Wednesday, 2 August 2017

HOW TO DRAW A WUKONGOPTERUS

Hi folks!

I´m racing towards the finish on my follow up to the dinosaur book from earlier this year. This one, as you perhaps already know, is about pterosaurs and their reptilian marine contemporaries: ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs plus a few others. 

One of the brilliant scholars who are helping me getting the sciency stuff right for the upcoming book is pterosaur luminaire Dr. Mark Witton - a well known name in the paleontology community. He´s made a rather flattering piece about my stylised approach to paleoart on his blog, which also includes a lengthy interview with yours truly. 

Head on over to markwitton-com.blogspot.se and have a look. If you're at all interested in paleontology and trailblazing paleoart I wholeheartedly recommend following Marks well written, informative and often highly amusing blog.

To celebrate the upcoming book and unexpected paleontological attention I thought I´d divulge some of the secrets behind my particular brand of paleoart. This techinque just requires a pencil, some copying paper and an eraser. 
Plus of course an iMac computer with a Photoshop license and a Wacom Cintiq tablet...

STEP ONE - RESEARCH

The most important step. We´re not just drawing any old monster here, but reconstructing a real animal that was very much alive at one point in history. I look up the creature I´m about to illustrate in books (I´ve got an extensive reference library at this point) and also by using google, wikipedia, paleontology blogs, academic papers - the more information you can gather the better. What the animal ate, how, where and when it lived is just as important as the basic anatomy when you do a reconstruction.
I also study skeletals and other peoples reconstructions to get a feel for the animal. In this case I chose the basal Chinese pterosaur Wukongopterus as my subject. 

STEP TWO - SKETCH

I do a sketch on paper using an HB pencil on normal A4 copy paper (I personally prefer the slightly heavier 120 g paper). I then scan this loose drawing into my computer.

Sketch

STEP THREE - TWEAKING

I open up the sketch in Photoshop and slightly tweak the sketch. Sometimes I move things around or make features larger and smaller - everything to get the basic anatomy right. In this case it´s hard to see but I used the warp transform tool ever so slightly to accentuate the sprawling posture somewhat.

Tweaked sketch

STEP FOUR - BASIC COLOURS

I put the sketch layer in multiply and create a new layer under it. Using the polygonal lasso tool as much as possible ( to get that special Egerkransian angular feel ) the shapes are blocked in and coloured. The coloration of the animal is pretty much made up as I go along but the aim is always to make it believable so I take a lot of inspiration from birds and other animals. I try not to simply copy paste patterns from living animals onto the reconstruction, but rather use them as starting points for a new unique colour scheme.

Basic colours

STEP FIVE - LINEART

In a new layer on top of the colours the lineart is added. The actual pencil sketch won´t be seen in the final image but I try to stay true to the spontaneity of the loose lines in the preliminary drawing when I do the lineart. I also choose brushes with a little texture to create "nerve" in the lines.

Lineart

STEP SIX - SHADOWS

I createca new multiply layer at 50-60 % opacity and draw in the shadows, often using a greyish violet. The shadows help define the shapes and anatomy of the animal, making it less flat.

Shadows

STEP SEVEN - DROPSHADOW

To make it even more three dimensional a grey/cyan dropshadow was added under the pterosaur in this case. 

Dropshadow

STEP EIGHT - ADDING A BIT OF TEXTURE

After that I slapped on one of my patented watercolour textures in overlay mode on top of the whole thing, which brings it all together and makes the final image feel less "computery". 

And with that my friends, we are done! 

Wukongopterus








Friday, 5 May 2017

VAESEN

Finally!!
The first copies of Vaesen - the english language edition of Nordiska Väsen - have just arrived!! Personally I think the anglosaxon version looks even better than than the original thanks to the shorter, larger title which really pops in all its gilded splendour.

Order it here: http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789132181948/vaesen-spirits-and-monsters-of-scandinavian-folklore/

The ISBN number is 9789132181948 if you want to search for it that way.

It's still a Swedish book so it's not available in the States yet but hopefully it'll find it's way to Amazon soon.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

PTEROSAURS AND SEA MONSTERS

Hello boys and girls!

My dinosaur book "Alla tiders Dinosaurier" has been out for a while now and I'm rather happy to say that the reaction has been very positive. Not only has it received great reviews in the Swedish press and book blogosphere, but it also seems to have been embraced by the paleoart and paleontological community to a much larger degree than I had expected.
Which of course is very nice.

Here's some links to a couple of reviews (all in swedish I'm afraid):

Dagens Nyheter

Tidningen Kulturen

Borås Tidning mfl.

There's also an exhibition based on the book at the Stockholm House of Culture & City Theatre (Kulturhuset Stadsteatern). I helped curate it which was a lot fun, and they've even built a large scale model of a Camarasaurus based on my art. The exhibition will be  running at least until the end of May (and perhaps over the summer as well) so if you're in Stockholm swing by and have a look.

