March Sketch-A-Day

A digital painting a day, for the whole month

My buddy Krasgar suggested to our little art-gang that we all do a sketch every day of March. Here’s the whole lot, wrapped up together in a single post.

Lots of images and embedded videos in this post, so it might take a while to load everything!

Day 1: The Emperor Protects!

It seems to only way I can share the video is embed my tweet so here you go:

Day 2: Chaos Warrior of Nurgle

Alrighty!  Here’s day 2, and I’ve already noticed a pattern. The pattern is Warhammer.  

Since I’m posting these the day after I paint them, I’ve already painted the one for tomorrow - and it’s not warhammer, I swear.

Day 3: Surt the Fire Giant

Here’s day 3; Surt the Fire Giant. I wanted to use some of these daily sketches for my own mythology projects, so I picked out a badass character I knew I’d have fun with.

Turns out that I had to go through so many little iterations of crappy ideas before I just went with the scifi suit of armour, but boy I’m happy with the results.  It feels a lot like my Nidean Legacy stuff, but fresh too.

Here’s the video!

Day 4: The Demon

Today I decided to write a small bit of monologue to go along with the sketch.  This something I used to do all the time when posting over on Instagram.  I’m not sure I’ll always have time to write something, but hey, it’s good practice.

The process video is at the bottom!

“I didn’t realise it could… happen so fast. I saw he had tipped over the edge, but I thought we still had time. One moment he stood in front of me, screaming at the sky. The next he was…. gone, and a grotesque beast in his place. I thought we had more time…”

Day 5: The Green Knight

The abominable knight advanced, each step resounding like the snap and groan of a collapsing tree. Vines flowed from it’s oaken helm and back, writhing and twisting their way through the air, exploring their surroundings like the tentacles of an octopus.

Day 5 is here, and this time I decided to design the Green Knight for my Fall of Camelot project, and wrote the above little prose for it.  I wish I could have come up with a plant-related metaphor instead of ‘like the tentacles of an octopus’, but nothing was coming to me.  

I couldn’t quite zone in on the antler design, neither of these feel quite right.  I’m going to spend a few days in a row sketching this guy out in a few ways til I reach a design I’m happy with.

Here’s the video-diddeo:

Day 6: It speaks

I decided to spend this sketch seeing if I could improve the antler design of yesterdays Green Knight.

I’ll be honest, I’m still not that sure about it, but I think I prefer it to the last couple of designs.

Here’s the bit of prose I wrote.  I like this one:

“Up close, the knight’s presence was no less disturbing. It’s armour was a mesh of roots and bark, insects milling through the damp cracks. And then it spoke, with a voice straight from the depths of deepest hells, and breath that reeked of spring flowers and autumnal decay.”

and the video:

I streamed this one on my Twitch channel by the way, and will do so for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday sketches, before working on a bigger painting.

Day 7: The Challenge

This is my last Green Knight sketch before I move onto something else: his cute lil face!

Here’s the fiction nibble I wrote for it

”I seek an audience with the noble sons of Camelot” the giant rasped. It removed it’s helm, revealing a visage born of the same diabolical realm from which it‘s armor hailed, and a pair of deep-set eyes filled with a predator’s cunning…

This sketch had a false start, and then my ipad’s pen pressure wasnt working properly, so you get to enjoy that in the replay! Wow, so authentic!

Day 8: Mordred

“Camelot? Camelot represents nothing but the hungry engine of war. With the lie of building a great and holy empire as it’s fuel, it churns endlessly, leaving nought but tyranny in its wake. Your King shall deliver you nothing but war and strife”

This one was awesome fun; right in my bag. I want to tackle some of the more central characters of arthurian legend, like this guy, but each is gonna require a but more than a quick sketch to nail

Day 9: The Fae

I ended up just going with the flow for this one, painting wherever things lead me. It seems they led me to a horned elfy guy.  For now he might work as one of the fae, which is a pretty broad group of supernatural beings in arthurian and celtic myth.

This sketch was very, very easy, and came together with little effort in something like 20 minutes.  Sometimes the brush strokes just align in your favour.  

Lets make up some prose for him.  Uhhhh:

“Begone from this place, broadnose. I can no longer stomach your defiling stink.”

