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:star: Kitty Kitty Purr Purr!

After an hour and a half I've got my base done in H graphite pencil. Now to outline and render the details!

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And this is what it looks like after 3 more hours!

COMMISSION #38 Yung-tuna-fish ($44 - OriginalSent) by darkspeeds

The commissioner requested to have the original illustration sent over. This is how I'll package it as an example!

Postage Sample By Darkspeeds-d9hzrro by darkspeeds

Two pieces of cardboard will be used to protect the illustration from bending! I'll also send away any sketch work that I've done in preparation for the illustration work. Thanks Yung-Tuna-Fish for the opportunity and for requesting the original to be sent to you!

:star: Meow Meow!

My next commission contains dangerous amounts of cat and jingle bells. You've been warned.

:iconyung-tuna-fish: - here's a quick sketch of what I'm about to illustrate mate!

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Also, this is one of the first commissions I've done a in a while where I'll be posting the original to a client (at an additional charge of course ;)).

:star: Hardin Painting Process

03 Hardin 02 23-11-2015 by darkspeeds 03 Hardin 03 23-11-2015 by darkspeeds
03 Hardin 04 23-11-2015 by darkspeeds 03 Hardin 05 23-11-2015 by darkspeeds
03 Hardin 06 23-11-2015 by darkspeeds
Hardin by darkspeeds

:star: Role-playing as Hardin? (Hardin's Resolve)

Actually I was in the middle of taking a reference shot for my next Beyond the Western Deep illustration to put more hours into my digital painting milage. :D

I'll be using this for my next speed painting:

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03 Hardin 01 23-11-2015 by darkspeeds

And because I had a spare moment with the camera I decided to recapture the scenes I played in person for the Beyond the Western Deep: The Movie project.

Darkspeeds-as-Hardin01 by darkspeeds
Darkspeeds-as-Hardin02 by darkspeeds
Darkspeeds-as-Hardin03 by darkspeeds

You can listen to the preview below on how I'll sound like as Hardin if you've missed it a month ago. XD

Been busy with work and commissions lately - on my next set of days off I'll get back to the audio production of BtWD: The Movie and will also designing some characters for my upcoming webcomic - Edenspell. Catch you all then! ;)

:star: Strykeforce2005's Commission - Painting Process

CM44 Strykeforce2005 04 19-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM44 Strykeforce2005 04 19-11-2015 2 by darkspeeds
CM44 Strykeforce2005 05 19-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM44 Strykeforce2005 07 19-11-2015 by darkspeeds
COMMISSION #37 Strykeforce2005 ($160) by darkspeeds

:star: Strykeforce2005's Commission - Thumbnails and Studies!

Here's a look into the value, color and composition studies I've made on Taylor's commission.

CM44 Strykeforce2005 01 19-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM44 Strykeforce2005 02 19-11-2015 by darkspeeds

I could do many more possibilities for value, color and composition studies, but I gotta stick to a deadline and be objective with my commission. I'm pretty happy with what I got from my first go. Let's see how it goes from here. 8-)

:star: Strykeforce2005's Commission! 'The Golden Theme'

:iconstrykeforce2005: you're next up! Here's a preview of what I sketched during my break at work the other day.

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Can't wait to see this in action! The colours and lighting will be really interesting to work with on this piece!

I went to the newsagency this morning to see what magazines I could get to inspire me for my research on Edenspell and also building up my general knowledge of all things. National Geographic sold me with these two compilations.

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I also go the 80's Sci-Fi Almanac, cuz you know, who doesn't love the eighties stuff?? Film back in those days were legendary!


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For any artist out there watching my work, I can't help but encourage you all to get this book. It's only my third time reading it through and I'm still in awe at the wisdom contained in it. Best $12.95 ever spent. Be a story teller. Share your stories. Live those stories.

:star: League of Legends - Ziggs (Painting Process)

CM43 Jasonbronkowski 01 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds CM43 Jasonbronkowski 02 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM43 Jasonbronkowski 03 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds CM43 Jasonbronkowski 04 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM43 Jasonbronkowski 04b 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM43 Jasonbronkowski 05 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM43 Jasonbronkowski 06 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds
CM43 Jasonbronkowski 07 15-11-2015 by darkspeeds
COMMISSION #36 Jason Bronkowski ($60) by darkspeeds

:star: League of Legends - Ziggs

My next commission is from the League of Legends game! Yes! Something different from Sonic for once! XD

Here is how my monitor workspace looks like when I condense it from three monitors (including the Cintiq21UX). Loads of reference for me to use! Let's go!

Workspace Zigg's-painting NOV2015 by darkspeeds

:star: Dakkan Painting Process

02 Dakkan05 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds 02 Dakkan06 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds
02 Dakkan07 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds 02 Dakkan08 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds
02 Dakkan09 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds
Dakkan by darkspeeds

:star: A Handsome Otter!

Took longer than I thought for the sketch! lol Dakkan's fun to draw! X3 Time for bed. Will finish the painting tomorrow when I come back from work in the morning!

02 Dakkan01 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds 02 Dakkan02 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds
02 Dakkan04 14-11-2015 by darkspeeds

:star: Red-Oak Bo Staff

I couldn't find a pose on the net suitable to what I have pictured for my next speed painting exercise featuring Dakkan from Beyond the Western Deep (another awesome protagonist to the series)!

So I decided to grab my camera and strike a pose!

Dakkan workspace2 NOV2015 by darkspeeds

The bottom-line is - don't be embarrassed to use references! Especially with your camera and your own pose! 

(And yes FYI I did buy that Chinese Red-Oak Bo Staff from the martial arts store a few suburbs away - it's very durable and can crack bones if used with force!)

Oh and also!

:iconstrykeforce2005: and Jason - I'll be completing this second speed-painting exercise in preparation for your FULL COLOR and RENDERED commissions (to be worked on during Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday - my days off work). I'm starting off with Jason's followed by Taylor. Thanks for being patient! 8-)

:star: What did you just say...?

:star: Watch me cry at the end of this video...! ;__; 

Here's a chance for you guys to see what it's like to be working on a project like 'Beyond the Western Deep: The Movie' through my lens! 8-)

:star: Quinlan Painting Process

01 Quinlan sketched 09-11-2015 by darkspeeds 01 Quinlan2 09-11-2015 by darkspeeds 
01 Quinlan3 09-11-2015 by darkspeeds 01 Quinlan4 09-11-2015 by darkspeeds 
01 Quinlan5 09-11-2015 by darkspeeds
Quinlan by darkspeeds

That was a lot of fun! Need to practice more to get better and faster at it!

Tomorrow, it'll be a little break from commissions - I'll be working on the Beyond the Western Deep: The Movie project. Getting down to more than 10 minutes of audio so far! Woo!

The day after tomorrow I'll start work on the next set of 'painting' commissions - one from Jason Bronkowski and one from :iconstrykeforce2005:!

:star: Speed Painting Exercise

In preparation for my next couple of commissions (that will require plenty of digital painting), I'm going to warm myself up with a speed painting exercise of whatever subject of my choosing.

