By Jesper Ejsing

Play mat Illustration

I have been tampering a little with the digital media. I always thought I would never get around to painting digitally, but a month at a game studio changed that. the first 2 weeks I felt like I had gone over to the enemy. I felt like cheating. then came the happy stage where I am at right now. Every thing seems new fresh and spontaneous. “to be perfectly honest I have no clue what I am doing ” I am simply thrilled with doing something new and “Not Acrylic”: the change of media has refreshed my enthusiasm for painting and I am shooting in every direction and testing brushes like my life depended on it.

But when having to do a professional job, like the playmat I am sharing today, I basically did what I usually do: I treated the drawing like it was an acrylic painting.

I sketched in black and white. Added most of teh values right away and got the approval, from Glen at Gordian Knot Games.

Then the hard part of figuring out how to actually paint it so it looks finished or less messy began. In my search for brushes I found one, that looks exactly like my “real” brush,. It has a pointy tip and a feathery end. And then I just used that for almost everything.

What I really love about digital is the Color picking. I try to get as many shifts of color into the painting as fast as possible and simple color pick around in the image after that. For the color and light in the face and the hands I used a photo of a fellow artist from the studio: Bodil Heinemeier. The idea of having the skin tone cold and almost purple came from the photoref. I initially had painted it very warm and orange. But the difference in temperature – the purple vs the orange/yellow light- creates a much better 3d effect and seems more contrast full, less flat.

Last night I became very uncertain if the image was any good. So I sent it to Tyler Jacobsen and asked him for his opinion? As the gallant and polite gentleman he is, he did a quick paint over to show me the small value shifts he would have made. I applied them and whola! the image seemed finished.

In this one painting I feel like I have learned so much about digital painting: First of all: next time I will do a tighter drawing before starting on the colors. I will work looser in the beginning as opposed to going straight to finalize the face. And as in acrylic: I will try to minimize the amount of strokes needed to tell a form, line or area. I will use less layers; no one needs 35 layers. If I have more than 3 I should just flatten, I think. Commit to what I am doing. It is so easy to fix anyway.

This image will be available as a playmat during the Magic the Gathering Grand Prix Bilbao 18th to 20th January 2013.