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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Join The February Challenge at ImagineFX - I've Picked The Theme!

My life keeps revolving around the wonderful ImagineFX forum. Yesterday I submitted my entry for the January challenge. Today I was asked to pick a theme for February. After some thinking I decided on: "An Illustration For A Role-Playing Game". Should be quite fun and give many opportunities for artists to pick the genre they enjoy the most.

Do come and join the fun at All artistic levels are welcome and it's both fun and instructive to discuss the works in progress.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Finished Work - Naiad

It's finished! My challenge entry for this months ImagineFX monthly challenge is signed and submitted. Here is what it finally ended up like:

Naiad (2010)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

From the Sketchbook - Ice Cream Cone

As an assignment for one of the lessons at wetcanvas, I just drew this ice cream:

(0.7 HB in sketchbook)

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Work In Progress - Naiad, (Wip 8)

WiP 8 of the Naiad I'm working on:

Saturday, 23 January 2010

From the Sketchbook - Frazetta master study

Yesterday I finished yet another study from a drawing by fantasy art grandmaster Frank Frazetta. It was another sketch for the Sketchstorm thread over at the ImagineFX forum.

(0.7 ink pen on standard office paper)

Friday, 22 January 2010

Figure Drawing from Photo

Brought out my easel yestarday and did some figure drawing from photo reference. Thanks to Hong Ly for providing so many great, free reference photos.

(Derwent Graphic HB on standard office paper)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Just launched a new blog!

Happy to announce that I just started another blog. This time written in my native tongue (Swedish) and focusing entirely on my interest and progress in art.

I hope all Swedish readers will enjoy it. Find it here:
Pennans vandring (Way of the pencil)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Movie Trailer - Knight and Day

In the upcoming Knight and Day Tom Cruise plays a super spy who takes Cameron Diaz on a worldwide journey in this adventurous action comedy. Who wouldn't want to go and see a movie with men wearing dark sunglasses, driving black cars. Let the ride begin...

(Director: James Mangold, Release: July 2, 2010)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

(Nudity) From the Sketchbook - Female Life Painting

(Post contains artistic nudity)

Here is the start of a practice in painting the human figure from life. Done in ArtRage3 from photo reference:

Monday, 18 January 2010

Music Video - Dream Theater

Another week is here. Let's start it with some fantastic music, shall we?

I have posted a drawing of their drummer as well as an album cover and a review of their latest album and mentioned many times that they are one of my favorite bands. But finally the time has come to also post a music video with these amazingly talented musicians.

This is a live version of Dream Theater's Surrounded from their most popular album Images and words. And yes, I once had the "da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da..." melody as the signal for my phone. It is taken from a concert in Tokyo back in the early 90's when Kevin Moore was still keyboardist in the band (the current keyboardist is Jordan Rudess, other than that the members are still the same).

Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do:

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Work In Progress - Naiad, (Minitutorial part 2, WiP 4 and 5)

Have kept working on my Naiad and will continue the little tutorial I published along with WiP 1 to 3 in a recent post. First I tried to apply roughly the general shape and feel of water, that I would later spread out using the palette knife. This led to a chaotic stage of the process:

Then I changed my mind and decided that the water would follow the oval shapes of the underlying structure. This meant that it would be painted more like ripples. Here is the latest version:


Since this I've been thinking whether I should change the direction of the water. Since the nymph is supposed to be a part of the element, maybe it would be better to have the water flowing in the direction of the flow and planes of the figure? It probably would.

To paint an image like this is a process taking part subconsciously and in the mind as well as on the canvas. It's a process of solving one visual problem after another, an internal journey and exploration of ideas, concepts and designs. This is what makes it so endlessly fascinating and inspiring.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Movie Trailer - Inception

Time for another teaser, this time for a science fiction movie starring Leonardo diCaprio. It has been described as:

A contemporary science fiction tale set within the architecture of the human mind.(

Sounds like just the movie for a Mindbender...

(Release: July 16, 2010)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Happy Birthday! Fantasytree Celebrates its First Year as a Blog

I almost forgot...

