This image started with me not knowing what to draw.
Like many artists, I have folders upon folders of inspiration saved on my hard drives. Some are artist-specific, some are themed, and some are just random images I found and liked but was too lazy to sort. This image started by looking through one of my landscape photo collections.
The winter-lake image you can see at the bottom center made me stop. Maybe it was the image by itself; maybe it was the soundtrack of “Jotun” by Max LL that I was listening to at the time, which made me pause. Something clicked and I knew I was going for some temple/structure in a lake that would fit into a Conan-like Sword & Sworcery story. With that idea in mind, I collected the other reference images from the web, then I just worked.
The references I used are Russian illustrator Ivan Bilibin, Japanese woodcut printmaker Yoshida Hiroshi, and French comic book artist Moebius.
Also, one thing that you’ll probably see reoccurring in future artworks is the exploration of “noise” or “digital texture.”
It’s something that I explored in the past, specifically for some of my bird stylizations. With my current exploration, I’m trying to add texture but to do it more deliberately than the previous technical explorations allowed for.