Dragon Warden

I’ve wanted to do a self-portrait for quite some time now, especially one that I could use as my avatar where I post as an artist.  I’ve held off for a variety of reasons.  One, it feels a wee bit vain.  Second, it felt a tad bit boring as a theme.  Three, I was pretty sure adding some face tattoos and elven ears would get lumped on the #beentheredonethat pile all to quickly.  So when I started out to create a self-portrait, I really did not think it would go much further than a quick sketch.

My lovely wife and I at Norwescon 38 taking our rightful seat atop of the throne of swords.

I had an idea of the photo I wanted to use, as I’ve been working on a number of concepts for awhile now taken from NorwesCon 38 where George R. R. Martin was the special guest speaker.  As one might expect, they had a throne of swords on-hand so all of us geektastic attendees could get our picture taken sitting on it.  So that is where I started.

Self-Portait prior to be going stage left with it.

Like I said, and as you can see from above, I was just looking to do a simple portrait in values only.  But then something funny happened on the way to the play, as it were, and I decided to do a more complete render in color.

Dragon Warden emerges from what was originally just a simple self-portrait.

I sorta love rim lighting, and argubly too much.  But as I added in highlights, I had this sense of the person – well, me, I guess – standing somewhere with strong glow of sunset behind them.  And from that thought, I imagined they might be sitting atop a dragon.  Of course!  Which is how I got into fleshing out a dragon in profile.

Dragon Warden with dragon pushed a bit with some more rendering.

My goal with the dragon was to have enough detail to be interesting, but not so much that it interfered with reading the dragon Warden.  Note, at this point, I’m pretty much flying at the seat of my pants.  As the idea of a dragon warden emerged, I realized the might be wearing some armor, too.  So I needed to go back to the original portait layer in values and add that in, too.  Given I’ve never rendered armor or metal in the past 20+ years, I needed to spend a little bit of time referencing photos found on the inter tubes.

Dragon Warden (self-portrait, v.final’ish)

Again, this was meant to be a portrait of this guy!  So I’m okay with keeping the warden as a bust.  And I’m pretty pleased with the dragon as it provides some interesting elements, and I do not think it overpowers the warden in the foreground.  I’m only sorta happy with the rendering of the chain mail and neck guard, something I might revisit at a later date.  That all said, I’m pretty happy with it, and happy to post it online as my own portrait.

Just in case you are wondering; yes, that is George R. R. Martin and me at Norwescon 38, no lie!  He’s kinda big deal amongst some folks.

Breath some fire into this post!

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