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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Chris Moore - Master of Composition

Just added a link to another great artist. Chris Moore is a famous illustrator, known for the marvellous compositions of his paintings. He is one of the masters analyzed and featured in Charles Bernard's Arttrek series. I truly recommend visiting his site and spending some time in his galleries. Inspiring and educational.

Sketch Of The Day - Great Wall of China

Another Sketchstorm drawing. This time it's an ink sketch of The Great Wall:

Would you like to improve your drawing the way I've improved mine? Make sure to check out the Free Fantasytree Drawing Lessons

Friday, 30 October 2009

Added Link To Another Artists Blog

Just added a link to a blog by another artist, Ode To Crayola. Make sure you visit this nice blog.

Sketch Of The Day - U2 Cover

Another sketch for the Sketchstorm thread at ImagineFX. This time it's a U2 cover from "The unforgettable fire" quickly painted in ArtRage:

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The "Golden Leaves" Store Opened Yesterday!

Yesterday the Fantasytree blog evolved visually as well as when it comes to what content it has to offer it's readers. A new template was chosen resulting in a less demanding layout and a blog that is easier to read and search. Besides from that, the Fantasytree Store Golden Leaves opened it's gates. Looking for great fantasy/sci-fi-related products? Movies; Music; Novels; Games; Art Books - Look no further. The store will keep growing and continually update its products - based on what I have tried or purchased myself and can honestly recommend. Soon you should be able to find just what you've been looking for.

The Golden Leaves store is found at the bottom of the page - no need to even leave the site when you feel like shopping or if you are just curious about what I recommend. If you prefer to visit the store in a separate window, just click here.

Please comment on these changes in order to keep this blog being the one you have always dreamed of.

Apart from that it is still the same old fantasy geek writing and drawing and dreaming about distant kingdoms where dragons cross the crimson skies and anything is possible...


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Same Dreams, New Look - And a Fantasytree Store!

I have realized that I have to make some changes to the blog. The main reason is that I need more space in order to present the content the way I want to.

The main changes will be:
- New template, allowing wider post with bigger images
- The addition of a Fantasytree store, selling products related to the content of the blog.

I hope you - the reader - don't mind these changes and that they will make the blog an even more enjoyable haven in a chaotic, challenging - or just way to ordinary - reality. Keep reading and please give me feedback so I can make this blog even better.


(Nudity!) WiP Of The Day - Carracci Master Study

I have begun drawing a master study of a drawing by Annibale Caracci. A reproduction of the original and 99 other marvellous full-page drawings can be found in Robert Beverly Hale's marvellous book on figure drawing, Drawing Lessons From The Great Masters. One of the very best books I've come across on drawing. Highly recommended for anyone serious about improving their drawing skills.

Here is what my study looks like at the moment. I will only use HB pencil for this study, drawing construction lines and not erasing any misplaced lines. This way you learn more from the study.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Finished Work - Moonrise

After some changes to the previous Work In Progress, my entry for the ImagineFX October Challenge ("Witches Moon") ended up like this:

(After painting it digitally in ArtRage, the final tweaks were done in Photoshop)

Moonrise (2009)

Monday, 26 October 2009

10 Most Popular Fantasy Movies - October 2009 Update!

In one of the very first posts of this blog, I presented a list over the 10 most popular fantasy movies ever. I believe I'll start this new week with an update. If there has been any changes, that is.Let's see...

Here are the 10 most popular fantasy movies at IMDB (Internet Movie Database) at the moment.

(The number in brackets after placement shows the rating the movie received from the users - out of a possible 10)

Strangely enough, the leader of the first list seems to have disappeared entirely - while still remaining at the 1st place in the Sci-Fi genre.Even more strange is that Star Wars 4 and 6 are both considered "Fantasy".

Anyway, here is the list. With Star Wars (Episode 4: A New Hope) as number 1. 

1. (8.8) Star Wars (1977)

2. (8.8) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

3. (8.7) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

4. (8.6) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

5. (8.6) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

6. (8.4) Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away, 2001)

7. (8.4) Laberinto del fauno, El (Pan's Labyrith, 2006)

So far no newcomers, but then - an old b/w classic has made it all the way up to 9th place! It's Fritz Lang's dystopia Metropolis, one of the movies that inspired the young George Lucas (director of Star Wars).

