Rhysand - Insider Scoop!

 Rhysand - Fan Art from S.J. Maas - A Court of Thorns and Roses book series

Rhysand - Fan Art from S.J. Maas - A Court of Thorns and Roses book series

If you have followed my art for a while, you will know that portraiture is one of my first loves, indeed I believe a portrait was one of my first paid commissions as a fledgling artist back in my teens, so it is always something I like to return to from time to time. 

I like to take screenshots as portraits like this progress to show how it develops from initial sketch right through to the finished piece. Follow along to find out more!

 Initial sketch

Initial sketch

An initial sketch is created in graphite using a reference picture. This helps me figure out lighting and I love the texture of graphite on paper, something that I try to retain in the final digital piece.

 Colour block in

Colour block in

Once the sketch is done, it's scanned in at high resolution and brought into Photoshop. From here I block the colour in loosely and some of the values, I try to capture the original idea of a character wreathed in shadows and darkness, his clothes may emulate a starry sky...

 Refinement of the face

Refinement of the face

Here I'm adding detail to the flesh and working on defining his features a bit more, I also like to work on the eyes at an early stage as they are a common focal point.

 Continued refinement of the face

Continued refinement of the face

To me this feels a bit like sculpting as I'm bringing the face out of one tone, into many tones, there's a lot of pushing and pulling, bringing out the highlights and lowlights whilst feeling out what feels most comfortable, just how far I was to push the contrast.

 Placement of textures

Placement of textures

I added some textures fairly early on in the progress of this image as I wanted to play with how he would seem to be dissolving into shadow. This effect was combining and inverting a few star-scape images from NASA. 

 Composition refinement

Composition refinement

The composition of the background was bugging me so I brought the mountain into a more dominant position, it also evokes one of the key points of the story so it felt more dominant that way. Here the colours have been intensified and I have worked on top of the textures refining them further with brush work. 

 Closing in on wrapping up

Closing in on wrapping up

Some times things are bugging me and I don't know what they are until I randomly come across it. Turns out the hair style was driving me nuts, now that's fixed it's running into the final refinements. I'm working on refining the shadows at the base and the light whirling around him, largely hand rendered whilst also pulling in the background to the foreground. 

 And done!

And done!

A few hits of red and pale green and a whole lot of sparkles and glimmers added by hand and we're done!

You can view the artwork in full here and purchase prints from my Etsy shop!

Drop me a comment if you have any questions!