Category Archives: challenge

Orc Shaman Redux! Part 1

A little over one year ago I created an Orc Shaman illustration for an Art Order challenge.

Orc Shaman

This is a good measurement of my skill level at the time. While I was proud of the finished product it wasn’t long before my skill level advanced past the level of finish that this piece shows off.

Since I’ve recently graduated from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and I now have a plethora of free time to devote to personal work I decided to go back and re-paint this illustration to bring it up to the level of other pieces in my portfolio such as my recent Troll Hunter.

I still feel that the initial sketch and line art are strong and hold up when compared to the rest of my work so I’m happy to use the same chassis.

One of the elements that I’m less satisfied with in the original is the over-exaggerated value contrast. As I moved into developing the lights and darks I tried to include more graceful transitions in the light .


As I developed the underpainting I tried to restrain my level of saturation – I can always pump up the vividness of the colors as I paint in the later stages. Here the colors are added in thin transparent layers so all of the initial line drawing is still visible throughout.


Now we are caught up to the piece as it stands currently. I have just begun to paint directly on top of the image with opaque colors. The original drawing gets covered up in most ares but there will be some places where it still shows through, even in the finished product. As I painted I toned down some of the more rapid value shifts even further and I am concentrating on keeping a matte finish in some areas. One of my nitpicks about the version from last year is that the colors in the entirety of the image seemed too glossy.


Next Time: more direct painting and some subtle glazes to get a rich variety of tones and hues throughout the image.

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:

Find me on the web!
Ken Kokoszka Illustration website
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on Facebook
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on DeviantArt


ArtOrder Pencil Test

Over at the ArtOrder blog Jon Schindehette posted some examples of pencil test assignments that concept artists could take as part of their application process. As an exercise and possible portfolio building I took on assignment 1 – The Beast.

“Today, you get to design a new creature. This is a creature that should fit into the world, and yet feel fresh and original. The creature should be a quadruped, that typically travels on all fours. When threatened, it will rear up on it’s hind legs and defend itself. When defending, it will generally use the large paws/claws on its forelegs, and when possible grab the attacker and draw them in for a vicious bite. When attacking, the creature tends to charge in on all fours from a position of stealth. It will attempt to bowl over the victim with it’s great weight, and them attack with teeth and claws. It tends to hunt at night, and prefers to use the dark and shadows to help it stalk it’s prey. Though large, it is quite stealthy. Though not technically intelligent, it has a hunters mind, and can think through complex thought patterns to be successful in it’s stalking, hunting, and ambush of prey. It’s bulk is equivalent to that of a polar bear.

I would like to see:
• Silhouette studies
• Pencil roughs
• Tight sketch
• Rough color”


Here’s the monster I came up with.


Pencil roughs
beast_test_kokoszka_02 beast_test_kokoszka_03

Tight Sketch

Rough Color

ArtOrder Rocklove/Viking Challenge Voting!

Hey All! the public voting for the latest ArtOrder challenge is up.
Follow the link through to see my piece and hit [Like] if you wanna vote for mine!

Freyja's Messenger
Freyja’s Messenger


Ken Kokoszka, Drakengeld, Art Order Dragon Challenge, digital, 2013

Art Order Dragon World Challenge Voting Has Begun!

You can find (and vote for) my submission on the facebook page for the Art Order!

There’s a lot of cool pieces in there so check them all out as well!

the Art Order Dragon World Challenge

For anyone who is unaware, The Art Order is a great resource for artists interested in working in the fantasy /sci-fi / genre illustration fields. It’s run by Jon Scindehette, Senior Creative Director at Wizards of the Coast so you know its a source of legitimate advice.

The site runs monthly art challenges as an opportunity for portfolio development and community feedback and this is my entry for the latest – dragon world.

web size2

Public voting via Facebook begins tomorrow, March 4th!