8. (8.4) Metropolis (1927)

What is even more surprising perhaps, is that another movie from the 30th Century has made it into the list: Sherlock Jr from 1924 with the amazing Buster Keaton!

9. (8.4) Sherlock Jr (1924)

10. (8.3) Det Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal, 1957)

This means there are 4 movies in the top 10 (5, 7, 8 and 9) that are yet to be seen by me. Note to self. The movie that has left since last time is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Challenging the top 10 from it's 11th position is The Green Mile, based on the novel by Stephen King.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Dream Theater Cover

Today's sketch is a quick one done with ink pen. It's from the cover to the Dream Theater album Train of Thought:

Thursday, 22 October 2009

WiP of the day - Moonlit Landscape Close to Completion

Latest update of my moon landscape for the ImagineFX challenge and I have made some big changes since last time. Also decided to try something the legendary illustrator Arthur Rackham used to do: Suggesting some faces hidden in the image. Can you see them?

Concerning what this image really depicts, it is up to the viewer to decide. So far I've only used ArtRage working on a single layer. For final tweaking I'll probably transfer it to Photoshop though.

October ImagineFX Challenge Entry - Work In Progress

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Animal anatomy

Some quick and simplified ink pen sketches of necks and heads of various animal skeletons. This is a practice that is suggested in the 5th part of the "Animal Anatomy" series by Marshall Vandruff that is currently running in the magazine ImagineFX. Part 5 of this 6-part series focuses on the anatomy of the neck and head. This series covers all aspects of animal anatomy and is much recommended for anyone interested in figurative drawing - that is drawing characters and creatures.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - A Car In The Rain

Another inksketch for the Sketchstorm thread. This time a car in the rain, inspired by a scene in the movie "Jurassic Park" by Steven Spielberg:

A Car In The Rain (2009)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Gwyneth Paltrow

Another monday morning and a new week has arrived. Let's start it off with an ink sketch that I drew this weekend for the Sketchstorm thread at the ImagineFX site. It's the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, from the movie "Shakespeare in Love":

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Another Hamm study

Today's sketch is another Hamm study. This time a full moon night scene. Good practice for the moonscape I'm painting as challenge entry for October's challenge at ImagineFX:

Friday, 16 October 2009

Simplified Fantasy Drills, exercise 1

Welcome to the first exercise in the very basic "Simplified fantasy drills" series. The focus of this series is to give you some ideas and getting you drawing while at the same time practicing some basic techniques.

Let's start with a very simple citadel, shall we?

First, you can practice drawing the basic geometrical shapes that will be used in this simple drawing,
1. Draw circles (keep practicing each shape until you feel satisfied - my own versions are deliberately left as rough as they were when first drawing them)
2. Draw squares
3. Draw rectangles
4. Draw triangles or cones

5. Put these basic shapes together to form a citadel or castle (experiment and build your own structures - this is just a quick example of one way to do it)
6. (Optional step - don't move on to this before you're comfortable with drawing the basic shapes and basic building in 5.)
What makes the drawing in #5 look flat and lifeless is that there is no sense of depth. As a last step you can try developing the forms somewhat and add shade in order to suggest depth. Some suggestions:
A. Use diagonal lines (hatching) for shading areas that are furthest away from the lightsource (here the circle)
B. Use crossing lines (crosshatching) for darker shadows, like the cast shadow
C. Try varying the width and "weight" of the line by making the lines farthest away from the lightsource much darker and thicker.
D. When finished, don't forget to add your signature any original drawing - this will add more personality, give the drawing a more complete, serious impression and actually makes you feel more like a "real" artist. I always write which year I made the drawing as well, but there are as many ways to write a signature as there are artists. You have got to find what works for you.

Hope you enjoyed and learned something from this and that it inspired you to draw more.

Please post comments and feedback to help me improve this lesson further.

Don't forget to eventually read the "ordinary" drawing lessons as well.

Happy drawing!

