Krita and a mouse challenge

Krita and a mouse challenge - student project

I've always wanted to be an artist but never had the courage to apply to art school because I thought I didn't have imagination or creativity and would just embarrass myself in class. But just a few lessons in, I can honestly say that I was flowing with ideas and couldn’t wait to start the class project!  That's a first!

Since I was very poor in drawing but I can fake my way in painting, I decided to learn Krita so I can submit a digital painting. Unfortunately, the pen tablet I ordered is so late. It's not even being shipped yet! The only way I got this done was with a mouse. I was actually impressed with myself. Haha! 


The Environment

At first I thought that I would make a world filled with fairies and wisps who live in a lush rainforest. To make it even grander, that rainforest lives on top of a really huge sentient creature that floats majestically in the sky and through the clouds. I tried to think of what kinds of animals would be good, and settled for the turtle because the huge surface of its shell is really perfect.  So of course I needed to look for reference photos of “fantasy turtles”. Yes, those are my keywords. =)  Later on in my search, I realized that my cool idea was actually far too common! (Plus, it was kinda hard to draw =D)

So back to square one.                                                    

I really like the idea of a tiny civilization in a huge world so I thought of another environment where that could work: a city of tiny creatures living in the dark recesses between the raised and gnarly roots of an old tree. I actually liked this one better. There were quite a few references I liked for the idea, so I decided to go with this.

The problem is... I have no idea how to compose the painting! So I looked for some videos that could help me, and I happened across a video by someone named Amit Dutta and he was talking about "thumbnail makings". When I saw that video, it just clicked for me. I've always went the the other way around: from the details to the big picture.  Feeling inspired, I made my own thumbnails for the project:

Krita and a mouse challenge - image 1 - student project

The third one was actually inspired from Bobby Chiu's concept that he came up with during his stream. I was looking for other artists that could inspire me, and Bobby Chiu quickly became one of my favorites.

So anyway, back to the project. =D


The Story

I came up with the story while I was listening to the class. The way Ira explained how to create a rich world was so enlightening. The story:

The creatures living here would be simple, earthy beings with faint ties to magical arts. So far this was too dull, so I thought I should introduce some conflict. But from where? Maybe one of them? But what’s the conflict? (At this point, I was watching the lesson about “distribution of power”). Okay, so one of the dwellers would want all the powers to himself. Too cliché. So I tried to think of other scenarios to explain it.

After a while, I came up with this: The root dwellers drew their power from innocence and purity. So instead of having elders, their children are the strongest. It’s when they are most in tune to whatever mystic power created them. And as they grew older, they slowly lose this connection, until one day they would wither away and become part of their surroundings. But one of the dwellers, did not want to accept this fate. She knows there is a way to harness this power and grow stronger, not weaker.  But at what cost?

I was thinking that their world, or at least their small part of it, would slowly die or lose its glow or something to that effect. Maybe there' s a reason why they wither away and go back to the earth. And denying that, would mean denying their world its magic. Circle of life kind of thing, you know.. =D . I would maybe expand that further later, but I’m very satisfied with the backstory I made so far. 


Character Design

I wanted a cross between DOTA 2's Io and something earthy-looking like Groot.  I found good refences, but in the end, I only placed a silhouette since I couldn't really draw it myself. Using the mouse was hard enough; not having the skills was even worse.  


Final Composition

So with the story, composition and character in mind, I started the painting. The beginner Krita class I took also helped me a lot for this simple image.  I wanted to make it look more fantasy-like with firefly-esque lights floating around and glowing mushrooms scattered everywhere that would serve as lamp posts for my creatures. I also wanted to small hints of rooftops and ladders naturally formed by the leaves and vines. But again, the mouse was too hard to control. I settled for the bigger picture. So here it is:

Krita and a mouse challenge - image 2 - student project

I'm amazed how much I was able to do with the basic brushes and stamps in Krita.  

The character shown is actually the villain. I found it too boring to use the good characters, so I thought by using the villain, it actually shows more of the story that I had in mind.  I wanted to show this character on the verge of corruption, and the contrast between the peaceful and magical world around it. I really wanted a particular pose, so I'm happy that I found a good reference since I had a hard time drawing it myself.

I'm still studying getting values and coloring right since I have always found it difficult, but I'm quite happy with my  first ever digital painting. =D


The End


Ira, you're a godsend. You helped remove all my doubts and insecurities and this is the result.

Thank you!



Krita and a mouse challenge - image 3 - student projectKrita and a mouse challenge - image 4 - student project


Nix Baltazar
aspiring digital illustrator