Build­ing a de­mon’s lair

Matt Cow­dery con­cen­trates on con­trasts as he com­bines gothic ar­chi­tec­ture and fan­tasy scale, to cre­ate a strange, for­got­ten world

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Matt Cow­dery’s art fea­tures. a brood­ing fan­tasy fig­ure.

As a genre, dark fan­tasy is un­ques­tion­ably my favourite. The mys­te­ri­ous and bleak en­vi­ron­ments of games such as Dark Souls and the mor­bid dream­like paint­ings of Zdzisław Beksin­ski´ both serve to in­spire me to imag­ine strange and for­got­ten worlds, and the in­hab­i­tants of those worlds, who must at­tempt to sur­vive as their world crum­bles all around them.

This in­spi­ra­tion turned into the idea of a de­monic con­queror sit­ting amid piles of wealth, find­ing noth­ing but empti­ness in his ul­ti­mate vic­tory, be­cause he lived for the con­quest it­self, and with­out it, finds him­self empty.

For the en­vi­ron­ment of the piece, I took in­spi­ra­tion from tra­di­tional gothic ar­chi­tec­ture and mixed it with the im­pos­si­ble scale found in fan­tasy worlds. For the de­mon it­self, I chose to have a rough, al­most thorny skin, to con­trast the op­u­lent wealth he’s sur­rounded with.

The hu­man eye sees by way of con­trast, whether it’s con­trast of value, colour, sat­u­ra­tion, theme, scale, or any­thing else. To make some­thing pop out, I con­trast it with its op­po­site. I use this tech­nique abun­dantly: the sat­u­ra­tion of the gems in his ar­mour, com­pared to their sur­round­ings, and in the level of fin­ished de­tail in the fore­ground, ver­sus the sig­nif­i­cantly less-de­tailed back­ground.

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