“Elandra” began her journey like many of my other pieces, as a sketch. The initial sketch was based on nothing more than a feeling and on a whim. For this character, I wanted to convey a sense of her effortlessly floating. The whim: just try to draw something spontaneously and see what happens. Prints are available for sale here.
Gladion, The Ethereal of Protection Art Print
“Gladion, The Ethereal of Protection” introduces an all-new Ethereal. As for the inspiration for the actual character, I had come up with his name first (sometimes I don’t have a name until after I’ve done some drawing) so I wanted to make sure stands out.
Being the Ethereal of Protection, it meant in my mind that Gladion should be bright, like a beacon in the night. These traits became evident after I completed the initial gray scale phase of the painting. When adding color, I wanted hues that would contrast with the planets in the background.
Giving Gladion a gold-themed color seemed appropriate for a protector. The Star Sword featured in the painting is also bright and beacon-like. Add to this color scheme the backdrop of dark outer space and partially shadowed planets, and I knew I had the perfect visual contrast. I was tempted to keep the upper background almost a solid black fill. But going that route seemed just a little too lacking. After going back and forth, I added some reddish space clouds to contrast some warmth with the cooler planets in the background.
Gladion does not actually wield the sword as a weapon. He protects others from the Star Sword itself. The sword is one element of the mysterious Ethereal Golden Armor. This armor, coupled with the Star Sword, constitutes the ultimate defense artifact of The Realm Ethereal. An armor said to be worn by only the most worthy Metaterran, during a time of calamity and revelation. But that is a story for another time…
Gladion, The Ethereal of Protection
“Gladion, The Ethereal of Protection” is an all-new Ethereal set to officially debut in the Realm Ethereal this upcoming March in a collector’s art print. Gladion will mark the ninth Ethereal to emerge in the series of Ethereals I have been creating and designing. Gladion’s title “Ethereal of Protection” marks him as a key player with regards to the Ethereal Guard.
To the Ethereal Guard, Gladion is often viewed as their unspoken leader. Gladion’s role is to prepare and gather all Ethereal Guards from vast worlds and bring them to the Realm Ethereal. Gladion acts as the conduit between all Ethereal Guard’s from the moment of their birth and into their eventual training to become Ethereal Guard.
Gladion wields the Ethereal Star Sword. This sword is made up of pure ethereal matter and energy. The sword exists in a state between reality and dreams. With the Ethereal Star Sword, Gladion is able to detect new Ethereal Guard. Ethereal Guard are born into their roles. An Ethereal Guard also possesses an energy signature that can be detected at birth by most Ethereals.
Gladion is able to command all Ethereal Guard at will. Were he inclined to do so, Gladion could easily turn from his role of protector to that of aggressor. But if he did that, he would have to respond directly to Om, the Ethereal of Vibration, who is the most powerful Ethereal in The Realm Ethereal. ■
Mirela – Of The Land
“Mirela – Of The Land” was an attempt to expand upon the character I first painted in 2018. It also stemmed from my desire to create a new and more impactful image to add to the lore of the Metaterrans. Metaterrans, in the Realm Ethereal universe, are beings who have extraordinary abilities that mark them as something more than human. New print available here.
“Mirela – Of The Land” Sketch Preview
The Realm Ethereal Character Creation: Mirela – Of The Land
I am revisiting one of my earliest Metaterran creations, Mirela. From the beginning, the only thing I knew about this character was that her color scheme was greenish overall. My initial concepts overall for the Metaterrans was for each one to embody some form of elements. For example, Casia was to embody fire. Kiana was to embody water. And Mirela was land.
I abandoned the concept with Casia, as she has since become such an integral part of the first chapter in The Realm Ethereal comic book story. But for Mirela, I kept that concept intact. Her unique abilities are tied into being able to shape, control, or manipulate soil, rocks, and plant life to her will.
Adon, Ethereal of Dimension
Adon, the Ethereal of Dimension, is the first new Ethereal since Aur (May 2018.)
2019 felt like it was the year of the Ethereal Guard and Metaterrans as far as my character creation output for The Realm Ethereal. So much of this was due to my wanting to project a feeling of ‘groundedness’ in my work for this project. I know, groundedness is a terrible word. In fact, I’m sure it’s not even a real word. My intention was to create human-like characters so that they would be identifiable and, to a lesser degree, perhaps even relatable. The inclusion of animal-like creatures such as butterflies, birds, and even a half-man/half-lion character, felt to me like I did a fairly good job of achieving this intention.
One of the aspects I enjoy about world-building in The Realm Ethereal is the ultimate flexibility and freedom I have in creating work for this genre. It’s fair to say that when I sit down to work on either a new character piece or a part of the ongoing comic book story, I am at my most laser focused and creative.
Being creative in this world building endeavor over the last few months of 2019 left me with the desire to return to the Ethereals. Hence, a new character creation in the form of Adon, the Ethereal of Dimensions. Adon represents my 2020 goal of getting back into a more ethereal approach to my artwork. Both literally and figuratively.
2020 will be the year I refocus The Realm Ethereal on being more “ethereal”.
The focus this year will be on creating more characters akin to Adon. While I have some ideas for more Metaterrans, I’m feeling more whimsical at the onset of the start of this new decade. More dreamlike environs, more light/airy/cosmic creations. While I’ll be focusing my new paintings on this type of subject matter, the next phase of my comic book story will actually focus on the Ethereal Guard. How do you like that for a back pedal? But that story is for another blog post in the future.
