Character Concept Tutorial


Current state of the lich. I plan on tinkering with the floating debris and some of the edges on the armor.


I really like where this is going; in particular, the ground flying up and the character’s inner glow really do their job of conveying immeasurable power. And the shoulder pads have improved.

If I had to give one last critic on the armour, I’d say that it currently lacks the sheen of metal (it might be painted, admittedly) - a feeling reinforced by its dynamic range, which is roughly the same as that of the cloak.


Thanks Squids!

I started a new blog for my stuff.


Alright I’m calling it quits on this one. I only made a few piece of mind adjustments. Here’s the WIP breakdown.

I think my last piece for this thread will be an illustration with all four character engaged in some kind of epic nerd battle. I’ll try to get a creature concept thread going next, and maybe an environment one after that.


Wow, thank for sharing; these works are awesome!


Josh amazing work!!! Litch looks fantastic I like the color scheme you chose. Its sad to see this thread come to an end but with a final piece and the start of a creature concept thread coming next or maybe an environment one after that I’m all excited again. Especially for the environments that tends to be my weak link in my chain, but am also very curious to see what kind of creatures you come up with. No matter which thread you choose to start next Josh I will be watching and posting on them. Have a good one my friend! :beer:


Nice work. My only critique is the legs on the last two. The one with the mallet. The legs maybe could have had better positioning? Actually I’m really not sure on that one what it is that makes it look a little off. The last one the legs look a bit to short.


Got some time to sketch a bit on a battle scene with the four characters from this thread. Haven’t decided exactly what all will be going on with the Lich’s side. It’ll likely be skeletons and giant spiders, but we’ll see. I might also redraw the witch in a dead sprint holding her skull out.



I’m having a lack on inspiration on the battle image. When that happens I back off and work on more simple compositions.

So… I turned a hand study into some “card” art. I was imagining the title of the card could be ‘Discarded Power Stone’ or something. The narrative for the image could be that this dude who’s rummaging around in an swamp discovers the rusted remains of a machine/creature of some kind, and then an intact power source.

Critiques appreciated! I can post a full wip if anyone is interested when it’s finished.


It’s confusing to look at, but should make more sense once it’s painted. Any critiques on composition are greatly appreciated. I’d like to knock them out before I start painting.


A very promising sketch. Dynamism definitely is a strong point of your drawings.
I’m curious, though: is it 100% digital or scanned pencil ?

composition-wise, I don’t have much to say. The immediate focus of the picture is the gamping maw of the island-turtle, from which I immediately jump to the boat. Because you’ve made the turtle occupy so much of the screen, the man is really dwarfed by its hulking mass and we feel that he has no escape: the picture tells its story well.

It took me a while to notice the skulls & bones underwater, a kind of second-glance detail that I appreciate. They really add to the feeling that the place is dangerous and the man in the boat isn’t the first one surprised in this manner. However, if I were nitpicking I would notice how these bones suggest shallow waters since they’re so close to the surface, and subsequently wonder how such a big turtle could have found enough depth to hide its lower body. But it’s really far-fetched and can be easily solved by puting more distance between the bones and surface.

Last, one small critic about the hand study: the shading gives the impression of a weird swelling in the middle of the hand, as if the base knuckle of the thumb had been displaced. Instead, I would expect a bulging mass closer to the base of the hand


Thanks for your time Squids!

If you get more time, do you think you could do a quick paint over or some simple red lines to illustrate your critique on the hand study?

The ambushing turtle is all digital. I started with some smallish thumbnails, enlarged one and knocked the opacity to 17%, then created the final sketch above it. Here’s what the enlarged thumbnail looked like for posterity.


I’m impressed by your ease with digital sketching. It’s been several years now since I switched to the tablet and I’m still not as comfortable with it as I am with the pencil. Something about the feel of the pen…

Anyway, here’s the paintover. It’s a quick dirty job and I dropped the stains, but hopefully it still gets the point across.


Thanks for the inspiring and insightful tutorial. I had a question though… I enjoy the entire process until I have to color it. On your new color layer after laying the base values, do you use a normal layer with an opacity brush for the coloring? I find when I do that, I tend to shift the values at times. Also, with different values of color, do you select a lighter version of the color, or do you just paint over the values you already have down? I find it difficult to work with a color opacity brush, over something I already have the base values for. Thanks! Again, awesome work!


Coaaal, I’m working in Photoshop and I’m setting the layer options for the color layer to ‘color’. PM me if you need some Photoshop tips.

Setting the layer to color will allow you to paint with whatever color you want and it will maintain most of the value work from previous layers. I’m also painting with 100% opacity on the brush. Where that deviates is a setting on the brush to control opacity with pen pressure.

After I have the basic colors down I’m creating a new ‘normal’ layer above the color. There I use the eye dropper to grab a color/value combination and start painting the finer details.

Let me know if any of this seems vague and I’ll expand a bit, or even create a more thorough tutorial to illustrate my point.


That just took a big headache out of my workflow. Thanks! Also, you were plenty descriptive. Keep up the good work!


Very, very rough color and value test. I’ll have to redraw the boat and guy getting flipped out of it. Then I’ll combine everything and start painting on top of it.


Update with some work on the foreground. I keep fighting with the turtle’s head anatomy, so any commits with regards to that are appreciated.


Alright, I think I’m done with the grumpy turtle. Please let me know if you all spot anything wonky and I’ll get it fixed up.

I ended up with way more detail than I initially wanted, so I decided to make it an exercise in balancing all that detail, kind of telling a story, and maintaining the focal point.

Here’s the full wip progression.


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