Camarasaurus (right) next to the author (left)

http://kulturhusetstadsteatern.se/Bibliotek/Rum-for-Barn/Evenemang/2017/Alla-tiders-dinosaurier/

I'm now working on the sequel which will simply be called "Flygödlor och havsmonster" (Pterosaurs and Sea Monsters) which will deal with all those other funky mesozooic reptiles that weren't dinosaurs but were around at the same time.

Here's a few samples from that new tome. Enjoy!


Mosasaur vs Pteranodon


Dorygnathus


Dsungaripterus


Platypterigius



Tuesday, 8 November 2016

ARTSTATION



I recently joined ArtStation - a community for illustrators and creative professionals that provide a great and simple platform for gathering and showing off one´s artwork. I just love the slick look of the gallery.

Head over there and check it out:

https://www.artstation.com/artist/egerkrans

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

DINOSAURS!!

I´m happy to inform you that the release of "Nordiska gudar" (Norse Gods) has been a huge success! We´ve sold a heck of a lot more copies in the three months it´s been out than I could ever have hoped for. As a matter of fact the book is already on it's second print run. So yeah... Drinks all around!

But, not one to rest on my laurels, I´m already working on my next project - "Alla tiders Dinosaurier" ( Roughly: "Dinosaurs of the ages". However, there´s a double meaning/word pun in the title I won´t even try to translate.)

The aim of the book is to present our favourite archosaurs to kids (the target group is children between 6-9 years) in a somewhat novel way -  a stylized cartoony approach. A style I launched in my children´s picture book about dinos from a few years ago. 

However, like all good caricatures the goal is to capture the essence of any particular species and try to be as accurate as possible when it comes to anatomy and features like feathers, coloration etc. I´m taking a lot of inspiration from modern paleoartists like John Conway who always tries to depict the animals as just that - animals, rather than perpetually roaring monsters. Some of them will still be roaring as visible teeth apparently sell more books, but at least  I´ll try to keep it to a minimum... 

The book will be about 60 pages long with one dino per spread. We´re aiming at roughly 30 animals, divided into three chapters based which Mesozoic time period they lived in, plus an introductory chapter about basic geology, deep time, the evolution of diapsids etc. The aim is to strike a good balance between newly discovered species like Yi Qi and all time classics like Stegosaurus.

Here´s a few of the images I´ve done so far. Enjoy!



ALLOSAURUS



DREADNOUGHTUS



GORGOSAURUS



GUANLONG



STEGOSAURUS



UTHARAPTOR



YI QI





Monday, 15 August 2016

ADDING A BIT OF TEXTURE

I often get asked how I manage to create that hand drawn look in my illustrations, even though they´re always painted in Photoshop.

One of the reasons is that the original drawing is always done by hand - you just can´t beat pencil on paper. The other reason is that I use a library of watercolour textures when I paint. These were made by splashing, dabbing, spattering and just generally messing about with earthy watercolours on standard watercolour paper, leaving them to dry and then scanning them. By combining these in different layer styles (favourites being multiply and overlay) and opacities in Photoshop one can achieve quite interesting results.

Here´s a few of these textures for your perusal. I´ll be back shortly with a more in-depth tutorial on my work process, but until then feel free to download these and try them out yourselves. Of course they´re all clickable for larger versions.




















Friday, 29 July 2016

NORDISKA GUDAR

Äntligen är den här! I förrgår damp "Nordiska gudar" ner rykande färsk från tryckeriet. 





Den finns nu i en bokhandel nära dig, eller online här:

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789132164118/nordiska-gudar/

Eller här:

http://www.adlibris.com/se/bok/nordiska-gudar-9789132164118





Tuesday, 21 June 2016

NORSE GODS ARE GO!

Done!!

Last week "Nordiska gudar" (Norse Gods) was sent off to the printers, after three years of hard work. 

The book will be out in stores in late July - you can preorder it here:

And, how better to celebrate this momentous occasion than with my take on Ragnarok - the last painting made for the book. Apparently I needed a looming deadline and my heavy metal playlist in Spotify to finish this sucker...



Speaking of heavy metal here´s Loki in his aspect of Lord of the Endtimes
This may arguably be the most "metal" painting I´ve ever done...





Saturday, 28 May 2016

THE OLD GODS ARE COMING




The deadline for my upcoming book Nordiska Gudar (Norse Gods) is closing in fast and - in just a few weeks it´ll be off to the printers. It should be out in stores in late juli/early august. A few days ago the test cover arrived from the printers. We might change a few things for the final product but this is more or less what it´s going to look like. Not too shabby methinks.

I published an obviously Mignola-inspired painting from the book  on my facebookpage recently, depicting Njord the god of the sea. Mike himself gave me thumbs up it so that´s gotta count for something...









Friday, 29 April 2016

DoD DONE!

I´m now officially finished with Drakar och Demoner: Retro!

Now it´s a race towards the finish with Nordiska Gudar - my upcoming book about Norse mythology. Deadline in late may...

Here´s the pics of the official player races for DoD - humans, elves, halflings, ducks, dwarfs and wolf-folk. Some you´ve seen before, some of these are new.