I wasn’t particularly surprised to find that, in addition to his other training and education, German illustrator Volkan Baga spent some time as a studio assistant to Donato Giancola. I say that not because I saw overt similarities in the work, but because of the presence of traditional old-school European painting techniques evident in the approach of both artists.
Like Giancola, Baga works in the science fiction, fantasy and gaming genres, painting highly finished images of otherworldly characters and scenes. His paintings often feature elaborately detailed backgrounds, as in the Alchemist shown here, and employ a dark color range and deep value contrasts.
His site includes a step-by step process of this particular painting, progressing from a colored pencil on toned paper sketch through a more detailed grey toned sketch (not quite a grisaille) and several steps of intricate colors, presumably with transparent glazes. The site is in frames. so I can’t give you a direct link. Go to the Paintings section and click on the third thumbnail. Also note that it may be easy to miss the small link to a second page of thumbnails under the first set.
Braga’s colors are often subdued, but rich with undertones, notably the greens in skin colors. He lets shadows and subtle backlighting define his forms, eschewing the more blatant complementary color contrasts often found in the work of others working in the same genres.
Notable too is his emphasis on facial expression, rather than contorted figures and violent motion, as the emotional focus of his images.