Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I’m not sure if it’s because of the spooky nature of it, or the widespread and liberal distribution of candy, or just the fact that the outdoors are finally tolerable this time of year in Georgia. Whatever the case, I love this holiday and for the past 3 years I have made a big battle scene as my own little celebration of it. In part, I’ve done this to try and re-capture some of the magic of it from my childhood. In part just because I love drawing monsters. But all of it was done as part of a long-term passion project of mine called The “Monster of the Month” which I initially undertook as a skill and portfolio building exercise.
All of these images start as traditional pencil drawings that I eventually scan into the computer and add color in Photoshop.
The process is fairly straight-forward. I paint values in monochrome over a well-established drawing, and then slowly add transparent color over many layers until the image has a nice level of finish and detail. The process goes very fast on a character, but as you might expect, it becomes much more slow on the bigger images.
The trade-off is that while this method is slower, working over an underpainting makes things much more predictable. And when things are already this chaotic it helps to find any possible way to simplify things.
Making these characters and their big battle companion scenes has been such a great experience for building skills. Each new image offers new opportunities to try out different approaches and effects. I feel like I’ve learned so much from this undertaking, and it is why I am a big proponent of taking on ludicrous, highly-ambitious passion projects. Especially if it is something you enjoy.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed these! This year is the first year I will have missed making a Halloween battle for October and so I thought it’d be fun to share these 3 previous attempts. And for anyone still waiting for this year’s battle, don’t worry, “The Dungeons of Death” is still happening, we are just starting it in November!