Saturday, 22 March 2014

Assassin's Creed V Character Design: Dante

Assassin's Creed Character Design Development

Thought I'd share some development work I did for my latest character design.

I'm a big fan of the 'Assassin's Creed' games and I wanted to create my own character design to fit into that universe.  So this should be fun....hopefully... 

For a couple of years now, I've been wishing they'd focus a game based in Victorian London.  I think the design of the city, the narrow streets and tall buildings will be ideal for the main character to scramble around.  The games are also synonymous with history, visiting landmarks, tweaking bits here and there for story purposes (which I love) and London is obviously embedded with a deep, rich history. What if our Assassin was framed for the Jack the Ripper murders?  What if he has to break into Buckingham Palace or Parliament?  Or scale to the top of Big Ben?  To me, it's ideal.

So, I decided to focus on the character first.  I wanted to create a great sense of believability with my character's costume.  You have to be able to look at him and instinctively know what time period he's from.  So, pulling in from lots of sources, I had a wealthy amount of reference material handy...

 ...a pretty intense amount of research if I'm honest.

One thing I was concerned about though was the fact that Victorian London people wore a lot of dark clothing.  And the famous white hood of Assassin's Creed would stand out.  HOWEVER, I remembered that the character Ezio wore a black costumer (in Revelations, I think??)  and it just looks...cooler.  So, I'm going to maintain a similar style in my character.

Next up was some character sketches...

 I tried to think about my character's costume in a practical manner.  I wanted a lot of his armour and weapons to be concealed for the most part, so I designed a step by of how his costume layers up (more for my own sake, than anything else)  Firstly, just normal clothing.  Second, protective armour plus weapons.  Third, how the coat conceals this.  And finally, fourth, how he looks in 'Assassin' mode.

Similar to how Edward moves in AC: Black Flag, I wanted my character to have his hood down when the player is just walking around, exploring etc.  But he put's the hood on when moving in restricted areas, or during main missions.

 And here's a step by step development of the character painting...

So, yeah, this is a brief insight into the process I took.  But hopefully it will be useful to anyone looking :)

Check the above post to see the completed images!


Saturday, 8 March 2014


Boudica Development

I thought it might be useful (if people are interested) to show a little bit of the development work that went behind Boudica.  Boudica was a personal piece, so I skipped one or two steps that I normally do for professional work, but I thought it might be a handy little insight to anyone who's new to digital painting.

Just a small disclaimer first though; this is just to show you how I went through MY process of painting Boudica.  Please don't assume my way of painting is the 'correct' way (as you'll see below, I actually wound up with a couple of problems with this image from stupid decisions early on).  Every artist works differently.  My methods may not suit your methods and you may not even like my work flow at all.  It's just useful to show new artists (and non-artists...if that's a word?) some of the work that goes behind an image.  This shit doesn't just 'happen'.  So, yeah, just please keep an open mind with this. 

Anyway, let's get to it...

So, the first step I take, with any image, is to do the research.  My idea is to bring Boudica forward and place her in an 'adult fantasy' genre like Game of Thrones, of which I think is an ideal setting,  So I started doing some research and gathering reference materials (see below).  I want to her have a tribal feel but, since she started an uprising, I thought it would make sense she picks up pieces of armour/equipment here and there from slain enemies.  Therefore making here better equipped and a stronger warrior.  So there would be a mish-mash of armour...

One thing that's been bugging me for a while now is how female warriors are depicted in games and concept art.  Not ALL of it, but a good proportion.  You can see in some of the references I have above, that a lot of these females don't wear very much clothing............why?
According to my research, Boudica was part of a Celtic tribe in who died roughly in 60-61 AD.  A Celtic Tribe in Britain.  It would have been bloody freezing!!  Also, what good is a warrior/fighter if over half of their body is exposed flesh with zero armour??

No no no.  My version of Boudica is going to practical.  She's going to be warm and protected.  This is something I feel I HAVE to have in my design.

So, I began my process with doing some fast grey-scale sketches.  I had a good idea of what I was wanting to achieve, so this went very quickly.  When working professionally, this stage generally lasts a lot longer and there are a lot more iterations of the design (with more details) to give the client choice.  However, this is a personal piece and I'm the client who already know what he wants.  So let's move one :)

After selecting my design, I moved quickly into a painting pass.  I like to keep up a sense of pace and momentum with the early stages of an image.  Plus lots of coffee helps...

As I was wanting to keep this quite a 'real' image, I used a heavy use of photo reference and textures early in the painting process.  In hindsight, it was too much and became a huge mistake.  It was bogging down my design and making adjustments difficult, plus it didn't feel like the character was my design any more.

