Initially, for my new FANtasy Character Designs Project, I was going to create very simple characters. Simple characters do not have many lines, or colours, and they are very easy to animate. However, in the end, I’ve decided to create the best 2D characters that I can. Creating Tolkien’s Balrog Durin’s Bane took more than a week! Much more time than I expected. For this reason, it looks as if I’ll only be able to create these characters every two weeks, not once per week as I imagined. Again, paid work will always take precedence over unpaid work, so the two weeks may turn into three (hopefully not more).
I did film my progress using Camtasia. I tried using the free EZVid, but that program used too much memory. Wacom Cintiq Companion has been designed for artists using multiple Adobe products at once, however with EZVid and Photoshop open, my poor tablet wanted to die. Camtasia works perfectly, without any delays as I’m drawing. The total time for this work took about 20h (maybe more), so it will take me a while to edit all the videos together, remove long pauses that happen as I’m thinking and not drawing, and speed up the video where I feel the viewer is not getting any new and useful information. I also intend to add dialogue explaining my process. I hope to edit those 20 hours into 2, but we shall see.
If you have never seen me work I always take the following steps:
- Thumbnail sketches; these are tiny (no more than 2″ square) sketches that are very rough and usually cannot be interpreted by anyone other than myself or other artists.
- Sketches; during this step I take my favourite thumbnail, size it up on the computer, and then I start to draw. At this stage I’m thinking about movement and shape; I do not worry much about structure.
- Final Sketch; I pick my favourite sketch and develop it until it is ready for cleanup.
- Cleanup; this step may look like tracing, but I’m actually choosing lines and reworking the drawing until the final line drawing is absolutely perfect.
- Colour; the final step is colour. If I had more time, I may work out my lighting plan in Grayscale first; however, at this point in my career, I feel confident enough to colour my artork without figuring out tonal values (Grayscale) first.
Below is a visual progress strip from Step 2 in my drawing process of Balrog Durin’s Bane fighting Gandalf:
You can get a 1024 px wide JEPG of this design for FREE by joining the Mili Fay Art Fan Club below.
The full-resolution (7200px x 4500px/24″ x 15″ at 300 ppi) image will launch on Gumroad this Friday, July 3rd, 2015. Stay tuned.
Which character from “The Lord of the Rings” universe would you like to see me design next?
Be the first to answer this question in the comments below, and you will WIN the original, full-resolution, PDF of your character’s design for free!
For more details about this project, see THE LORD OF THE RINGS: “FANtasy Character Designs” Project.
Mili Fay, a Toronto-based artist, classical animator, illustrator, writer, and singer, is an award winning graduate of Sheridan College and Art Instruction Schools. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time.
Her latest published work is Animals In My Hair; a story about a boy who goes for his first haircut only to find endangered animals falling out of his hair.
Currently, Mili is working on her first ever illustrated Fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess who must prevent a war with the dragon-people, while keeping her mission a secret from her over-protective mother.
Join Mili Fay Art Fan Club to stay in touch with Mili Fay and to be the first to find out of her upcoming books and artworks.