Friday, September 12, 2014

Korrok, Slavemaster from the Eighth Plane (John Dies at the End)

Here he is! It's been a lot of work and a big struggle to complete it but I've finally finished my painting of Korrok from John Dies at the End written by David Wong.

"With a tiny change in your brain chemistry, I could make you a child molester." -Korrok

I tackled a lot of stuff I don't normally go after with this piece. Korrok may be a monster, but it felt more like I was painting a landscape because he's just a big somewhat ambiguous form, so there wasn't any real anatomy to nail. Just like the last two paintings, I tried my best to fit as many details straight from the text as I could, but this was definitely the most challenging of the 3 in that department. There was just so much going on, and the scene was so specific I had to cut some things I would have liked to put in for the sake of having a good painting overall. Still I knew that what was most important with this piece was to illustrate the huge scale of Korrok as well as showing off all his disgusting bits. For the fans of the book, I hope it lives up to the image you had in your head while reading.

For anyone who's interested in how the painting process went for this piece, here ya go! By the way, there's some more words after, so scroll to the bottom for the blog post wrap-up.
1 - Sketches
 Really wanted to make sure I went with the best idea, so I did a bunch of variants...
2 - Chosen Sketch
...ultimately settling on this sketch.
3 - figuring out forms/ refining composition
 It's best to figure out all of you compositional problems with a rough sketch before laying down all the detail.
4 - adding color
 Trying to figure out a rough color palette so I don't have to make it up as I go.
5 - refining color options / experimenting

6 - final color study
 From here I decided that I liked what it was so far, and this gives me a really good road-map for the rest of the painting
7 - painting begins
 I dive right in, painting in the form of the eye and starting to add some detail in just to get a feel for how I want the whole thing to look in the end.
8 - laying down texture
 I knew I wanted this thing to be really gross and nasty looking, so I spent a lot of time laying down texture over the whole body of Korrok...
9 - building up more texture
 ...seriously, lots of time layering up all that texture, a lot of which comes through in the final image.
10 - adding form, details, foreground
 So I have my flat, textured form, now it's time to carve into the mass with highlights and shadow, I used multiply and overlay layers to keep some transparency so I didn't lose all of the texture work.
11 - up the lighting, adding form, more details
 The piece was looking too muted so I made it brighter, more carving out details, lots of layering to get things just right
12 - more detail, hue shifts
All of this layering took a LOT of time, I basically spent the whole painting noodling over area after area. I also wanted the colors to shift here and there so I apply that here.
13 - starting the eye
 I looked up a bunch of different reptilian eyes to make sure I got the details right. I wanted the eye to be the focus, so nailing the detail and color was muy importante.
14 - eye refining
 Just rendering out that eye more, adding all the love and care Korrok deserves <3 br="">
15 - light & texture adjustments
Decided there wasn't enough texture, so I added more, and light, I added more of that too.
16 - darken background...oh, and more detail
I wanted the piece to read more dramatically, plus Korrok is in a cvery dark room surrounded by shadow men, but I decided I didn't want to cover up all of that detail with blackness that most people probably wouldn't be able to tell what it was from this far out. So instead of smoke and shadow-men I made a dark background to emphasize that idea. This was one of those areas where I had to decide between being faithful to the text by adding in everything or giving the painting what it needed. I may have to make it up to the shadow men one day, they deserve some love too right?
17 - detail, starting catwalk
 From the start, I knew the catwalk would be the very last thing I painted. I rather paint over-top of a huge mass than painting painstakingly around one. It would've taken a lot more time and effort to paint in the catwalk first. Why hassle yourself? Also, keep that on a separate layer, also muy importante.
18 - catwalk support, tiny figures
From left to right, it's the masked fat-man, John, David and Molly.
19 - Final tweaks made (final image)
And there you have it!

It's been about 4 months since I started my John Dies at the End series, and with this painting the series will come to a close for now. I'll be leaving for Illuxcon in a couple days and I'll be shopping my artwork around (including these 3 JDatE paintings!) and then after that I'm going full-force into working on a Magic: the Gathering portfolio, because I'm tired of not working on Magic already!

I want to sincerely thank all of the people who've spent time checking out these hopefully enjoyable paintings of a definitely awesome book. Including everyone who posted such kind words over on the thread I made on the forums. You guys were awesome!

And a special thanks to David Wong himself for writing such fun material for me to work from. Make sure to check out the source material John Dies at the End and it's sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders. They are a beautiful blend of humor and horror.

Click here to purchase a print of Korrok!