I decided to dedicate this exercise to my recent delight that is Beyond the Western Deep series. It features the protagonist - Quinlan (you gotta admit he looks rather dashing! But he's quite the opposite in terms of personality when you read up of his adventures!). I did a sketch of him on my Cintiq 21UX with plenty of references to utilise.

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Now that I got the base done, it's time to paint! Let's listen to some Witcher 3 and Bloodbourne while I'm at it!


:star: LukeVei-Da-Hedgehog's Commission Completed!

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:star: One Hour and a Half Later...

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As soon as I'm done with this, I'm heading to Fremantle for some coffee and to explore the town. I love Fremantle!

:star: Honey the Cat...?

A progress shot of :iconlukevei-da-hedgehog:'s commission. And what a beautiful morning it is in Perth! My three days off begins as we speak! 8-)

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:star: I Feel Asleep! X_X;;

Never trust a weary body and a comfortable nap. I drew this for two hours right after I came back from work at 4:30AM in the morning and I only had the rendering to go when suddenly I gave in to temptation and napped away... For 8 hours. lmao XXD

Anyways here's the finished drawing! I'm going to make it a custom to take a picture of all of my completed commissions! X3 Here's Alex's!

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Next up is a coupling request from :iconlukevei-da-hedgehog: - His OC character Luke with Honey the Cat!

:star: One Hour Later....!

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:star: Super Charged!

Next up are two sketch commissions to work on.

Starting with :iconsupersonicfa:'s OC Kaze the Hedgehog showcasing his aura to his foes!

P1180974 1 by darkspeeds

Let's begin!

:star: Jayfoxfire's Commission Complete!

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:star: (Sonic and Sally Wedding) Sonic's Slowly Being...

Rendered...! ;)

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:star: First Progress Shot (Sonic and Sally Wedding)

Half an hour later and you get this! ;)

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I've laid down most of the foundations, now it's time to use my GRAPHGEAR 500 - 0.7mm and Alvin DRAFTMATIC - 0.5mm mechanical pencils to solidify the lineart!

Give me another 30 minutes and we'll see how it turns out! 

:star: My Next Commission features...

Sonic? Again?! *SHOT* XXXD

Alot of you have been surprised that I've been drawing Sonic after this little number I did back in July.

I'll make it clear - it doesn't mean I've stopped illustrating the guy forever, and it wouldn't stop me from saying no to commissions either.
Sonic doesn't really interest me as much anymore, it doesn't have the same vibe and energy that I got during my prime years of being a fan (and it's been many years may I add). I will say that Sonic Boom is fun to watch! I praise the guys who are creating that series for their hard work in making it a commercial success! Here's to Season 2!

My aim in the future is to go for anthro-cartoon stuff - popular and the well deserving ones, whether it be Usagi Yojimbo or Beyond the Western Deep, I aim to focus my creative energy into them. It feels good to be involved in the smaller communities who are really passionate about great story-telling and fantastic visuals to go along with it!

Anyways enough about that I got some photos to share!

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I tried to draw Ashworth and how his body complextion will look like. It's not easy to draw from memory but... I know a site that will help you remember all the things you've been taught in art school (assuming that you have been to one or are currently in one).

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Spare yourself 10-20 minutes and set to 30-second poses. Practice your figure drawing and get those gestures goin' for ya - see what you can get out of this exercise!

I did these at work during break... We got some computers downstairs that have the internet, so drawing on the fly helps exercise my muscle memory of how the human anatomy works!

That second photo you see has a quick sketch of Ashworth carrying a shield and long sword. I wouldn't have been able to get it looking as fluid as I would have done in the past if I didn't do my warm-ups! I encourage you to do some drawing today. ;)
And don't use pencil, use PEN or MICRONS instead. It'll force you to make choices that matter for each stroke on the page!

Okay, back to the commission I made mentioned at the start. :iconjayfoxfire: commissioned me a character sketch of Sonic and Sally together. Here's my little warm-up before I dig into the pencils.

sonicxsally Wedding by darkspeeds

See you soon with progress updates on this commission - if not, it'll be the finished product. ;)

Beyond the Western Deep: The Movie [OPENING PREVIEW!]

Beyond-the-Western-Deep The-Movie-poster2 OCT2015 by darkspeeds

Man, the voice acting team and myself have been trailblazing in terms of progress for this project!

I'm really excited to present this webcomic series by Alex Kain and Rachel Bennett in comic drama format and showcase just how fantastic their story is.

Share this around with those who love stories of kingdoms and conflict, epic fantasy and engaging characters.

This movie is set for release for X-mas/New Year. This will depend on how Alex and Rachel go with Chapter 2. To play it safe I'll say that this will be ready by mid-JAN 2016.

When we hit the premier date I'll host an online gathering so that we can all watch it together and talk about the story and characters created by Alex and Rachel! Just like we had one for the Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation where Tracy J Butler kindly hosted the group chat! ;)

Oh! And of course - HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone! ^^

Narrator voiced by Fairfieldfencer
Littleplanet soundtrack (C)
Beyond the Western Deep webcomic (C) Alex Kain and Rachel Bennett

:star: Beyond the Western Deep: The Movie [THE CAST]

And there we have it, folks, after just ONE WEEK of auditions we come to a CLOSE for auditions.

A total of 14 cast members (including myself,) have been chosen out of 76 auditions! What an amazing week.

THANK YOU to everyone who have participated in the auditions - it was lovely to listen to your interpretation of the characters!

And now a MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS to the ones who have been picked to voice act one or more characters for the project!

Beyond-the-Western-Deep FULL-CAST OCT2015 by darkspeeds

I will tell you now that it's been a pleasure catching up with all of you for a Skype consultation these past few nights. It was fantastic meeting new talent and sharing the same enthusiasm for great stories like 'Beyond the Western Deep' and also the joys of voice acting.

Already some of you have COMPLETED your character lines and I'm IMPRESSED with what I've received, you haven't disappointed me.

The plan now is to have the rest of the voice files ready for AUDIO PRODUCTION. As soon as I get them within the week I can start working on the audio (which will take about a month) and have it ready towards the end of November.

If all goes according to plan with Alex and Rachel they should have CHAPTER 2 completed sometime in December where I can use the high res. files for the MOVIE editing ~ that should take about 1-2 weeks to complete. 

I'm going to estimate the release date of the movie for X-mas or New Years 2016.

Anyways it's time for me to continue with further consultations with my CAST and finish recordings for my other role as HARDIN. 

If you want to hear what I've recorded for the past hour then here it is - it's KING DABHEID! This is how I sound when I'm over 50! ;)


Voice acting is a lot of fun! Here's my setup and me imitating King Dabhied for one of his lines. lol

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Oh and one last thing! There is this awesomely talented musician and artist by the name of Hugo (aka :icontoxodentrail:). During the audition week, I've been approached by him on deviantART and was told how he have embraced the story and art by Alex and Rachel after looking at my recent journal and he offered to do music for the project.

I've informed Hugo that I have the soundtrack that I needed for the project however after checking out what he can offer for COMMISSIONED MUSIC I couldn't help but get him started on working for a theme for 'Beyond The Western Deep'! It is currently in the works and so far the theme has a catchy melody!

