The latest magic set called Kaldheim, is magics take on Norse Mythology.Being from Denmark that mythology is a huge part of my ancestry and history. I started my life as a professional artist as a colorist for a comic book about the Norse gods on a series called Valhalla. This was when I was 20 years old and it was the job that made me believe that I could earn a living as an artist and initially the project that made the foundation of a career. This specific magic assignments was like returning to where it all started for me, and I decided to paint a huge painting of the Koma Serpent, in Danish: Midgaardsormen.
I made an old pencil illustrations many years ago of the scene where Thor is trying to catch the Midgaardsorm, but right when he is about to real it in and throw Mjølner, his hammer, the cowardice jætte (troll) that has rowed him out there, cuts the rope and the wurm escapes.
In the story the World Serpent was wriggling and twisting its body and almost dragging Thor under water because it managed to get the tail end to grab hold around a mountain to support itself. I always imagined the body of the serpent to be endless and with seemingly endless tails going out and under the water. In my sketch I tried to capture this by having many spirals of tail disappearing into the background. Further back we see hints of the tree branches in the worldtree, and I would like the tail ends to almost mix and disappear into the tree branches.
The thing is. Compositionally there is a bunch of things in my sketch that seems wrong.
The way the head almost is a perfect tangent to the part of the tail behind it seems like a mistake. The tail area right under his head seems to be an extension of the huge tail right behind the head but is not. The tangent makes it look so. I had a bunch of friends point this out to me, but every way I tried to fix it and make it more clear, just seemed to make it loose all the whippy energy. The thing is: that in order for it to look like he was moving erratically fast and twisting, it needed randomness and not too well ordered tails. So in the end I just said “fuck it”. I will make it work with values. I will make the small changes in atmospheric distance make it clear where each tail part is located in the layered background. And that’s that. because I really liked the action in my original sketch. I transferred it to paper and started painting from my color comp. When I was almost done I noticed something: the size of the scale I had make on the main part of the body was too big. Big scales made him look smaller. So I went back in n repainted all the scales again. ( its going to take a while before I will enjoy paint scales again ) The painting took me about a week.
I really had the most fun painting the runic scales on his face and the small pine trees in the torn up land mass being ripped up by roots. I like how enormous the creature seems when you see the small trees flying in the air.