The Ultimate Warrior is an icon in the WWE Hall of Fame. A man running from the dressing room to the ring wearing warpaint and colorful tassles definitely gets your attention. Not to mention he had one of the most phenomenal physiques in wrestling. I got introduced to him in the late 80s and early 90s during Wrestlemania and SummerSlam. His stoic dimeanor and Native American style entertained everybody during his colorful promos with Mean Gene Okerlund.
Colorful warpaint on The Ultimate Warrior is what really inspired me to paint him. Every wrestling match he would have a new painted on mask with different colors. You never really new what James Brian Hellwig looked like until his perspiration wiped off The Ulimate Warrior’s mask during grueling matches such as the WrestleMania VI against Hulk Hogan.
The spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will live forever.The Ultimate Warrior
Native American War Paint
There is a story behind the war paint Native Americans wore during battles. They say the paint is used to show the spirits you’re ready for battle and you’re ready for anything. To fight for what you believe in. War paint also shows the uniqueness of an individual. The militaries of today use uniforms for combat. Native Americans were able to show their unique colors as a way of communicating their belief, or their cause for getting involved in the fight.
I have a slight bit of Native American hertiage on my mothers side. My decendants belonged to the Karuk Tribe which is one of the largest indigenous tribes in California. While painting The Ultimate Warrior, I was impressed by the way the war paint highlighted the intense look in the eyes.
Step 1: Sketching The Ultimate Warrior
Rather than sketching on a white canvas, I decided to go with a black background to mix things up. The black will really help me build up The Ultimate Warrior by showing him coming out of the darkness! In the Brush Library, I found under the “Drawing” category a brush called “Little Pine” to start my sketch.
Step 3: Painting Hair
Hair can be rendered by choosing your “Little Pine” drawing brush again and loosely drawing in the direction the hair flows. Start with the darkest color value of the hair first, then build on it. Continue using this technique for your midtone color. Once you’re rendering in the light values, you can really see how layering can give hair dimension.
Step 4: Adding Color Dimension
Lastly, it’s time to enter “The Warrior Dimension” by adding the color values to the mask to add dimension. This step will really make the details in the face pop by using the light and dark values of each color. Use color values to show texture in the mask. I used this step to bring out the eyebrows underneath the war paint.