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Joan of Arc by KristinaGehrmann Joan of Arc by KristinaGehrmann
© Kristina Gehrmann

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In summer 2001 (I was 12 years old), I was in France and visited Rouen. There, on a town square, I remember seeing a sign that marked the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt on May 30, 1431.

I think my classical-academic art training shows in the drawings of the two half-naked guys... Painting them was the most fun part! I painted them exactly the same way we used to paint the live model in class with oil on canvas; minus the real models.

Reference used: Plenty! This time I've collected them all here for your convenience: [link]
Also: bird brushes from =Falln-Stock
Time: about 30 hours?
Medium: Wacom tablet and Photoshop
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domarius Featured By Owner Edited Nov 1, 2014
Wow, it's not the perspective or composition as people in the "concept art" website said.  Those people struck me as overly "academic" and a bit detached from just making things look real.

The lighting isn't that bad - it's just not complete. The reason people think the figures float and the picture looks "flat" (like when people over-do HDR images) is because you've removed TOO MUCH shadow.  Look at reference photos (not paintings).  The worst offender is the man on the right - no dark area where his feet are connecting with the ground, no way - we wouldn't do this in game development for the exact same reason, they appear to float! We have to manually put in a dark soft blob below each object to "set it in the scene".  All 3 figures in the foreground, and the pigeons are suffering from this - it would be a very light shadow though, for overcast, but it should still be there.  The phenomena of light bouncing around and finding more exposed places and finding less recessed places, still applies, it's just that the light is more "blurry" than when in direct sunlight, and the light that does hit the large surfaces are not as strong, which lowers the contrast of the overall image and allows you to see more in the shadow than you would normally see in a photo.  And yes we must obey how photos behave because painted surfaces and computer screens will never emit as much light as in real life, they are two different worlds.

The recessed areas of the wood also definitely want shadow, this is another major contribution to the image looking "flat".

At the risk of stepping on your toes, I had a crack at adding the shadows it needed, since that's all it really needed.…

It's only a rough job, and definitely could use more time, but hopefully you get the idea.  The whole area between the foreground people and the wood stack is one giant recessed area!  It all needs an overall dose of shadow, in addition to darkening their own little crevices between the wood pieces on top of that.  That's what I've attempted to do.  I've also added shadow to the lower parts of the people on the left, since their bodies dive into more closed areas caused by themselves blocking more bounced light, and added the soft ground shadows on the 3 foreground characters and pidgeons, as well as adding a bit more shadow to the lower parts of their bodies.
I also lowered the brightness of the foreground cobblestones in general, it almost seemed like there was a patch of light coming through the clouds and attempting to light them up brighter than everything else.
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, it makes sense! It's an old picture and I hope that I can do better now. :)
DCJBeers Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014
What a marvelous work of art!
Scarecrow113 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Goddammit France, this is why you're a laughing stock
Bl00dstrike Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013
an inaccurate depiction, she was burned wearing men's clothing.
They even gave her a choice they would not burn her but execute her by hanging if she chose to die in women's clothing. But she lived her life fighting in a man's raiment, so death in a man's raiment she will remain.
AlPucelle Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015
That is incorrect. She was told that if she renounced her voices and took up women's dress she would be taken to a church prison and not burn. She complied at first but soon after she professed her belief in her voices and took up her old clothes. When she was burned she was put into a sulfer stained white robe and a hat with accusation against her written on it. She was given a wooden cross, which she tucked into her dress next to her heart. She gazed at a crucifix held in her view and she cried out the name of Jesus until she died.
Spriglief Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Not long after an English army was destroyed by hell stones from the sky! British moral collapsed and they lost the capacity to carry on the war. God recalled his massager to him as soon as her work was done.
Espio42 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
filthy burgundians!!Even if I AM Turkish,I admire her!
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012
Poor Joan! This is a gorgeous piece but the one detail that really struck me was the little boy in the foreground crouching down to feed the pigeon, seemingly oblivious to the tragedy. Powerful! :rose:
LUVCORNBREAD Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Student General Artist
i cry every time i read about Joan. she was a warrior,and a saint.
stupid men, why ;why did they burn her.
--i get emotional sorry

Luv the work keep it up
ValentiniaK Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Those men are assholes.
starrynights1987 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
beautifully sad great job
JRigh Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
As lovely as it is sad ... you did a wonderful job. :love:
maherartist Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow..I like your illustration style!
WorldsToBe Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Congradulations. You have done a work of Joan of Arc that is splendid. I love her and she is one of my heros. Good job!
jetzhao Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Professional Artist
l like it but sad story nice work
SapphierShadows Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
amazing work dude. the expressions on the peoples faces, the back ground, it all gives it an amazingly realistic look!
Such a shame really, that a hero such as her was to be murdered for simply being a woman.
TheSilverBells Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Aside from the fact that they're about to burn poor Joan... ;^;

I really like the two beefy men in the front.

KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, they were the most fun to paint. XD
178560 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012  Student Interface Designer
I am Joan of Arc for my Day of the Notables at my school.

the name says it all:)
FoxxyLover Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012
Such a strong warrior. It's a terrible way to die, being burned at the stake. It was said her heart never burned and was thrown into the river afterwards.
Nice that she was canonized as a saint.
xPegasusx Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ah man, so sad :( she's my all time historical hero ^-^
Great work, beautiful shading
SarahJonesArtist Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Nasty way to go... All for what?
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome piece, very classic ^^
blindaviator Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012
178560 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012  Student Interface Designer
thats quite exellent wowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowow thats soooooooooo cool
Vampyre-Lover Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
This Should Be Hanging In A Museum.... A Exquisite Masterpiece!!!
178560 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012  Student Interface Designer
never mind let me guess Spain?
178560 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012  Student Interface Designer
you live in France?
feline927 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012
O.o NO CHANGE NEVER FRIEND!!! your incredible!!!
shermonsinmango Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ohmygosh. . . .. I can just FEEL (and I know it sounds REALLY cheesy, but, ya know) that she's looking up to God for help, and He will give her peace :)
sorry. . . . . . . But nice artwork!
Gloria-T-Dauden Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2012
I featured this great piece on my journal! [link] Hope u like it! ^^
Taitaviracocha Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
rajasegar Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great piece of work.
Thanks for sharing...
Featured in Inspirations at
nathie Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You know, I am having that for weeks in my inbox and I have to stare at it daily. Those backs. Hrrrr. :heart: Sorry, I can´t help it. :)
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hehehe, those guys were the most fun part of the whole picture! :D
nathie Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Mutemouia Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That is just incredible !!! WONDERFUL :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:
adventocld Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Love the one with long hair and earring :)
JasonBrongel Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011  Student Digital Artist
This is a wonderful piece :) You did a great job and the time put into it definitely shows. I'm curious though, it seems like painting of the two guys are TOO good. The painting focus seems more "those two hot guys who helped kill joan of arc" It might have to do with the red of the guys pants or the amount of detail put into them. Again, it's a minor issue, but when I read the painting I sort of just go back to that guys ass. >_>

Still nice job!! :)

and did you post this on I might have seen it back then as well.
MissPaperJoker Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Immer wieder beeindruckend wie vielfältig du malen kannstXD Einmal die Zeichnungen von Tim und Struppi und dann sowas!
Wirklich sehr schön realistisch und ein gutes Setting. Man sieht, dass du dir Gedanken über die Positionen gemacht hast. Die Häuser gefallen mir am meisten glaub ichXD Ich liebe solche Häuser.
Und ich liebe Jeannes Blick und ihre Haltung. Auch wenn ich mir ziemlich sicher bin, dass sie schwarze Haare hatte.
witch1978 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2011
Very nice and emotional, and half naked guys are always nice to look at :blush:

Also nice that you show Joan in a pretty frightend pose and not calm or saying "God, Jesus, thank you" ... a bit disturbing are also the children, they just play and seem not really to care what is about going to happen soon. But this was maybe really that way, it was also shown in the TV Movie about Joan of Arc or during the Witchburning Scene of "La Passion Beatrice" ...
178560 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012  Student Interface Designer
u seem like a CREEPER.
witch1978 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
I hope I am not a plant ^^;
178560 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012  Student Interface Designer
lol jk.
Woaddragon Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Excellent painting.
ToptimusPrimus Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very very impressive
loaves Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
I aspire to be able to do digital art as fine as this!
Burn-Spider-Burn Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You have the mood almost perfectly! The lighting and shading is almost looks like it could fog or rain at any moment. "D i love how Joan of Ark is lit up a bit, even if she isn't supposed to be, I think it suits it well.

Hurricane-Jeanne Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Brilliant and so wonderful. I love the emotion, the movement, they dynamics you were able to capture! :worship:
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Submitted on
December 10, 2011
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