My favourite commissioned composition of his goes to a recent webcomic that the team from :icondreamkeepers: have helped successfully publish - Uberquest (by Skidd and Phsuke aka :iconuberquest:). Have a listen!

If you're interested in getting your own original music for your adventure/fantasy inspired webcomic (or any other project) then look no further - Hugo's rates are very reasonable for what he has to offer!

Toxodentrail's Music/Art Commission Announcement!Are you an artist looking for a musician, or are you a musician looking for an artist?
Or, maybe, you’re looking for someone who knows both.
Chances are you might know me as the titlecard artist for the internet show "The Webcomic Relief", the composer for the webcomic "Uberquest" as well the artist for the film-review youtube-channel "Sam's Channel"
I’ve been doing music and art commissions for a while behind the scenes, so consider this a reintroduction, if you will.
Perhaps you want a drawing of that character of yours from your story you're currently writing. Maybe even a catchy theme that fits to your liking.
Here are some examples as for what you'll expect from me:
Prices for art:
Sketches 5$
(Note: Sketches are very quick to make. It usually takes up to 10 minutes to create, depending on how much I draw. Colouring is free of charge)

To end this journal:

It's amazing what great stories can do - it brings awesome people together. 

I managed to get the voice actors and Hugo hooked into the story, I hope that this project will get you all hooked too. 

:star: Beyond the Western Deep: The Movie [AUDITIONS - Full Roster NOW CLOSED!]

Beyond-the-Western-Deep The-Movie-poster2 OCT2015 by darkspeeds

It's official, I'm going to make time for 'Beyond the Western Deep' and give it 'The Movie' treatment much like the NORDGUARD series six months ago!

It's going to be epic as I'll try to combine ALL three chapters (Prologue, Chapter 1 & Chapter 2) together. It'll be a mammoth task but I know it's possible - it's just a matter of finding the RIGHT voice actors to fill in the roles.

So here is your golden opportunity to work with me as a cast member and showcase your talent in voice acting - it's gonna be a lot of fun! 
I highly recommend reading through 'Beyond the Western Deep' before attempting the voices to get a good idea of the story and a clearer understanding of your character role during recording.

Here is the complete roster available - a total of twenty characters, each tagged under specific categories of dialogue length and exposure. A character description is provided to give you a quick impression of who they are.

MAIN PROTAGONISTS: (Dialogue count - HIGH)

BtWD 01 Quinlan by darkspeeds 
[QUINLAN - is reserved & naturally cautious. He dislikes battle & political intrigue. A talented scout and a master of Tesque martial arts, he was naturally selected to replace his grandfather's role as Captain of the Guard - a responsibility which he does not take pride in.]

BtWD 02 Dakkan by darkspeeds  
[DAKKAN - is energetic and impulsive. He has a tendency for getting into trouble, often because of his quick temper. However, Dakkan is also loyal to the point of flaw, & is the type of person who can brighten someone's mood no matter the circumstances. Son of Kenosh & best friends with Quinlan.]

BtWD 03 Konash by darkspeeds
[KENOSH - is stern and no-nonsense, having little tolerance for any foolishness even in people he is familiar with. He believes in honor above all else, even if it may negatively affect his kingdom.]

BtWD 07 Hardin by darkspeeds 
[HARDIN- Leader of the Sratha-Din Hardin is an Ermehn warrior in his late twenties and is a gifted tactician with a powerful resolve. Raised in the harsh Northern Wastes, he is determined to achieve his goals at any cost, and has a great sense of Ermehn pride.]

BtWD 08 Ashtor by darkspeeds 
[ASHTOR - is reserved & naturally cautious. He dislikes battle & political intrigue. A talented scout and a master of Tesque martial arts, he was naturally selected to replace his grandfather's role as Captain of the Guard - a responsibility which he does not take pride in.]

BtWD 15 Clovis by darkspeeds 
[CLOVIS - is one of the two head generals of the Canid army, alongside his brother Tosch. He is responsible for maintaining a Canid defense force to protect the Kingdom of Aisling from hostile Ermehn. Personality-wise he is hotheaded and often changes emotions mid-conversation.]

BtWD 20 Narrator by darkspeeds 
[NARRATOR - a story-teller who recites the ancient history of the Four Kingdoms, and the importance of keeping record of it. A wise elder almost speaking in a fragile tone, you can tell this person has experienced the fabrics of time.]

CHARACTERS: (Dialogue count - MEDIUM)

BtWD 05 Janik by darkspeeds 
[JANIK - is a high-ranking Tamian ambassador and daughter of Sunsgrove's emissary to Navran. She is an adviser to the Vulpin Council to represent Tamian interests in the Vulpin political process. Since the Vulpin capital city has such a diverse mix of cultures, her role as a diplomat is extremely important to Sunsgrovian politics.]

BtWD 04 King-Dabheid by darkspeeds 
[KING DABHEID - the king of the Tamian city of Terria in Sunsgrove, Dabheid is described as "a personable sort" and is unwilling to sit when his guests must remain standing. He acts fair and sincerely on political matters involving the kingdoms.]

BtWD 06 Crim by darkspeeds 
[CRIM - is a Tamian and an instructor in the martial art of Tesque. He is domineering, abrasive and is also someone who still feels that the Tamian are superior to other races. When things don't go his way, he gets angry, especially if public humiliation is involved.]

BtWD 09 Rathik by darkspeeds 
[RATHIK - a mighty warrior who can trace his lineage back to Sratha (who historically conquered Aisling during a war of the Four Kingdoms). He is a member of the Sratha-Din who are an impressive Ermehn tribe formed by Hardin.]

BtWD 13 One-Eyed-Ermehn by darkspeeds
ONE-EYED ERMEHN - One of the battle-scarred Ermehn warriors who boldly confronted and questioned Hardin's call to the Ermehn to join his quest for salvation. Initially not convinced he later gives Hardin his respect as well as his arms to fight for his cause.]

BtWD 10 Bevan by darkspeeds 
[BEVAN - he is a member of the Sratha-Din who are an impressive Ermehn tribe formed by Hardin. Bevan is also the finest scout of the tribe.]

CHARACTERS: (Dialogue count - LOW)

BtWD 14 Bandit by darkspeeds
[BANDIT - a Felis road bandit accompanied by two others almost completed a successful robbery of our protagonists Quinlan and Dakkan. Sly but not cautious enough to outsmart a senior among the protagonists of the story.]

BtWD 11 Eira by darkspeeds 
[EIRA - she is a member of the Sratha-Din who are an impressive Ermehn tribe formed by Hardin. Eira is also the only scribe besides Ashtor.]

BtWD 12 Rhosyn by darkspeeds 
[RHOSYN - she is a member of the Sratha-Din who are an impressive Ermehn tribe formed by Hardin. Rhosyn is also the finest shot of the tribe.]

BtWD 16 Greenpaw by darkspeeds
[GREENPAW - a knight in training under the Canid army of Clovis and Tosch. Young and sincere he trains hard but was confronted by Clovis for not being tougher in his training.]

BtWD 17 Canid-Messenger by darkspeeds
[CANID SOLDIER #1 - A soldier to the Canid army. He interrupts Clovis with an important message during his meeting with Captain Kenosh, Quinlan and Dakkan.]

