Home > Illustrations > Cautious Samurai – Learning Anew

Cautious Samurai – Learning Anew

Months ago, (and I do mean SEVERAL months ago), I started a painting of a samurai dude. The idea behind him was that he is cautiously drawing out his blade as he senses something nearby. The look I wanted was one of a sense of confidence. I also wanted to paint something that wasn’t anime. I didn’t get a chance to finish it, and moved on to other paintings like Mikuru and Moe Haruhi (among many others). Today I decided to go back on it and finish it. The end result was this:

I didn’t deviate far from the original unfinished image, and fixed some errors here and there, and completed the rest of the painting. After I was done, I took a closer look at the painting, and asked for advice from friends on what they thought of it. I got feedback, and decided that this painting was actually terrible. It lacked emotion, the colors were not flattering for the character, there is no depth (due to lack of color), The proportions were wrong, simply put, it was “a painting”. Over the years, I had forgotten what painting is supposed to be about – telling a story.

Hence, I went back to the drawing board, or in this case, Photoshop, and basically re-did most of the important parts. I resized the head, and pulled it out so you could see more of it, and I also changed the angle. With that, I added more expression to him, and roughed up his features. I added blood trickling down the side of his head, and also changed the color scheme. The red from his left/behind is sort of a foreshadowing color of impending doom. Now it tells a story.

The wounded samurai treads carefully in the thicket of bamboo, but he knew that his enemy was near. His heart was racing, but he knew through his own experiences that panicking would do him no good. Quietly, he unsheathes his blade, as he senses his enemy approaching.

Originally, his eyes were much wider, and his expression much more tense. But that made him look really scared and panicked. I wanted him to retain some composure, so I toned it down. But now that I look at it, I think it might actually have been better to exaggerate his expression. I’ll probably go through another iteration of it and just replace the existing one.

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  1. Kin
    May 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Great job Radiant, I remember seeing you start this image a really long time ago. I have to agree that the second image is much more dynamic than the first one. The first one just looks motionless and stale. The second one has much more motion in the brush strokes and definitely makes the character much more interesting. As for exaggerating the expression, I think it would help the viewer read his emotional state easier.

    I really like the use of color as foreshadowing. I would actually imagine that an enemy is actually behind him where the red is and will chop his head off by surprise.

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