Making of Nine-Antler Deer drawing

I received a few comments stating / asking, if deer skull is a heavily processed photo. No, the deer skull is painted with the help of crafted textures. It took a lot of time and diligence – a week for an hour or two each day. I think I was able to finish it faster, but often the next days I was fixing yesterday’s late work errors.

It all starts with a sketch on a paper. In this case, it’s just to capture the idea to not forget the compositions. I do not always have time to prepare a more detailed sketches, but even such frivolous sketches helps.

The drawing starts with a form blocking and abstract linear features. Then, I applied concrete based texture and divided the drawing into three layers: shadows (own and thrown), key tone, small details (in this case, carvings, stains, bone connectors). I did bliks on the key tone layer – reducing texture intensity in certain areas.

In the second stage, I prepared halo – crown – sun sign. I have put together the necessary form from the reed and took a photo. Then, after clipping and tone adjustment I placed it on the lowest layer in the stack. Part of the reeds had to be photographed additionally and added since the halo was lacking the mass.

The third drawing stage – the fine details. This is runic carvings on the horns, bone joints, especially sharp bright areas, sharp edges.

The last drawing stage – background. The background consists of a hand-drawn elements – stars and the sky dome symbols.

In conclusion, I will say, the most difficult stage was to find the balance between light and dark areas of the skull. Every dark area had to be layered with textures, as seamless texture spray looks unsightly. And with the multilayered textures the dark areas seems richer and more interesting. Btw I had to apply the same method for bright areas as well  – to erase particular areas with texturised brush.

This work is published in a limited edition:

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