(This lesson last updated: October 2009)

(Revised!) Learn to Draw, Lesson 3: Fantasy beast/animal introduction

Learn to Draw, Lesson 3: 
How to draw a Fantasy Beast - Introduction

Time for another part in the "Learn to Draw" series. First, have you gotten into the daily habit of drawing ANYTHING yet? If not, I suggest you go back and review the first and the second lesson and try establishing a drawing routine. Don't give me the "I don't have time" excuse. Grabbing your sketchbook and filling one page with scribbling doesn't have to take more than a minute a day!

One minute drawing every day is better than not drawing at all.

"But honestly, I work all day and when I get home all I want to do is sit in the couch and watch all those awesome TV programs", you might say. I hear you and I do understand - have two toddlers of my own - BUT most awesome TV programs have commercial breaks, right? There, a golden opportunity to turn off the sound and doodle for a few minutes. Surely you could skip ONE commercial break in order to practice something you want to learn? (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this in the first place, would you?).

The reason it's so important to draw something continuously is that:

By drawing something every day you familiarize yourself and the muscles in your hand with the media (pencil, ink pen etc.) you have chosen. This will lead to a much better control when trying to make those lines actually work together in order to construct an image.

Ok, I assume you are fed up with my preaching, get the point and really feel like drawing now? Great, let's take on a grand, challenging and fun project then: How to draw a fantasy beast/animal. Be aware that this is a real challenge. "How to draw an elven boot" or "How to draw a tower" would be much easier for you to draw and for me to teach. But, although figurative drawing (any drawing including a living creature) is the most challenging of all subjects, it is also the most popular. Finding a finished fantasy painting without any figures is actually really hard. We will make it a somewhat less daunting by drawing from reference however.

How to learn to draw a fantasy beast or animal

Note: This is just an unfinished example from a recent project of what such a beast might look like. For these lessons I will draw a completely new beast, starting from scratch.

I figured we would use the following approach to arrive at our goal for this first project: To do a finished drawing of a fantasy beast or animal. (This time only focusing on the creature, that will be quite enough as you will see).

Here is how I'll teach you how to draw such a creature:
1. I'll pick a reference (for this one probably a plastic model of an animal) and do a first, very rough sketch. The reason we use a reference is that as a beginner it is much easier and instructive to try to "copydraw" something and make it look good instead of trying to come up with something from imagination that looks right. Another reason is that I will use this reference as a foundation when turning the animal into a more fantastic beast.
2. I'll make a finished sketch of the reference as an ordinary animal
3. I'll distort and exaggerate features of the animal, turning it into a finished drawing of a fantasy beast (no background/scenery drawing in this project. One step at a time...)

Ok, by then we will have arrived at a finished fantasy beast drawing. This is where the real teaching starts:

4. I will break down the creature into the basic forms (sphere, cube, cylinder, cone) it consists of

After that:

5. I will teach you how to draw those various forms (including basics in line drawing)

6. I will explain how basic perspective works
7. I will teach you how to use knowledge of perspective in order to construct and shade those various forms in order to create a sense of volume

8. I will apply the same approach in order to explain how to draw and shade the entire figure

Told you it would be challenging, didn't I?

Yes, in order to draw fantasy - which is arguably one of the most challenging art forms - you must be prepared to put in quite some effort in order to learn the very basics. The good news is that:

Once you know the basics (basic shapes, perspective, shading etc.) you can apply that to anything you wish to draw, that is - you can draw anything you see (or can imagine)!

So in the next lesson I'll present a first, rough sketch and talk about how I got there. After that we'll break down the figure into it's diverse building blocks, learning how to draw them from scratch.

"Nooo!!!" I hear you scream. "Have I been reading all this and now he's just referring to the 'next lesson'. I want to draw something. Show me something to draw. Now!" Ok, I know that feeling, that frustrating desire to just skip ahead, past all these foundational stages and just start drawing. The problem is that you don't know what to draw (if you do - by all means, stop reading and start drawing. The only way to improve!) Therefore I have also begun writing a more practical series of simple fantasy drawing exercises, in order to get you drawing that elusive SOMETHING right away. At the same time approaching the more complex shapes that will be demanded in the figure drawing. A "Learn to Draw" Light. I call it Simple fantasy drawing drills and the first exercise can be found here:

I do encourage you to eventually read the entire "Learn to Draw" series though and actually making sure you have fully understood and tried the suggestions/exrcises of a lesson before moving on to the next one. Remember: 

First get into the habit of daily drawing before trying to tackle more advanced subjects. Or be prepared to deal with quite a few frustrating results as the house collapses due to not being built on solid foundations. That's ok - mistakes is what you learn most from - but it can give you an unnecessarily unpleasant start on the way to learning how to draw.

