To the few Wiz kids out there that paid attention, I was supposed to release a comic for SoWizard months ago. At this point, the comic has turned into a passion project for me, so I’m delaying the project- release date 2025. In the meantime, I figure I’d write about what my process is when it comes to creating work. In this case, a painting of Guts from Kentaro Miura’s Berserk.
I knew from the start I wanted an action pose. Most likely Guts swinging the Dragonslayer. I sketched out ideas with the sword being the main focus.
Impulsively, I took the result of those sketches onto some plywood for some oil painting.
30 minutes in, and I wasn’t with it. I needed something more intense. With the exception of his flapping cape, Guts’ pose was stiff and lacking in potential energy.
I’m pretty confident in drawing human anatomy and poses accurately from my own understanding, but in this case I wanted a pose that was extreme and believable. An energetic and powerful pose, like a baseball player swinging a 6 foot, 5 hundred pound bat felt a little too tricky for me. So I made a quick and effective model representing Guts, waist up using soft Plasticine clay on a steel armature. A paint brush as the model’s giant sword. This provided a basic reference to how the elbows and hands should be position relative to the head and body, viewed from any angle.
More sketches came from that model.
On my second attempt, Guts’ pose was in more of a wind up and at a three quarter angle so I could incorporate all the detail of his armor, which is always fun for me to do.
I really like how the face in the sketch came out. Unfortunately, I botched up the piece with a rushed paint job. It was the first layer, and I could have fixed it up with additional layers- sure, but I chose to make a third attempt from scratch. This time I would focus more on Guts’ face more than anything else.
On the third attempt, I started with a surface painted gray. This was so I would only have to worry about extreme darks and lights, which for me are easier to figure out instead of playing around with mid tones.
After the drawing has been set with some spray fixative and a layer of matte medium. I toyed around with some acrylic paints, finding them too plastic-y and not good for blending wet on wet. So I went with oils.
Here’s the painting after a few days of building up layers. Lighting was tricky, since I wasn’t basing everything off of a reference photo, and my basic clay model was nowhere detailed enough, that I had to just figure out the lighting on my own. Which took a while, to find a good balance of realism, enough to be believable and effective design, drawing the eye to where I want it to focus on the most.
Although I am satisfied with what I have at this point, I still have my issues with the painting. But I can always come back to it with a fresh eye and mind in the future. Until then, it’s off to the next painting.
I hope this has been insightful and possibly helpful for anyone looking for painting processes. I know it’s not the most in depth writing, but If any of you Wiz kids out there have any question I would love to try to answer them. And if any of ya’ll have any requests for me to paint, please feel free to send them to SoWizardPodcast@yahoo.com.