I thought it might be useful (if people are interested) to show a little bit of the development work that went behind Boudica. Boudica was a personal piece, so I skipped one or two steps that I normally do for professional work, but I thought it might be a handy little insight to anyone who's new to digital painting.
Just a small disclaimer first though; this is just to show you how I went through MY process of painting Boudica. Please don't assume my way of painting is the 'correct' way (as you'll see below, I actually wound up with a couple of problems with this image from stupid decisions early on). Every artist works differently. My methods may not suit your methods and you may not even like my work flow at all. It's just useful to show new artists (and non-artists...if that's a word?) some of the work that goes behind an image. This shit doesn't just 'happen'. So, yeah, just please keep an open mind with this.
Anyway, let's get to it...
So, the first step I take, with any image, is to do the research. My idea is to bring Boudica forward and place her in an 'adult fantasy' genre
like Game of Thrones, of which I think is an ideal setting, So I
started doing some research and gathering reference materials (see
below). I want to her have a tribal feel but, since she started an
uprising, I thought it would make sense she picks up pieces of
armour/equipment here and there from slain enemies. Therefore making
here better equipped and a stronger warrior. So there would be a
mish-mash of armour...
One thing that's been bugging me for a while now is how female warriors
are depicted in games and concept art. Not ALL of it, but a good proportion. You can see in some of the
references I have above, that a lot of these females don't wear very
According to my research, Boudica was part of a Celtic tribe in who died
roughly in 60-61 AD. A Celtic Tribe in Britain. It would have been
bloody freezing!! Also, what good is a warrior/fighter if over half of
their body is exposed flesh with zero armour??
No no no. My version of Boudica is going to practical. She's going to
be warm and protected. This is something I feel I HAVE to have in my
So, I began my process with doing some fast grey-scale sketches. I had a
good idea of what I was wanting to achieve, so this went very quickly. When working professionally, this stage generally lasts a lot longer and there are a lot more iterations of the design (with more details) to give the client choice. However, this is a personal piece and I'm the client who already know what he wants. So let's move one :)
After selecting my design, I moved quickly into a painting pass. I like
to keep up a sense of pace and momentum with the early stages of an
image. Plus lots of coffee helps...
As I was wanting to keep this quite a 'real' image, I used a heavy use
of photo reference and textures early in the painting process. In hindsight, it was too much and became a huge mistake. It was
bogging down my design and making adjustments difficult, plus it didn't feel like the character was my design any more.
So, fueled by another gallon of coffee, I broke away from this bad habit...
...and with the use of textured brushes, began creating a character that
I felt belonged to ME rather than relying on the photo reference. At
this point, the lethal dose of caffeine began to wear off, which was
good as I needed to calm down and focus on the smaller intricate details
that make the image look more believable.
So, kind of a crash-course in painting development, but this was the creation of Boudica.
I hope somebody finds this useful :)