Ah shoot. He’s racist towards humans :(

Day 10: Dragon

I’m posting this one late as it was the GF’s birthday celebration yesterday!

I went through a ton of head changes trying to get something I liked, but never got there and had to just call it.  There’s also a lot of other stuff I’d like to change about this scaly little boi, but hey, its a daily sketch - sometimes you gotta cut your losses.

Here’s some token prose for you, cos now I feel like I have to write something every time:

“Blaaaargh went the dragon. And then all was quiet”

Day 11: The Imperial Fist

"The Emperor commands us. Dorn guides us. Honour shields us. Fear our name, for it is vengeance.”

Back to Warhammer! This is what really got me into art in the first place, so I keep coming back to it over and over again. Space marines were my original ‘men-in-metal’, if I look back at my artistic interests.

He ended up as a Fist just because the yellow seemed to look best as I was cycling through the options. I dont particularly have a favouritism for them; in fact I typically lean traitor. Some loyalist chapters are cool, but the heretics are more interesting; admit it!

Day 12: The Morholt, Champion of Ireland

”King Mark; you know for what purpose I stand before thee. 300 sons and 300 daughters of Cornish stock. Ireland will accept no less.”

The Morholt is brother-in-law to King Anguish of Ireland, a giant, and sometimes his debt collector.

The young Sir Tristan of Cornwall challenges him to a duel over the debt and defeats him, rendering it null.

The Morholt comes away from the duel with a piece of Tristans sword lodged in his skull, which slowly kills him and furthers resentment towards Cornwall in Irish royalty.

Since he was Irish, I made sure he’s handsome!

Day 13: King Pellinore, hunter of the Questing Beast

“Pellinore? An arrogant man, a deluded man, but a fine and honorable man too. To see him dead at the hands of a friend; this is not the death he deserved.”

King Pellinore, father to many great knights, including the legendary Sir Percival.

If you’ve seen “The Sword in the Stone” Disney film, Pellinore is the grey-haired guy in pink/purple with the big broomlike moustache! Not a great guy, nor a bad one, not a main character, nor a background one.

Great moustache though.

Day 14: Accolon of Gaul

“The lance of Accolon, as on a rock
Long storm-launched foam breaks baffled, with the shock
On Arthur’s sounding shield burst splintered force;
But him resistless Arthur’s, –high from horse
Sell-lifted, –ruinous bare crashing on
A long sword’s length; unsaddled Accolon”

Accolon was a Knight of King Arthur’s court, and secret lover of Morgana le Fay.  Morgana managed to get Excalibur into Accolon’s hands through her deceptions, with which Accolon eventually dueled against King Arthur.  

The legendary weapon was not enough, and Accolon was mortally wounded during the duel.

The quote is from the poem “Accolon of Gaul” which was written by Madison Cawein in 1889.  Having briefly read the poem between making the sketch and writing this here, there are a few things I want to change about his design to fit the poem better.

Something for the future.

Day 15: The Questing Beast

Well Hoi there!
If you remember, we sketched King Pellinore a couple of days ago, the guy who hunts the Questing Beast.  I was thinking about what to sketch for today, and I realised, I should draw the bloody Questing Beast!

The Beast was born of a human woman; a princess who slept with a devil and gave birth to the abomination.

The strange creature has the head and neck of a snake, the body of a leopard, the haunches of a lion, and the feet of a deer.  Its name comes from the great noise that it emits from its belly, a barking like "thirty couple hounds questing".

Pellinore never manages to slay the beast, but Sir Palamedes then takes up the task and finally kills it during the Grail Quest.

I may take it’s design further and make a few tweaks, but I’m happy enough with the sketch!

Day 16: Queen Guinevere

Guinevere was the wife of King Arthur, and thus Queen of Camelot.

Famously, she engaged in a love affair with her husband's foremost knight and trusted friend, Lancelot, indirectly causing the death of Arthur, many knights and the fall of Camelot.

It’s been a while since I’ve painted a woman, and I’ve not practiced them much recently, so I was hesitant to tackle sketching the female characters of the arthurian tales.  I was expecting to suck at it terribly.

I’m happy with how Guinevere turned out though - so happy in fact, that you can expect to see Morgan le Fay for tomorrow’s sketch!

