‘Fjord Elk’ Charity Jetski Project
This will be one of the main detail panels of the jetski project and during the painting stages, will help set the tone for the rest of the work to follow. Here as you can see the panel has already been prepped, so time for some artwork.
So here we have the screen that will be sitting between the two mirror pods and their gold leafed Viking ships prows. I’m starting this from a basic white basecoat as I’m going to be drawing this part out in some detail with pencil. I’ve scoured the internet and many of the Viking based reference books that I have to mentally picture the image of the Viking I want to draw on this panel, now comes the time to transfer those mental images into a proper drawing.
I’ve also been reading a series of books by Bernard Cornwell about the Viking Danes, so a lot of detail that will be incorporated in these designs are also gleaned from those too. The point is to try and make the artwork as historically correct as possible……………as well as making it look good.
Here the bones of the drawing are starting to come together….
Then it was time to start drawing the detail in a bit more thoroughly.
The reason I’m actually drawing this particular panel out in so much detail is that I’m planning to use this detail drawing under the paint on this panel, so all this detail work won’t be wasted.
Here my Viking warrior is starting to really take shape. Still lot’s of detail drawing to do on this panel, but although this is a long process, the detail won’t need to be reworked again later. I’ll probably be working on this particular panel alongside other panels on the project, as this panel being separate from the main jetski body can be worked on inside when the natural light outside in the workshop gives up on me, But all the same, it hopefully starts to set the scene for the rest of the project.
Well, been quite a bit of rubbing down on various jobs today (including another guitar project and the mirror pods for the jetski), and unfortunately, there’s really nothing very exciting to see there. But I also managed to get a little bit more work done on our Viking warrior this afternoon, so thought I’d whack some piccies up of the progress.
The plan is to make our warrior look as realistic as possible, so I’m putting in as much ‘authentic’ detail as is necessary, to try and capture the ‘feel’ of what our Viking warrior might realistically have looked like. Basically, it’s just a grand excuse for my favourite, a bit of detail pencil work!
The only problem with that is that once you’ve started a panel with that level of detail, the whole panel has to be finished off to match or it doesn’t look right. So still got a lot of detail work to put in here before this panel is complete. Then I can balance up the shading, adjust the overall tones and hopefully give it all some depth. Anyway, I’ll doubtless be doing some more work on this panel tomorrow (along with some work on the mirror pods).
Plan is to carry this panel on until the drawing out stage is complete, then I’ll crack on with the surrounding panels – so the next stage was to start work on the hands.
Difficult trying to draw your own hands in this position, you kinda end up looking like you’re trying to punch yourself in the face. Incidentally, my hands aren’t actually quite as rough as I’ve drawn these! You have to imagine this fella’s spent many years at sea and spent many an hour pulling on an oar and blistering these hands in a longboat, as well as picking up scars in numerous battles and raids along the way.
Really very much an imaginary hand this one, so took me a while to get it to look anything like I wanted it.
With the hand not looking too bad, time to draw the rest of hilt of the short sword. These are typically the kind of swords used by the ‘Viking’ Norsemen when fighting in a shield wall. They were used mainly for stabbing as opposed to slashing, in the restricted space of very close quarter battle. The hilt of the sword itself was also used as a weapon…..
So I’ve drawn it out with many marks and scratches in the metal.
The leather wrist guards are an addition of my own. The poorer Vikings wore leather as a protection in battle, the better off professional ‘Viking’ warriors and the Jarls (Lords – like our Viking warrior here), also had chain mail and metal helmets, so it makes sense that the more vulnerable areas in battle like the wrists would also have been protected. Unfortunately, as leather doesn’t tend to survive like metal objects can, I can’t be certain that these kind of wrist guards would have been worn, but in their position, I’d certainly have liked something like these on my wrists in close quarter battle.
Anyway, with the hand, the hilt of the sword and the lower part of the arm drawn in, time to start filling in the blank area of the upper arm and shoulder.
Obviously this is all completely made up, which is why it’s taking a while to get it all drawn out, but it is all based on historical material, so should be something like our Viking ‘Jarl’ might well have looked. Anyway, I’m continuing the chain mail detail across to the shoulder, so the first thing to do is draw out roughly how the chain mail might have looked in this position.