So, fueled by another gallon of coffee, I broke away from this bad habit...

 ...and with the use of textured brushes, began creating a character that I felt belonged to ME rather than relying on the photo reference.  At this point, the lethal dose of caffeine began to wear off, which was good as I needed to calm down and focus on the smaller intricate details that make the image look more believable.

So, kind of a crash-course in painting development, but this was the creation of Boudica.

I hope somebody finds this useful :)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Friday, 31 January 2014


I was wanting to do something quite moody with a slight cinematic feel to it.  And this was the end result.  I might post up the original sketch too as it was quite different when I first started!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Character Challenge, Development Stuff:

Some people have been messaging me asking how I begin painting a character. So, here's a few examples of some black and white sketches I do at the beginning of my painting process. Once I've worked out a pose I like, I go from there. It doesn't mean the character is 'set in stone' and I stick to the sketch religiously. Things change as the painting evolves, sometimes in little ways, sometimes quite drastically. It's just a case of seeing what works.

Hopefully, those of you who have been asking, you'll find this useful

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Scavenger: Katie

And finally, Character Design Challenge, number 3. The Scavenger: Katie.

One of the things I really liked about Far Cry 3 was the fact the main character wasn't a super soldier or a mercenary or anything like that. He was just a normal guy thrown into an extreme situation and did what he had to survive. I like stories and characters like that more. So this is what I wanted to show with Katie. A character who has been through hell but is still standing strong.


Friday, 24 January 2014

The Soldier: Dusk

Character Design Challenge, number 2. The Soldier: Dusk.

So with this design I wanted to do a sci-fi-esque soldier that look cold and lonely. Bless.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Knight: Elizabeth

OK, so lately I've been wanting to overhaul the character section of my portfolio. From looking at my previous work, I realized I had a lack of female character designs in there. SO! I devised a little challenge for myself:

Design 3 full female designs within 10 days. Simple.

I know 10 days sounds like a generous a mount of time, but factor in my job and, you know, general life stuff, it's not as straight forward. It's harder to find a block of X-amount of hours in-a-row to paint these days.

I also added in some rules. 1: The characters must visibly be from different genre and 2: The designs could not based around sex, sexiness, a staggering lack of clothing, boobs or any of the above. Other than that, it was fair game.

It's been a fun few days, but now I'm done Over the next couple of days, I'll be uploading these designs (in creation order) as well as some of the development stuff later on.

So here's the first design. The Knight: Elizabeth.

Friday, 10 January 2014


Check out my Facebook Art Page to see the early sketch design:

Monday, 6 January 2014

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

River Speed Paint

This is an image I've been working on and off at work when I get a spare half hour. I might develop it out to something more polished if I get the time.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


I haven't painted a portrait in a long time, so I did this quick portrait of the very beautiful VeraBaby 

I was basically testing out some new Photoshop brushes and I was trying to experiment with my painting style.  I really like paintings by Jenny Saville, so I tried to bring in some of her style into my own work.


Saturday, 14 September 2013


Flooded Concept. Strange how mine and my girlfriends new house inspired this piece...


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Here's a new piece added to my Art Page. Inspired by some museums I visited recently in Manchester that were a blend of old buildings and modern architecture. Enjoy :)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Friday, 1 March 2013

Imagine FX issue 94!

Hello!  For any readers of ImagineFX magazine, be sure to check out the FX Pose section to see yours truly :)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Jungle Concept

Hello!  I haven't posted anything on here for quite some time now.  I started a new job as a Concept Artist for Double Eleven back in October and it's been keeping me pretty busy!  So apologies for the lack of recent updates!  Anyway, here's a new jungle camp concept I came up with.  Enjoy!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Friday, 19 October 2012

New Website

Tell your friends and bring the family.  Crack out the champagne and start setting off the fireworks!  The grand unveiling of my swanky new website is here!  *dramatic music please*

Ta daaaa

So, I;m going to be converting this blog in to a much more personalized version of my site, discussing design ideas and showing variations of designs.  Should be fun!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Bad Dream

I had a dream last night that this goddamn thing was chasing me.  90 minute speed painting.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Monday, 1 October 2012

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Monday, 3 September 2012

Green Lantern

I'm personally not a fan of the Green Lantern film. One of the biggest flaws I found was the miss-cast of Ryan Reynolds has Hal Jordan. If DC ever get round to making a JLA movie, I really hope they ditch the Hal character and go with the John Stewart version. I think Common would be a pretty good cast choice for that role!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Wonder Woman

I saw 'Haywire' a few days ago and thought that Gina Carano would make an awesome Wonder Woman!

Thursday, 9 August 2012