Chosen of Khorne: Illustration Process
Though I consider myself an illustrator, I haven’t done a large, finished piece (foreground, mid-ground, background) in years…maybe a decade or more. So it was interesting to capture the process on digital camera, which I don’t think existed in a decent consumer form the last time I did one!
This is the earliest design; I sketched it on a piece of printer paper while waiting for something at work to finish. The design is very rudimentary. The dais looks more “chair” like, and the axe is on the wrong side (I picture Malvin entering left and seeing Kharn on the right for some reason) so Gorechild should be left rather than right in the frame as he sees the weapon before he sees The Betrayer. I was also drawing from memory and messed up Kharn’s helmet design.
The original pencils just for putting in placement. His helmet in the story is said to be in the sand at his feet, so the one thing I consciously altered from the terrific narrative description was to put it on a level of the stone dais, purely for composition purposes.
I stood on the shoulders of Black Library giants to design Kharn’s armor and wargear for this piece. It was fun to put my own touches, like the way the skulls are attached to his armor backpack.
I added some extra battle damage to Kharn’s helmet, just because it was interesting to draw.
The skulls appear as mentioned in the drama: two on the left, four on the right; one with shrapnel in the cheek, one with chain weapon damage on the forehead.
I added the manacles described in the story as being large enough to restrain a large beast or being of great strength. I put in dark tunnels behind Kharn based on the dungeons beneath the Flavian Amphitheater.
Before I started shading I thought it would be easy, just walls and stones. But then I decided to shade every stone essentially individually and it took much longer than I intended…
For so many reasons I’m lucky to have Raven. One of the lesser reasons is she inks for me in our comics! I had to darken the graphite before shading (I drew in 4H). I hate this process because it’s essentially drawing the same image TWICE but worth it to get the desired result.
I accidentally over-shaded the left tunnel and made it seem too short. It took some correcting to get it closer to right. I added the close foreground of silhouetted scattered remains based on the description in the drama. I left it vague but clear enough to be picked out if closely analyzed.
It’s actually at this phase I start to get excited about a composition. The background is essentially one, which means I can start the character!
As a bonus: I’m also working on a version of the Fleshtearer as described in the story. It may be a single character piece, but here’s the face design I’ve been toying with.