By the way, as soon as you're ready I strongly recommend you to join an online art community and upload your work for feedback. One great, friendly place is the ImagineFX forum. There you can also join the Sketchstorm thread I've initiated in order to provide suggestions on drawing subjects, as well as download great tutorials for free.

If you are already an experienced artist, I can recommend art communities such as ConceptArt and Epilogue .

Best of luck with your practice, don't forget to post comments and feedback so I can improve/change/clarify these lessons.

Happy Drawing!

(This lesson last updated January 2010) 

Thursday, 15 October 2009

New Lesson Coming Up and Magic The Frazetta Way

First of all: Good News for all awaiting another free drawing lesson! I have now written a 3rd lesson AND drawn an additional basic step-by-step drawing exercise (first in a planned series) and have only some minor editing left before posting them. Hopefully the new free lesson will be available here already tomorrow. It will be an introduction for a new project: How to draw a fantasy beast or animal. Whatever you do, don't miss it as it among other things explains why future lessons are structured the way they are.

Apart from that, the latest Sketchstorm subject was "Magic". I decided to draw another Frazetta study, this time with an ink pen:

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

WiP of the day - Witches Moon update

Time to show how the work on my ImagineFX October challenge entry is going. Here is the latest version (ArtRage):

Still a lot of moonlight waiting to be added, but I think the composition has been improved compared to last time. Also beginning to feel satisfied with the look of the basic shapes.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Drawing With a Traditional Mouse - Rubens Study

This weekend I was at my parents place without access to my computer or tablet. So I gave drawing with a traditional mouse at the nice artsite a go. What is fun about drawing at that site is that you can watch your drawing as an animated movie when finished.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the embed function to work, but here is the link to the drawing: Rubens study

Don't forget, it's drawn with a mouse. And do give it a try yourself.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Another Frazetta Study

Another sketch from a drawing by Frank Frazetta. Have been drawing on it for a while now. Used a HB pencil for this one, but the next time I will use ink - using the same medium as the artist I'm studying.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

WiP of the day - Another monster concept

Beginning of another monster concept (ArtRage):

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Hamm Master Study

A master study drawn from a drawing by Jack Hamm for the Sketchstorm thread. Used HB pencil for this one. I have often heard that it's better practice not to erase mistaken lines. Instead you should draw new, correct lines besides the wrong ones. That's the reason why I leave those lines when sketching.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

WiP of the day - Witches Moon Work In Progress

Promised you some eerie imagery, didn't I? Here is the latest update of my entry for the ImagineFX October challenge, "Witches moon".

Much left to do, but I feel like the overall composition is working and is rather balanced. Not too happy about values or light though. Anyway, here it is:

Monday, 5 October 2009

Finished drawing - Pilgrimage: 1st Step

Today I made the first drawing in an intended series of images entitled "Pilgrimage". Used pencils (HB and 2B) and colored pens.

Pilgrimage: 1st Step (2009)

Friday, 2 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Svend Otto S Master Study

Now I have begun sketching on my "Witches moon" composition. Therefore thought it would be great to do a study of a witch for the Sketchstorm thread. Being one of the most famous children's book illustrator of his time, Svend Otto S seemed like a good artist to study. Here more information on this great Danish illustrator can be found.

I picked his painting of the witch in H C Andersen's "The tinder box" as a model. Used a Derwent HB pencil for this one, trying to think more about the difference in line quality that Jack Hamm emphasizes in his great books on drawing. Especially for the back and feet I used the flat side of the pencil in order to produce wider and bolder lines.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Sketch Of The Day - Meteora Monasteries

Latest sketch that I've done for the Sketchstorm thread over at ImagineFX, is of the Meteora monasteries in Greece (pencil, HB):

Today also the next Monthly Challenge theme was revealed: Witches Moon. Be prepared for some rather eerie imagery for the month to come...

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