Today it is one year since I posted the very first post in this blog! The idea back then was simply to write a little about MMORPGS, my main interest at the time.

Since then this blog has almost become a living organism with a life of its own. It has just kept growing and developing, new categories springing forth like branches of a... Fantasytree. Since I rediscovered my passion for art in general and fantasy art in particular a few months after launching it, much has obviously been about my journey as an aspiring, daily sketching artist. But I have also tried to pay attention to which categories have been most interesting for and appreciated by the readers.

I want to take the opportunity to thank all the readers who have regularly been posting comments and following this blog. Without your constant feedback and encouragement this journey wouldn't have been even half as enjoyable.

Thanks to:
Marc for almost daily commenting (amazing!)
Entertainment Blog, lagot, Fredrik and Tracy Falbe for repeatedly commenting. Means so much.
All Followers (here on Blogger as well as Twitter), feed subscribers and readers

This blog wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for you guys. Thanks a lot!

I hope you'll all keep reading, keep telling me what you think, suggesting things you miss that I should write about. Looking forward to another great year. Imagination is the only limit for where this blog will be going...

Best wishes!

From the Sketchbook - Golden Gate Bridge

As the subject for Sketchstorm #82 recently was "Bridge", I decided to draw a sketch from photo ref. This time I chose the magnificent Golden Gate bridge. It was really fun to draw (used my beloved 0.7 HB in Sketchbook as I usually do for sketching).

For those awaiting another graphic design I can also reveal that I have begun working on a portrait of the popular actor Jason Statham. Hope to finish it soon.

Wish you all a great weekend!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Music Video - Metallica

Time for another music video and this time it is from a band loved by many - and hated by many (due to the fileshare conflict some years ago). This is the metal band that actually made me start playing drums 20 years ago. In my teens they were my idols, covered the walls of my room and I went to see them live many times. Of course I'm talking about Metallica.

Although their latest releases can't measure up, two of their albums are considered to be among the 10 best metal albums ever. Here is their classic ballad Nothing else matters. Brings back sweet memories to me. Time to find a lighter!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

From the Sketchbook - Face Studies from Photo, Frazetta and Mind

The human face is truly one of the most challenging (and fascinating) things to draw. Here are some face studies I did the other day. I tried drawing first a simple line drawing of a face and then a "mass" version, adding tone and values.

The first and third of these were drawn from fashion photos, second is a master study of a face from a Frazetta painting. Fourth and fifth were two quick attempts at drawing completely without reference. This clearly shows the importance of using references for your work if aiming for a correct, realistic rendering while learning the anatomy of various body parts.

There are so many shortcomings in the last unreferenced face that if this had been a sketch for a painting, I would probably redraw it from skratch. I include it here for instructive reasons. Notice how I have managed to misplace the features and also made the torso much too small in the second one.

It is important that you do not become too discouraged when one of your sketches "fail" like this. Remember:

Mistakes are actually what teach you the most - if you learn from them, make sure you don't keep repeating them and use the new knowledge to adjust and improve your next attempt. This is true for drawing as well as life.

(0.7 HB in sketchbook)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Movie Trailer - The A Team

They're back! Yes, the time has finally come for a remake of the cult TV-series The A Team, popular in the eighties. Starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Biel among others, this movie will be one of the most action-packed adventures of the summer:

(Release: June 11, 2010)

Monday, 11 January 2010

From the Sketchbook - Female Thief Character

New week and today it's sunny, the sky is blue and birds fill the snowcovered bush outside my window. What better thing to draw then than a thief lurking in the shadows. This is a quick character sketch I did for the Sketchstorm thread:

(0.7 HB in sketchbook)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Music Video - Iced Earth

Another of the most prominent power metal bands is Iced Earth. Here is a live version of the song Melancholy, from the popular album Something wicked this way comes:

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Work in Progress - Naiad (mini-tutorial, WiP 1-3)

Thus it became a new decade. New decade means new year. New year means new month and new month...means a new MyFX Monthly Challenge over at the ImagineFX forum! The theme for January is "Hiding in plain sight".

Posting the first three WiPs, this post is a very brief tutorial on the workflow I've used in the beginning phase of painting this image.