I need to try and show how his arms are supposed to be, so with the limited space available here it’s important that every little part of the image is used where possible to clearly show the layout. Here the links in the chain mail are drawn in more as eliptical shapes (rather than circles), to give the impression of them being tilted at an angle towards you. This suggests that the something (ie. his arm) is pushing the mail vest out and towards you, this helps to trick the brain into believing that the upper arm is also pointing out from the body slightly, and (hopefully) helps your brain make sense of the drawing out of the image. Anyway, enough of the drawing lessons! With all the links roughed in, it’s time to start drawing them in, in a bit more detail.
With the links drawn in a bit more realistically, the detail of the woven wool shirt is also roughed out.
Then the weave is drawn in…..
And with a bit more work starts to take shape. I’ve also roughly shaded in the arm here so that I know it looks ‘something’ like correct.
Then a bit more detailing is applied and the shadow adjusted to match everything in place.
And the overall effect is quite good.
There are still great big areas of blank basecoat white at the moment, so the image doesn’t really work properly yet, but as the blank areas fill in I think this Viking warrior is going to look a quite impressive ‘keystone’ for the rest of the artwork panels on the jetski.
Just added some real depth to the hand before I took this last couple of piccies. Once the whole image is drawn in, then the whole image will have to be balanced up shadow and tone wise. This is the best bit for me, because this is the stage that the image should really all come together…….
But as you can see, still a fair bit of work to do on this panel before I get to that stage………….
Time to get the other hand started…
After a bit of work it’s coming along okay, carrying on the theme of the scarred hands here.
Then on to the arm rings. The arm rings were seen as a sign of a Viking warriors prowess and wealth. They were also used as a means of payment and hacked up where necessary to be used as just a weight of silver or gold.
Here the value they have to me is that they help to give the image more depth and detail!
The overall effect is really starting to show here.
So time to start working on the axe…………..starting with the handle.
Again, plenty of detail makes it relatively easy to make the image look right.
The shafts of some of the Viking battle axes were sometimes reinforced as here…..
Terrible picture this one, but the problem with trying to photograph this panel is that with it being curved and basically white, it reflects the light on the curves so the poor old camera’s working overtime to get into focus.
Anyway, that’s most of the axe drawn in. Still some balancing up to be done of the tones, but that can’t really be done until the whole drawing is complete. So for tonight that’s it.
Start today with the sword. I’m drawing this out as if the sword blade was made with damascus steel. This is a method of making sword blades (alsofamously used in Japanese Samurai swords), but this specialist technique (although uncommon) was also known in certain parts of the west back in the 8th century, so blades having been made this way were highly prized. They were made using rods of steel (very hard but brittle), twisted and melded with rods of iron (softer but not brittle), with the edges of the sword blade having extra carbon added during the process (among other secret additives) making it very hard and so keeping a good sharp edge. The visual characteristic of damascus steel was the patterns in the surface of the steel left by the melded and twisted rods……………a bit like the ones I’ve tried to draw in here.
With my pattern roughed out on the sword blade……..
Time to start working it in.
Not too bad an effect.
Okay, with the sword and the axe shaded in the image is starting to look a bit more complete. But still a lot of blank areas to fill in.
The left shoulder and chest of the Viking needs to be drawn in. So the first stage is to roughly mark out the chain mail rings, as on the other shoulder.
Then adding a bit more detail, the chain mail starts to look a bit more like, well………..chain mail.
It’s the shadows that give any two dimensional drawing depth, a fact clearly shown here.
Once all the rings were fully drawn in and the drop shadows shaded in……….
The chain mail vest is finished off.
Still looking very disjointed at this stage.
So time to start filling in the cloak, this will bring the whole image together.
Drawing in a cloak pin here too……….
First of all the material of the cloak is roughed out.
Then the pin is drawn in and shaded and the cloak shaded in to match the rest of the drawing.
Now the whole image fit’s together and looks right.
Then it was a case of going over some of the deeper shadowed areas in the hair and round the other detail until the drawing looked balanced.
Here I have just started working on the helmet. Not looking like much at the moment, but this will be finished off tomorrow and the background drawn in…………..then we’ll be ready to start some colour work.
Bit more work done on the helmet.