Each new painting I create contains within it hints of new ideas.
If I were writing a story, you could call these hints subplots. In reality, as I’m creating these new characters and their surroundings, bits and pieces of the Realm Ethereal reveal themselves to me. One of the ideas contained within the Adon painting are the golden pieces that adorn his figure. But the gist of the idea is this: those golden pieces are actually part of a larger, disassembled armor. But an armor for whom? Ahh, a seed has been planted. So cool, so cool. Time will reveal all.
I also want to return to illustrating my characters so they look and feel like “super heroes”.
After all, I am in this art business because of my love for the comic books I read as a child. The early, cherished memories I have in my head of me picking up comic books as a kid at the local grocery store or local pharmacy still burn bright and intensely. I never want to stop loving comic books and making comic book inspired art keeps those colorful memories burning and alive. This is going to involve character designs that are complementary to both a super hero and fantasy art aesthetic. That being said, I believe The Realm Ethereal will be quite a colorful year in 2020. ■
Aeron – Ethereal Guard
“Aeron, Ethereal Guard” is my final painting for The Realm Ethereal in 2019.
I had just finished painting “Ethereal Borders“ about a day or two before I started this painting. I was on a time-crunch due to traveling at the near the end of November and the beginning of December. Finishing “Ethereal Borders” and completing this painting made for busy stretch of art making.
Aeron was also the final piece I completed in 2019, as well go out to my print subscribers over at my Patreon. When my wife saw this piece, she said she really liked it. I told her the circumstances and she said “you should paint faster more.” I agree with her on that one.
The truth, this painting was meant to be a simple layout, limited color palette, and introduce one of the key concepts of my Realm Ethereal universe.
The concept is “The Great Void”. Alongside making paintings for this universe I am crafting, I am also writing and illustrating a comic book based on these characters, called The Realm Ethereal.
In it, the storyline focuses on the character Casia Minohr. Throughout the story, various characters make reference to the Great Void. At this stage I’m not ready to reveal what is this Great Void. But know that in this painting of Aeron, you’re seeing what is the very first visual concept. In the painting, we see this Great Void behind Aeron. Or, is she opening up the Great Void? I have stated so much as that she is an Elite Guardsman (Ethereal Guard.) And, that she guards the Great Void. Again, only time will tell what is her role in the Realm Ethereal.
“Aeron, Ethereal Guard” is available as a 13″ x 19″ art print from my online store.
Ethereal Borders is my most complex digital painting to date. With two main characters as centers of interest and a cityscape in the background, this one really challenged me.
This painting started out back in 2014 as a pen and ink illustration. I can’t seem to find that original drawing and I hope it’s just misplaced somewhere in my studio. For now, I’ll have to show you the drawing as it is in my sketchbook Art Book One.
There were some modifications made for the painting when compared to the ink drawing. The ink drawing was drawn with only reference used for the horse body. Everything else, I drew out of my head.
For the 2019 painted version, I decided to make this a part of my Realm Ethereal universe. I’ve done this with several other ink drawings. Aeliana and Nenael also started out as ink drawings a few years ago. The most prevalent changes to the original drawing in the painting is the reference I used for both the good prince’s head and the centaur’s head. The prince still holds his charming looks, but the centaur (Adastrion) has a much more developed look.
2019 is the year I really started to dig my heels into digital painting. With that came the realization on my part that using photo reference was only going to enhance my work. That being said, I also ended up using reference for the hands and feet as well as a horse reference for the musculature. The pose of the horse body itself was already composed in the original ink drawing, but I could not find the original reference for it. So, the final painted horse body is a blending of new reference material I found online while retaining the original ink drawings form.
The other component that was a huge composition change was the “bridge” element. In the ink drawing, I think it’s pretty clear that this is some kind of bridge, but not in the real-world, three dimensional sense. In the drawing, as in my painting, it’s fairly flat. It’s also on a different plane than the floating city in the background. I know, this is all fantasy type stuff and part of this process is me making the stuff as I go along.
There are times when I will cue the viewer in on the finer parts of the art and other times when I’ll forget I have a viewer. I think that’s part of the creative process. You get on a roll and sometimes you just keep on rolling.
As I developed the painting, I removed the foreshortened portion of it as I felt it tended to direct the viewer’s eye out of the center of interest. In this case, it’s our good prince (Prince Aegyon) and the centaur Adastrion.
In the end, I made the decision to remove that foreshortened area in favor of showing the Dreaming City in the background. In hindsight, and after some critiques, perhaps keeping that sliver of “bridge” would have explained the perspective a little better.
“Ethereal Borders” was a self-directed illustration for my Realm Ethereal world-building project. As such, each piece is going to be a learning experience. Both in terms of illustration fundamentals as well as content creation. This one is no different. But this is one of my favorite pieces so far.
It’s currently available from my online store at as both a 13″ x 19″ art print. ■
Asreeth Lion Warrior in “Asreeth, Ethereal Guard”
Asreeth, Ethereal Guard is one of my creations that became one of my first online comic book websites. No longer around, www.asreethlionwarrior.com featured the weekly adventures of this half-man, half-lion character. He existed in a world filled with similar half-animal, half-human characters. The inspiration was taken by a Calico cat we had at the time. Print available here.