My brother spent ten years writing an epic fantasy novel. I loved it. I did quite a bit of art for it over the years, and when he asked me for a series of sketches which could become a calendar, I was delighted to oblige.

Righty-ho! Without further ado, here’s the fourth installment of this grand escapade.

Fight pose and sword

This might have been the first sketch I scribbled out for my brother aside from the cover. I had no idea what I was doing, but I made my ignorance work for me. It looks like a pen sketch. Ish. Mostly. Anyway.

The map I made for my darling brother’s novel was a perfect backdrop for this piece. By itself, it is a smashing map full of adventurous trees, treacherous mountains, and quaint towns… and he let me put a sea serpent eating a ship over in the upper right corner. Thanks, brother. You know me so well.

I learned a lot of things about Photoshop doing the map. A LOT. As in: SOOOO MUCH. I learned how to create brushes. I learned how to misuse my new creations. I learned the importance of layering. Seriously, people. LAYER. Just do it.

Oh, to think what I could do for his map with the knowledge I have now. Smart objects, vectors, type manipulation, and the scatter control on said custom brushes, a burn effect using a faintly underlying gaussian blur, to name but a few skills. And I could do it in a quarter of the time.

But, hey. We live, we learn, we move on, and now I can share a stepping stone along my particular journey to being a better artist.

Again, I’d like to thank the Lord of the Ring’s artists and Pinterest for guiding my hand with the pose of the fighter and the shape and style of the sword.