I started this painting after game two of the Stanley Cup Finals. I blocked it all in rather quickly, but then I got so caught up in watching the games and the subsequent celebration of the Kings victory that I didn't get back to it right away. My initial idea was just a King vs a Devil. I sketched out a bunch or rough thumbs, did some online research. I saw a lot of "Archangel casting Satan out of Heaven" type of themes, but I didn't want mine to look overly religious, so I started thinking about some old Frank Frazetta paintings. I had something in mind and started sketching.
To my dismay, disappointment, embarrassment, etc, I found a Death Dealer painting that was similar to what I was already starting. I didn't want to rip Frazetta off, but I found it might be cool as a parody\homage, so I stuck with what I started and tweaked it to look more like the Death Dealer V painting. After I blocked it all out, I decided to add a Blue, Canuck and Coyote.
Once I had this settled I could now really concentrate on the characters, lighting and environment. I didn't really have a light source or lighting color established, which is of course a mistake, even though I had a general idea of the lighting direction. I also started thinking about the King standing on some kind of a wall made of ice or maybe even a slope of ice. LA isn't exactly a cold place, but I thought it might lend itself to some cool colors (no pun intended) as well as tie in the overall hockey theme, not to mention a nice contrast with the reds of the Devil. I also started to think more about the King's design. My original ideas were kind of a knight in shining armor look, but this LA Kings team is not the old finesse team of the Gretzky days. These guys are big, strong, fast and in your face, so I decided if I'm already doing a Frazetta kind of theme, might as well make this King something from a Conan movie.