Sketching from the Imagination: Kamil Murzyn

Kamil Murzyn talks about his fantasy inspirations, his favorite tools and techniques, and the process of creating comics...

Kamil Murzyn talks about his fantasy inspirations, his favorite tools and techniques, and the process of creating comics...

Im now twenty-nine years old, living in Warsaw with my wife. For most time I work as a 3D/2D artist in an animation studio, but I love fantasy and creating comics. Im currently writing and drawing fantasy tale titled Circles of Magic.

Sketching, for me, is the very base of creating every image, thats because it tells so much. Lines let artist be expressive and quickly capture character of objects and people, with very natural and elegant flavor. When I manage to create good sketch, then Im comfortable with anything that comes after.

Inspiration and Ideas

I grew up on Magic the Gathering, Warhammer, classic role-playing games like Earthdawn or D&D;. There was Lord of the Rings and Warcraft, and all these things, I think, made me love classic fantasy to the point I started inventing my own stories and games. It was somewhere around age of twelve or thirteen, when I started to come up with ideas for characters and worlds, and currently Im working on it in the form of comic stories. Once I create my first map for a fantasy world, I never run out of ideas again, so if you want to be fantasy artist, do some writing!

I really adore classic fantasy artists like Alan Lee, Arthur Rackham and Paul Bonner, for example. They all have very rare sense of mood and simple stories, in contrast to current trends of very epic, colorful fantasy illustrations. There are many more artist I respect for their amazing sketches - Donato Giancola, Justin Gerard, Larry McDougall, to name a few.

It sounds crazy, but trees inspire me a lot. I like mountain hiking and looking for interesting pines and spruces. When I see twisted roots and branches, I only have to imagine troll with beard, smoking pipe, sitting on it.


Not surprising - I prefer pencils. They are best for sketching - simple, elegant, allow me to do any kind of line with so much control and precision, and dont smudge much. I prefer softer pencils like 4B or 6B, while paper is not that important for me, I sketch on everything, from cheap copy paper and school notebooks to sketchbook paper, if only because it has a little texture.

I also draw digitally a lot using Cintiqs. I prepared my own brushes imitating pencils, this way I have just so much more freedom in experimentation. I like to start with digital sketch, print it out with very light colors and pencil over it.

Sketching techniques

I start with some sort of story defined in my head. As a story I understand everything from landscapes to characters. What it is, where it came from. As I have already pretty much established fantasy world, its quite straightforward where it comes to ideas or designs.

I start with general composition, drawing ovals and curves all around. I also start static characters from face, and moving characters from their posing. For me face and hands are everything I need to tell what emotions come from characters using on still image.

I almost never use references. I feel expressive gesture is far more important than perfect anatomy, so first I always try what I can achieve by myself. After all, Im drawing fantasy and I want to become eventually better and better at drawing from imagination, so I stubbornly stick to my way. Im just doing studies outside my other works and try to remember as much as I can.

When I developed fine composition and erase drawing a little and start tight, more refine drawing on top. Im not afraid of drawing quickly and loosely - I already have my composition! Now I can just let my intuition do its job. I just want it to remain loose but clear and readable.

When you imagine things its usually hard to just put that on paper, because in our heads, were not seeing image as a whole but rather as some sort of fragmentary feeling and mood. What we should do now is to extract this spirit and try to convey it into our picture. In the end, thats what we love in fantasy - incredible feeling of nature and adventure. Thats why after over twenty years, I still remember things from my childhood Ive forgotten all the details, but the fantasy ambience is still here.

Related links

Visit Kamil Murzyns site to read more about how he creates his fantastic artwork
Check out more of Kamils gorgeous work in his portfolio
Follow Kamil on Instagram
Grab a copy of Sketching from the Imagination: Fantasy to read more about great fantasy sketching
If youre interested in creating comics like Kamil; why not pick up a copy of Beginner's Guide to Comic Art: Characters in the store?

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