The Emperor’s Soul – Shai & Gaotona

New portfolio project! I’m doing a Visual Development Project based on Brandon Sanderson’s novella „The Emperor’s Soul“. To kick it off, here is one of the key scenes I illustrated. Stay tuned, more to come :)

The story is based on Brandon Sanderson’s novella „The Emperor’s Soul“.
Set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world, we follow the story of Shai, a so called „forger“ with the magical ability to change an object’s appearance and history by applying a „soul stamp“ to it.

Sketchdump #313 – Material Study (stone tiles)

Stone tiles … this one is category „time consuming“ more than actually challenging. More time = looks more refined. I feel like I could’ve just filtered a photograph instead… or, maybe more interestingly, learnt how to do tiles like this in Z-Brush. Would love to learn that eventually!
I painted the dark version, but the color flipped one kinda works just as well, don’t you think?

Sketchdump #312 – Material Study (mossy rocks)

Mossy Rocks!!! <3

Subjects like this one (and many others) always require me to find a good balance. Mixer Brush & Smudge (with some planning and thinking) give me good but rough results very fast. If I use them too much, it becomes too blurry and muddy for my taste, so I switch to regular painting on top to get that hand-painted feel back. That part is super time consuming though and I have no shortcuts or trick (if not using photos). I am still trying to find that balance between speed and nice, „finished“ look. I think using higher opacity brushes with confidence might be one important puzzle piece for solving this mysterious quest.

PS. I love moss!

Sketchdump #311 – Material Study (terracotta & tuff stone)

The terracotta tiles were rather straightforward to paint after looking at some references.

Tuff Stone – this one was surprisingly hard (or more like: time consuming) to make look ok. I thought it would be a base tone with some patches and spots indicating the airy structure, but looking at it up close like this, it took a bit more than that. As with all studies, I’d like to spend like 3 more hours on it to polish it, but time waits for no one etc etc! Not even for tuff stone. The three sides are referenced from 3 different pictures, hence the difference in roughness/color (3-in-1, yay). Tuff comes in many more shapes and colors.


Sketchdump #310 – Material Study (grasslands & rock)

Sketchdump #309 – Material Study (birch & bamboo)

Sketchdump #308 – Material Study (forest ground)