There Be Dragons

August Contest

So as to not scare myself away from finishing this post, I will avoid the temptation to show every step and document every thought that went into this recent piece. Aiming for the barest of information first, below is my entry for the Digital Double Monthly Contest as an August Finalist and then Runner Up. I won a $45 coupon to be used in the armature store!

The contest requires using one of more of the Armature Nine products, and the prompt for August was “Warrior”. So of course I went with the concept of a Female Chinese warrior who had discovered an orphaned tiger cub. While she laughed at it’s scrawny appearance, she found herself being drawn to the knowledge it could become her companion.


Armature Nine Ranger Pose Used


Mechanical Pencils with 2B and 4B leads on Bristol Paper 8 1/2 x 11

sketches2238 c copy copy

Digital Color with Photoshop CC 2015.5

September Contest

Below is my September entry, which I entered in hopes of winning another store coupon. The contest prompt for September was “Composition” so I went for an epic feel, with a combination of fantasy medieval landscape, dragons, and mercenary soldiers, known as Landsknechte.

“The German Landsknechts, sometimes also rendered as Landsknechte (singular Landsknecht, pronounced [ˈlantsknɛçt]) were colourful mercenary soldiers with a formidable reputation who became an important military force through late 15th- and 16th-century Europe. Consisting predominantly of German mercenary pikemen and supporting foot soldiers, they achieved the reputation for being the universal mercenaries of early modern Europe.” -Wikipedia


Liquid Graphite base with Mechanical Pencil Details 8 1/2 x 11 Bristol Paper


Liquid Graphite base with Mechanical Pencil Details 8 1/2 x 11 Bristol Paper

It is clear to anyone who has studied the Northern Renaissance I have been heavily influenced over the years by Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum, Albrect Altdorfer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Joachim Patinir (swoon). And of course the contemporary painters Thomas Cole, Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, M.C. Escher, and a few of the Surrealists, Max Ernst in particular.


Characters Drawn with Graphite and Collaged into background with Photoshop

After sketching the dragon rider, I began to suspect I might have been influenced by my recent watching of The Three Kingdoms, although I was not aware of it at the time. One of the more interesting characters is Zhang Fei, a fierce hothead who knows no fear.

Considering which brain folder I was tapping into, the one labeled “wild faces with black hair”, it could also have been Jack Black. If I had actually used these photos of Jack, I believe my warrior would have been much more interesting!



Running short of time I added some color to pop out the main characters using Photoshop. If I have an opportunity to return to this piece at a later time, I plan to work in some clear aqua colors into the foreground plateau. But at this point I am generally pleased with the overall “composition” and eye movement.

I am a Finalist! Voting is open to the public, so feel free to check out the Finalists and vote for you favorites. Check back after 10/7/16 for news as to who the winners of the September contest are.