Troll Crossing, Michael Dashow (2D)


Title: Troll Crossing
Name: Michael Dashow
Country: USA
Software: Photoshop

I actually finished this piece before my recently-posted CGChallenge entry ‘Wandering Monsters,’ but wanted to wait 'til it was okay to make it public: It was done for an article in ‘ImagineFX’ on using Photoshop to do palette composition. Now that the article is out (December 2007, Issue #024) I can finally post this… but if you want to see the entire process of how this came to be, check out IFX!


One word - awesome!


woohooo…a lot to look at here! love the palette and everything about this. looks like a lot of (fun) work! i can’t even imagine attempting something like this…i’m green with envy. :eek:


Another 5 stars work! Great to see this work posted here, amazing job Michael! as usual:thumbsup:


WOW …so full of adventure and adrenaline!..:bounce: …just waiting for the word GO!:scream: …i can smell the time that went into this piece!:applause: …brilliant lighting effects and definitely 5 shiny stars from me!:thumbsup:



Nice one once again Michael!!:smiley: Super lighting!


Just fantastic! I can’t wait to see the article.


Brilliant image! I love the styling, colours, and overall composition. Great characters, especially all the different trolls. Great use of lighting from the staff too… very dramatic! Fantastic work!


Great job, the colors are perfect! 5* from me keep it up!


Hey there Michael,
Great to see this piece unleashed in the forums. My jaw dropped open when I spotted it with the excellent accompanying tutorial workshop in the Imaginefx mag, which I get on subscription. The image and the workshop are both top notch stuff. Worth the price of the mag for that alone. Always a joy to see one of your seemingly effortless, complicated compositions, full of humour and great drawing.

More power to you.


Fabulous, Michael! I love how you always manage to convey a touch of humour in your work. Great palette and super job as always.


nice characters and color. I like the image


Love it, especially the muscles on the girl. Your style is very recognizable now, I could tell it’s yours just by the thumbnail heh. 5*


Nice to see a girl warior wearing clothes.

I’ve been imagining a picture of a fanticy heroin in the traditional skimpy bikini armor and an big sword standing next to a Paladin in full plate and the two are facing a hord of baddies (orcs, goblins whatever). The title is “Men are such cowards.”


Such maticulous work, kudos michael!
The composition looks like there would be text up top. Is it a cover of some kind?


Very, very nice, Mike…Brilliant!


Hi, everyone! Thanks for the great replies! Glad everyone is liking this piece…

bao - It’s not exactly a cover, it’s just aportfolio piece made to look like a cover. If you want book-cover jobs, it’s always good to demonstrate not only that you can paint well but that you understand the layout necessary for books, i.e. leaving blank spots for title, author’s name, etcetera. Specifically, this is designed to be a book for teens/tweens, and they tend to have pretty simple compositions with the main character(s) front and center, which is why I went for such a simple, symmetrical compsition, to try to look like one of those books.

LS Knight - Sounds like a great idea… I’m already onto a new piece, so you should get to work on it! (They key will be in conveying the point without anyone even needing to read the title.) Have fun!

Nick - Thanks so much, that means a lot, especially coming from an artist of such caliber as yourself - I really enjoyed your article on children’s book illustration a couple of issues back, which is of course exactly what this was intended to be, too. As for effortless… Ha! I need to stop falling in love with compositions that involve dozens of bad-guys! :slight_smile:

[plug] For those of you who haven’t seen the IFX article, it’s about my incredibly intensive and insane way of setting up dozens and dozens of layers in Photoshop to comp my colors. It lets me make dramatic palette changes rather late in the game before I flatten everything in order to get just the right (imho) color scheme. In the article, you can see pretty much this exact same painting with 5 completely different color schemes and compare them. Anyhow, if it sounds interesting, check it out! [/plug]



Great work Michael, I particularly like the expressions on the trolls. There’s a lot of life in this piece. 5 stars


Sassy! Just…sassy! :thumbsup:



so when you do an article for IFX, do they throw in a life subscription? :slight_smile:

I wish I could do 1% or the ideas that come to mind but I have to pick a choose. Right now I’m doing some illustrations for a game company and my ambition is, as usual, a bit beyond my skill. But then that’s forward movement, right?

I think she would have to have a very special look on her face; looking at him trembling wide-eyed under his shining iron out of the corner of her eye, a smirk on her lips and an eyebrow raised, her stance relaxed but confident. I’ll bet if I tape up my glasses, wear a white colar shirt and go to a bar, find the hottest hottie there, and ask her out, I could capture that exact expression on my camera phone.

“Hold that,” click. “Thank you.” :twisted: