Elden Ring Spirit Ash Drawing
I thought I had sufficiently scratched the Elden Ring artwork itch with a couple of drawings I shared last week, but apparently that is not the case! I was sitting at my desk feeling the urge to draw, and I thought about how much I enjoyed working on the previous Elden Ring pieces. So, I figured, what’s stopping me from doing more if that’s what is on my mind? Sometimes I have little internal arguments about this sort of thing, like when I went on that Witcher-related drawing binge. One part of me will say, “no that’s too much on the same topic,” but then I always get back to, “well if I enjoy it why not though?” After all, hobbies are for entertainment, so I think ultimately it’s most important that you do what makes you happy.
Anyhow, that leads me back to Elden Ring. As I discussed in my last post, it has only been out a few weeks and I already think it’s earned a place in my all-time favorites list. This time, I wanted to draw something featuring characters in the game called Spirit Ashes. Spirit Ashes are basically companions you can summon for tough battles; there are dozens available in the game, and they can be powered up and have unique capabilities. I have always loved using AI companions in games, even going back to Secret of Mana on the SNES in the 1990s. There’s just something about it I love, whether it’s integral to the game like in Dragon’s Dogma, or an optional thing you can explore as in Skyrim.
In Elden Ring, I have naturally developed some Spirit Ash favorites. The combat in this game is infamously punishing at times, so triumphing with the help of these companions has given me an affinity for specific ones. Early in the game, I used the bizarrely named “Lone Wolf” which summons three (not-so-lone) wolves. These were my buddies until I found Banished Knight Oleg, who’s quick two sword attacks and capability to withstand a ton of damage made him my new go-to. Much later on, I acquired an incredible summons called the Mimic Tear, which basically makes an exact duplicate of your character, including active weapons, abilities, stats, and items, at the time he/she is summoned. Once I found it, it was so ridiculously strong it was all I ever used…until a patch reduced the mimic’s damage. Eventually, I found a fast-moving summons called Black Knife Tiche who became another favorite.
I use some others on occasion, but this is my A-Team. Getting to the artwork, I wanted to capture something featuring these folks specifically. As soon as I started imagining how the scene for this drawing would look, I ran through positioning and which environment from the game might work best. And there was the question of how to render them. Spirit ash summons don’t seem to have faces in Elden Ring, and naturally they have sort of a ghostly color palette. Should I emulate that look? Ultimately, I took some liberties imagining them more as living people/animals, since I wanted to have my character interacting with them.
I have mentioned previously how drawing from imagination is not a strength. While this isn’t quite from imagination, since I have the actual video game itself to reference, it still has some aspects of that. The scene itself is imagined, and I had to put my own spin on making these less ghost-like. So that was a bit of a challenge. I was a bit surprised to find that the end result actually turned out pretty well! It aligns quite a nicely with mental image I had from the start, which is not something that I’ve always been able to achieve.
Aside from being able to reference the game itself, I also had some assistance from my drawing models. I’ve written about the type of model I have (Figma Archetype Next) before on this site, but also somewhat recently shared a product review on Armdog Reviews. I honestly hadn’t used them much lately, but this was a great opportunity to lean on something to help me with proportions. Most of my art consists of head and shoulder portraits, so I had to lean on some additional resources to figure out full body poses.
Even using the models, I have to admit it wasn’t a total victory. I think I captured the Spirit Ash characters fairly well overall. But the Tarnished character in the center seems like he’s positioned a bit unnaturally. It seemed in line with the model’s position when I started, but now one of the legs looks a bit weird to me. But overall, the models did help quite a lot! Another aspect I want to note isn’t ideal is the overall balance of the scene. The top right area feels empty compared to the rest.
I almost just skipped recording this project entirely, but in the end, I went ahead with the video. I was drawing in the afternoon, which usually lends itself to pretty solid lighting. With the last Elden Ring progression videos, I struggled a bit with visual quality as I increased speed, but I think this one held together well enough. I could probably still stand to upgrade my video equipment, both camera and lights, but it’s not bad for an amateur.
I started this write-up discussing how the pull to draw things related to a certain topic sometimes lasts longer than you might predict. In the case of Elden Ring (and The Witcher before it), I just kept wanting to do it, so why not keep rolling? I’ve had such a fun time doing these…honestly I still kind of feel the inspiration to do something else. I’m not exactly sure what, but I definitely can’t say this will be my last Elden Ring drawing. Particularly if I keep playing the game as much as I have been! I’ve had a couple of thoughts, like maybe Blaidd the beastman, or Ranni the Witch. Or even one of the more interesting bosses like Radahn.