Outsider Art: Ragana

Almost Done

I recently added to my collection of Pan Pastels with several shades for darker skin tones. After testing out the blue, pink and cream shades for the drawings of Astrid and Knud I really wanted to get around to drawing Ragana.

Ragana was so very nearly in the first book (**), but in the end I cut her out because it just didn’t work at that point in the story

It wasn’t easy finding the right shades for Ragana, normally I find that any skin tone kits are either far too pink (or strait up white) for pale skin tones, and anything darker than a coffee tone is nearly impossible to find. In the end I bought a kit (**) which is actually sold for weathering model trains, and it was just perfect!

Basic Shading

I still need to draw Ragana with a much darker skin tone, it’s still a far too pale for how I envisioned her, but it’ll take a few more tries before I can perfect my technique.

 I used a fluffy c shaped makeup brush to apply the pan pastels 

The first thing I did is use the pan pastels to get the highlights and shades on the face. I wasn’t looking for anything detailed at this point, just laying down the primary undertones and shades. Three different shades of brown and then a very pale yellow as a highlighter on the top of her cheekbones and brow bone.

Lips pre blending Adding Details Eyelashed

For all of these drawings I like using a combination of art and makeup brushes to apply it. I’ve found with the fingers its far too easy to apply the colours heavily, not to mention with brushes you don’t risk leaving oil stains on the paper from your fingertips.

After I’d used the pan pastels I went ahead with my Polychromo pencils to add the smaller details to the skin, lips and eyes

For the lashes I love using a fine tip pen or a chinese caligraphy pen to draw each individual lash around the eyes. Sometimes I’ll use a pencil first to make sure I know where I want to go with it, but normally I just go ahead and use the pen.


I still need to finish drawing her hair and ears, but I’m really happy with this version compared to my first try. It’s a slightly different method to how I drew Knud, but with a bit more work I should be able to finally get the rich dark skin tone I’m trying to draw without completely ruining it like my first attempt. And yes, Ragana is meant to be an absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful woman. A lot prettier than Astrid. Maybe now I should finally get around to drawing Jarl or Ragi…

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Outsider: How I Made The Book Cover


This whole book was a massive learning curve. Writing it, re-writing it, publishing it. The initial biggie was doing the cover,  I was so nervous about doing it! But I knew I would not be happy if I let someone else make the cover.

For the second book there are a lot of things I’ll be doing differently, but for the first try I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

One thing I was a little gutted about was that the blue and red tint on the text for the cover didn’t work, and we had to ditch it. I’m already pretty sure how the cover for the second book will look, so hopefully I can avoid repeating the same mistakes (or just make a whole bunch of new ones!). Either way, here is my vlog showing the whole process.

I hope you like the video! :D

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Outsider: Astrid Vârcolac Concept Sketch


I had so many different ways I wanted to draw this one! The Vârcolac skin was not something I had originally planned for when I was writing Outsider. It started out as just a simple wolf skin with nothing particularly special about it. 

I used (**): Pro-markers, Mechanical Pencil, Paper Blender, Water Colours, 0.1 Black Pen and a White Ink Pen

But about half way through the book, right before they meet the Leshy, this image of Halvard spotting a wolf in the distance came out of nowhere, and at that point I decided the wolf skin was going to become a lot more than just a wolf skin.

Sketch Pro Markers Reference

As usual I did all my sketch work on tracing paper and then, once I was happy with the pose, transfered it onto the card. While I was going over the transfered sketch, I made sure I had my sketchook with the notes and ilustrations for Astrid’s outfit next to me, so I wouldn’t make any mistakes about her clothes or the colour.

Before I started painting with water colour I used a few pro markers over the sketch

For me Astrid’s clothes were very important. As someone who occasionally wears corsets I can tell you the full torso corsets, while your posture might be perfect wearing them, they will not let you jump around or be particularly flexible.

Filled In Colour Black Pen

Being in the kind of environment Astrid is in, her clothes needed to be very practical, and be layered in such a way that the undergarments could be worn alone in hot weather, and the over garments were more suited to colder climates. Layering clothes as much as possible so she doesn’t need to carry heaps of clothing around with her.

I really wanted to avoid having anything remotely constrictive  about her clothing 

I have several sketches of how her clothes are layered in my sketchbook. I’ll show you them properly at some point, but for this book (and probably the next) it’s only really her winter clothes and her wolf skin you get to see.

White Pen Finished

So, that’s the final drawing of Asitrd’s Vârcolac wolf skin. I’m not going to go more into it case you haven’t read the book. Those of you who have read it know what I’m talking about so let’s not spoil it for everyone else! ;)

If you want you can get the book here! 

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Outsider: Making the Map of Ammasteinn


The map of Ammasteinn is one of the first things I did art-wise for Outsider. I didn’t want to start writing and not have a clear vision for this world Astrid would be traveling, not to mention I needed to plan everything which happened in the 40 year gap between Astrid leaving the Red Mountains and agreeing to take Jarl and Knud to Lǫgberg.

 You can follow all the art work I’ve done for Outsider here on my Pinterest

Of course you don’t get to read about this in Outsider, but it becomes very important in the sequels I’m writing, and I don’t like having a character without a history to them. When I start writing I want to know exactly the kind of people they are so that there is a reason for their behaviour.

Amenstein Map

I mentioned in my announcement video that I will be making quite a few of these videos and blog post and that’s where you guys come in. I want to know what you want to see next! Which characters you want me to draw (I’ve already done Astrid, it’ll be out soon!) the outfits, the creatures, the places, all of it! And while I’m at it show me your drawings of Outsider! How do you imagine a Leshy would look? Or Jarl and Knud?

You guys are all creative and talented, show me what you can do! :D 

It doesn’t have to be traditional painting or drawing, maybe you prefer digital drawing, or makeup and crafting? Or cosplay photography? Absolutely anything! I want to see it and see how you imagine the world of Ammasteinn and Astrid.

You can read Outsider here 

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