The musings of a fantasy illustrator. Artwork, art-talk, and randomness.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Planar Standoff

It's been a rough few weeks, first with non-stop work, and now with a few days vacation, after which I will return home and be grinding away for a couple more weeks until things return to normal, maybe.

In the meantime, a new painting has been added to my gallery, which was used as a chapter-start illustration for the recent Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide 2. It had all sorts of challenges--taking place in an aether, on shards of floating ice, floating boulders, multiple figures, a floating river of lava (!) and nebula. The full art, including a detail view, can be found here. It is 24x30", the largest painting I've done in awhile, and sort of necessitated by the number of things that needed to be portrayed. I used canvas on board for the first time in years, too, simply because there was no time to special order my usual Hardbord at that size. I also got a jump on the painting by doing a first pass of painting in Acrylic, before whipping out the oil for the balance of the painting. Lots of different things involved in this one.

Below is the value study submitted to the Art Director, which itself was composited from multiple pencil drawings, and then rendered in Painter IX. It was a bit of a puzzle getting all the elements in. I submit sketches for this format by placing them in a dummy layout that Wizards provided, showing how the image sits on the spread. With 1/3 of the image sitting on one side of the page gutter, and the gutter itself running right down it, it's important to compose in a way that activates the left third but isn't overly disrupted by the gutter. That's two more things to consider, on top of the assignment specs above.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Master's Guide 2

Just out is the first "expansion" in the 4th edition D&D Core books, the Dungeon Master's Guide 2. It remains to be seen how popular this World of Warcraft/MMO-style of release works; basically, there are annual expansions to the core books as there are in the videogames, featuring new content and, often, things like new races/classes. It's not much different in my mind from the Red/Blue/Green/etc. Box old-skool D&D Basic releases, where the base game was released with I think 4 expansions, taking you up to "Immortal" rules (my campaign only got to the "Companion" set, in a hybrid basic/1st edition AD&D ruleset).

In any case, this is the second DM book I've been associated with--incidentally, my 2 spot illustrations in the 3.5 edition DM guide were my first-ever D&D illustrations. My work consists of a chapter-start illustration. I love chapter-start illustrations, and am so glad Wizards added them to the design of the books. Each one spans 1.5 pages, providing for lots of room for nice flavor-setting artwork. I'll get the artwork up soonish, but I'm buried at the moment.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Figure Drawing, pt.15


5x7" ink brush, 5 min. each

A lapse in blogging, I apologize. These were done a few months back, towards the end of Spring. I actually haven't been to figure drawing perhaps all summer. That's disappointing, and it'll be another month, likely, until I can get to it again. Thankfully I have these to show you still! I started figure drawing in New York last November, and I'm hoping to "wrap up" about the same time. By that I mean that I'd like to fill up the drawing pad completely, the same one that all these drawings have been in, since Asheville two years ago. Yes, it's been that long since I started posting these. Afterwards, I'd like to maybe move to something else for my continuing studies. Honestly, I intended to already have completed that goal by now. For shame.

L: 4.5x6" R: 4x6.5" pencil, 20min. each