Sunday, 17 July 2011

Digital Painting - "Grumplemug - The Fairy Carving Troll"

Here's another of my entries in the Imagine FX magazine weekly forum competition. This was created for the July 2011 weekly challenge entitled: "Grumpy Troll"

Brief: "Without context, design the character. The only restrictions are that he must have something on or beside him to show scale."

Description: "A new (fictional) fantasy film for kids, has a grumpy, somewhat dimwitted troll-like character who in contrast to his cumbersome appearance, likes to carve delicate fairy figurines out of wood. The troll is also short sighted and has a carved wooden leg."

A couple of very early troll designs
I was lucky enough that once again they had chosen one of my ideas for the challenge, so I was ready to get my teeth stuck into this one.

I did quite a few (very!) rough sketches initially, trying to figure out what kind of look to go for. Initially I was going to make him rather a tough looking 'realistic' troll, but I wasn't especially happy with any of the designs. They just didn't feel right for the character description. It needed something more light-hearted. In looking back at my earlier painting, 'Beyond the Darkness', I realised it might be fun to use a similar look to the creatures I had invented for that, giving the character a more "children's illustrated book" feel.

Refining the design and working out a pose
So next I  did a few designs of the character along that route, and messed around with his pose. I decided I wanted him to be a travelling troll, who keeps all he needs with him. In this case, his tool box is also a seat upon which he can sit and carve.

One more thing was needed, which was an object that shows his scale. I decided that he was a modern troll, who uses a mobile telephone for reference pictures and for taking orders via text. In the end, it became a touch screen telephone, purely for speed, as I was nearing the deadline and didn't have time to draw and paint the buttons and details I wanted. So on screen I thought it would be fun to place my previous 'fairy' painting, as if he'd been using it for reference.

Semi-final design (left), working out the pose (middle and top right)
and a photograph taken for reference (bottom right).
After completing it for the competition, I went back to finish a few details for my own satisfaction. Namely things such as the smoke from his pipe, the carving on the tool box, and a pot of varnish and a cloth in the bottom left, to finish the visual 'triangle' between top right (from the smoke) to bottom left, as intended. However, I didn't change the phone back to its original design, as I quite like the way it came out in the end. Below, you can view an animation showing the gradual 'Work In Progress'.

It didn't do well in the competition, but I was personally rather satisfied and happy with the final painting, which is all that matters at the end of the day. Not to mention, it again adds to my growing portfolio of digital art. I hope you enjoy looking at this light-hearted character and imagining his story, as much as I enjoyed creating him!

"Grumplemug - The Fairy Carving Troll"
All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.

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