First rough: Building the Angmar's King Armour is difficult. I love functionality but it must convey a sinister feeling. He's still a man... a little.. close to be completely lost to Sauron. He's not yet a Ringwraith but his eyes are getting empty. He's a king. His armour will be rich and elaborate but hinting his fate. Usually I start with a 50% Grey canvas to quickly block the volumes using a 75% black and a 25% white. To mantain a correct perspective as bottom layer I use photos taken from the internet or my webcam. It saves a lot of time.
This is a good opportunity to learn how the sword was secured to the armour and learn how to properly paint leather. After establishing the main forms and volumes I check if the negative space is readable and then add a background. It MUST "complete" the message of the portrait but not overwhelm the main figure. The shape of the armour is still not final and I have to decide how to dress his arms. For the left one I've decided to go for leather and then wait a day to go back at it with fresh eyes.
Who knew I could have so much fun in painting buckles and belts? Time to dig in the literature and found how a sword is properly secured to the belt. I have particular care for the hands that, in my opinion, are the strongest element in the human anatomy (after the head). A wrong hand immediately sells the painting as "amateurish". The hand, in this case MUST have a real "grip" on the sword.
The Belts are now completed and I've painted the bottom part of the armour, made of many joints to give more freedom to thighs and legs. Something is beginning to appear too "heavy" in the upper part of the body. I need more light on the chest to drag the viewer sight on the face. The chainmail protecting his neck must go...
Repainted the chestplate. A large "chest" always conveys an idea of physical strength... and now with all this reflected light the viewer's eye is more easily focused on the king's face. Another little note about the design: it is fundamental to use a simple shape and repeat it in several places of the armour to "tie" together all the element in a single design. The simple shape I used is the semicircular engraving repeated three times in his chest plate and again on the shoulder plates.
More details on all the painting. I've added another semicircular repoussage on the chest plate.
Adjusted the light bouncing off the armour and reflections between secondary elements
The armour is now completed. I've added a chainmail at the joint as it should be. Both arms are now dressed in leather
The Monochromatic painting is now completed with all the little regulations needed to focus the viewer's attention to the right elements. I had to tone down a little the lower part of the painting to enhance the contrast between the darker areas and the reflected light coming from the ring of power.
First color pass. I'm beginning to assemble the color palette. My idea is to capture the cold blue of the mountain and, as contrast, use for the Witch king a sort of "decaying" gold hue. He'll have a paler skin and his armor should be "oxidized"... to suggest it's really old. Older than a common "human" armour.
Small details must be used wisely. Once again I've decided to add some near the head. In this case: the oxidation of the armour as it was exposed countless days to rain.
I've applied some texture suggesting the old age of the armour. Time to wrap up the painting and paint the small details to achieve a "seamless" portrait. The Angmar King is now complete.
Thanks for the advice ! Actually I don't use textures because as you say they is difficult to apply them at the end of the painting. I'll try them from the beggining !oliverlord 05/11/13 2:29 PM
Thank you Oliver. Once I found this tip: a texture is useless. But if you use it as base to paint it over the it's a whole different story. Great advice. I never use a filter to "Finish" an illustration. And it's the same for the texture. I alwLeone 05/11/13 1:14 PM
Great wip, very impressive. I really like the way you apply textures, congrats !oliverlord 05/11/13 1:06 PM