Monday, February 08, 2016

Critique from "Lighting for Story and Concept Art" at Schoolism

Here's a critique I did for a student, from my "Lighting for Story and Concept" class. The lesson was on material design for characters, but the student did a pretty good job with the distribution and variation of surfaces, so most of this critique is focused on selling her ideas in the best way possible.

If you're interested in learning more about the class look here. It's an advanced class so if you struggle with stuff like cast shadows, occlusion, specular placement, terminator placement, etc. then you may want to take a lighting fundamentals class first. (I also teach one of those).

The line art for this character was done by Joe Olson.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Secrets of Valhalla

Here's a book I illustrated the cover for last year. Getting the composition to work with all those branches was tricky, and I still not sure the hierarchy is as clear as it should be, though it looks pretty good with the title in there.
In the book the tree is described as being silvery, but when I tried a full chrome tree it felt a bit out of control. So I tried silvery threads instead, and kept them mostly dark with the occasional glint of light so most the focus would be on the magic of the scene.

Another workshop

This time in Stockholm, at the end of May! If you want to come, go to and use the promo code NIELSON before February 15th for a discount.