Day 17: Morgan le Fay

“Mighty was she in magic and her life was greatly in defiance of God, for at her command were the birds in the wild, in the woods and fields, and what seems to me greatest, those evil spirits, that are called devils – they were all at her command.”

I think Morgan le Fay is one of the most interesting characters in Arthurian legend, due to how various authors throughout the years each wrote her to have very different personality and drive; sometimes she is benevolent, and in some stories actively evil and antagonistic.  Sometimes she’s a great healer, other times a devil-worshipper.  Occasionally she blurs the lines between all of them.

This makes for a really dynamic and layered character, that’s hard to fully understand, and even harder to predict.

She’ll be a fun one to write about.

Day 18: Sir Palamedes, the Saracen Knight

Palamedes was a Middle Eastern pagan who converted to Christianity later in his life, and often fought Sir Tristan to try to win over his lover Iseult.

He was one of the son’s of King Esclabor the Unknown, an exiled Saracen king from Babylon, who rescued and befriended King Pellinore.

Sir Palamedes took up the hunt of the Questing Beast after King Pellinore. The hunt was nearly as frustrating and fruitless as his pursuit of Iseult, but during the Grail Quest he finally slew it with Percival and Galahad’s help.

Day 19: Maleagant

Maleagant was a vicious and powerful son of King Bagdemagus, ruler of the otherworldly realm of Gorre, which was inhabited by all manner of demonic and supernatural beings.  Maleagant made a pact with one of these beings, granting him power beyond mortal limits, but corrupting his very flesh.

He harbored a desire for Queen Guinevere; he even went so far as to kidnap her, which Sir Lancelot thwarted.  Maleagant was eventually slain in a duel with Lancelot, when he tried to reveal Guinevere’s adultery to King Arthur in an attempt to undermine the stability of Camelot.

Day 20: King Vortigern

Vortigern was an early villain of Arthurian legend, ruling before Uther Pendragon.

He didn’t become king by birth; while Constans, the eldest brother of Uther, was king, Vortigern secured a marriage into royalty. As King Constans was still quite young, Vortigern installed himself as the king’s advisor, and conspired to have the young king killed.

Constan’s younger brothers, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon, were children at the time, so once Constans was dead Vortigern seized the crown for himself and ruled with a tyrannical fist.

Day 21: Escanor the Large

Escanor the Large was the son of a giant and a witch, born on the same day as the renowned Sir Gawaine.

He also shared Gawaine’s power, his strength rising with the sun, and diminishing as the sun falls.  They were both fated to be adversaries, and after their first duel Escanor loathed Gawaine and sought every opportunity to undo him.

His final move was to kidnap Arthur’s female cupbearer while she was under Gawaine’s protection.

In retribution, Gawaine tracked him down, challenged him to a second duel, and slew him in equal combat.

Day 22: The Faerie Knight

The Faerie Knight was a bastard son of Tom a'Lincoln, known as the Red Rose Knight, and Caelia, the Faerie Queen.  Tom was in turn a bastard of King Arthur’s, from his affair with a woman named Angelica.  Thus, the Faerie knight was not just half-human and half-fae, but also grandchild to Arthur.

The Faerie Knight’s real name may have been Loswello, though he was known as ‘Oberon the Second’.  He inherited multiple magical talents from his mother, the Faerie Queen, and went on many adventures with his better known half-brother, the Black Knight, another bastard of the Red Rose Knight.

Day 23: Esclados, Lord of the Storm-Fountain

The otherworldly protector of Broceliande forest, Esclados was accidentally summoned by Sir Calogrenant when he stumbled upon a fountain in a hidden glade. He spilled some of the water from the fountain, causing a storm and drawing the spirit out to defeat him for his impudence.

Many years later, his cousin Sir Ywain travelled to the same fountain, drew out Esclados and destroyed him, taking his place as the guardian of the fountain.

I intended this sketch to be for the Black Knight, brother to the Faerie Knight, but it just refused to look right.  So I made him into a different red and spiky character, and liked it much better!

Day 24: Sir Galahad, Knight of the Grail

Galahad was the knight that his father, Lancelot, was meant to be; the most perfect of knights, gallant and pure; chosen by God to discover the Holy Grail.

