There will be blood – painting

Run, little Orcses, run.

I’m proud to announce that I have found the paper/paint combo that I will stick with to the end of days. Doc Martin’s liquid watercolours – no surprises there – and Canson Montval. The Canson students’ paper is good, but tends to cake up under too many layers of paint, and dries too fast. Enter Canson Montval. Handles like my beloved Hahnemühle BUT allows you to go really dark in the shadows without caking up. Auta i lómë!


I documented the painting steps for this one, and instead of giving them all chronologically, I put them together sorted by face/hair/metal, which made a lot more sense here.

Colours used: Permanent Red; Indian Red; Alizarin Crimson; Yellow Ochre; Cobalt Blue; Payne’s Grey; Burnt Umber; Burnt Sienna. All very much mixed beyond recognition.

The colour used for the face here was dulled rather a lot by some Payne’s Grey. It’s hardly noticeable here, and that is good – if I hadn’t done it, he would have stood out against the dull greys everywhere. The shadows have got great amounts of Alizarin Crimson and blue tones.

The hair was done in my usual way: Laying down a base glaze of reddish paint (again with rather a lot of cold blues added), with more water used in spots where the light hits. Then, after drying, the second glaze, picking out the darker strands.

For the armour texture and reflections, I got one of my dearest reference books off my shelf: “Söldnerleben im Mittelalter” (The Medieval Soldier), by Gerry Embleton and – John Howe. With John Howe actually posing in fifteenth century armour.

The key to doing believable metal in any medium is a mix of sharp edges and high contrast. I can’t say I’m that good at it, but I do my best.

Edit: Several people pointed out that the red of his tabard should reflect on the armour; so I added a bit of that in the finished version. You’re right, of course.

Some detail shots:

15 thoughts on “There will be blood – painting

  1. Kickass indeed. Maedhros is obviously SO in the mood for some serious slaying of the Enemy’s minions! He looks positively scary! :D

  2. Saw picture, thought it was oddly grey.
    Remembered I had screen brightness turned down to save battery.
    Turned up screen brightness.

    The metal looks fine; I mean, it’s watercolor, obviously it’s not going to have photographic sharpness, but you look at it and understand that it’s metal instead of going “whaa?”

  3. Much love for this! I really like the desaturated cold reds and blues in this piece!

    Quick question if you don’t mind my asking: what’s your preferred skin color combination for the fair skinned elves using Martins? I’m new to the Martins liquid watercolors, but I’ve got a few to play around with.

    Do you work wet-in-wet when laying down your first glazing layer? His first hair layer kind of looks like what happens when wet paint blooms into water…. I like it. :)

    • My skin colour combination depends entirely on my colour scheme. I don’t have a fixed skin colour – in the “Most of me” one, i used a lot more reddish yellow than here, where I also used some blue tones. If I’d used the same skin tone here as in “Most of me”, he’d have looked like a Simpson. :D

  4. Wow – love this picture, though I am especially impressed by the painting of the little details – like the sewn star on his tabard. Almost looks like you would feel the raised stitching if you could touch it! (says she who’s currently hand stitching a knightly tunic for an event … so many stitches …)

  5. OH my gosh this looks so awesome. I wish you’d draw like another family picture with Sons of Fëanor when they were little. I actually think you should draw a cute picture of Nerdanel and Fëanor with baby Maedhros, or maybe little Maedhros with a baby Maglor. ^.^

  6. *Schauder* ich will ihm in dem Moment eindeutig nicht begegnen…
    Aber vielen, vielen Dank für die ganzen Erklärungen!!

  7. What a happy surprise just before my exams *-* Awesome as always. I specially observed some points that are details but I liked a lot, can’t explain. The needlework of the star on his tabard and the grips (it’s that way it’s called?) of his hair. The first one probably because of the good observance. :)
    I’m with the one above, you should draw a scene of Fëanor, Nerdanel and Son(s) during the happy days. They were so much longer than the First Era, but so much less remembered, unfortunately…

  8. I got the email alert for this just as I was getting ready for class this morning. I had to say to myself “DO NOT go to Jenny’s blog or you WILL be late for class. I somehow managed to make it through 4 hours of classes before rushing over to your blog at lunch time. :D

    Beautiful as always.

    Keep the Maedhros coming ;)

    I have no idea how you find the time to do this kind of thing while teaching Latin and English to a bunch of kids, but I’m glad that you do.

  9. Hehehe, love the Maedhros – John Howe dialogue.
    I ordered the book you mentioned immediately – I love John Howe’s books, they are both reference and inspiration.

    And I love the way Maedhros turned out – great artwork (as always). His determined look and his armour. *love*
    If John Howe is my Tolkien artist God then you are my Tolkien artist Goddess. ;)

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