It’s All In Your Head

That said, there really is a monkey outside my window throwing green bananas at me and then scratching its bare behind in protest. Look- there he is! Taunting me!

One thing I’ve dropped pretty much entirely over the last six to twelve months is fantasy art. Oh, how I do love fantasy art. However, there is the slight problem that these things are pretty much drawn from imagination, and are, in a manner of speaking, all in your head. As most who know me will recall I am absolutely useless with references. Or that is to say I was (I tend to use them more these days). But, even with the option of references- how do you reference the imaginary?

Previously I’ve been inspired by the various video games I have played. However, those each have their own style and that style reflects in how they approach certain subject matter. Landscapes and environments (for instance) are heavily stylised in most video games. So, while the elements are there, that’s a style unto itself.

I’d prefer to have my own unique style.

One approach is to reference each individual element. To reference anatomy, facial structure, muscle structure, and so on when designing fantasy characters. To reference rock textures, brick types, stone types, and other organic elements when designing fantasy landscapes. In order to fully encompass and approach all aspects of fantasy art it will be an incredible undertaking and one that will require you to identify every weakness, every loose bolt, and work towards a universal approach and style.

Fantasy art has always had a great capacity for telling a particular story, though. With landscapes you can convey so much in the way you approach the small, minor, intricate details or how you set the tone for the entire piece. Some pieces are dark and gritty, some pieces are bright and open, some pieces are cold and frigid- there are so many options!

That said, it is often suggested, when referencing landscapes in photography, that you remove elements that spoil the composition. Cars, telephone poles, street lamps, and the like. Which, in fantasy art, isn’t a concern- but maybe it shouldn’t be (for all pieces). Maybe you could craft an entire landscape around a singular element or idea. Building around a rotten tree stump that draws the viewer away from other elements, working towards a particular feeling, or a specific approach, which creates something truly unique.

You could extend this to character design where you can have a lot of fun playing with the impossible. Heavier armour than any one person could lift. Weapons of an unbelievable design or density. Those expressions that, while realistically feasible, make you wonder if their face is somehow etched into position and won’t revert for love nor money.

You could say the inside of your head is a pretty interesting place- I know mine is!

Have a nice afternoon, all!



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