Since I really enjoy figurative painting and need to continually practice this challenging but oh so fascinating subject, I decided to paint a Naiad (water nymph). The idea is for her to be almost one with her related element (water). For this I used ArtRage3 and the oil paint tool.

Working from a photo reference of a female in a dress, I began by very roughly applying midtone to a colored background, as well as a dark and a light tone. Doing this I tried to capture the flow of the figure and her dress.

I also started to think about the underlying structure of the composition, as taught in the ArtTrek series  on design and composition by Charles Bernard The dominating shape of this image will be the circle or oval.

Naiad - 1st WiP

I then began working on improving the basic outline and form of the shade. Mostly in the face and on the upper right arm. For this I used the palette knife tool. I just love to first block in the colour roughly and then moving it around to its proper places using the palette knife.

Naiad - 2nd WiP

I kept defining the outline and basic tones of the figure working in much the same way. Also decided that some parts of the figure should "float" and mix with the surrounding water. I also decided to change one of the underlying shapes somewhat.

In order to apply more detail I zoom in on the painting. Since I plan for the final version to be 600x800, I'm working with a 1200x1600 sized canvas. I then know that if a detail seems alright when working at 75% of the canvas size, it will also work when I finally make the finished image half as big.

Naiad - WiP3

So far I think this piece is off to a rather good start. The next important decision is whether to stick to purely monochromatic or if I should introduce other colors, perhaps moving in a more expressive direction. We'll see where I'll take it from here.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Movie Trailer - Sherlock Holmes

From Robin Hood it's not a such a huge step over to another legendary hero: Sherlock holmes. Now the foggy streets of Victorian London has been brought to life again, starring Robert Downey Jr as the detective who makes even the most complex puzzles "elementary" through logical reasoning.

I'm really looking forward to once again visiting Baker Street and the most brilliant detective of all, accompanied by his "dear Watson".

The movie was released two weeks ago.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

From the Sketchbook - Whitney Houston

Another sketch I drew for the Sketchstorm thread. This time we were supposed to draw an album cover from any album by Whitney Houston. I chose the cover for My love is your love:

(mechanical 0.7 HB in sketchbook; Original Photo by Dana Lixenberg)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Music Video - Gamma Ray

Taking a look at the 25 highest rated power metal albums at my beloved Rate your music, I find Gamma Ray's Land of the free in 5th place. I have written about the connection between power metal and fantasy in my 10 best power metal albums post.

Here is the video to the first song from Land of the free, Rebellion in dreamland:

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

From the Sketchbook - Munch Master Study

The start of another master study I drew the other day for the Sketchstorm thread. The subject for Sketchstorm #77 was "Art movements - expressionism" and I decided to do a version of a painting by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944), most famous for his painting "The scream".

I felt like trying colored pens for a change as I did my own take of his "The woodcutter":

Monday, 4 January 2010

Video Trailer - Robin Hood by Ridley Scott

In May he is back. The man, the myth, the hero: Robin Hood. This time in a movie by Ridley Scott. The director of Gladiator once more stars Russel Crow in the role of the main character. Let the adventure begin...

(Release: May 14 2010)

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Another Free Graphic Design - Eagle

Finally I'm ready to consider it finished, the eagle design I've been working on has reached it final version.

I hope this design can be useful or inspirational to you. It is done in ArtRage3

As always, I am very grateful for any feedback on my designs. Let me know what kind of designs you would like me to draw. Tell me if you would need any of my designs posted in a different size or color than I've posted them.

To download image just right-click and choose "Save image as..."

For more designs and terms of use please read this post.

Eagle (2010)

Music Video - Rhapsody (Feat. Christopher Lee)

Found this video with the other of my two Epic Fantasy Metal favorites. This time it's Rhapsody of Fire, back then just Rhapsody. This is a remix of the first two songs from the album Symphony of enchanted lands II, featuring the famous actor Christopher Lee.

Here is "Unholy warcry":

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Learn to Draw, Lesson 4: Fantasy Beast/Animal part 2: Starting to Sketch

Learn to Draw a Fantasy Beast or Animal, part 2

Welcome to another lesson in my Learning to Draw series. For an introduction on how this "Fantasy Beast" part of the series will be structured, please go here. For the other parts in this series, go here.