BtWD 18 Canid-General by darkspeeds
[CANID SOLDIER #2 - this Canid soldier of the Canid Army just managed to save Quinlan from an Ermehn's strike from behind. Cautious, helpful, and steady this Canid soldier wastes no time in defending the fort and reducing as many causalities in such a chaotic situation.]

BtWD 19 Caldus by darkspeeds
[CALDUS - was fearless and loved battle, to the point of being disappointed when there were no more wars to fight. When Quinlan became a scout instead of a soldier, Caldus called him a coward and nearly disowned him. He is a deeply respected member of the Tamian.]

If you're a fan of the series and you got what it takes to deliver an outstanding performance (or know someone who fits the bill) then please head over to the 'Behind The Voice Actors' page just below and submit your auditions!

You are more than welcome to audition for more than one character.

Deadline is set for 1st November 2015, but truly roles will be filled in pretty quickly from experience (usually within two weeks). The selection process will by finalised by me based on a first come first serve basis. I wish you all the very best of luck. Let's make this an awesome experience and something that the creators and the fans can be proud of!


:star: I've Just Finished Reading Chapter 2 and...

... all I can say is this.





Man... Today marked a very special day for me. I'm so glad that David pointed this webcomic out because I would have never discovered this gem of a story.

This team of Alex and Rachel (writer and artist) is amazing.

Their storytelling in impecible - from the dialogue/script to the sublime visuals (character expressions, colors, world design), I will tell you now that it is not often that I get to read a graphic novel/webcomic that really captivate my imagination but more importantly, as I've learnt from David (regarding storytelling), I really CARE for these characters.

This dynamic relationship between protagonists Quinlan and Dakkan (as well as their interactions with the rest of the remarkable cast) goes so deep, it's like I've known these guys for years and I only read about them in two nights. What happened here? Is this magic? It's an amazing feeling, it truly is. But going back to what I've learnt from David, it all makes sense.

It comes back to the creators and their in-depth knowledge and understanding of telling a good story. No, I scratch that. A great story.

I won't give any spoilers but towards the end of Chapter 2, I was almost in panic mode. On the edge of my seat. Fearful. I was scared.


Some characters that I really care could die. Like mortally die.

And I didn't want that to happen but they convinced me the idea that it's possible, and it's not easy to do that with grace in storytelling. The only other times I really felt threatened for the characters I really cared for were in Dreamkeepers (David and Liz) and The Wayward Astronomer (Geoff). Now it is fair to say that I don't really read alot of stuff - paperback fiction of any genre - but of the graphic novels that I've read up on these three felt like I lived their world, comfortably immersing myself in the experience, and that I wanted to be a part of their journey the whole way through.

Having said that I've made up my mind on something.

Screw the next two months. Hell, let's do this!

"Do what Darkspeeds?"

Well how about I get back to you lot in say.... About an hour? Watch this space for a special announcement.

Oh and if you haven't read 'Beyond the Western Deep' yet then I suggest that you DO IT NOW. (Oh even more so if you're into voice acting)!


2013-07-07-082 by darkspeeds

:star: Lead the Way Hardin!

David Lillie (aka :icondreamkeepers: of Dreamkeepers introduced this webcomic called 'Beyond the Western Deep' (produced by the talented Alex Kain and Rachel Bennett) on Twitter about a week ago and I was hooked.

Fascinated by the prospect of making this an audio drama epic in future I got back home from work (which was 4 hours ago) and knew that I had to give this a try. I turned on the mic and started recording.

I only just finished the Prologue and Chapter 1 and I've yet to read up on Chapter 2 (which I plan to do on these two days off).

I've fallen in love with the characters and so I tried Quinlan, didn't work. I tried Dakkan, didn't work either. And Kanosh (whom I'd like to voice) didn't quite make the cut. Then I looked into Hardin... And I think I may have found my role in this...! X3 Let me know what you think!

In a nutshell this exercise breaks down to the following:

- 4 hours recording and editing
- 2 soundtracks
- 10 sound effects
- 1 voice

This was a lot of fun to do and I'm interested in doing a proper extended version of this in a couple of months time (I'll combine the Prologue and First Chapter together). Be on the lookout for auditions to this project if you're keen on getting involved in this epic medieval fantasy adventure inspired by the likes of Redwall & Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard!

If you're wondering which pages I was sampling from:

2013-03-16-068 Color by darkspeeds
2013-03-23-069 Color by darkspeeds
2013-03-30-070 Color by darkspeeds
2013-04-06-071 Color by darkspeeds
2013-04-13-072 Color by darkspeeds
2013-04-21-073 Color by darkspeeds

If you haven't started reading this awesome webcomic then head over to the link below!


:star: 12 Hours into my Commissioned Painting!

It's starting to take shape!

I'm really pleased with the results so far! I'm currently working on the foreground elements (stone floor, bougainvillea tree) followed by the background elements (the cityscape, clouds and sky).
This is how it came to be!

SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress14 by darkspeeds
SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress15 by darkspeeds
SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress16 by darkspeeds

And viola! Sonic and Sonar fully rendered!

SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress17 by darkspeeds

Also! I only just noticed something wrong with the picture. Can you see what it is (hint: it's to do with foreshortening)? :)

Anyways let's go fix that problem and continue painting! This commission has been really enjoyable so far! Oh and also...!!

Comic Feedback: Beyond the Western DeepI had a chance to read Beyond the Western Deep recently, and wow.
It's fantastic!  I loved it.  It's rare to encounter an independent comic where all aspects are so well-tuned, and everything is being optimally delivered.
The story is excellently crafted so far.   The groundwork for the world is well laid, setting up the various factions, adding threads of tension throughout.
And the character introductions are excellent.  From Quinn to Hardin, it's engaging.  The narrative has the light, effortless feel that one sees in a gold medal gymnast performing at their peak.   I can only imagine a mountain of work behind the scenes.  
The character reactions are organic, believable, endearing:  And yet not a line seems to be wasted, everything serves to construct personality and situation, with subtle (and overt) conflict keeping the reader totally engaged.  
Quinn's relationship with his adversarial brother, details like the differing fighting styl

:icondreamkeepers: has kindly reviewed a webcomic that I've never seen before, called Beyond the Western Deep, and as I was reading it last night (during a break from painting in the wee hours of the morning... XD). I can't help but say that I'm hooked. GO READ IT. NOW! Support Alex, Rachel and Jerome on this amazing story (the visuals are absolutely gorgeous and I'm in love with the main characters already... They must be doing something very right here!).


2013-07-07-082 by darkspeeds

:star: Painting Begins! - Sonic and Sonar!

Before I even began painting my commission I wanted to do some further research and get inspired by some artists on deviatnART who painted some amazing Sonic fanart in the past. Sometimes just collecting a few paintings for reference can help you a long way in the painting process. If you got the fundamentals you should be able to replicate the best things you liked about the painting (e.g. the kind of brush strokes used in the painting, the way lighting was used to emphasis focal points etc.)

Here are three that I've collected for my own personal reference for SonicWindAttack's commission.

