The Art of Henning Ludvigsen


  • CGNetworks :: Artist Profile
    18th May 2005, Paul Hellard

    Henning Ludvigsen grew up in a small village named Holmestrand, located one hour south of Oslo in Norway. Everyone else in the village wanted to be a policeman or a firefighter, but Henning had other ideas; very clear ideas.

    In Norway, art school can be started at quite an early age, and this is essentially where Henning learnt the basics of traditional art. “It was a wonderful time in my life, as I suddenly could do what interested me most, as well as interacting with other people with similar interests. This was all happening during that time when digital computer art hadn’t made its way to the traditional art schools; it wasn’t really an accepted medium.” As a result, he activated his plan to get himself an air brush kit, in addition to the wide selection of the traditional painting and drawing tools available. He was always looking for the technological "edge" in art.

    After two years in basic art school he went directly to work, as there was very little more advanced art education available outside the workforce. He found there were a lot of things he didn’t learn in education that were fundamental to the commercial application of creativity. “This was quite commonplace in those days, but things have changed since, and many courses now include
    commercial aspects as well as pure digital creativity as part of their curriculum.”

    Henning set about teaching himself, through practical applications, books and the web, more about the commercial world of arts. He also started working at advertisement agencies in other cities away from his home village. He worked up through the ranks, eventually securing a position as an Art Director in a small and cozy agency with 16 employees.

    “Initially my interests were directed towards making digital fantasy related art on the Amiga platform,” Henning says. “I started to realize the tremendous possibilities that are offered by choosing digital work.”

    This journey through to Art Director took almost ten years, after which he changed professions from commercial, to computer game development. With the change, came an invitation to move from Norway to sunny Greece, which he immediately took up. “It was here in Athens that I realized I’d been working ten years without doing what I really wanted to in life, that is to paint.”

    For the last year, Henning has been focusing on developing workflow skills while doing fantasy art. He is now an Art Director at a Norwegian/Greek computer game development company in Northern Athens, painting during his spare time working on both personal projects and commissions.

    Whilst working on the cover art for an upcoming art book, I realized I was getting lost in the details of some of these images, spending far too much time on the tiny points and there wasn’t any inspiration, more the mechanics of the image. That came as quite a surprise, and I gave myself a project to correct that.
    Image Credits:
    The Ascend | The Wrapture - "This painting was inspired by a horror role-playing session I was part of a while ago. I wanted to capture an exact moment from the scene, and scatter some elements around to make the viewer wonder what is going on." | Master and Servant.jpg (Also with some step-by-step versions) - "Portrait of myself. Giant robot added to disguise cheesyness."
  • The Art of Henning Ludvigsen - cont...

    “One evening I was practicing painting some clouds, and the next evening I started sketching up a girl, with no idea whatsoever which direction to take the character, except to make her radiate calmness and to practice some technical ideas I had for creating skin tones.

    “As the girl started to take shape after a couple of evenings, I was really struggling to figure out how to "fit" her into a composition. I opened my cloud study from a couple of days earlier, added some sparkly stars, and then added the girl. I really didn’t expect any attention with this painting, but it seems people like the piece, with it's "open to interpretation narrative", despite the fact that I didn’t have anything planned out while making it.”

    “When making a painting, I almost always use reference photos taken of friends or myself. And I believe the better the references are, the better the painting will be. There are things that the human mind just can’t figure out on its own, and by looking at a reference picture, this gives you tremendous help. Even if I make a fantasy-related painting, I think it is fun to make the character somehow resemble the person used as the reference.”


    I have been trying to make myself work slower. I rarely spend more than three or four evenings on a piece. I spent about three evenings on my CGTalk winner piece “The Ascent”. I love fiddling with details, but really I am too eager to wrap up a painting. Once my signature has been added I never touch the painting again. Sometimes it seems as if the painting is deciding when it is finished before I have decided.

    Henning used to work on the Macintosh a few years ago, but converted to Windows platform and he likes it better now after taking some time to adapt. He has worked in Painter and others in the past, but he doesn’t “feel comfortable with anything other than Photoshop. My Wacom tablet is one of my best friends, and I couldn’t live without it.”

    Henning Ludvigsen plans to develop his art and the application of creative processes, and all the issues that naturally accompany this. “It would be a dream to make an art book one day with paintings and tutorials, maybe together with my girlfriend and fellow digital artist Natascha Ròòsli. “It doesn’t really matter what you are doing as long as it makes you happy.

    Right now, making fantasy art makes my day. If I were allowed to live my dream, I would say that making my art with as few restrictions as possible, would be it. In addition to this though, I hope to be able to continue working within the computer game development industry, but with more focus on 2D than 3D. But still, I am quite open to what might come.”


    Henning Ludvigsen
    Image Credits:
    Rickster - "Portrait of a friend and colleague of mine." | Purr | The Explorer - "Painting of my nephew, Marius. I wanted to capture the fascination and hesitant expression of a childs face, in addition to practice painting a childs face." | The Ascend | Mistress and Servant - "This is a portrait of my girlfriend. I have a fascination for the old-school traditional fantasy genre." | Golden Talon - "This is a typical example of what kind of paintings I enjoy doing. This is a portrait of my girlfriend. Simple composition with focus on skin colour and technique."