Tutorial: Rider on the Styx

by Massive Voodoo

Hello Jungle Painters,

time again for yet another free article via Massive Voodoo's year of the painter.
You voted during the latest tutorial voting which article should be up and went for Roman's old project "Rider on the Styx".

We are proud to say it's article number 250 now in the article section of Massive Voodoo.

We now jump right into Roman's mind to see what he was up to while bringing this project to life, back in 2009 and - far more important - what he still remembers.


It's been a while.
2009 is back some months and well I was pretty surprised to find a lot of yet unreleased photos of this project to create an article of.

The model I used here is from Helldorado, the game and for me - being a fan of greek mythology - it was the perfect guy to tell the story of the ferryman who carries the dead over the river Styx, his name is Charon, the rider on the Styx.

First, I want to apologise for the quality of some of the photos as they have been done back in those days, were my photoskills and equipment were still very poor, but I am sure it'll work to show what I have done and maybe some of you might find inspiration in this article.

Honestly I got to say it was a rather fast project. I really wanted to put this idea straight to a plinth without thinking too much. I had bought a plastic boat from scale modelling via a second hand market for it. Added a lot of wood to it to make it look really old and worn. Skulls and a strange, weird composition for the boat secured a look that was unique and would fit to the model.

The base groundwork was created with Milliput and the "waves" have been sculpted via the use of a brush's backside. 

I used tissue, ripped it a part a little bit and placed it in a mixture of water and PVC glue.

I placed it in this wet stage to the boat and waited until the PVC glue did his magic. It dried and became harder, but yet not as solid as I wished for.

When all was dry I took superglue and a toothpick to carefully place the glue everywhere on the canvas to give it more strength.

I soon switched to painting the piece and decided to go with really dirty, rough brownish and greenish colours for the boat. The river should be filled with blood in my imagination and so the waves have been painted with Tamyia Clear x-27. Article about blood can be found here.

I decided to go with a blueish grey for the Rider itself to have him in cold/warm contrast to the boat and the river to make him look more alien to the scene and ghostly. Gna, bad photo now:

Overall I added more hours to paint the piece, but as said in the beginning it was executed and finished rather quick. Well that's all I got to tell about the progress on the piece and I know it is not much, but seeing it after 5 years now I have something interesting for our readers in my pocket, but first let's have a look on the finished piece:

While having a look on what I have done on this piece and how quick I did it I made up my mind on what I'd do different nowadays. That is where I think my thoughts could be interesting for you:

- Spending more time on the create a more authentic look of the boat construction. I mean I just glued everything there. What about nails to keep the planks in place? What about more logic behind the placement of the pieces? What about more damage on the wood parts to make them look even older?

- The rider has a lot of wind in his clothing and together with the waves the scene, the angle in which his pole is placed in the river it submits speed to the viewers eye. I forgot to add this to the canvas in total.

- The skulls are a nice addition, but what I nowadays would rather enjoy is changing the scale of the piece. Right now with 28 mm skulls it is just a 28 mm Charon. I think he looks so alien and ghostly that it would have been great to skip the skulls completly and place small 1:72 or 1:100 figures in the boat that are being hauled over to the underworld.

- Details. I mean it was a quick piece, executed in about some days back in 2009, but I could have spent more time on details, such for a example Charon's chest were he piles the coins given to him by the dead.

Well, these are my thoughts. What you think about such a piece from the past?
Were my thoughts helpful?

Let me know and keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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