Making Of 'Grandfather Nurgle'
Hello friends! My name is Oleg Shekhovtsov, aka leshiy. This art was created for the art-duel: "DEITIES of the WARHAMMER!!!" on www.render.ru.
Because I don't want to repeat myself, and to help you better understand this article, I recommend that you first read the previous Making Of I did for my image The Berserk Flash, which can be found here:
I've been a fan of both Warhammer universes and have loved Chaos for a long time, so I did not get distracted by other sides of the conflict and instead plunged into the abyss of wikis and fan-sites. Here's what I found out about the Chaos God Nurgle:
Also known as Grandfather Nurgle, the Lord of Pestilence and the Lord of Decay, Nurgle is a warm and welcoming god who gifts his followers with poxes and boils, rashes and sores. He is the oldest of the four Chaos Gods and is the most directly involved with the plights of mortals, particularly humans who suffer so acutely from a fear of death, perhaps the oldest fear of that species. While Nurgle is the God of death and decay, to be certain, he is also the God of rebirth. After all, decay is simply one part of the cycle of life, without which no new life could grow.
Nurglings are daemonic servants of Nurgle. They look like miniature representations of Nurgle, with friendly, mischievous faces. They are gregarious, agile and constantly active.
Nurgle's colors are painfully green, yellow and brown, portrayed in simple geometric forms. His followers often find it advisable not to wear its symbol (a symbolic representation of an ulcer or flies); instead, they prefer to cover their bodies, concealing their deformity and disease, as well as inspiring fear and despair in others. Seven is the number of Nurgle.
The paradoxical concept of a cheerful and good-natured pile of rotting flesh quickly won me over. For in this fantastic description of Nurgle hides a much more profound philosophy, which perfectly coincided with my outlook in general, and the mood at the time. The bottom line is that every question has one answer: death. But that's not terrible or wrong; the idea of something ending is no worse than the idea of something beginning. After all, nothing is eternal and the end of something always marks the beginning of something new.
After digesting and absorbing all the information I'd gathered and emotions I'd invoked, I decided on a final concept: Nurgle, swollen and sitting beside a big cauldron full of plague - like a fireplace - touched by amusement at the antics of his dear granddaughter who plays on his body.
As usual when I do this kind of competition, I spent the first week mulling over my idea, reading up about Nurgle and making sketches of my chosen topic. After collecting another stack of references (Fig.01), and sorting through multiple angles and fragmentary sketches, I came up with a general composition, which sufficiently expressed the idea (Fig.02).
Here I ran into some issues. First, Nurgle is very large and I didn't want to lose the scope of his "goodness". I also wanted to focus on the Nurglings, holding the grandfather in the background. Secondly, it was necessary to add some dynamic movement and rhythm into the painting, to invoke the look I desired.
By the end of the first week I had finished the line sketch of my image (Fig.03), which allowed me to get a good idea about how the final image was going to end. That's the beauty of lines - in a relatively short period of time you can get a general idea that you can evaluate, use to verify that you're moving in your chosen direction and make changes to with a minimum of problems. A good, old principle that is often overlooked is to work from "the general to the particular". If you work with separate pieces, they might look good on their own but together they probably won't want to dance.
Fig.04 shows how I distributed the accents in my image. The greater the contrast areas, the stronger the focus and I used this principle to direct the viewer's eyes around the image. This principle is similar to the work of a depth of field effect, where the eye will be drawn to areas of detail rather than blurred areas affected by depth.
These kinds of accents can be implemented in various different ways: color, brightness, saturation, overflow or line break and volume, clarity and turbidity, crushing and solidity, more or less, and so on. In the case of video sequences it's all the same, just a bit more complicated as direction, duration and the nature of the movement are added to this set.
This kind of effect can be seen in the work of all of your favorite artists. Don't believe me? Check it out! Open your favorite image, take a quick look and try to remember the order in which you looked at things and for how long, then analyze why you think that happened. Directing the viewer's eye helps the artist to convey their intention and the story behind the image to the viewer.
I would also like to explain about the curls of smoke fumes of our grandfather. With this I was helped greatly by a book for animators called Elemental Magic - The Art of Special Effects Animation by Joseph Gilland. The basic idea is simple: everything is interconnected and any action or event will generate a chain of other events, as you can see in Fig.05.
It was now time to do the final fine-tuning, which can be a bit of a long and tedious process where I try to make sure I haven't lost any detail, colors or ideas along the way (Fig.06).
And here's the final image (Fig.07). Looking back now I think by focusing on the idea of the number seven being important to Nurgle, and therefore adding seven Nurglings to the scene, some of the ended up in artificial places and poses, which isn't ideal. But aside from that I'm fairly happy with the final piece.