should be redoing the older one's but to get my enthusiasm going, I might try the other characters first. I added a blurred background to get the feel of the atmosphere. I will have to paint that last.

Let's see how well this goes!

If you're interested with the major influence of this style, here's the the link to Mominur Rahman. He posts his tutorials on, and here's his website! Thank you so much, Mominur!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An Ageless Question

Recently, I've been wondering about my style, and although it hasn't solidified yet, I think I managed to establish a certain 'feel' to my pieces. Realizing I'm painting mostly Aes Sedai, I thought that I might as well perfect the ageless face. Since starting digital painting, I've finished four characters that are supposed to be ageless - Verin Mathwin, Siuan Sanche, Bera Harkin, and Kiruna Nachiman. So far, the nearest to the ageless look seems to be Siuan Sanche, which kinda makes me not so satisfied.

So I browsed through different approaches to digital painting, some are rough, while others are extremely polished, so I settled for something in between. Having a piece and a character in mind, I started a new style, with 'agelessness' in mind. Here's what I came up with:

My bf actually helped point out that (in photos of ageless women we browsed online),
the agelessness had something to do with the eyes - they were creased, sad, and almost droopy, while the rest of the face was unaffected. I pointed out that botox helps, and even plastic surgery - causing that tiny curl in the lip, a little cat-like in overdone cases. We both agreed that the cheeks were a little too emphasized and rounded.

My perception may be a little distorted, but I do think this unfinished portrait somehow hits near the mark. I sure do hope I can repeat it, as I suck when it comes to repeating works (hence I did not become a comic book artist). As only one of four characters in a piece I'm planning, I'm a tad bit scared to finish it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Aes Sedai: Bera Harkin and Kiruna Nachiman

Yay! I finished my first all-out action scene, and finally uploaded it. However, I think there are a few awkward places, perspectives and sizes that could have been done much better, but I think it's quite alright considering my level of expertise with digital painting.

Here you can see Kiruna Nachiman (left) and Bera Harkin (right), surrounded by three (out of their seven) warders, fighting off the Shaido Aiel, in a scene from the Wheel of Time, Lord of Chaos. I don't think there's a line where they're fighting side by side, as it was a busy Perrin who saw them dropping themselves one by one in the middle of the battlefield, so that they could channel effectively.

Bera Harkin and Kiruna Nachiman Dumai's Wells Aes Sedai
Bera Harkin and Kiruna Nachiman
Kiruna Nachiman was said to be queenly, statuesque, and had a commanding presence. Bera Harkin on the other hand, was plain, square-faced and looked like a farmwife who became prosperous. I painted them in somewhat Asian-inspired clothing, as these are quite wonderfully maneuverable even if they are made of silk or any other soft fabric, which I thought was perfect for Aes Sedai. I'm also somewhat getting a little addicted to putting 'nationality earrings' on these Aes Sedai as evident in Siuan Sanche's silverpike earrings..

Kiruna has rose earrings - something of Arafel her homeland, where she was the king's sister. While plain Bera has silver lion heads - a reminder of the white lion of Andor where she came from. I think Bera's short hair and plain face coupled with the opulence of her earrings is a great contrast. Also, I first wanted to portray Kiruna with tied-up hair and having a long neck, to get that Ms.Universe feel, but I settled for windswept hair for a little dynamism.

As usual, agelessness is quite hard to perfect, more so with tricky lighting. I think I've managed to paint 'something off' about their faces, so I think it's ok. And I had to remember that they were calm and serene, even during battle.