Linda Bergkvist’s Furiae

Spoiled, by Linda Berkvist. See the close-up details here.

For the most part, CG art’s not really my thing. I love the surface of paper, the texture of layered paint. There are many techniques to fake this on the computer, but in the end, most CG art still feels a bit sterile and dead-eyed to me. But there are some masters whose digital paintings truly live and breathe; one such artist is Linda Bergkvist, known online as Enayla.

From cyberpunk landscapes to enchanted woods, there’s a story being told by every sensuous detail in Bergkvist’s paintings. Some characters look so compelling that I wish there was more than just one painting; that there was a book, movie or comic where I could get to know them better. I wonder how much of a backstory Berkgvist creates as she paints.

Equally as fascinating as the images are the generous tutorials on Bergkvist’s site. She shares her secrets on how to paint eyes, how to mix skintones, how to create hair texture, and how to make brushes, and more. Even for someone who doesn’t paint, it’s interesting to see her paintings in unfinished form as she explains their completion step by step.

Bottom: “On Saturdays.” Top: Details from “Rëzay” and “Is this what we’re coming to?”

Bergkvist has recently revisited the “analog world” to create some stunning masks in papier mache, which she models on this page. More of my favorite images after the jump!


These Woods

Ladies of London

17 Responses to “Linda Bergkvist’s Furiae”

  1. Jon Munger Says:

    I’ve read all of her articles up on CGSociety. I’d also suggest looking at Michael Komarck. He’s more of your traditional fantasy artist, but he does all his work CG as well, and really has mastered the tools. I have no idea how he pulls most of his pieces off.

  2. Traci Says:

    That first piece completely slays me.

  3. DJ Velveteen Says:

    God. I was totally skimming my RSS reader until I saw this post. Thanks for making me late to the party!

  4. kristi Says:

    oh she does some great work.
    i also enjoy Mar​ta Dah​lig​, and Melanie Delons cg work.

  5. arabel Says:

    Just as a note, though – there’s been a lot of controversy about Furiae, particularly that parts of her paintings might be ‘paint-overs’ of un-credited photographs, and that she hasn’t been entirely straightforward about how she creates her art.

    “Increasingly over the last few years, controversy has surrounded Bergkvist’s art pertaining to the authenticity. Exact match photos have been found to some of her earlier work, and supposed photo parts have been “discovered” via photo editing techniques in photoshop. It seems, at least until Bergkvist provides sufficient evidence, the digital art community will continue to speculate on the authenticity of her working process. About this controversy click link below:” From

    Of the three forum links there, only the last works, but it can give you some idea of the discussion around her work. *shrug* I think her work’s stunningly beautiful, but I’m disappointed that she may not have been honest about using other people’s work when she created it. My more than two cents…

  6. Zoetica Says:

    The paintings are alright, but sweet Einstein’s ghost – just look at those masks! Some are completely jaw dropping.

  7. Tequila Says:

    @arabel…bit surprised some in the Digital Art Community feel that way about her work. While giving proper credit IS key CG art should by all accounts be judged based on the final image not just the process. Thanks for posting the links!

    Reading through some of the discussions was a bit frustrating as too many knocking her work (and those of others) seem to have a very shortsighted idea what constitutes “original work.” Even some of the proof is just plain sad…I can understand if it’s coming from amateurs with limited experience but some of it just seems malicious for the sake of causing internet drama. A CG artist SHOULD be culling techniques, ideas, and the power of their tools so they as artists go beyond what is possible not just in traditional (or are we calling it analog?) art but their own ideas and visions.

    What I love about CG art is you can be the control freak perfectionist or a DJ like creator using all sorts of stuff…while traditional art does have room for all that…CG art is tough to split up like that since by it’s nature it mixes so many traditional genres and styles together as part of a basic work flow.

    Whatever the “truth” is about Linda’s work it’s still miles ahead of what many CG artists try to achieve…and at least in the impression I get from her work seem to just be steps leading toward much more varied kinda work. Some stuff does feel a bit like figure studies or work simply to try out assorted techniques.

    Those masks though…WOW! Makes me want to bust out the glue gun…but I promised the fire department I wouldn’t do that anymore.

  8. arabel Says:

    Tequila – Oh, I completely agree – her work takes great skill even if it’s not painted from scratch, and is really gorgeous. And you do definitely get the impression that some people do have a bit more venom in criticising her than you’d really expect.

