Illustrating a Winged Demon With Sau Meng Lei

Illustrating a Winged Demon With Sau Meng Lei

Hello, my name is **Sau Meng Lei, **a recent graduate of 3dsense Media School with a Diploma in Digital Design and Illustration. In this tutorial I will take you through the process of how I created my Winged Demon illustration.

My inspiration for this illustration is from the beautiful card illustrations that are used in games. I love how the detail, lighting, and depth is used in the illustrations.


For my concept I visualized a winged demon that is in pain, rampaging as it gets reawakened after being locked up. After I have the rough idea, I went to research for references to help me better visualize my idea.



I started by roughing out the thumbnail of the demon that I was going for; then I sketched over the thumbnail with a line to get a better look at the anatomy and gesture.

I find it very necessary for me to run checks on the earlier parts of the illustration as I am weaker in those areas. I would also ask for advice and feedback at this stage.

After getting feedback, I went through many rounds of changes and ended up with a chunky design and a more dynamic pose to give more impact. I created some depth to the image using foreground and background objects and added a wizard casting a spell in the foreground to create more storytelling.

Ambient Light

For this illustration, I chose to paint it in grayscale so that I can get the values correct without getting distracted by colors.

I rendered the characters in an ambient light setting in grayscale and started on the background to get a better visualization of the whole scene. For the background, I photo bashed images and textures then turned them into grayscale. For me, using images and textures helps me speed up my process.

Related link: Re-imagining Street Fighter’s Rose by Courtney Trowbridge

During the coloring stage, I would play around and try different blending modes as for this illustration Soft Light and Color worked best. I gave the demon skin decay look by overlaying a texture image, erasing the parts where I think is distracting and painted over to further enhance the details of the main character.

I found the background overly saturated for the mood I was going for so I desaturated it, painted over and redesigning to the way I want. For the color of the demon, I figured that it would look desaturated, so I colored it with just the ambient colors.


I painted the key light using which is the primary light source of this scene coming from the top right above. I painted in a rim light coming from either fire or explosions coming from the back to flesh out the forms of the characters. I added the magic circle spell that the wizard was casting and painted in the light coming from it as well.

Finishing Effects

I painted special effects like stones breaking from the ground and lava splashes to add more detail to the image.

To increase the depth between the characters, I added dust and smoke in between them. I also painted in camera bloom which are the brighter areas bleeding into, the darker areas of the image.

To increase the depth between the characters, I added dust and smoke

I wanted an evil and scary looking design for the frame, so I kept a conscience mind to design with sharp edges and design language. I create the design by using the lasso tool to select random shapes, fill, duplicating, flipping it around and playing with it until I get a design I want.

With that done, the Demon Card Illustration is now complete.