female spirit of the forest


Here is a concept I started a few days ago.I just saw a tutorial on making wavy hair and wanted to try it out.
It’s been since the journey challenge I made a digital painting. I hope I’ll be able to finish it. I will be working during my lunch breaks so it could take a while. It’s a fantasy woman that lives in the woods. She has blue hair and butterfly will come out of it I think, a bit like The forest spirit of princess mononoke. this Is how far a got after 4 lunch brakes. This is far from finished but I think it would be interesting to see how it evolves and where it came from by uploading from time to time.



monday… a new lunch crunch…
tested some shadows in a overlay layer just to check.
changed her right arm, not erntirely happy but we’ll see
still a long way to go


messed a bit with the face today.
Tried out some huge flying mushroom. Don’t think this will work whitout changing the compostion. Getting to crowded. Could give some nice sss effect thought.


changed the composition to horizontal. Now there is room for flying mushrooms :). Still not sure if they gone be added.
also not sure about the pose she has, a bit to pin-upy.
Still a long way to go but it’s fun. I am curious where I am gone end up.



Last day of the week. This is where I stand after about nine lunch brakes. Lost a bit of time trying a male figure. The red dots are flying fish. Overpainted some shadows, perhaps a big part of her upper-body will be in the shadow. Anyway moving on. Next update will be probably on monday unless I cheat and work on it in the weekend :).


Before you go any further, really work out the entire narrative you’re trying to convey in this image. Think about what kind of emotions and moods you want to express. Think about the message you’re trying to convey. If there’s a narrative, what is it about? Don’t just think like a guy making a pretty picture–you need to think like a storyteller, the way writers and directors think. You will have an audience looking at your finished work, so think about what you want your audience to feel and think when looking at the finished results.


The story behind it is the most fun part of it in my opinion. Yes there is a story behind it but i’am not that good in storytelling in writing and it takes to long so havent told it and focused more on the time details. But hey I’ll give it a try:
The story is mainly about a few people who have to travel through u huge forest. The forest is really busy and there have never been a human here before.
It’s around 11 o clock in the morning, the sun is almost at it highest point and manages to get through the thick thick foliage at some specific points. They have been traveling for days. when they suddenly stumble upon a mysterious creature in a strange biotoop. There is a feeling of curiosity and anxiety as they don’t have a clue is she’s good or bad nor if she knew they were there or not…All they know is this is spectacular sight.
This is basicly the story I was thinking of behind it. The moment where they make eye contact.Hope this makes somehow a bit sense.


Nice work so far. Maybe have some loose moss, or grass on the trunks to show the wind is pushing it up as well.


Here s the monday update. Been working on the character mainly detailing her a bit.
Still need to make the shadows/lighting.
Also the trunks feels to flat fore the moment, it should have a more cylindrical feel to it. Basicly there should be more depth in the whole picture.
I should think of some kind of deadline in roder to pick up the pase otherwise I’ll keep working on it :slight_smile: this will force me to make decisions.

thx for the comment architectus but it’s not supposed to be that windy. The fish swim slowly in the air and her hair moves like if it was some kind of smoke. I do get why it it’s easy to misinterpret though, will have to keep this in mind.


double update from yesterday and today, Sometimes elements disappear that’s not because I changed them but it’s because I didn’t turn on every layer.


My thoughts, for what it’s worth:

I really have a problem working against a black background. Not only does it change your hues and values, it just makes the whole thing too “heavy”. I would use a darkish mid-tone as your background, a common color for the entire piece, like a dark sap green, or a dark brown or sienna. It’s a valid technique traditional artists use, and it makes it easier to establish your values starting from the middle. You have nowhere to go with your shadows, they’re 100% already.

Regarding the narrative - it’s not so much a “story”, as it is the implied story. You can break it down to a couple of basic questions: What are we looking at? Why are we looking at it? What’s interesting about it, that we’re looking at it. So, you could just say, “I’m interested in exploring the mood of this kind of setting, and the interplay of flesh and bark and the moody lighting”. Half of Frank Frazetta’s work could be explained that way. :slight_smile:

And, finally, I would strongly suggest you work from a finished drawing of the scene. Not only will you be able to work out the issues with composition and narrative and anatomy, but it will be less work if you have a strong drawing to begin with. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but should have enough of the outlines and contours of everything in the scene - ie. you don’t have to draw every leaf, but you could draw the trunks and branches, and bulk shapes to indicate where the leaves are. And, when you draw a figure - draw the whole figure, it makes it a lot easier to paint.


Here’s an update.

Thx for the comment BillyWJ.
_I am trying to light it up With more of a background feeling. I would also like to try simulate some indirect lighting but that will be on a seperate layer.
_regarding the narrative Like I said I like to think about the whole story behind it. But this might change during the creation.
_which leeds me to the final note. I also think it would haven been better to sketch the whole drawing before. But it started as quick lunch crunch sketch that is evolving in a more finished work. I do have to puzzle here and there to get it better.


almost there with the background, some part will be kept really rough to create a depth of field without using blur to keep it painterly.


Tested some cloth on the figure I am looking for something organic transparant.


I think the clothing n the figure has little meaning or impact on the actual image, with the figure being so small in the actual composition of the image. It has absolute no impact on the rest of the image so really i don’t see any point in testing any cloth on her besides doing some design shapes or testing a few values. I am no expert in image making or anything like that, but I think you should concentrate more on the actual composition around the figure, and emphasis more detail, and design the shapes around what is happening in the foreground middle and background etc. At the moment there is no separation between any parts of the image. Then you can start to make a focal point with the contrast of values etc. Is the focal point the lady in the image? Even if she is, i really dont think you need to worry about doing some transparent cloth test on her, and she is so small in the actual image. she could just be a a shape design with value contrasts in her if you want agasint the background design.

Like I said i am no expert and just trying to give my input on my limited knowledge.


thx for the comment.
On this scale the clothing doesn’t seem to important but I’am working five times bigger on the original.
Nevertheless I think I should not be focussing like you said on detailing cloths and focus on the bigger picture.
I am doing it because i am not entiry convinced of the character itself. If I would be critical about my work I could say that the pose is playing it save and it doesn’t really fits in the background. Given the fact that she will be the main focus this is important.
Regarding the bg I have been struggling with seperating forgroung middleground and bg. I made the trees on the left a bit smaller to send them more in the bg. I know I will be able to change a lot with shadows and adjusment layers to help to focus on her allthought I haven’t doen it yet.
Well I guess these are all the problems you run in when you just start with it, whitout a clear drawing in the beginning. :).

update. bigger size:


been on holiday. New lunch crunch.
looking further on the cloth/dress.


working further on the dress. I am looking for an organic feel, not there yet.
most layers are turned of at the moment.