In this part I will talk briefly about finding and setting up a reference to draw. Then I'll present the beginning of my sketch (after 5 minutes) and talk about why it looks the way it does. Get your drawing equipment (traditional pencil and paper or digital doesn't matter) and let's start!

Using a reference

In this project we'll use a reference as a foundation for our drawing. It is usually much easier to draw something you see than something you have to visualize and try to remember or imagine. "Life drawing" is also very good practice in observation and learning how light and shade interacts with an object.

I will use a simple plastic toy model of a leopard for this drawing. You can choose any animal, but my instructions will probably be easier to follow if you pick an animal belonging to the cat family.

I suggest that you put the model to the left of your drawing surface on a white piece of paper or a white background. This is in order for you to easily see the light and shade. I also suggest that you only have one lightsource, coming from the upper left (if you're righthanded and vice versa). The reason for this is that the shadows will only be cast in one direction and those cast by your own hand (if drawing traditionally) will not make it hard to see what you're drawing.

If you find these kind of practical suggestions booring (I sure did when starting out) I suggest that you just start drawing. Through trial and error (and frustrating drawing experiences) you will probably find yourself paying more and more attention to such matters. At least I do.

But what matters most if you're an absolute beginner or want to improve is: Start drawing and keep drawing!

Starting to sketch 

Well then, having the set-up ready (I will use a computer for easy editing and looking down at the model somewhat from above) it's time to start sketching. Try to think about drawing the main shape, the main forms focusing on the big, overall impression and not going into detail.

Also try to get into the habit of not using eraser until it is time for the final polish. You learn a lot more from simply drawing new, "better" lines and leaving the "bad" ones.

Here is what my sketch looked like after 5 minutes of drawing:

Far from being a finished or even good drawing, I still feel that it's a good start. Like a first lump of clay that you can start molding into a sculpture. A framework to build the finished drawing upon. There are parts of this quick sketch that I am definitely not satisfied with. But overall it will do as a start.

Here I have roughly indicated some things I (mostly subconsciously and without paying attention to it) had in mind during these 5 minutes of sketching. If you find it hard to follow what I mean by shapes, rhythms and construction lines of the sketch, I suggest you just remember these three words. If you get serious about drawing and studying the principles behind good drawing you will encounter these (and many other) aspects of a figure over and over again. I suggest that you return to this post after six months of practice and see if you understand these concepts then. If not, give it another half year or so.

This is the reason books (and tutorials) on drawing should be reread over and over. You will find that the more you learn, the more you will understand and be ready to apply of the underlying theory.

Most important though: Draw, draw, draw!

Here are the notes for my five minute sketch:

In the next lesson I will complete this animal sketch and talk about how I did it. After that the time has come to distort the poor cat's proportions and features into something even more hideous and terrifying.

I hope this lesson has been valuable to you. Please give me feedback and let me know what I need to explain further, what has been most helpful or if you would like me to help you with some issues. I regularly try to revise these lessons and need your help to make them as clear and useful as possible.

Also let me know how your sketch is coming along. I would love to post "Reader's sketches" here at the blog as well. Just let me know (through mail or comment) and we'll arrange that.

Now, stop reading and go fetch your pencil. It's time to sketch.

Happy drawing!

Work In Progress - Free Eagle Tattoo Design (WiP2)

Perhaps some of you are wondering what happened to that free eagle design I began drawing. Fear not, I have not forgotten about it. Last night I kept working on it, but I'm not quite ready to consider it finished yet. Thought I'd show you the progress from last time though. Hope to snart post the finished version.

(Done in ArtRage 3)

Friday, 1 January 2010

Movie Trailer - Hot Tub Time Machine

A new year but also a new decade. New Year's Eve is for many a time to sum up the past and peer into an unknown future. But what if you could go back 24 years and change that future (the coming present). This is the idea behind the upcoming comedy Hot Tub Time Machine.

What better way to start 2010? Let's dive in!

(Release: February 26, 2010)

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