Character Design – Creating a Warrior

Posted on 2012/05/23 at 08:34 by daarken 30 Comments

In this video Daarken will take you through his process of creating a character from a simple black and white sketch in Photoshop. There is no audio commentary in this video and the video is sped up by 4-6 times. The sketch in the video is unfinished since the end process was not able to be filmed.

Music by
Jed Rabid from Subconscious
Journey to the Moon by DjCode

30 Comments on "Character Design – Creating a Warrior"

  1. scapulator · 2012/05/23 at 09:30 · Reply

    nice beats, what name songs?

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/05/23 at 09:59 · Reply

      The song credits are at the end of the video. I also added the links in the description for easier clicking.

  2. Tim · 2012/05/23 at 12:13 · Reply

    That was brilliant. This is the way i’d like to approach doing characters, starting with a black and white sketch etc although my anatomy needs to get better first haha.

    Don’t have a clue about all those gradients and layers you had at the start, need to look into that kinda thing. I’ll take a look at some of the others vids. Awesome work.

  3. deburger · 2012/05/23 at 12:30 · Reply


  4. Hector Ruiz · 2012/05/23 at 13:20 · Reply

    sweet tutorial and sweet music

  5. nezumi · 2012/05/23 at 14:10 · Reply

    Love your work man – but I said that dozen times already…
    How did you mapped flipping of screen? Shortcut on keyboard or tablet? Just curious.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/05/23 at 14:16 · Reply

      I defined my own shortcut in Photoshop by going to edit – keyboard shortcuts.

  6. Trace007 · 2012/05/23 at 21:41 · Reply

    A nick in the crotch armor; he’s a luck guy. Also great tunes. This is friggin’ awesome. Great work as usual.

  7. Jonas · 2012/05/24 at 06:59 · Reply

    Masterful as always!

    • Auth · 2012/11/27 at 20:06 · Reply

      nice use of light coming thguroh. It has that late afternoon feel where a tiger is just rousing from a day of slumber only to be bugged by a “morning person”.

  8. Jonathan · 2012/05/24 at 10:41 · Reply

    I love the way you work. It’s leaves a lot of room for intuitiveness and feels very organic.
    I can’t seem to loosen up enough to work this way, but I feel that this is the approach that’ll work for me best.
    Thanks for the share.
    Have a great weekend.

  9. jimi · 2012/05/24 at 23:30 · Reply

    dying to watch the new video…. i have to work all weekend, so I’m hoping it gets posted tonight! ahhh.

  10. norman · 2012/05/26 at 18:15 · Reply

    I hope there was more teaching and way less just showing how you paint.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/05/27 at 17:18 · Reply

      I’m sorry you feel that I didn’t teach you anything. Sometimes I don’t have time to add a full commentary. Since this is a free site, I can’t make it a priority over my paying work. Most of my other tutorials have full commentary and focus more on “teaching.”

  11. Nahe · 2012/05/26 at 20:31 · Reply

    When you design a character, you do by this way? no thumbnails, siluettes or something like that? Or this is just a rendering character? I dont know if i am xplaining

    Love the video anyway!

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/05/27 at 17:19 · Reply

      This was just a personal piece, so I didn’t do any thumbnails. When I do client work I do thumbnails first because I have to get approval before I start painting.

  12. Mosk · 2012/05/27 at 12:59 · Reply

    Thanks for sharing the music links, very much appreciated. Great Tutorial too, super awesome design.

  13. Van · 2012/05/28 at 16:49 · Reply

    Thanks for this vid, daarken. I’ve seen you show up on Awesome Horse crits so I thought I’d come check out your site. I’ve noticed some people in comments throwing shade about your free tuts (seriously, where does that level of personal entitlement even come from?), but I want you to know I’m a total beginner and this vid wasn’t hard to read how you work, and helpful in that way, too. Thanks for using your personal time/webspace to share these free tuts with us, and donating time to help people with crits. Some of us really appreciate you, dude.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/05/29 at 15:14 · Reply

      No problem! I’m glad I can help some people out there. Yeah, sometimes people complain a little too much about free things, but everyone has their opinion. I”m glad you found something helpful in my tutorial, I really appreciate it!

  14. Yianni · 2012/05/29 at 18:50 · Reply

    Hey Daarken, don’t worry about all the people complaining about no audio and such, most of us really appreciate you simply commenting and being active on the forum let alone making videos and running a whole free website for us :) So thanks a lot! Once I turn 18 and get my debit card I’ll be sure to buy one of your payed tutorials!
    Just a quick question if you got time. Do you think it’s worth getting into a BFA with all these tutorials around the web? Or what about TAD, what do you think about that?

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/05/29 at 19:12 · Reply

      Thanks, I really appreciate it! Honestly, getting a BFA is completely up to you. You don’t need to go to school to get a job and you will never have a client that will ask you if you have a degree or not. Some people just want to go to an art school for the experience, for the structure, to be around other artists, etc. Some people just don’t have the dedication to learn on their own, so they might need that structure to keep them oriented. Be completely honest with yourself and ask if you have the drive and dedication to learn on your own or do you want/need the art school experience.

  15. nE0n1nja · 2012/06/01 at 08:58 · Reply


    Man, I can’t wait for the book!

  16. evaxe · 2012/06/01 at 11:31 · Reply

    cool! are all your character design speed paints going to be post apoc.? i think the first vid you posted was a post apoc. character. nice to see you paint other things besides fantasy :)

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/06/01 at 11:37 · Reply

      Not all, but since my day job is painting fantasy characters I tend to go more post apocalyptic/sci-fi in my personal work.

  17. EricTran · 2012/06/03 at 19:44 · Reply

    Daarken, you always inspire me. Thank you for taking the time to show your methods, it means a lot to us artists. Do you plan on doing any more portrait tutorials? I kind of suck at those =(

  18. Johan Wendin · 2012/07/29 at 04:40 · Reply

    So… what happened between 4:23 and 4:24? Quite a lot of details just pop into existance.

  19. Dallx · 2012/10/01 at 13:50 · Reply

    Hi Daarken, I have one question. I’m trying to make the transition from kicking things off in color to painting in grayscale first, like you do. But whenever I apply my colors, they all look dull and muddy, and not the way I expected them to be. Got any advice? Thanks.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/10/01 at 13:58 · Reply

      Do more opaque painting in color. I only use layer modes to add the base color. After that I paint opaquely in straight color on top of everything. You can also try using adjustment layers like color balance, levels, and curves.

  20. Erymanthe · 2015/04/29 at 01:33 · Reply


    I don’t want to bother you. I saw this video and started wandering where i could find this great brush you used to make the background. I looked in the brushes you gently put to download (thanks you) but i can’t find it.

    Could you tell me how to get it ?

    Also, thank you for this vid, i learned a lot thanks to you.

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