Photo Oppotunity! by raseinn 20100922 by lujji 06.12 by Lenmeu

If I work hard and smart I should be able to produce a painting of similar caliber to the above references. Here is my progress so far!

for-Sonicwindattack-06 by darkspeeds for-Sonicwindattack-07 by darkspeeds
SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress08 by darkspeeds SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress09 by darkspeeds
SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress10 by darkspeeds
SonicWindAttack-(commission) Progress13 by darkspeeds

Alright, time to head off to work! It's the last shift for the week before I have my four days off! Looking forward to the weekend playing some basketball, golf and visiting a farmer's markets by the hills. After that it's back into the commission full time! 8-)

:star: Character Studies and Thumbnails - Sonic and Sonar!

Nice, an hour's worth of studies - I'm happy with the outcome! Anyways it's time to dash off to work and sketch some Edenspell concepts during dinner break! XD

SonicWindAttack please let me know which option you'd like - I'm going for OPTION 3 as mentioned on the note but I'm also diggin' OPTION 1 too. 8-)

Also there is something that I'm going to discuss with you regarding your commission when I come back from work, speak soon!

for Sonicwindattack-02 by darkspeeds

:star: SonicWindAttack's Commission (Behind-the-Scenes)

Got two hours before I head over to the casino where I have my day job as a Host. This will give me enough time to work on some concepts and hopefully some thumbnails for my big commission requested by sonicwindattack.

Once again utilising the power of three screens is a convenient way of having references that you've gathered from your research instantly available in front of you while you work on your project.

I'll post what I've sketched on my next update. 8-)

Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: Commission Taken! Thanks For Inquiring!

I'd like to send a thank you to everyone who have inquired for a commission for the past the 12 hours!

I have made my selection and I believe that this project will be a worthy one to take on - a fully colored and rendering GRAPHITE ILLUSTRATION (I don't often get those)!

:iconsonicwindattack: is my new client and he has an idea that is of intimate nature and it will be dedicated to his girlfriend - which is pretty sweet if you ask me!

Looking forward to posting some thumbnails soon!

:star: BREAKTHROUGH! Also, One Commission Slot Available!

While I was on my break at work last night and doodlin' away and jotting down notes on a piece of paper regarding the Edenspell series, something struck me.

I finally found something that I can work with for an introduction to the story!! I was really excited about that prospect, there was a mix of emotions - joy, confidence, and relief (got all giddy in the room while surrounded by other employees... XXD). Currently, I'm working on character designs that will be used in the prologue chapter. I'm looking forward to bringing the introduction to the series to life! It's going to work, I know it! 8-)

Anyways on to the next subject! 

I'll be having four days off soon so I'm going to offer ONE commission slot that will be open to everyone. First come, first serve basis - just send me a note with the details I'll confirm the slot closed should I agree with your terms and conditions of the commission. Please don't take offense if I don't agree to work on your request. :)

Please review my updated commission info below for full details of what I can offer:

Darkspeeds' Commissions Info (Updated OCT 2015):bulletgreen: WHAT'S ON OFFER? :bulletgreen:
Hi everyone! I've been meaning to make a page dedicated to what I can offer in terms of commissions! I'll keep this updated as my portfolio grows. Commission prices may change at any time but I'll try to keep it as fair as possible. Without further ado let's see what's on offer!
:star: CHARACTER BUSTS :star:
:bulletblue: [Description]
If you're on a budget, this would be a good option to consider to have more characters for your buck! I can fit a maximum of 5 characters per page.
:bulletred: [Cost] = $15 USD per character bust

:bulletblue: [Description]
A drawing of one character posed on white background. This is done in a drawing style similar to what you'll find in a sketchbook!
:bulletred: TRADITIONAL GRAPHITE [Cost] = $30 USD  (+$25 USD for additional characters on the same page). 

Last but not least, some behind the scenes of the recent illustration of Shadow the Hedgehog from the Sonic Boom series to share!

Shadow boom00a by darkspeeds Shadow boom00c by darkspeeds
Shadow boom00d by darkspeeds Shadow boom01 by darkspeeds
Shadow boom03 by darkspeeds Shadow boom04 by darkspeeds

And it all started on a piece of paper...! That's all folks! 

Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: Edenspell News #002 - He is the One...?

Time for another catch up with the creative process behind my upcoming webcomic series - Edenspell, but first, some people to thank personally.

I'd like to give a big thanks to :iconkafelnikov::iconelisebellatrix: and an anonymous person for donating some monthly subscriptions to my deviantART account! Your support is very much appreciated guys. And a super thank you to Simon 'Foreversonic' Shirley, yet again, for donating A YEAR'S WORTH of subscription to me! You're a generous soul and I couldn't thank you enough for your continued support.

And now it's back to Edenspell news!

I'm going to try to make it a habit of illustrating concepts and storyboards on my sketchbook to flesh out ideas for the series at least once a fortnight. I hope to produce at least 6 x A5 pages a time and showcase it like I'm about to show you.

Untitled by darkspeeds

So let's start with the first two pages. 

Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

I had this idea that I introduced Ashworth in a tight situation where he needs to escape from fortune seekers, whom he initially allied with, with stolen treasure. It's the classic two against one scenario where a betrayal occurs by getting rid of one partner and splitting the spoils between two - Ashworth being the victim.

I wanted the first page to clearly show that he was surrounded, pinned to the edge of a cliff, and pressured to give up the prize. 

:iconevanstanley: suggested some handy critique to stick with an action shot and cut back on the dialogue (at least on the first two pages). You can see on the revision that it has three panels and four pieces of dialogue compared to the six by six in the first (the dialogue was waffling on and on!)

At the time of revision, I tried to flesh out what the other fortune hunters looked like. You can see that I was pleased with Julius's design but Fawkes needed more work.

On to pages three and four!

Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

So it seems that I tried to see if a reptile face would contrast well to Julius's cat-like design. It failed. So I stuck to something else. I drew in a rather large rounded nose, bushy hair and eyebrows. Yeah, let's just assume that he is a toon dog. XD

The next thing I did was to design the shape and size of the fortune seeker's bodies. I was pleased with the result of Julius' tall demeanour and Fawke's stocky design. The last thing I drew here was Ashworth on the left-hand side - I wanted to see how he looked like in terms of the contrast of values for the entire body. So on my first go I assigned full blacks to his hooded cape and hunter gloves, dark values to his hunter trousers and boots, and whites to his flesh, bandages and metallic attachments (the rounded crest holding the hood and the metal guards on his shoes).

I'll experiment the contrast of values some more in future for Ashworth and hopefully showcase him in detail when I'm happy with a combination.

The following day I was at a local cafe sampling some excellent coffee and was doodlin' at the terrace. I got inspired to work on the kind of people Ashworth will be dealing with on his first story. I researched on rural medieval towns and villagers (serfs to be more precise) and dug into building what the town would look like as well as two secondary characters whom Ashworth will encounter early on.

Gordon's Peak.... Gordon River.... Greenburg. I liked the sound of those names as I was devising the locations for the story.

Untitled by darkspeeds
Untitled by darkspeeds

Those symbols - I thought to myself: "What would Edenspell look like...?". At the same time, I thought to myself: "What the hell is Edenspell...?!".

