My good friend Will Sliney asked a bunch of his friends to create some illustrations for his forth coming creator owned book, Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn. Cú Chulainn was basically the Irish Achilles, a ridiculously powerful warrior who has ever lasting fame but a very short life. Sound familiar?
Here are my thumbnail sketches, I began with a straightforward approach to the project your basic pin up hero poses. But I wasn't too thrilled with any of them, while researching the character during the thumbnail stage I came stumbled this:
"He sets off on a foray and kills the three sons of Nechtan Scéne, who had boasted they had killed more Ulstermen than there were Ulstermen still living. He returns to Emain Macha in his battle frenzy, and the Ulstermen are afraid he will slaughter them all. Conchobar's wife Mugain leads out the women of Emain, and they bare their breasts to him. He averts his eyes, and the Ulstermen wrestle him into a barrel of cold water, which explodes from the heat of his body. They put him in a second barrel, which boils, and a third, which warms to a pleasant temperature."
And I decided to make the moment in which Cú Culainn's rage ignites the focus of my illustration.
After deciding on a composition I went on and fleshed it out some more and liked what was going on.
I blew up the above sketch and reworked it on tracing paper. Ironing out all the kinks.
Happy accident from reworking the drawing on tracing paper was that I ended up flipping the composition with out realizing it. Which in my opinion made it better.
At this point I was happy with my overall drawing and proceeded with my color comps. This is the one I settled on after much debate. ( You can see the rest of my color comps on a earlier post. Here. )
I added a little bit more activity to the boiling water in my final inked drawing.
After scanning in some textures, some gouache painting I did over my drawing and photoshop.
Here is the final.
Until next time,