Dwarf Ranger Step by Step

I have done a lot of the same so far in this blog and today I am going to switch it up. Today I am taking a drawing out of “Dragon Art Fantasy Characters: How to Draw Fantastic Beings and Incredible Creatures” Ok that book title is a mouthful, oh the author is Jessica Peffer.

First just a few things about this book. It is very good for beginners but you may not like certain style aspects of this book. I am a huge fantasy nerd and just how some of the creatures look in this book bothers me to no end. I respect the stylistic choices but they just don’t always appeal to me. This book not only gives you step by step instructions on creating lots of characters it also has awesome little sections in between that give you tips on things like how cloth hangs off of a person, facial expression, effective methods for drawing hair and more helpful tips.

Today I am going to be drawing a dwarf from this book. It is one of the drawings I like in here and I am going to show you step by step what I did. Feel free to follow along as well, if you create your own dwarf I would love to see it.

Alright step one, as always, let’s see the shapes.

Dwarf Step 1You may be wondering “Why is his head a square!? Skulls are round dummy!” Well making the head a cube actually helps set up the front of the face and perspective for the face as well. You could just draw a sphere but for beginners (which this book is geared highly towards) it can be easier to draw a cube then “sculpt” down to a spherical skull. We also see very boxy stout body form, basic lines for how the dwarf will stand and blobs for hands and feet.

Alright now on to the second step, giving the body more shape.

Dwarf Step 2Now right away we see I am starting to “sculpt” the head into a more humanoid shape.the rest is basically just rounding out the form. Even in these early stages of building the frame you want to keep in mind how the muscles of the drawing will flow. You can kind of see the triceps on the right hand side flowing into his arm, the shape of the forearm and the rounding of the shoulder muscle on the left.

Next we are going to add some detail. Some of this will be in red and some will be still in blue for reasons I will try to explain.

Dwarf Step 3Ok so what did we add here? First the stuff in blue, facial features and the axes. The face is pretty basic with a lumpy round nose and narrow eyes, along with a simple ear and a mouth you may even miss if you are not looking. The axes were actually one of the things that I was struggling with the most through out this whole drawing. I think in the end they look alright but getting the angle and perspective of the axes was challenging. If you are following along just try to get the basic shape down first and we can worry about trying to get perspective later.

In red we have his hair and some articles of clothing. I did these in red because I wanted to be able to see them separate from the other sketch at a glance without lines merging together. When I was zoomed in sketching the boots it felt like I was drawing Santa.

Ok this next one is a big jump and I am sorry if you are actually trying to draw your own dwarf. I added a lot of detail all in one step. Dwarf Step 4Alright it looks like a lot has changed but it is mostly just adding detail to the existing frame. I just added some shoulder pads, the chest plate, goggles, belt, gloves and a cloak. The rest of the detail was pretty much already there. I started to put more detail into the axes and tried getting the perspective. The way I went about it was mostly trial and error, just sketch sketch sketch until one of my scribbles looked right then formed it out fully. The book actually has square handle axes which may have made them easier to draw but I didn’t like how they looked.

Next I do my inking. I used the smoothing and rounding pen tool in ArtRage with it turned all the way down to 1% size but 100% pressure.

Dwarf Step 5Like all my drawings before this one I pretty much just trace my sketch with the ink pen and finalize the drawing. I just added a bunch of folds to the clothing and detail to the fur on the boots and gloves. I think I pulled off the axes both pretty good. In the end I just used their basic shapes and pictured those in perspective. Added some detail to the chest plate and belt and I decided I did not want to deal with drawing the end of the flowing cloak so it is outside of the frame.

Here is the outline without the sketch behind it.

Dwarf OutlineNow lets see him with some colour.

Dwarf Coloured

And now as an oil painting.

Dwarf Painted

I like both versions of the colouring but I think I like the one with the outline just a tiny bit more. I wasn’t going to have this coloured today for this post but I loved the drawing so much that I just couldn’t leave it unpainted. I started thinking about what this character actually would be in a game, I think he is definitely a dwarf ranger. I took that into account when I was doing the colouring, so I stuck with a lot of earthy tones. Doing the drawing of the outline only took me about an hour or two but colouring this bad boy took at least twice as long as that. I am very happy with the results and I think this might actually be my best one yet. Agreed?

So what do you think? If you like fantasy characters and want a good beginners book for help you should check this book out, just remember the style is not for everyone so maybe take a look inside it and see what you think.


2 thoughts on “Dwarf Ranger Step by Step

  1. Hmm, seems like the ‘oil painting’ version loses a lot of readability/definition in some of the more detailed parts like the ear, beard, and the skirt. But, relying on shading only I think the nose and some of the creases in the tunic (?) actually look much better (higher contrast in colour i guess?).

    I think it would be neat if you kept one drawing and applied each new principle to as you went. Kind of an apples to apples show of progression alongside new illustrations in normal posts.

    Anyways, great work. Looking forward to seeing more.

    • Yeah I agree that the painting version loses a lot of the hard edges. I find it hard to do fine detail with the paint so far but I think I could have made it better if I focused on it more but I pretty much just took off the outline and called it a painting.

      I will try to think of a way to do a single picture progression alongside my other stuff and see how it works out.

      Thanks for the feedback

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s