Vik & Anahit – fantasy art commissions

This is a continuation of characters from the same series as Lada where the world is a fantasy taking notes from late medieval Russia and Eastern Europe.

Anahit by Nicole Cadet (Character © S.Wright)

Watercolours, some gouache, 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Anahit is a princess who has been sold to a travelling carnival, where she dances and throws knives. The client wanted an Armenian feel to the costume, yet it still had to almost be a mockery of Anahit’s traditions. Armenian costume varies greatly, but most of the dance costumes tend to be plainer, with beautiful silhouettes and veiled headpieces, however the client felt that leaving her head free of a veil was more in line with her role in the carnival. This is a kind of mix of Armenian folk costume, some dance costume, and a bit of a Turkish flavour – this is where being fantasy art you can be a bit more relaxed with details.

Anahit Armenian inspired fantasy princess

  1. Anahit went through a lot of sketches. This was the one the client ended up going with, however he asked me to play up the Armenian details a bit. As I wanted to get the pose and face mostly right, I figured I could embellish the costume if need be. Always easier to add, then to take away :D
  2. This was the digital rendering. Doing stuff on a computer is a lot easier than the actual painting.
  3. The colours ended up being a little different in the final rendering, and I ended up having to go over details in gouache as they got a bit lost when painted purely with watercolours.
Vik by Nicole Cadet (Character © S. Wright)

Watercolours & Gouache, 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Vik was a challenge to paint. I’ve painted dark skin digitally before, but this was probably the first time I’ve done one in watercolours! He’s part avian, so his head is covered in feathers. He wears a leather cap to cover it, and a big leather overcoat to disguise his non-human features. His coat is kind of a generic jerkin, however I wanted to incorporate the distinctive buttons from many Russian coats. It would have been fun to paint a bearskin hat, but that was wrong for the character! The scan is a bit difficult, for some reason every time I scan it, the graininess of the paint becomes really prominent. It’s actually a bit smoother in real life

Vik by Nicole Cadet - step by step

  1. This was I think the second sketch I did of Vik. I had one where is was a bit more ‘cooler’, more tough guy, this one felt a little straight up and I though the client might find it boring / lacking character. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the sketch, but I decided to do some more sketches/ playing around with colour before I sent it to the client. It’s funny, sometimes as artists we second guess ourselves, make things more complex than they need to be!
  2. I actually only did one colour concept for this sketch. There are so many different types of ‘black’ skin, so I decided to play it kind of middle of the field. The client liked the direction I was going in :)
  3. I really should have practised painting black skin before this piece! But sometimes the best way to learn is by jumping in the deep end! I was worried I was going to overwork it and end up with a muddy colour and then have to start over again. I ended up using a lot of purple for the shadows, then overlaying with a mix of umber/ burnt umber and cadmium.

I’ll be doing some more characters in this series, so stay tuned for more ACEO paintings!