Monday, September 18, 2017

Aerie of the Cloud Giant Strategos

Cover illustrations for this DIY industry is one of those things that seems elusive and difficult and hard to obtain. Especially for artists like me whose body of work is mostly black & white with or without gray wash applied. Most RPG books want a cover that is full color, and grabs attention with a vibrant splash. To be honest in my opinion color is not my strong suit, I feel as though I have a lot to grow when it comes to knowing the right shades, hues, and mixes of traditional media. Not to say that I cannot learn it, but with my steady schedule of black & white work rolling in there just isnt enough time in the day to completely set myself to learning that part of my craft. 

I dont do a lot of color work, and that translates into not doing a lot of cover work either. There are rare instances like +Joe Salvador's Beyond the Ice Fall seen here


where I was able to do a minimal coloring to an already rendered black & white gray wash illustration. Adding in the blue was done digitally, in Clip Studio Paint EX and was fairly easy to do as detailed in a previous blog. 

However, when +joseph browning asked me to help him out with a cover, and render it in the "retro" feel of the 1970's "salmon" inspired TSR modules I had to go through a bit of a learning curve. Here is what Joe wanted his cover to resemble:

I cannot even begin to tell you how they did this in the 1970's, printing technology was low tech, and programs like photoshop and Clip Studio did not exist, I am certain that it was produced in black & white but from there the process probably had a ton of steps to go through in order to get it to look this way. If someone has some insight on this I would truly like to know. I doubt very much that it was an easy process. Quick searches on the google didnt help either and I have already detailed how little time I have in the day. 

So, with trepidation and a bit of excitement I decided to do some experiments on Joe's project. First I had to get the basic drawing done, and here you can see the roughs starting to come together. 



The cover was going to be a group of adventurers; warrior, archer and magic-user all about to be set upon by a trio of cloud giants. You can see in the roughs, that I was working out the giants, and some of the characters here. The position of them would change, and they would get more details as I went to the final pencils. 


This one is a WIP of the back cover, the pencil details on the vine were time consuming, and the effect in pencil I think was better than in ink, but I was committed at this point. 


Here I am playing with placement, the main cloud giant is in place, and for the most part has undergone all of his iterations to the final. I have two of the main adventurers in the foreground, and am starting to work the trees in. I loved the position of the female archer, and the cloud giant. I was stumped a bit on the magic-user in the foreground (usually I would want to have the foreground hashed out earlier) but I wasnt quite sure where exactly to put the guy. 


You can see here that I am starting to think about darks and lights, and keeping the leaves of the trees very basic so that I could surround the heads of the giants and the top of the illustration with that "Salmon" color to frame the action a bit. 

I have also jotted in the other two cloud giants, finding that they were going to be down hill from the party, and thus only their head and shoulders would be shown. This was a design idea, as well and figuring how much time I would have to get the three giants in the image. having them mostly blocked out, and larger in the background gave the feeling of their immensity in contrast to the figures in the foreground. 


Here is the final pencils I have placed out magic-user in the middle, and he balanced the illustration quite well. It was here that I started to realize that scenes in which the main characters are facing away from the viewer allows them to feel like they're part of the action. Maybe I am a bit slow on this fact, but I have never really been told much about layout in art, and I am constantly learning this craft. Since this piece I have done a bit of research on layout and panel design and there are a ton of theories including; the golden ratio, rule of thirds and many others. All of them have a place in art, but most of them say that illustrators can and do break the rules all the time to great effect. It is good to know theory, but in the end it is the eye of all creators that makes or breaks the illustration in my opinion. 


Starting to block in the ink. Everything to this point is all done with traditional media. 4H pencils for layout, H pencils for darkening in the final pencils, and now ink well and brush to add the blacks. I use rapidiograph black india ink and windsor & newton series 7 brushes, a #2 (for fine line and #4 for blocks of ink. I often use sakura micron pigma pens as well, but usually only for final details (which we dont see here yet).


More blacks are added, starting with the foreground and working backwards. If I were to draw a parallel to painting, inking is done in reverse "usually". With painting most artists will dot in the background and then work forward, which makes sense in painting because typically paint lays over paint easily and layers well. With ink, there is no layering, and all of the details on top have to be worked out before those in the background, there are some artists that use white-out or white gouache to good effect for bringing back white areas, but it is by far easier (for me) to start in the foreground and work backward. 


Here is the final inks, the hue comes from the camera and the lighting in my dining room where my studio is set up.  All of the blacks are dotted in and the final details are complete. 

After this I will clean up the pencil lines, tighten up the blacks (as inevitably the eraser will take up the ink in places) and scan it in with my Epson WF-7610 scanner. (a word on the scanner, highly recommended, as it accepts artwork up to 11 x 17, it is easy to use and relatively inexpensive.)

Scanning it in as a black and white drawing, I then have to change the color of all of the black lines. This starts out by changing them to blue. 

Beyond this point the digital process begins, I am an amateur at best when it comes to digital, and so the methods that worked for me are by no means the best ones out there. 


I kinda sort of like this color. When you follow the steps detailed this is the default color in Clip Studio Paint. 


By clicking on the red check mark and then changing the color from blue to your chosen color (in my case a redish orange) you get this. 


I have already started to dot in the blacks using the marque tool, and have begun to add in some tone. 


In this one I have pretty much finished the toning, and have added all of the highlights and dark areas. The process may be easier for others, but at the same time I came away from this part of the project with a deeper understanding of color (at least Salmon/red), and using a digital media to add finishing touches, and change hues. I am not going to lie that the process was frustrating but I believe it turned out quite well. 

While I am not an expert at color, or digital media, I think I accomplished what the publisher wanted, and came away with a deeper respect and understanding of both true digital artists and those who work almost entirely in color. 

