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Under the moon and dancing lights

A digitally painted illustration of my Dungeons & Dragons character, Erelmur'ss, in her most vulnerable, open state. An outcast from her society and most of her family, she has taken solace in the kind light of the goddess Eilistraee, promoting peace with the surface, redemption and beauty. I wanted Erel to mirror the goddess she admires and hopes to champion by following the same themes: long hair dancing in the wind, no clothes, bathed in moonlight and innate magic of the dark elves that, despite their dark reputation, still produces beautiful dancing lights to illuminate even the darkest of places.
This was also an experiment in digital painting, working with and then over nearly transparent line art. I consider it a good and fun experience, though practice never ceases!

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Final work, which had a few edits and revisions until I deemed it complete.

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One of the first stages after sketching - cleaner sketch lines. I duplicated the line layer, lowered the opacity of most lines except for very dark eye details and erased the rest.

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Blocking down shadows with a transparent watercolour brush.

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Blocking in base colours for the skin, hair and accessories.

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Some step may look like they're missing, but from then on, I went to paint over my original layers, using shadows as reference.

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A long, long process of painting and rendering hair follows, trying to give it volume and softness. I had a lot of fun drawing the flyaway hairs and curls. Basic background is added - night sky and full moon.

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Originally the piece looked like this, but something seemed off about the blocky leaves, shadows and the composition. I saved it as reference for future editing.

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Composition is now edited to a more 'character portrait' look. The moon shifted, colours adjusted and a new element added to the background - a spell of dancing lights, giving several other soft light sources to play with.