How can I make my fantasy art stand out?
Creating a unique fantasy design can be a tough task, but there are some basic guidelines that you can follow. The most important is not to come up with a generic version of a design that people have seen hundreds of times before. A good approach is to base your design on an existing historic culture and then add mythical and fantastic elements. Don’t be shy to exaggerate some body features to enhance the overall expression of the character. Give them superhuman strength, draw them as a sexy figure or make them as creepy looking as your worst nightmare.
I decide to paint a fusion of an Assyrian priest and the common fantasy theme of a beast-warrior, to show the important role of cows and bulls in their mythology.
To make the design work I apply another common rule: recurring patterns, shapes and materials. I use Assyrian circular patterns for the priest’s clothing and jewellery. I also make sure to stick to a single metallic material (in this case gold) instead of mixing metals, such as iron, silver, bronze and copper. I give the Assyrian priest bullhorns and ears to enhance the fantasy feel and bulk up his body shape.
To build up the values I first paint the character in greyscale. Carefully planning the lighting scheme helps me to bring out three-dimensional forms. As soon as I’m satisfied with the values, I go forward to the colour stage.
Adding bovine elements to the human priest gives the character a strong fantasy feel. A well-defined greyscale sketch gives me enough value information to take the image into colour.