Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Concept Designs - Tabletop Miniatures

"I don't dislike to be alone"
Ingmar Bergman

What would you do, if you had plenty of spare time and wouldn’t have to worry too much about economic issues? Well, most of the people would like to travel the world and spend time with their friends (which is not such a bad idea), but I would love to create my own, miniature cities and other fantasy sceneries like those from tabletop RPG games. Okay, maybe I would also travel here and there...

True, I don’t have time for creating physical models, painting them and building fantasy lands of them, but lately, I had (again!) an opportunity to work on concept designs for a company producing such 3D models. Their Kickstarter campaign has just ended and, considering how successful it was, I can guess, that there are quite a lot people interested in spending hours and days on building their miniature worlds and probably even fight battles there. The only difference is, that they actually HAVE time for that 😊

To the point! My task was to design ships, a little bizarre harbor city buildings, and various scenery objects for “lost tribes”. Below you can see, among others, a boathouse, a navigator’s guild, a port tavern, a governor’s mansion, a wizard’s tower, a shaman’s hut and tribal tree houses.



 I hope that all the backers will have fun with these sceneries!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

"Magician's Palace" - Designing Imaginary Architecture

Hi there! In snowy and cold winter days like these, there’s nothing better than warm tea near the burning fireplace. As I don’t have a burning fireplace (or any other fireplace for that matter), warm tea near the computer has to suffice.

So! Here is the last of the four “case studies” but just one of the whole mass of drawings made for a course in designing imaginaryarchitecture. The concept process behind this design has been described in the course and below you can see the drawing process. This illustration is called “The Magician’s Palace” and the form of the building is strongly influenced by gothic cathedrals.

1.      Well, an expression “concept sketch” may be too generous, but this tangle of lines really helped me to capture the idea.


2.      Just a few fine, accurate lines, which will determine the size of the building on a large piece of paper.


3.      Sketches of details, which I wanted to capture as soon as possible before I forget them (I avoid using reference photos while drawing architectural objects).


Repeating the previous step in ink with “copying” repeatable elements. I’ve been using here the same waterproof Faber-Castell pens, size S. Actually, if I could find size XS, it would be even better.


4.      Further delving into details… and a moment of doubt. It’s going to take a looooong time before…


5.      …finish!

Well, it’s not the real finish yet. Below you can take a look at a short video, where I’ve been painting it with watercolors in sepia tones.


Keep warm!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Swamp Fortress




We are moving forward with exploring medieval fantasy architecture. After simple wooden huts and decaying townhouses, it’s time for a larger building - a castle in the middle of wetlands.






1.      In the case of fantasy objects, imagination is crucial, so…

Yes, that’s the fruit of my imagination. If you saw some of my previous posts, you’ve probably noticed, that thumbnail concept sketches made for my own projects are barely legible and they rarely foretell success in further works on a drawing. Let’s see what will happen this time!

2.      A really fast sketch on a large paper which will develop in a finished, detailed drawing


3.      More cautious drawing with ink


4.      Details


5.      Adding materials and shading. A few hours of adding materials and shading, actually. There is also a place for a mysterious creature from the thumbnail sketch, hurray!


This could be a finished drawing, but, in fact, I added watercolors to it. You can take a look at a short video, to see the results.


If you would like to know how to design imaginary buildings, like this one, you can watch my Skillshare course. I’m talking here about using more or less fantastical building materials, creating feasible structures, but also telling how life in various types of buildings could look like and how their function would influence their look. And of course, I couldn’t ignore my favorite subject: The Frequently Made Mistakes 😊

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Medieval Town - video courses

Recently I finished preparing a Skillshare course about designing fantasyarchitecture. I presented there many architectonic details drawn from imagination, talked about the rules accompanying medieval builders and highlighted many frequently made mistakes in designing fantasy architecture. An important part of the course are “case studies” - four detailed illustrations summarizing four chapters of the course.

I explained there a designing process based, among others, on historical and constructional aspects. In this blog post, I’ll shortly present how they were drawn step by step. Today it’s time for a little, medieval town square.    


1.      If you don’t know, what is presented here, I don’t blame you. Luckily for me, shortly after that (i.e. before I forgot what I was thinking about) I began to draw a full-size, neat sketch.


2.      If you don’t know what to draw, just start with a horizon line placed in 1/3 or 2/3 of the height of the frame. Drawing vertical lines in 1/3 and2/3 of the width of the frame should be also helpful in setting the composition. I added also a few other divisions. Easy stuff so far 😊


3.      Probably now you can see, that there will be two fragments of buildings on the foreground (on the right and the left) and some houses with a bridge/gate in the background. Medieval towns quite often had irregularly shaped roads and “squares”. That’s why there are two different vanishing points for these two foreground buildings, as they are not meant to be parallel. It’s also time to decide how high the floors should be.


4.      Defining actual shapes of the buildings. Do you see the striking similarities with the first concept sketch?


5.      Marking the most important details, which should give some character to the scene.


6.      Further delving into the details…


7.      Erasing pencil lines and leaving only the fine, ink drawing.


8.      Seems like a big step forward in comparison with the previous one, but this part in fact required relatively little thinking and lots of arduous work. The one important aspect here was a decision about the light direction.


The next post will be dedicated to the third “case study” from the course - “Swamp Fortress” (I hope that the title is a bit intriguing).

In the meantime, you can take a look at how this medieval town square was colored with watercolors in sepia tones!