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Topper VS Cowl by Shadaan Topper VS Cowl by Shadaan
Of all the fights I read about in the Malazan Book of the Fallen few can match Topper facing Cowl. The concept of two mage assasins fighting through dimensional shifts is pretty daring.

That all said though I blew through this relatively quickly. 5 hours worth of real time work over the span of two weeks.

Plenty of advice from Malazanempire.com and conceptart.org. I really had fun on this one. Would love to do something like this again.

I listened most to Daft Punk while working this up (no idea why). I'm thinking of making a video of my work process soon. Anyways hope you guys like it! Cheers.


These characters are both from the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Author Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esselmont. its good stuff you should read it.
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:icongreenpang:
Greenpang Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2017
Can you put this on here plz🙏
teechip.com/how
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:iconmasterofhorr:
masterofhorr Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2016  Student
How about the Final Battle with the Chained God?
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:iconquonics:
quonics Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2016  Professional Artist
I love the painting. I love the books. great work
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:iconpsi-patterner:
Psi-Patterner Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
I saw this some time ago.  Just now found your gallery.  I really love this one.  I agree about this being one of the great matches.  You captured it very well.
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:iconironpain:
IronPain Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014
This made me cum. Fantastic !
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:iconapollo21cz:
apollo21cz Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014
I would love to by print of this one


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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
You can download the full res document by clicking the download button under the fav, then you can get it done up at a local copier. I sadly can't turn this into a print as its fan art. Can't profit from someone elses intellectual property :)
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:iconapollo21cz:
apollo21cz Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
Right, I just wanted to cotribute to you, because I really like what you do :) BTW I there are some Malazan based prints for buy by slaine69...but I really don't know how this all works...
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! I'm grateful for the sentiment. I don't follow the print rules that well myself, I guess theres loopholes? When I list my work as Fanart, print making is no longer an option.

If you still feel like contributing I have recently reshuffled my homepage and updated available prints and a donations widget. I cant make direct money from book art characters but any other print or donation made will help me make more.

I really would like to do something Fan based for you anyway, I appreciate your support! I'll do something Ges and Stormy related just for you.  (unless again you'd rather have the paran re-union :))
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:iconapollo21cz:
apollo21cz Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014
Nice! Ill check how to donate when I'll be home on monday (finally :))
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:iconr3voluti0nwho:
R3voluti0nWho Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
This is awesome. I just started reading these books and I think you captured their essence perfectly.
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:icondragonturtle:
dragonturtle Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013
very well done .I can't remember who I was wanting to win in this battle.The only one I always backed was Karsa.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Ha! I wasn't bothered rooting for a winner, I was just obsessed with how cool the fight was.

Karsa is always a sure bet. He is the very embodiment of Come at me Bro. :/
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:iconseraphimdragonff10:
SeraphimDragonff10 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Filmographer
Mind if i use this picture?
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Sure as long as I am mentioned and linked to it no problem.
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:iconseraphimdragonff10:
SeraphimDragonff10 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Student Filmographer
thanks. Though nevermind, I'm not gonna use it. Thanks for letting me anyway.
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:icondarkkyn:
Darkkyn Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013
Just finished reading the Esselmont series, and this is a fantastic rendering of their fight. Really well done.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, hope you enjoy the next set of books, Forge of Darkness is pretty epic.
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:iconbassistsartori:
BassistSartori Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Badass. Saw some of the drafts on the Malaz forum. This really captures the scene well.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hah yeah, I know. Its really why the books kick so much ass, the scenes are crazy!
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:iconwiley1983:
wiley1983 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
This is awesome man!! This is a painting?? you have some real talent!! I'd like to soo you paint the war where moon's spawn vs. the mages
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I think some one already is! will link you when they're done.
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:iconfaustissima:
faustissima Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Awesome! I was absent wayyyyy to long :)
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yes indeed, you hve been away and now that you're We expect floods of new stuff :D
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:iconfaustissima:
faustissima Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
That would be a problem. Too much work, not enough time. Unfortunately I turned into a lurker again :(
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Oh noes! but I know how it is. I was pretty swamped until a week ago. At times like this I wish I could grow money trees. I tried planting a five Rand coin once when I was twelve...might need to go back and check for developments...
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:icongraphic--ops:
Graphic--Ops Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
whoaw! this one is very awesome. dynamic fight scnene
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:icontariencole:
TarienCole Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Very well imagined vision of the scene.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thank you :D
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:icontariencole:
TarienCole Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
my pleasure.
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:iconredviper118:
Redviper118 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Full of win.
I loved the moment when Topper came out of the warren basically In The Face of Cowl.
A darn good Dynamic Entrance, innit? I wished the fight between them was more than just hinted at in the book.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I totally agree. Its a shame alot of my favourite fights in the MBotF have all happened off screen. Topper vs Cowl, Rake vs Draconus and Skinner vs the Second for example. Even Rake vs all the Seguleh is something I'd enjoy getting a descriptive read from.