Even when still young, he was capable of performing miracles, banishing demons and healing the sick.  With his brothers-in-arms Sir Bors and Sir Percival he sought out and found the Holy Grail, healing the Fisher King and restoring the land of Listeneise to its earlier glory.

After completing his quest, Galahad voluntarily ascended to heaven in the arms of the angels.

Day 25: The Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake hailed from an otherworldly realm, it’s entrance masked with an illusion of a lake.  There she raised the orphan Sir Lancelot, as well as Sirs Lionel and Bors, to be the greatest warriors known to man, unmatched in skill, wisdom and courage.

She used her command over the occult powers to guide their fate, and manipulate the future of Albion.

After sending her adoptive children to Arthur’s court, she still kept a watchful eye over them, gently nudging them along their predestined paths - even engineering the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere, that would finally cause the fall of Camelot.

Day 26: The Black Knight

The Black Knight was the second son of Tom a' Lincoln, to Anglitora, the daughter of King Prester John. Through Tom, he was an illegitimate grandson of King Arthur's.

His face always covered, his name never spoken; he was known only by the ominous title ‘the Black Knight’.

Once an adult, the Black Knight was contacted by the spirit of his father Tom, who told him that his mother had killed him when she found out he was merely King Arthur’s bastard.

The Black Knight then slew his own mother in revenge, and joined the Faerie Knight, his half-brother, on quests to faraway lands.

Day 27: Sir Percival the Innocent

Percival was raised by his mother in the forest, ignorant of the ways of kings and men, and born with a pure and noble heart.

When Percival was 15, he witnessed a group of knights passing through the woods and was immediately fascinated.  He set his mind to joining the knightly order and proved to be a natural, ascending the ranks of King Arthur’s court with ease.

He was among the most chivalrous and innocent of all of the knights of Camelot, skilled in combat and exorcism; he was one of only three knights worthy of finding the Holy Grail, second only to Sir Galahad.

Day 28: Sir Tristan of Cornwall

Tristan never got to meet his parents: his father was kidnapped by the fae, and his mother died during childbirth.

Tristan instead was raised by his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, but he lost the last links to his family when he fell in love with his uncles bride-to-be, Isolde, and they fled King Mark’s court together.

They lived their lives on the run; short, fast and passionate.

King Mark tracked them down, and while Tristan serenaded Isolde with his harp, his uncle murdered them both with his own hands, using a poisoned blade.

Day 29: Merlin

Merlin was the spawn of an infernal union; the son of a demon and human woman, immediately baptised at birth and freed from Satan’s clutches and delivered into service of God.

He was imbued with great supernatural powers, greatest of which was his ability to know the past and see the future.

Merlin used his foresight to guide young Arthur to draw the fabled sword from the stone, to orchestrate the founding of the Knights of the Round Table, and guide Camelot towards it’s glorious zenith.

Unfortunately, Merlin was not the only being with foresight, nor with the blood of devils flowing through his veins.

Somehow my sketch accidently ended up looking just like Gandalf!

Day 30: Lancelot

Lancelot was an orphan raised by the fae Lady of the Lake, destined to achieve great things.

Through unrivalled skill in combat, he became the personal champion of Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere; and soon after, her secret lover.

Once Guinevere’s infidelity was revealed to Arthur he commanded that she be burned at the stake, guarded by many knights of the round table; some who went unwilling and unarmed.

Lancelot and his companions slaughtered them all the same.

Mordred exploited the sudden wound that had appeared within the court of King Arthur, and spelled doom for Camelot.

This one of Lancelot started as just me messing about doodling, so that’s why the video starts with some random knight drawing!

Day 31: Arthur

After King Uther Pendragon’s death, there was no known heir, and no king to rule all of England.

Until Merlin engineered the reveal of his bastard son Arthur, through the drawing of the sword in the stone.

Arthur’s crowning led to a rebellion by eleven minor kings, which Arthur soundly defeated. He married Guinevere, and established the Order of the Round Table.  With Merlin’s foresight and influence, Arthur was gifted the fae weapon Excalibur, and conquered a vast empire.

Arthur’s last battle was at Camlann against his traitorous nephew Mordred, in which he was mortally wounded on the battlefield.  He was extracted to the fae land of Avalon, where it is said he passed away.

More Things to Read!