Melina Elden Ring Oil Painting
This post is centered around an oil painting of a character from Elden Ring named Melina, who acts as a guide for the player during the course of the game. She’s a fascinating and mysterious character in one of the best games I’ve ever played. But, since I’ve already discussed the game itself in great detail through four previous posts, I’m not going to go wild talking about it again. In brief though, obviously I’m a huge fan of the game. It’s essentially an open world hybrid, combining the deep, intense combat of Dark Souls with the sprawling world of games like Skyrim and the Witcher 3. It’s also one of the rare games that I was actually interested enough in to stick with until defeating the final boss. That actually says a lot about this game, because there are so many very good, quality games that just couldn’t hold my attention all the way until the end. But Elden Ring pulled me all the way to its conclusion, and even left me wanting more.
So, I’m not going to talk more about Elden Ring here. But if you do want to explore more about the game itself, I’ve actually written quite a lot about it in five separate previous posts (which included artwork in each). Those posts are embedded here if you want to check them out; some of the topics explored in depth include the characters, stories, tragedies, and complicated lineages.
Moving on, what I would really like to discuss with this post is my continued learning experience with painting. As I mention often, I am quite far behind in sharing these paintings, so the discussion of how I’m progressing is usually weeks (or longer) behind where I actually am in this learning process. At this point in the timeline that coincides with the painting I’m sharing, I had recently learned about a tool called a proportional divider and used it in a couple of paintings. I was so enthusiastic about trying it out that this Elden Ring piece actually ended up being the third in a row during the same day.
After having used the proportional divider a few times, I knew it was a great tool that I would always keep in mind. But I also know what one of my long terms goals is – to eventually try painting from life. Perhaps not creating anything amazing, just being able to accomplish it in a basic way with satisfactory proportions. Essentially, to feel like I can step up to the canvass and not embarrass myself in a room with more refined painters. To do that, I would need to be able to assess and form shapes without so many guides. Of course, it’s great to have goals, but this hobby is supposed to be for fun, so I figured I’d allow myself some leeway to play around with these calipers. I used them a couple more times before finally trying to go freehand again.
I had done a couple recently that turned out pretty well without measurement (this person and Andre the Giant), so I figured it wouldn’t be a huge stretch. As it turns out, the artists’ road isn’t always a straight line! I tried to freehand a painting that was really quite bad. Bad enough in fact that I tossed in the garbage, which is something that I almost never do. Several days later, I went back to the proportional divider and produced a horrible portrait. This had me absolutely perplexed. I’m no Rembrandt, but I should at least be able to output something that looks like a human being. Bizarrely enough, I tried this same painting again the next morning, this time freehand, and it turned out fine. See what I mean by that winding artists’ road? Sometimes, you just can’t explain these things. One thing is certain though, I need much more general painting practice. To keep things in perspective, it took me over 150 colored pencil drawings to actually feel comfortable…and I’m only about 25+ into this painting thing. As they say in boxing, I need much more roadwork before I’m ready to actually get in the ring.
So, getting back to this painting of Melina from Elden Ring. As I mentioned, this is a character that I’d done previously, but in my more comfortable/familiar colored pencil mode. I really like covering similar ground again in paint – I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it’s because it’s fun to compare the different effects achieved using oils done in the same artistic style. And this was done “on rails”, which is to say I measured the facial features to make sure the proportions were solid. The final version is shown above, which I think was a success.
Despite the fact that this painting for some reason was a bear to try to accurately photograph, I think the final result looks great in person. Although the colors are very gray, somehow aspects still pop out really well. At least, that is the effect in person (I think getting that to show in photos was the real challenge). Measuring using the proportional divider worked well, and everything landed right where it should. Amdall Portrait Evaluation Test #1, which is the usual “does it look like the person”, I believe was passed. Obviously this isn’t a real person, but at least it does resemble the game character.
I’m even kind of proud about how I did the background here. That’s often an issue for me, but this time I went with a golden hue to match the Erdtreee, which is a massive luminous tree that is almost always visible in the game. I think it’s really appropriate, and fits logically but also works aesthetically. Looking at this painting, I really can’t think of anything that I would have done differently. And that’s something that I don’t think I’ve ever said about art that I’ve done!
In fact, I liked this one so much I used it in several YouTube videos, which I’ll embed here. First, I’ve got the usual high speed progression set to music. But because the video quality ended up being pretty solid, and it followed a similar process, I rolled it up with the previous two paintings (Mustache Man and Morrigan from Dragon Age) and added some narrated discussion. Then I even used this painting for a third video, which was a video product review of the proportional divider itself.
Above: Videos related to Melina Elden Ring Oil Painting (high speed time lapse, discussion and comparison, and review of proportional divider used during this painting).