Based my spontaneous urge to nail some form of meaning I illustrated symbol samples of what may resemble harmony, chaos and unity at the same time. Perhaps Edenspell is a religion, a god that the people had faith in? Who knows, this is the ideation phase, which can be exciting but also frustrating at the same time! lol

That hunched old man who looks like a monastery monk is the village elder if you were wondering. I'm diggin' his Brock-like eyes (same goes for Haratio).

And so I leave you all with some focus shots of the symbols I've designed (you guys can see which one I picked in the end), and that thumbnail of what may be the last page to the first story! Feel free to discuss what you thought of what's been illustrated so far! 8-)

Untitled by darkspeeds

Untitled by darkspeeds

:star: Edenspell News #001 - Sticking to Black and White!

Hi guys! 

I want to first and foremost thank EVERYONE who has DONATED me a deviantART subscription throughout the past 12 years - it just shows the generosity of you folks out there for giving me the ability to post content ad free and also allowing me to post my own images and photos to compliment my journals.

Right now my DA CORE subscription is going to expire within the next 2 weeks and without shame I'm asking for your donation to keep my work up and running

I do my creative projects out of my own free time and if you are enjoying the stuff I post (e.g. behind-the-scenes on art processes, project updates, tutorials, audio drama stuff etc...) on the regular then please donate a DA CORE subscription to my darkspeeds account.

My aim is to reach one year's worth. Whatever you can offer would be awesome! :D

Anyways back to the studios, I'm itching to begin the tales of Edenspell in sequential art form!

During work this week I had breaks where I could doodle stuff that came in my head for a potential story arc. That first batch was just me playing around with Ruby's face at difference angles (and nude body), a quick sketch of Fei's face and how his roundhouse kicks would look, and the rest were Ashworth in action.

Untitled by darkspeeds

One idea was to work on a story about a travelling doctor who had made a promise to his best friend (whom they met in medical school at a very young age) to cure a gravely ill patient who happens to be the daughter of his best friend. However, this doctor is apparently wanted by authorities for his 'questionable' practices. So he hired Ashworth as his personal bodyguard in order to evade the authorities and get him safely to his destination.

Untitled by darkspeeds

I imagined the doctor to look a little something like this if he was human!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Anyways when you get a chance you should practice sketching quick poses via as it'll come in handy in getting the most out of your character's acting in any illustration! Practice 30 seconds for an hour (which equates to 120 drawings) on a sketch book and pen - doing these daily will not only be a great warm-up exercise but it'll make it easier for you to bring your characters to life through application of dynamic posing!

Untitled by darkspeeds

Last but not least, I think it'll be the right thing to welcome a BLACK and WHITE INKED approach to my sequential art. It is something I'd like to try it out for now as colored comic pages are still a killer for me. I'm not confident with my color scripting and the whole process is extremely time-consuming for any solo artist. So if you have read the likes of JEFF SMITH and STAN SAKAI then you'll know what to expect (of course, my work will not be of that level, but one would hope so in time! XD).

Untitled by darkspeeds

Excited about the prospects I dug right into my sketchbook, using my trusty Pigma MICRON 01 pen and did a quick 10-minute exercise of a mock half-page of sequentials. This scene was not planned and is sporadic in nature. I drew what I felt and aimed to get a feel for what's to come.

Untitled by darkspeeds

Anyways that's it for tonight! Gonna go and start up on a script for the first 10-page story! Let's see how I go! ;)

:star: Step-by-Step (Cooperthehedgehog's commission)

I won't delve into too much detail since its five in the morning and I need to head for bed before I go to work at half past nine! lol

I love behind-the-scenes stuff and here are the usual photos and images to share with you - the pictures will do most of the talkin'. 8-)

Liasion with my client (a regular may I add) and offer the option of realistic anatomy of 'toon' styled. I presented a thumbnail and a sketch of the newcomer Static with realistic features of a porcupine and human body. Also found below is a 'toon' version of Static's face - almost looks like a wolf!

Cooper BTS01 by darkspeeds

Some screenshots of my progress at the studio.

Cooper BTS02 by darkspeeds
Cooper BTS03 by darkspeeds
Cooper BTS04 by darkspeeds

Contrast on each of the characters expressions was a crucial element in the illustration. I fixed up some anatomical features to the pose to keep things grounded to reality (Artemisa's arms were stretched too long in the original - so I had to fall back on just showing her hands rather than the extension of the whole arm and elbow bending as she is hugging both of her companions).

After fixing the characters expressions and poses, I scanned it before I went ahead and did the cleanup process.

Cooper BTS05 by darkspeeds

Here's what it looks like after outlining, darkening of the edges and semi-rendering the illustration. It was scanned in color and it produced the following result, where it was ready for one final edit on Photoshop (notice the warm greyish color of the scan). Oh and I almost forgotten to add in Static's whiskers! Always remind yourself about the details! 

Cooper BTS06 by darkspeeds

After desaturating the image I duplicate the original and adjusted it with MULTIPLY to darken certain lines. I played around with the CONTRAST/BRIGHTNESS filter to instantly drive away minor smudge and line marks leftover on the paper. Finally I made sure that Static the Porcupine stood out from the other three in terms of contrast by darkening him more so than Cooper and Artemisa. This was the result.

Cooper BTS07 by darkspeeds

Crisp, clean and ready for submission! And that is a quick insight for the week into my illustration process!

:star: Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation  - COMPLETED!

And that's that. :)

It was wonderful to catch up with all of you in the chatroom - :icontracyjb: was especially humble when hosting the chat and sharing her compliments and praise to the cast and myself on the project. It was really cool to get everyone's feedback - so once again thank you for sharing your thoughts on the work put into this!

My next project (as I mentioned in the chatroom) will be either one of the three following series in a few months time:


However, I think :icondreamkeepers: will be my first call since I know what I'll need, in terms of resources, for the second half of Dreamkeepers: Volume 3. Keep a lookout for updates in the coming months, it's time I took a break and get back to commissioned artwork and my comic series Edenspell. 8-)

:star: Sketches of Mordecai - 3 Hours To Go!

Just celebratin' my mornin' before we hit the premiere time of Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation.

Been playing around with different styles, free-hand with a Micron 01 pen to discourage me from erasing stuff and just going with the flow. I really want to get this drawing of Mordecai and Atlas done before the premiere! XXD

Sketches of Young Mordecai by darkspeeds

:star: Official Premiere - See You In 5 Hours!

Hey everyone! The official premiere is going to happen real soon! I'll be to be in the chatroom from here on and working on a commission. See you there for the party! 8-)


:star: Official Premiere - Endgame and Quick Feedback!

And thus after 2 months, the journey of audio production & editing has come to a close for the Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation - clocking at 54 mins!!
Now it's time to do one final review and make sure that all the elements sound balanced, in harmony, and with clarity.

Personal favs include the conversation between Elsa and Ivy scene in Brokerage~Antidote and Young Mordecai meeting the mysterious man guided by the spirit of De Loa in Thaumaturgy. My proudest page? I'd say Nightmare. You're gonna get a kick out of that one if you're into your suspense/thriller/horror atmosphere.

Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-07 S by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-08 S by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-09 S by darkspeeds

See you all at the premiere coming soon, and don't forget, I (urge) encourage everyone to do the following on premiere day:

i) Get your best headset/speakers and tweak it to a little higher than your usual volume.

ii) Grab a drink, a snack, and get comfortable - it's 54 minutes long!

iii) For the fans of the series you can either 'blind it' or 'listen and read the sequential art' - trust me, each method will be a unique experience in it's own subtle way. Listen for the details.

iv) Try not to get distracted from anything (including the temptation of posting something on the chat while you're watching ~ resist!! lol!). 

v) Don't be afraid to give constructive criticism on the day! Do tell us the bits you didn't like, however, you're more than welcome to give praise where it's due! ;)

:star: Official Premiere - LACKADAISY Chatroom link!

:icontracyjb: has kindly set up a chatroom for everyone to use on the date of the official premiere of Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation!


(Please ensure that you have a social media account ready at hand to gain access)

Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-05 S by darkspeeds

Also to make it a little easier I've set up some world time guidelines for fans across the globe to keep track and bookmark in their schedules!
I'll be in there at least 10-15 minutes earlier to get things ready. See you then! 

Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-06 S by darkspeeds

:star: Official Premiere of LACKADAISY Audio Contemplation

Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-02 S by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-03 S by darkspeeds
Lackadaisy-Audio-Contemplation It's-Showtime!-04 S by darkspeeds

I've decided to put the release time based off the timezone of the actual serie's setting of St. Louis! 

The audio is projected to be around 50 minutes long including an improvised 'previously' trailer and ending credits.
About two months have spent on this project so far - from research, preparation, casting, compilation, and editing.

If you got an excellent set of headphones, I highly recommend you listen to the audio with it to get the maximum detail out of the audio contemplation.

Looking forward to having your company at the grand opening! I'll see if there is a place where I can operate an open chatroom and stick around to interact with fans of the series - and also try to get the cast to show up there too to answer any inquiries! I think Tracy may have a chat room for the group, I'll seek for her advice. If you guys can recommend a chatroom that is easily accessible, open and free then do let me know! See you there and then!

:star: Lackadaisy Project Update

Been busy with work, and applying for a new job in the city. :D

Gonna post these audio samples of the project for those who missed out. 

I'm about one and a half months into the project and I'm about 60% done! The full version will run almost at feature-lengthed film - around 50 minutes to an hour!

:star: Archives

Lackadaisy audio sample - Wake up Rocky!

Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation (Auditions CLOSED!)

Lackadaisy Audio Contemplation (Auditions Open!)

Lackadaisy on Patreon (Congratulations Tracy!)

Behind The Voice Actors AUDITIONS Page

:star: Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit

I know for a fact that majority of my watchers are not kids of the eighties, but man were cartoons really cool back then. Unforgettable (and catchy) power anthem intros, colorful characters with charm, good vs. evil (and how good always triumphed over it) - anything was possible with the eighties.

To get a feel of how an 80's cartoon used to look like when it was recorded in VHS check out the alternative below:

Now a guy named Wesley Louis has brought his childhood imagination to life with the help of a team of directors from THE LINE (independent creative design studios based in London). From humble beginnings of a comic drawn when Wesley was a kid to a full-fledged animated intro (traditionally laid out mind you, like as in painted animation cells!) this could potentially be a revival of an 80's cartoon series. 

STANR comic page01+(2) by darkspeeds

I really hope they do a Kickstarter campaign sometime in the future, much like what the original creators of SWATCATS did most recently on their successfully funded Kickstarter campaign to bring back their series (who here has seen SWATCATS? It was also published by Hanna Barbera studios, the guys who made classics such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and more!).

Anyways I just purchased the Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit Groundworks PDF and it's a gorgeous book detailing the behind-the-scenes to this awesome project about a ninja rabbit and his friends saving the world!

STANR animation-stills by darkspeeds

I LOVE the character designs, but my favourites go to Fernando and Eusabius. Boy do they look kick-ass! How can a cockerel and giraffe looks so cool!?

 STANR characters by darkspeeds

I'm tempted to do some fanart...

:star: Painting Process - Solitary

Hi guys! Here's the process behind the recent painting - Solitary. And just letting you know that I feel much better after speaking to my friends about the issue. Thanks for your well wishes. Let's move on and see how I have approached this painting!

Step 01Thumbnailing

It's always handy to do rough thumbnails of what you intend to paint! 

for DA Solitary by darkspeeds

Whether it be a portrait, a landscape, still-life, every drawing starts out as a sketch and it is encouraged to do at least a couple more thumbnails to explore your concepts further - you can even do some sketch studies of how each element will be presented in the final drawing. In my case I was got lucky with my first doodle without further study. I was very pleased with the overall composition and my focal points. Once you're invested you can move on to the next stage - a value study.

Step 02Value Study

Again I was lucky to have found a light and shadow combination that worked for me on the first go. Relying on my instincts I decided to keep it simple and apply my teachings on atmospheric perspective to create a visual interest using depth and distancing of my subjects. The closer the subject the darker in value it gets, and the further away the subject the brighter the value.

Take note that the change in values will also effect your composition which ultimately effect how your eyes moves around the drawing. Make sure you plan well so that you can get the eyes to move to the focal point effortlessly.

Solitary 01 values by darkspeeds

Step 03Color Study

This is an opportunity to create some interesting drama in your drawing using light and color without sacrificing time on getting the mood correct at later stages of your painting. Simply create another layer and set it to 'OVERLAY' 'SOFT LIGHT' or 'COLOR' mode, depending on your preference, and paint away. I used a combination of options to create the colors I was looking for.

Also it helps to have an understanding on color theory and how it works for visual development. I have my Color and Design instructor Michele Goodwin to give thanks to for her instruction on the subject. If you do not have a qualified art instructor to teach you then I highly recommend you to look into James Gurney - creator of the Dinotopia series - and his works. Get his two books on painting realism with light and color - I guarantee that your work will improve by a milestone if you apply his practical theories and instruction on your next painting project.

Solitary 02 colorstudies by darkspeeds

In the end I decided to stick with the limited cool palette - with a warm color accent to highlight areas of interest. The thumbnail I used as a guide would be the third thumbnail on the bottom-left hand corner. A warm back-light and red-orange accent was added in later to the final painting. 

Step 04Start Painting!

Do take advantage of whatever you can get to be inspired and well prepared prior to painting. I will say that I had watched the following videos in the past to learn techniques and be inspired by the methods used to create stunning artwork.

On this video I learnt alot more on how to apply light and color into a painting to create drama. This kind of stuff I have already learnt in school, as well as in James Gurney's books - the ones I mentioned earlier, but Jeremy Vickery here shows those principles in real time based on a simple landscape illustration he did for a tutorial featured on #124 of ImagineFX. Also I have Jeremy to thank for his awesome CUSTOM BRUSH he provided in the tutorial - I was using it over and over again on my painting!

On this video, the incredibly talented Feng Zhu has taught me how to use textures from stock photos and apply it on digital paintings - it is such a time-saving, cost-effective method on adding visual interest into any painting very quickly. However be warned, if you abuse this technique your painting will look cluttered, unnatural and overall a mess.