Best bit of any drawing is when you’re nearing the end of it and you start shading in the last sections, that’s when (hopefully) the whole drawing should start to look how you imagined it.
This fella’s not looking so bad.
The last stage of this drawing will be the drawing in of a horizonline of mountains behind the figure, these should give the drawing real depth and then, it’s just the final toning up of the shadows to do before we start applying some colour.
This is going to be painted with a transparent red tinted lacquer. That way all my detail will show through. The area behind the mountains however is going to be painted in with sunset colours, fading out to the sides of the screen into the main background colour of the jetski , black into cherry flip flop paint. The outer edges of the scene will also be ‘sunburst’ in with transparent black so that there should be no hard edges to the image, it should hopefully just appear out of the background colour. Anyway, that’s the plan!
The mountains being drawn in here should help to give the image some depth.
There is going to be a sunset painted in behind these mountains.
Well…………gotta be a Viking longship in there somewhere!
Once all the mountains were drawn in place a few hours were spent adjusting the darker tones and the shadows on the drawing. This can only really be done properly once all the separate parts of the drawing are in place, but it’s an essential part of making the finished drawing look vaguely believeable.
Okay, here the drawing is finished. The next stage on this panel is apply a clear/lacquer coat over the top of the drawing. The image will then be masked off and the sunset sky will be airbrushed in, then the rest of the panel will be treated to a coat of candy red paint and a red tinted lacquer. Once that’s dry and rubbed down, the edges will be sunburst in with transparent black paint, then carefully sunburst again to match the main body colour of the jetski, finally all will then be clearcoated again, buffed up and polished…………………and that’ll be one panel done!
Here the panel has been lacquered, rubbed down with 1000 grade wet and dry and is ready to be masked out for the first painting stage. I’ll be starting with the background, so the first part to be masked of is basically everything except the background (Sky area).
And here it is ready for the first paint………..
Starting with the lighter shades first………
Then the stronger orange tones……..
Then some of the bluey purple tones.
It’s just a case of building up the colour tones, both opaque and transparent’s until the kind of effect I’m looking for starts to take shape.
Here the sky is looking almost there. Time now to cut away some of the original masking for the next stage.
Here the axe, sword and the Viking figure are all still masked off. The next parts to be painted are the mountains in the middle distance, so the original masking is carefully re-cut with a scalpel to reveal the mountains.
The Viking figure and the foreground detail are all still masked off here.
Then it’s back to the spray bench and start work on the mountains. First of all the lighter tones are applied again (reflected orange tones here).
The tones are gradually darkened down, all the while working the colours to create some depth to the mountains.
Then the darker tones are applied and it starts to look something like it should.
Now the main colours are in place and looking okay, it’s time to darken (sunburst) the edges of the screen down. I need to darken the edges to black, and then apply a sunburst edge of the same black into cherry flip flop paint that’s being used for the rest of the jetski. I don’t want distinct edges to the various panels, I want them all to flow into each other to create the effect of the images emerging from the background colour.
Here the black sunburst is going in. Of course on a narrow panel like this I don’t want to loose too much under the sunbursting, so this is a delicate process. I’ll apply the black cherry flip flop paint once the whole panel is painted in.
Once the masking is removed I’m hoping that my Viking warrior will start to jump out at you…………only visually of course!
So here we have it this evening. The next step is to remove the masking and lacquer the background paint in. Then it’ll be a case of masking off the background and going to work on the Viking himself.
Just a quick addition this evening. Just removed the masking ready for the sealer lacquer coat, so thought I’d add a piccy with the mask removed.
The screen was then lacquered to seal in the newly painted background, and after being rubbed down with 1000 grade wet and dry was ready for the next stage of the painting. The next step (shown here) was to mask off the background to stop any overspray from painting the foreground spoiling what was already painted in.
Then some secondary masking. This is specific masking for the few parts of this image that ideally need a really sharp, crisp edge.
The only sections requiring any hard masking on this panel are the ‘goldy’ toned areas on the helmet, his neck torq and his arm rings. Here the first colour tone of the detail on his helmet is painted in.
With these sections painted in something like they’ll likely need to be, the secondary masking is removed and we’re ready to start work on the rest of him.