I suspect Dancer must have faced Cowl at some point. A fight that would make every fight in the matrix cry buckets.
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:iconredviper118:
Redviper118 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I think you should try to draw Rake vs the Seguleh. I always figured he would look as if he was thinking "Oh, no, how many more to go?" by the end of it. I do not remember exactly how many of them he did in, but it sounded like an insane number...
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
He got up to number 7 if I recall, he jumped out because he was too tired to keep going. pretty badass. I doubt he'd be able to keep going and beat the first but I think Its a cool idea to try. I have this vision of Rake facing three seguleh at once as he tries teleporting out with white mask descending some stares to face him.
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:iconredviper118:
Redviper118 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Please, do try it. It would be absolutely awesome.

BTW I am still hoping that the Rake vs Draconus fight will be shown in the upcoming Kharkanas trilogy. That would be a great read.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I'm genuinely unsure how SE will handle the trilogy. I look forward to reading about the youngest of the three brothers, Andarist. He had a bum deal in MBotF.

As for Rake vs Draconus, I'll give it a go but I take forever to finish anything, we might read about it before I finish it heh.
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:iconredviper118:
Redviper118 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yep, a lot of behind-the-scenes awesomeness.

I second you on Dancer vs Cowl. Heck, even Surly v Cowl must be something in between the Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
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:icondoctoress:
DoctorEss Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012
Amazing job! I have to agree, it's a pretty amazing fight!
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
One of the most imaginative in the series, up there with Cottilion taking out the Edur.
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:iconhellhowler:
hellhowler Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're getting real good!

The only thing I have to point out is how ultimately dysfunctional the knife (which is for me the centre of attention) is. I mean, it's really cool Hibben..ish design, and well detailed, and I'm aware it's fantasy so weapons don't exactly have to be functional, but this one screams Forgotten Realms / World of Warcraft at me.

All in all, I can see how greatly you improve from painting to painting, especially in the fields of perspective and composition. Your brushwork also is more confident, I really like it.

All in all, great job, and even greater considering how fast you progress as an artist!
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
thanks man, its all about testing limits and learning from example. I owe it to myself to keep challenging my boundaries. even silly things like how impractical the knife is.

I like how critical your eye is about such things. I personally just sketched a bowie knife initially, conceptualized, conceptualized and then that thing jumped onto my page.

Will make amendments to the blade of a much more critical nature. I'm still working on this every other day for a better portfolio. Much more to improve here and there. Will try make my weapons more 'pure' of purpose. really grateful for your input!
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:iconhellhowler:
hellhowler Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wouldn't want to influence you too much, all in all it's your artwork, your design and your decisions.

I'm just a bit of a knife enthusiast and like my blades to be practical. Nothing against more fantasy-like blades, but I thought that in a rough and rather serious world of Erikson's books a simpler weapon would fit better.

I also think that a practical knife can have a fantasy look to it. For example check out this blade by a custom maker from my lovely country: [link]

More here [link]

Just as an example.

Anyway, good to know your actually reading my comments :D
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hah, I always read comments and take the advice seriously, not always able to reply though. Those links are great I'm liking your choice and the Syriusz Ironwood Mammoth. the blades themselves are quite elegant and clever. Thanks for the link. into my stock pile it goes!
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:iconkatsumotu:
Katsumotu Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012
Simply amazing!
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:iconjongi13:
Jongi13 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
You know , I've been thinking about this ...it's gotta be my favorite malazan piece ever!
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:iconjongi13:
Jongi13 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
Woah feller, you really raised the bar on this one! Super KUDOS!!!
I love the tearing of the warrens...REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, well done!
The poses , the weapon, the hair , the fire ...the eye just gets pulled around this one..it gives me great pleasure to look at this one, so THANKS! A gift.
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:iconshadaan:
Shadaan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
HAH!

Well i'm actually very happy to hear that. Had the pleasure of getting many eyes on this, spitballing ideas and such. I know theres more to improve here and there but as far as the book is concerned this is the cleaarest interpretation of a scene I've ever managed. Its motivated me quite a bit. Already drawing up a bunch of scenes from the same book. Artisticly Return of the Crimson Gaurd is like a gold mine.
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:iconsonofotis:
sonofotis Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
nice!
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:icondeadcobra:
DeadCobra Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
Awesome
Reply
:icondreki:
Dreki Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012
As always - Damn!
Think you did a good job of catching the feel of emptiness between them
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