One last bit of inspiration that I gathered for the project was an American illustrator and master painter of the early to middle twentieth century - Mead Schaeffer.

I love his paintings because of the limited palette he uses to create such striking impressions of his subjects. I had decided to use one of his paintings as a guide to help me in the painting process.

Mead Schaeffer painting by darkspeeds 

And so I started out blocking the big shapes with the biggest brush possible.

Following the original thumbnailed color study and Schaeffer's painting I used the EYEDROPPER to borrow colors to use on the canvas. Stay true to what you had originally planned for colors otherwise you'll get carried away and create some funky colors you don't need for the painting.

Solitary 03 color1 by darkspeeds Solitary 03 color2 by darkspeeds

From here I used a big soft brush (set opacity to 15-20%) and with a new COLOR DODGE layer I slowly painted in the warm light that is exposed behind the large structure. Technically Ashworth shouldn't be hit with the orange light as he is far behind the large structure that is blocking the warm light. I fixed this later on the painting but you can already see there is a nice visual contrast with the cool and warm colors. If you know your color theory blue and orange are compliments and when used properly you can manipulate a visual interest in your painting real fast.

Take note that I also decided to change Ashworth's posture and kept his arms asymmetrical so that they don't look the same - in other words I wanted his posture to look a little more dynamic. You can see the change from the bottom left to the bottom right image.

Also, on the images below, you can see that I've applied textures from stock photos. What I used for textures were photos of European architecture, abandoned buildings, and secret gardens. Make sure you use Gaussian blur on those photos, set the layer to COLOR DODGE and adjust the OPACITY levels and let it blend naturally into the painting. If you are unsure on how to do this check out Feng Zhu's video above - i.e. Design Cinema Ep. 80 - Mixing Surroundings.

Solitary 03 color4 by darkspeeds Solitary 03 color5 by darkspeeds

To help me define Ashworth's posture as realistically as possible I used a photo reference of myself. 

Solitary 03 color5b by darkspeeds

At this stage of the painting I blocked off the big shapes and worked on the details - such as the stone blocks, the angel wings, the steams of water trickling down the cistern, Ashworth's anatomy and boots etc...

Solitary 03 color6 by darkspeeds Solitary 03 color7 by darkspeeds

Looking at the two images above you can tell that there is a change in scale of the foreground. I did this because I wasn't too happy with how small Ashworth is in comparison to the landscape. I needed to enlarge him (along with the foreground elements) and bring him closer to create the depth I was looking for in the thumbnail - after all he is a primary focal point.

Step 05Making Final Adjustments

From time to time, throughout the painting process, I make sure that I stay true to my values from the very beginning by desaturating the image and squinting. I also made sure that my composition works with the values so that the eyes won't have difficulty reaching the focal points as it wanders around the canvas.

I've reached to the end of the painting (the image on the top right) and decided to enhance the values to boost atmospheric perspective of the foreground and background elements.

During adjustment of the values I use this technique where you flatten the image and go to IMAGE> ADJUSTMENT > POSTERIZE > Value of 4. This is what it looks like.

Solitary 03 color9 by darkspeeds

Thanks to the enhanced values I managed to achieve my intent of having the eyes wander around and hitting at two focal points starting from the top to bottom. The focal points are the head and upper torso of the angel statue and Ashworth.

Solitary 03 color9b by darkspeeds

Don't be afraid to use shapes and curvatures to help guide those eyes. Look how the curvature on the top-left corner is darkened (it wasn't present in the thumbnail but I added this towards the end for an adjustment to the overall composition) and naturally guides the eye to move from Point 1 to Point 2 very easily. The triangular darkened shape (just above the slant is the highlight of the pillar) helps direct your eyes to move from Point 2 to Point 3 with little effort.

Design is very important in any illustration. Take advantage of it and develop a composition that works during the thumbnail stage.

Speaking of composition, let's see how the rule of thirds apply.

Solitary 03 color9b2 by darkspeeds

I made sure that my points of interest hit close to either of the four intersecting points (see POI 1 & 2).

If you look at it from another angle at how the rule of thirds can make a painting work really well visually is how you create portions of the canvas for the eyes to wander, rest and pay attention to. Check out the image below for a scan of the portions used in my painting.

Solitary 03 color9b3 by darkspeeds

As you can see on the top right I kept that area deliberately as breathing space or a entry point for the eyes to wander. Next you see the orange part as a second priority - I want people to move their way to the angel statue and study the details within it. Then the red-orange box is an area of greatest interest - this is where I would like and would expect most viewers to end up. So to generate that interest I added Ashworth in there as a primary focal point - who doesn't like to see a face and a body in a lonely place? Furthermore I wanted to direct the attention of the viewers to the peculiar but very inviting warm light in the background and make them study it, get curious and ask questions about the details.

Now I mentioned about my focal points - I made sure that those elements are where I would spend most of my time to get the details right. Use a smaller brush and paint away the details. Having an aim and purpose will serve your time wisely in any painting project.

Solitary 03 color9bc by darkspeeds

Solitary 03 color9d by darkspeeds

So once again, a reminder about the benefit of developing a composition that works for your painting - it makes your eyes wander around the canvas to embrace the subtle details as well as the focal points.

Let's have a look at all the possible pathways my viewer can make during observation. I found ten ways for the eye to make it's way to the primary focal point. Having multiple paths in your painting can be exciting and add visual interest!

Solitary 03 color9e by darkspeeds

So there you have it, I hope this painting process will help inspire you and give insight to techniques you haven't used before on your artwork.

Do plenty of research, plan ahead and paint with purpose. 

Doing this will give impact to the final painting.

Solitary 03 color8 by darkspeeds

:star: Lately I've been feeling like shit.

(at work that is...)

Never have I imagined that I would find myself feeling this way about it - maybe once in a blue moon, but it never gotten so bad that it became a potentially long-term issue.

I had great fun. I was professional. I was dedicated. I took initiative. I was happy

Not anymore.

I'm currently in the process of a looking for a solution to the problem.

Also there is another thing that still bothers me a tick. First I'm going to express myself with a painting. Starting off with this sketch.

for DA Solitary by darkspeeds

Last but not least, a big thanks to the following for their mentions on a recent questionnaire - you've been most kind: :iconleonarstist06: :iconmechanized515: :icon7marichan7: :iconbloomblitz: :iconiammemyself: :iconquad-pulsation: :iconkamira-exe: :icongpainbringer55: :iconsonicpikapal: :iconmbboxen: :iconzero20-2: :iconkassanovas: :iconsheezy93: :iconskyminhazboz: :iconscintillajin: :iconnetraptor: :icontri-jean: :iconarianatheechidna: :iconcarokitty: :iconarianatheechidna: :iconchaotixfangirl11: :iconjimmyt1996: :iconcalculusmaster: :iconthepenvsthesword: :iconsonicboom403: :iconsoftmonkeychains: :iconsonicrocksmysocks: :iconemseeare: :iconkodjo1: :iconproboom: :icondragontamer272: & :iconinu225:

Whatever the gesture, be it brief or extended, whether you've been inspired by my works and persona, or simply admired some pieces of my art throughout my history as a hobbyist illustrator, the thought is very much appreciated.