    I think what I gathered from the posts when I read them at the time (when all three threads were still up), was that people weren’t bothered by the use of photos – but by the fact that they felt she hadn’t been honest about using photos, and that she went out of her way to give people the impression that the pieces were painted from scratch. Whether that bothers you or not, well, I guess that always differs. :)

    Sorry for tracking the drama in here – I didn’t mean to imply one way or the other what’s really going on with her work. I just find the discussion on digital art interesting, I guess. I’d tend to come down on the side of ‘always be honest about your processes’ myself, but I’m conservative, heh.

  9. Tequila Says:

    @arabel…No drama dragging at all. It’s a valid concern about honesty in ones process. More so when one represents work as “100% Original”. With CG work so much a heavy mix of painting and photo manipulation it’s a tough call to make since there are no hard and fast universal guidelines. Plagiarism is one thing but when the genre you work in demands some level of culling outside sources…how far is it from say what a DJ does with music? CG art has a lot of the same methods really…and as you’ve seen in the right hands it’s pretty amazing.

    If anything a CG artist should for their own benefit list what images they used in their work fully…keeps things much more varied and lively in the long run and opens up a whole new market of work. Much like what’s been going on in music and really 3D texture art for years.

  10. thistly Says:

    Fitst of all her work is gorgeous and she is very, very skilled.
    But. This is IMPORTANT PLZ.
    She has been less than honest with her techniques, been caught doing really blatant paintovers of other people’s photos. And since she’s been caught with this stuff, has disappeared off the face of the internet.
    Any methods at all are fine by me AS LONG AS:
    The photos are your own or you have permission.
    You give credit, or make it clear you used them.
    The reason these things are important is unless you do them, people assume you have more skill in a certain area than you actually do, and she did neither. People wouldn’t like her work quite as much if she was honest, so she wasn’t.
    She even implied in the description of the worst example that she was doodling away in PS and the character “slowly started to appear”, and it was inspired by the old masters…. though neglected to mention she actually painted over it down to small details (except a much prettier face and a better figure) from a photo on a book cover.

    I used to be the BIGGEST fan of her work, from about 6 years ago on small fantasy art sites. Freaking idolized the woman. She got me into digital art as teenager which is now my biggest hobby and a decent source of income, how I met my partner even! So I will always love her for that.
    But the fact that she has lied about her methods makes me feel a bit cheated, as a previously rabidly loyal fan.
    I spent years trying to emulate her style, of course failing (painting from scratch, and, well, being 15 years old and a n00b). So when people say ‘Who cares that she used photos! the end result is what counts!”, well, I FUCKING CARE!
    And people paying her for her tutorials of dubious authenticity might, too.
    And the companies that give her valuable prizes in painting competitions might, too (prizes including a high end PC worth several K)

    Other more honest artists have been experimenting with the photo-painting effect, gotta admit it looks remarkably like Linda’s style

    Her masks are way cool, I hope she sticks with this and gets her reputation back.

  11. [?] Says:

    i am a very big fan of Linda’s work, i even have her prints framed on my wall. I’ve seen her painting processes, and such paintings as “spoiled” she has claimed it was from scratch, with some referencing. (ive also seen WIP pictures)

    It doesnt bother me that she uses paintovers, cause in the end she changes it enough to create something new… im just disappointed about her lying what methods she uses.

    no one can prove anything yet, but i do hope its not true… cause as Thistly stated… i also idolize this woman, i hate to think one of my heroes was a fake

  12. link 496 | Says:

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  14. Rob Korsty Says:

    Isn’t most of her work plagiarism? I remember some controversy occurred when she was called out on this in a few forums. She still has yet to respond to these accusations, which pretty much seals the deal for me on whether or not she’s truthful about her methods.

  15. Ross Says:

    No. Some of her work uses photo reference, there is a difference between that and plagiarism. All of the composition and colours are her own work and are not a paint over or traced.

    One of the people who made the original accusation has since retracted his statements as you can see here:

  16. Rob Korsty Says:

    What are you talking about? You can see for yourself at the original picture that she overpaint it. there’s proof. the thing was that she didnt admit at first that she did overpaint. now she does say that in her early pictures, she used “heavy reference”



  17. Jushi Says:

    She is a talented painter. It’s people going on witch hunts that scared her off of community websites such as deviantart.

    If you are willing to pay for the art books she’s still painting for, you would be able to see a video of her painting a realistic eye all on her own and another of her painting the cover of Expose.

    How she uses colors are amazingly beautiful. That cannot be faked.

    Read the debate.
    Don’t be ignorant.