Capture the feel of an epic battle
Grzegorz Rutkowski shows you how to paint a vast battle scene, as described in George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series
Grzegorz Rutkowski takes on Game of Thrones.
The old art masters painted royalty and heroic battles. They tried to capture the essence of the Middle Ages; rough, bloody and cold were key adjectives in their visual vocabulary. In this workshop I’ll try to capture these attributes in a fantasy scene from George R R Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire: the Battle of Castle Black. I’m drawing the moment where the Wildlings, with the help of giants and mammoths, breach the Night’s Watch’s gate in the great Ice Wall.
When creating this type of painting it’s important to view the image like a thumbnail. It’ll enable you to successfully tackle the three key elements of a battle scene: scale, perspective and composition. Doing so will help you to define the size and depth of the scene.
I’ll also look at lighting and values, and plan the work carefully. I try to establish a lighting scheme during the early sketches. I consider those areas on the battlefield that I want to be lit up, and those that will remain in the shadows. The scene could be gloomy, bright or a combination of the two, like in a dark sunset. Indeed, there are countless lighting options available to you – but first come the sketches!