Tuesday 22 November 2011



Wildborn Series
Acrylic, 15" x 11"
Original for sale. Image available for license.
© Ralph Horsley

Wildborn Series
Acrylic, 15" x 11"
Original for sale. Image available for license.
© Ralph Horsley

Wildborn Series.
Acrylic, 15" x 11"
Original for sale. Image available for license.
© Ralph Horsley

It is a long time since I created a painting solely for myself. I am grateful that my schedule has been full, but I have also been hampered by the desire to make an epic work. However on returning from Illuxcon the itch has grown, but the timetable has, thankfully, remained as packed.

Then it occured to me that I should aim for something more achievable, and which would also be a good exercise.  Thus the idea for 'wildborn' arose; smaller landscape paintings showing dragons in a naturalistic setting.

I took my inspiration from landscape photography, trying to create a more naturalistic look, and one that started with loose sketches so that the painting could be freer.

Here is a walkthrough for Glimpse, showing my process.

A loose sketch. it lays out the key elements, but doesn't concern itself with detail.

Old habits die hard. I start working from back to front, blocking in the value range and colour transition.

I move onto the rocks doing the same. I am keen to blur the shadows between rocks and trees. the water is also loosely mapped in - trying to keep a light touch here for now.

The trees are beginning to be refined, and I startt to pay attention to the shadows on the cliff.

Further refinement, now on the rocks.

Begining to add detail and colour accents/variation within the value range.

I pulled out the gels for the water. A transparent glaze for the mistiness and lots of heavy body gel for an almost impasto finish on the foaming water.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep
Acrylic, 19" x 22".
Original artwork for sale.

When I first started working on Dungeons & Dragons my initial commissions were for Forgotten Realms, and one of the first products was the Waterdeep supplement. Consequently it was  a great thrill to be asked to work on the forthcoming boardgame; Lords of Waterdeep. I enjoyed helping create some iconic 'Lords', and the central figure gave me a good excuse to pull lots of armour out for reference.

I also created a good number of character portraits for cards within the game, something I'd also love to share, but sadly will have to stay under wraps until publication next year.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Illuxcon 2011

My Stand

I returned from Illuxcon just  a week ago, and whilst it has taken nearly that long to physically recover from the travel, jet lag, and late nights, I still feel fired up by the great experiences I had.

A Blank Canvas

I was one of the first to arrive at the venue, where I added my art-laden suitcases to the crate that was already waiting for me. There was a real buzz beginning to awaken in the heritage center, and I was keen to get my work out and on display.


Though my first step was to see if the paintings had made it in their original form...

The Show Opens

It is an incredibly impressive space when it is full to bursting with awesome original artwork. Additionally the great benefit of the show is that the restricted numbers mean that I also had plenty of time to browse, and chat to the other artists. As always I was delighted by how open and friendly everyone is; working alone in the studio can be isolating, and getting to chat so freely to other artists about their work and processes is genuinely inspirational.

An Overview

The show itself is only a portion of what is on offer. Throughout the days lectures, panel and demos are ongoing; all of which  offer some new insight or observation. On the Friday there was also the showcase, which acts as an overflow exhibition for more artists that couldn't quite squeeze into the main space. Furthermore all the socialising spills over late into the night as everyone gathers in the hotel bar and lobby.

It was a busy, and very rewarding event, but with a relaxed genial atmosphere. I had  a great time sharing work experiences with the other artists, students and collectors; many of whom I consider to be very good friends, even I only get to spend facetime with them once or twice a year at places like this.

Now I just need to put my inspiration into practise, by producing the best work I can, whilst beginning to look forward to next year.