Friday, June 9, 2017

Painting a Planeswalker - Nissa, Steward of Elements

by Howard Lyon

I was recently commissioned by Mark Winters to paint Nissa, a Planeswalker in the Magic: the Gathering Universe.  It was a great commission opportunity (thank you Mark!) and I wanted to really invest some time and effort into the process.

I started by doing a series of small digital sketches. I used these to establish the values and larger shapes in the scene.  I had just returned from Italy and Bernini's angels on the bridge to the Castel St. Angelo were really on my mind.

Once the sketches were approved, I moved on to the photography. My wife is always a good sport and I dressed her up in some fabric and dish towels!

The background for this one was fairly complex so I built a model of it in Blender, a free 3D program that I have found very useful for complex geometric elements.

Next step, finished drawing. I like to do these on grey paper to serve as the mid-tone and then work in charcoal and white chalk. I'll also use some white gouache in places to really hit the highlights.

I made a copy of the drawing, transferred it to a 16"x20" panel and started the final painting:

I painted from front to back so I could work the edges from one layer to the next. Here are a couple details from the painting:

And the final piece.

I regularly share in progress shots of various paintings, drawing and studies on my Instagram account if you are interested.

Thanks for giving this a read!



  1. Paintings like these make me strive everyday to one day achieve products like these in the future. Good Luck man loved the content.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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