Friday, January 20, 2012

Earth Elemental Studies Using Silhouettes

I recently got a commission to paint an Earth Elemental, giving me a bit of a break from working on in-game sprites for Prison Architect and the soon to be announced personal game.  At a sale in Fully Booked a couple of weeks ago I bought The Skillful Huntsman: Visual Development of a Grimm Tale at Art Center College of Design. I'm not going into much detail about the book since I haven't read enough of it to do a proper review, but it was suggested multiple times by art podcasts I listen to as a great book for would be concept artists/designers.

One of the methods they use while designing characters is to create silhouettes as thumbnails and then fill in the silhouettes with different details.  Now I've always been vaguely aware of the idea of using silhouettes to design characters, but there's something about the very plain manner they explain it in the book (with visual samples) that unlocked something in my head.

So after a couple dozen thumbnails I decided on three different silhouettes that I like, then made three different concepts using each silhouette,  It's a really fun exercise and you'd be surprised how much variation you can come up with.  This sample is rather easy, since as an Earth Elemental I don't really need to design clothing for it, but I'm eager to try it out on human characters soon.

If you're interested in checking out or buying the book, please do click on the link below, since I will get a small commission from Amazon if you do so.  Thanks!


  1. good study. I wish I could post what I'm working for that's not the case hehe.

    good book, I got it around 2005 but was too young and eager to make proper use of the knowledge in it.

    Here's an interesting link about silhouettes technique.

    Pretty good website, if not the best for learning digital art and concept design. Covers the basics that most online videos don't.

  2. Hey thanks for the link! I can't wait to see your work!