This is one of my earliest digital paintings. I meant to post it earlier but sort of forgot about it, then I realized I haven’t posted in a while because some super exciting things have been happening (I will post more on that in the near future) and life in general has been busy lately. It has also been quite warm in the apartment, and summer heat poses a problem that is unique to digital painting. That big screen gets warm, and when I’m already sweating to my seat the last thing I want to do is to lean over a hot screen for hours at a time. Even on a cool day I paint wearing a glove with the fingers cut off so I can more comfortably slide my hand around on the screen without it sticking.

I don’t love this painting actually, I think the detail is good and I am happy with how the skin texture came out, but overall I think it’s actually a bit boring. The composition is not as interesting as it could have been. The subject is too centered and there is too much dead space in the upper half. The lighting is also a bit off so the creature doesn’t quite merge into the environment. I still have a lot to learn about lighting and shadow, and here I think it really shows that I was just starting out. I was more focused on painting accurately than painting well. I have been trying to learn how to loosen up and consider reference photos as guidelines rather than detailed instructions.

Since this scene took place in a naturally dark environment (underground), I think it would have been cooler if it felt as though the viewer suddenly encountered this monster creeping out of the shadows in a dark tunnel, perhaps with a flashlight or lantern kind of effect. Some pale shafts of light coming down from above, or more of those glowing plants might have been cool too. One thing I do remember from painting this was that after spending many days on the Vorax itself, I was eager to be finished and definitely rushed the background. I am now learning to like painting environments and enjoy the whole process rather than just focusing on the subject and treating the rest of it like a necessary evil.

vorax final

The vorax is an aggressive carnivore from Ryzom. This particular one is found near a teleporter in a place called Prime Roots, which is an underground zone with many dangerous, high level predators like this one. The teleporter provides a small safe zone, but I had to go just outside that area to get screenshots of these guys, which means my poor character was killed many times for the sake of this artwork!

One thing I love about Ryzom is how original the creatures are. I don’t play the game anymore, but I still miss exploring it and discovering all these interesting animals. There are no bears or deer in this game, only wildly unique and imaginative new plants and animals with special traits and characteristics.

We are soon putting the apartment up for sale, which means most of our stuff has to come out so we can make it look like we live in Ikea. It means our life will be turned upside down for a while and I probably won’t be posting any new art for at least a few weeks (or I might have a lot since we will have no stuff and I’m bored, who knows). I might dig up some old sketches or something while packing, so there could be posts here and there if I get the time and inspiration 🙂

Thanks for reading!



Shalah finished DA

I thought I should explain that strange creature on the home page. It’s not a mutated woolly mammoth, in case you were wondering.

The Shalah is a gigantic fluffy herbivore found on Atys. It’s peaceful and harmless when left alone but won’t hesitate to dismember you if you decide to poke it with a sharp object. Experienced homins (players) will sometimes gather in groups to hunt them with the battlecry: “Shalalalallalalalaah!”

It comes from the game Ryzom, which is a beautiful online game and happens to be where I met Tux. Tux was the one who inspired me to pick up my art tools and embrace my abilities, and I originally painted that shalah for a Ryzom player website he was working on at the time. It was one of the first things I painted digitally using the Cintiq, and was based on some reference screenshots I took in the game.

Around Christmas that year there was an in-game art contest where they added fan art to a little advent calendar. Each day you could open a box to collect a small prize and to see a player’s art, so I submitted a christmas version of the Shalah painting and it won a spot in the calendar 😀

Shalah atysmas.png

In case you’re interested, Ryzom was recently released on Steam, or it can be downloaded directly from their website.