Haunted Holidays: Castle

Haunted Holidays: Castle

Posted by Robyn Wall on

Week Two
October 10th through the 16th

Have you ever...been really confident and comfortable doing something because you've done it a bunch of times already and you know all the steps and procedures and yet you still FORGET A STEP???

Welp, this week I kind of forgot to take process pictures for you. 

Which is really too bad because one piece from this challenge would have been very interesting to see fully documented. I captured the last little bits, though.  

But onward and upward. 

The Castle prompt this week had me mainly thinking of Castlevania as my inspiration. I love Draculas castle with the tall, pointed spires and strange ‘hovering’ towers. I did not wish to take on something too intricate, though, as I feared I would stress about completing it on time. Looking back, I definitely could have done more in terms of detail, but then I would not have gotten to create everyone's favorite piece


Out of three sketches, two of this same castle in novel concepts and one that was more approachable, this was my favorite. I knew it would adapt well to the style I am developing, and this excited me.

 A castle floating in my smokey magic and disintegrating into bats. I planned to paint this mostly as a silhouette with just a slight spatial distinction between the back of the castle and the forefront. What I didn't plan was to have the castle painted with an interesting gradient effect.

I didn't take any process photos of this piece, but I think that is mostly okay because it really was not impressive until it was finished. 


To my great surprise, I finished this piece in only one day. Something that almost never happens. Certainly not since beginning the challenges over the summer. 

That just meant that I had extra time to work on the crowd's favorite. A sketch of the same castle but with layers of pine trees in front of it. I don't think anyone really expected the way it would turn out, and that is one of my favorite things. When people envisioned a piece completely different from what I saw in my mind's eye and are taken by surprise when I finish it. 


This is the piece that would have been really interesting to document from start to finish. We will just have to settle for the final bits of magic. 

I painted the background first, mixing Ochre Yellow with some black to create a strange hazy color. I then painted the castle in layers that got increasingly darker, starting with the ‘furthest’ layer and working forward. After a layer would dry completely, I would take a wash brush and apply a heavy layer of clean water to create the sort of fog effect.

Some layers of trees came next, also increasing in darkness and saturation the closer they get to the point of view.

Happy little trees.

One reason I had not chosen this concept from the beginning is that I was concerned about incorporating the style I have been developing, and that is the main purpose of this challenge. I worked in the smokey technique and I love the fog effect it lends, but I did not think it would be rational to outline the castle at all.

I still craved the stark contrast that is achieved when I use white gel pens for some line work.

And as I was laying in bed Wednesday night thinking about this piece, it occurred to me that perhaps snow would look good on the happy little tree. It may not be exactly like the style I have been working on, but it's within the realm.


But let me tell you, this shit took FOREVER. My hand started cramping halfway through!

Still totally worth it.

It’s funny, the concept that I was not as enthused about, the one you all felt more affinity to, actually wound up being my favorite. I like the Purple Bat Castle, but there is an eeriness to this piece that draws me in. It tells a store I want to hear.

My favorite part, though, is how good they look together. 


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