This image wants to be partially in quite deep shadow, as in theory, the only light source in the image is the setting sun in the background. Working purely from imagination here doesn’t make this process any easier, as I need to end up with an image that will stand out, look right against the background and yet still look a bit dark and menacing without losing all my detail.
Anyway, I’m starting by working in the detail using transparent yellow, red and black. This allows me to build up the colour and get a feel for how it needs to look, slowly, without losing too much detail at this early stage. This is very much a case of knowing roughly how I want it to look, but letting it develop as I go along. Most proper artists would have done at least one rough drawing and colour layout for this, they would then have known exactly where their deepest shadow and dark tones would need to be and painted in accordingly from the start. I’ve never really done that, so this like nearly all my work, seems to just grow and develop as it goes along……….I’m basically a passenger! As the painting process progresses and it starts to take shape, the solid darker tones of the deep shadow will then be added, but this will only be right at the end of the painting stage, by which time I’ll know where I actually want them to be.
So here I’m starting to airbrush in between the rings on his chain mail, kinda fiddly, but good practice. It’s really a case of filling in all the main sections of the image with colour, then balancing them all up and then at the end adding the shadow that should bring it all out.
Here the first stages of painting in the hands.
After a bit of work they’re looking okay.
The last main section that needs to be coloured in is the cloak. So here that is roughly painted in in red.
With most of the background colour painted in it’s now getting near the time for some detail work before the final application of the darker, solid tones and the shadow.
Still a little bit to do on this panel, but it should be finished by the end of today. The eyes are the last part of this painting to paint in. They are what will make the image and so they are left almost until the end of the process………….I’ll be painting them in this morning and then it should all start to work.
Before painting the eyes in I wanted to get all the colour tones and the shadow depth right, so started off by toning right down the darkest parts of the image……….all good practice with airbrush between the chain mail.
As the deep shadowed areas went in the image started to look more like I’d intended when I started out painting it all in this way……………all quite a relief!
With all the shadowing in place all that really remained to paint in were the eyes and then to add the highlights to the image.
Lot’s of fiddling about to get to this stage and to put up pictures of all the steps involved would make this already ‘bulging at the seams’ page ridiculous. Basically, the whole image was gone over applying highlights to give the artwork the depth it needs…………….Oh yes, and I painted the eyes in too.
Being a Norse our Viking Jarl had to have light hair and blue eyes…………..and I wanted those eyes to be particularly piercing.
So here is our almost finished Viking.
All that remains to be done on this panel tomorrow is to darken in the edges and apply the black into cherry red flip-flop paint to the edges of the panel. Then it’ll be into the spraybooth for the first finish lacquer coat. With the lacquer coat applied the colours will show out much better and the image should look like it’s got some real depth…………….but I have to say I’m very happy with how this panel has turned out so far.
The last stage is to darken in the edges and paint in the black into cherry red sunburst.
That done, it’s into the spraybooth for the first finish lacquer coat.
Actually one of the best times to take pictures of this work is at this stage, as there’s no reflection from newly applied paint or lacquer.
Funny angle for a photo this one, but having shot the lacquer coat and it now being touch dry, the best way for the clearcoat/lacquer to cure is to leave it in the sunlight in fresh air. The U.V. in the sunlight helps the finish to harden and the fresh air helps evaporate the solvents from the lacquer.
So here we have a very nearly finished panel. This now needs rubbing down until it’s perfectly smooth, then it should just be a case of a final lacquer coat and it’s done.
Here a final lacquer/clearcoat has been sprayed onto the screen. This was then left to cure for 24hours prior to final rubbing down and polishing.
Here is possibly the best chance to get a half reasonable picture of the screen. This was after the final rubbing down through the grades of wet and dry, starting with 1200, then working through 2000, 2400, 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000 and finally (as seen here), after rubbing down with 24000 micro mesh. It’s almost starting to get a shine here, but still ‘flat’ enough to be able to get a picture without too much reflection.
After a buffing up and a few coats of polish, not so easy!
This is a seriously shiney screen…………………….almost too shiney now.
Anyway, first thing this morning I tried some piccies in natural light and it’s not so bad.
So this is the finished Viking Jarl……………….onto the next panel!
The finished screen as it will be.
The finished jetski back in the water. Click on the image above to see more pictures.