Wednesday 19 October 2011

Throne of Tides

The latest World of Warcraft tcg set: Throne of Tides has just been released, so I'd like to share my work on it with you.

Dulvar Hand of the Light
Acrylic, approx 11" x 14".
Original artwork for sale

Grumdak Herald of the Hunt
Acrylic, approx 11" x 14".
Original artwork for sale

In so doing I  also realised that I have yet to show my work on the previous set: Twilight of the Thrones.

Acrylic, approx 11" x 14".
Original artwork for sale

Favor of Steel
Acrylic, approx 11" x 14".
Original artwork for sale

Explosive Hunt
Acrylic, approx 11" x 14".
Original artwork for sale


Thursday 13 October 2011

Legends of Anglerre

Legends of Anglerre

Acrylic, approx 19" x 25"
original artwork for sale.
copyright Cubicle 7.

I recently had the great pleasure of working with Jon Hodgson of Cubicle 7 on one of their covers. Jon might familiar to those who have followed the Ninja Mountain podcasts from the early days as he was instrumental in setting up the NM website and podcast.

The work was for the Legends of Anglerre cover, and comprised a nice simple brief that allowed for lots of dynamism, and creative expression; an armoured woman fighter charges across a beach towards us, whilst beset by Goblins.

I followed my usual processes; starting with a line sketch that evolved from a slew of expressive thumbnails.

That was then digitally worked up into a value study. This, along with the line sketch, were submitted, and met with approval.

At this point I would then normally do a quick colour study, but for once I had a very strong mental impression of the colour scheme; strong blues, greens and yellows, offset by the lead protagonist in red.

I began  by painting the background. The central cloud was chosen to frame the silhouette of the head.

Then I worked my way forward, tackling the furthermost Goblins, whilst laying a quick base wash onto their foreground companions.

Colour was then laid onto the central figure. A base wash first, and then full rendering. The base wash gives a nice underpaint to work into, but also allows me to check my colour choices as I go along. This is a lot easier to alter than a fully rendered finish.

I continue this process throughout the figure. Here I have laid in the armour base, also note I have decided to change the colour of the gorget/cloak clasp. The ultramarine was too similar to the background, and I decided to stick with the overall red based palette for the woman.

For once I saved the face for last. I wanted to keep it light to act as a focal point, and decided to resolve a lot of the other values around it first. Secondly this was the single most important element of the piece, and I lavished  a lot of care and attention on it.

The woman is complete and I progress to the Goblins. I now deliberately started using larger brushes, and looser marks to help contrast with the woman, and keep her the central focus.

Just a few touches to go, and the piece is finished, and approved.

Monday 3 October 2011

Gates of Neverdeath

Gates of Neverdeath
Acrylics. Approx 34" x 31"
Original artwork for sale.
Copyright Wizards of the Coast.

I enjoy being challenged by a piece of work. Fresh hurdles offer the opportunity to grow and improve as an artist. The Gates of Neverdeath was just such a work; whilst the subject matter allowed me to paint one of my favourite subjects (Zombies!) it was the size and multiple requirements that were trickier.
The image needed to function as an adventure cover in  a vertical format, but also be usable for marketing purposes in  a horizontal format. Similarly it required lots of additional space where different trade dress could be placed, or the painting cropped in multiple different ways. This all meant that what would normally be an 8.5" x 11" cover, which I would work up at 200% actual size ( 17" x 22"), became a 34" x 31" painting which barely fitted on my drawing board.

Necromancer detail

I spent quite some time working on thumbnail sketches before I was happy enough to work up my ideas into a finished graphite line sketch.

Note the guidelines which demarcate the cover area and mark room for the variety of potential trade dress.

I then worked up a loose digital value study. This guides me during the painting, and helps the Art Director (in this case the lovely Keven Smith) make sense of all those lines!

Having a clear scheme in place for the lighting, values and palette made tackling a large piece like this a lot easier. Like most of my paintings I worked from back to front. Below you can see a fuzzy photo of the work in progress.

The Necromancer has been completed and I am working my way onto the foreground elements. You can see part of my process, whereby I lay down layers of wash, before adding more opaque elements to tighten up the shadows and highlights.
After the painting was completed I sent through a scanned, uncropped, copy of the final, but I also included a mock-up of how I saw the cover working.

It is interesting to compare this with the final editorial decision, and crop, that adorned the printed product.

It was great to work on such an epic piece, containing such fun elements, but it did also serve to remind me how following the discipline of my processes made the whole painting much easier to work on.