I was very happy to be able to design a new character for this magic set, and for the Baldurs Gate world. Because this magic set takes place in the DnD universe. She is a Dragonborn bard singing from the rooftop of the richer part of Baldurs gate. Her music attracts the small spirit dragons.

The brown sketch with the green dragon spirits was the first one I send in and it got approved so I could continue. But as it sometimes happen, what works in sketch doesn’t seem to work when I start to finalize it or try to “really “sketch it, so I can paint it. My problem was the snout-foreshortening. It looked too much like a demon face. I tried changing the face and really solve the different elements of the face structure, but I think it became even more flat looking than the first one. To be honest the more I sketched on the face the more I thought it looked like a real woman rather than a dragon, and not a very pretty one. Annalea Hartelius , who used to be an artist at our studio, was visiting, and I asked her to pose, so I could get the cross-legged position right and I hoped for something else from the photos to pop up to help me make a decision.

what I noticed from her pose was the slight tilt to the one side. it really made the pose better looking and more believable. But it also called for a face position that was counter weighted. the juxtaposition of the face turned away from the tilt made the balance in the pose perfect. That made me try a different face. Even if I had already gotten the straight face approved I went on with a side turned head, and it turned out to be the perfect solution. Now there was no doubt as to her race, the horns showed better, her smile became readable and it suited the pose way way better creating an S-shape rhythm that I think fills out the composition better than my first attempt.

In my color test I tried to be as simple as possible. I went with green/blue for the main figure and a bluish to purple background – all of it lit by a subtle bounce light of orange. Especially in the buildings in the background I think it gives a nice 3dimentionality to have the 2 colors in opposite temperature accompanying each other. For the main figure I dialed up the saturation of the orange to pull focus up to her face.

I have added a couple of photos from the progression so you can see how I work from background and forward. 

Color comp created in photoshop

The building are painted in a burnt umber wash to create a warm underpaint. Then I paint the cold purple and blue on top leaving the underpaint as a bounce light

Darkest area of the face is blocked in and I have started to establish the texture and shape in the shadow area