Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Going Digital... Well, Sometimes.

Forged in Shadow and Flame
- V1.0 - a rural idyll -

The key part of my work as an illustrator is providing the client with the image they want. It seems like an obvious statement, but it involves not just having the skill set that enables you to deliver, but also requires adopting the flexibility to make it happen.

That flexibility is best exhibited through the ability to tailor the image closely to your client's needs by modifying the work as it progresses. If this is required it is usually done at the sketch stage, and it is easy enough to alter a graphite drawing. However, rarely, a request can be made at the 'final' stage, once the painting has been completed. This can be more challenging.

I particularly enjoy working in acrylics, and whilst anything can be painted over, it is not always the easiest way to make amends - which is when I can adopt a digital process.

Forged in Shadow and Flame
- V.1.1 - Going Undergorund -
In the latest World of Warcraft tcg set I had a piece approved, but whilst I had painted a rural backdrop it was decided to change the setting to an underground location. The image, Forged in Shadow and Flame, had a very simple background, and altering this to indicate stone would have been easy enough - except that the key feature is a splintering crate with magical effect. Blending in/painting around these would have been very time consuming and awkward compared with tweaking overlay and adjustment layers in Photoshop.

I adopted a palette for the background that borrowed from the crate, and made sure this bled through onto the figure to help unify all the elements, whilst also punching up the saturation around the magical effect.

Here is a comparison image of the two side-by-side:

It is also interesting to see how differently the same colours can read when set alongside a different companion colour.


  1. I like the original more. Better color contrasts, IMO.

  2. Aljosa: The difference is really between a contrasting and complimentary palette.Importantly I think the action is very readable in both.

  3. How do companies like WOW and WotC decide on which artists to send their work to? In the beginning, did they contact you for commissions? Is a large part of it simply having an extensive portfolio and displaying your artwork on the web?

  4. Hi Khatanga,

    WoW did contact me, but more usually you would submit to a company, then if your work is appropriate, and work is available, they will hire you.

    Having a tailored portfolio, and promoting your wokr is an important part of the freelance process.


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