In the end I still have a lot to learn, and I am grateful to Joe for giving me the opportunity to experiment on this project. 

Here is the final cover. 


Head on over to RPGNow and pick this thing up to support Joe!

Thanks for looking, and comments are always welcome.   

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea: Original Artwork

I know, I know, it has been a long time since I put any new blog entries up here, and for those of you who follow me, I have been using G+ for a lot more WIP posts. That seems quicker, and I have been hella busy with work for Expeditious Retreat Press, Kor'Thalis Publishing, my spaceship stock art, and some other stuff that I dare not mention right now. 

Anyway, apologies aside, I wanted to let all of my blog followers know that I have posted a ton of new artwork "Originals" to the original page here on the blog. If you are interested do not hesitate to contact me though the blog, my email or via G+ or Facebook. 

Here is a peak at what is available on the for sale page. 









Thanks again, and comments always welcome!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"What's Beneath the Well" Isometric Dungeon

I have always been interested in the wells within small villages, towns and even large towns in our favorite RPG game. There is something about the idea that we draw clean clear water from deep below the earth from aquifers and other sources of water below our feet. With this project I am launching a series of isometric dungeons that explore the varieties of dangers that lurk there as well. Not only can we expect our wells to produce life sustaining waters but perhaps they are also avenues from which the dangers of the world come from. Sort of like the troll under the bridge or the monster under the bed. 



I have released a label free, black and white isometric of this dungeon on RPGnow that is a 300 dpi TIFF image that can be printed for personal use on 11x17 paper or shrunk down to fit any size. 

In the future I will be releasing a colorized version, as well as a completely labeled and stocked version of this same isometric dungeon. 

I hope you like what you see, thanks for taking the time to look and comments are always welcome. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Blueholme Journeymanne Edition Kickstarter

+Michael Thomas of Dreamscape Designs asked me months ago to participate in his art kickstarter for the Journeymanne rule set. I was delighted that my work load had lightened with the completion of AS&SH 2E work, and have begun producing some rough illustrations for it. 

This thing is going real strong, but it has not yet met all of the stretch goals. This whole kickstarter is for Michael to add artwork to an already finished manuscript of his game, which means that if all goals are not met, some of the artwork I have been working on will not be put into the book. What a shame. 

If you are into B/X or Holmes Basic, or really any iteration of our favorite fantasy role-playing game, then you should check this out. 

If you are unsure of the system, go to DTRPG or RPGNOW and get the "Prentice" rules. It is a PWYW so there is really no reason not to. The Prentice rules go up to level 3, the Journeymanne rules go far beyond that, including adding some additional content, and a ton of great art from other well know artists. 

Here is a sneak peak at a rough produced for Blueholme Journeymanne:



These are just the thumbnails of two of the seven that I will be producing for the book. 

Super excited to be a part of this project, but none of it will happen if goals are not met. 

Thanks again, hope you enjoyed your stay here, comments always welcome. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Beyond the Ice Fall; Raven God Games

When +Joe Salvador of Raven God Games asked me if I wanted to do some cover work I was thrilled. When I found out that I would be emulating something from Cary Nord's Conan run I was beyond words. 

Joe and I first collaborated with +Jeff Talanian and North Wind Adventures on the Hyperborea Three pack kickstarter, where Joe wrote Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess, and I did the Dinosaur illustrations. So, Joe has been a big reason why I still find work in this industry. My dinosaurs for his written work has drawn a lot of my current fan base to me, and for that I am grateful to both him and Jeff.  Now to have collaborated on a side project with him, working not only on the cover, but also an interior image I feel that much more honored by him.

Joe's own artwork graces the interior of this book, and I must say I am really impressed by his artistry. 

For the cover Joe said that he would like something similar to this image by Cary Nord.
Now, I love Cary's work, and his run on dark horse Conan in my opinion was nearly as perfect as Bucema/Alcalla's run on Savage Sword back in the day. Just saying, these guys are only a notch below Frazetta in my eye. 

So, I knew exactly what Joe was looking for, but could I do it? Make it my own, and push down my fears of failing all over my self in the process?

What I created for Beyond the Ice Fall is here. 


If you dig viking adventures in frozen wastes, and all manner of good adventuring fun, check out Joe's Beyond the Ice Fall, you wont be disappointed. Click the link or search Drivethrurpg or RPGnow. 

Ill let you be the judge of how mine compares to a true master of his craft, but I like my version for what it is. It's also one of my only cover pieces so that alone makes it pretty special to me. 

The line art is all done by hand, including grey ink wash, and white gauche.  I then colored it digitally in GIMP. I must say that I need work with digital coloring, but thankfully Joe only demanded blue tones for this one. 

I like the vikings in the foreground, especially the cloakwork, and armor. As far as the lady figure goes, a specialty not mastered by me, she is a 5/10 in my book, not stunning, but not ugly either. Hopefully your tastes are different than mine and find some intrigue when looking at the cover. 

Overall I am very happy with the piece, and think that everything Joe wanted came to fruition. 

Thanks for looking, really check out Joe's book, it really is a great read, and should be a really fun adventure, comments always welcome. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Scorpiod of Xin: an AS&SH short

“You ask me of Xin, and yet you do not wish to know the nature of the aurorae, or what brought me thence to begin with. With the weaving of this tale, the one cannot be spoken of without speaking of the other. Why I know of the Xin, and how I came to know it is as much a part of this strange land, as the monks that hired me to accompany them.” I looked at my audience, a ragged group of drunkards assembled in this rat-infested hole in the heart of Khromarium, the inquiry brought to me by the shag tooth lad of the south lands. An inquisitive youth to be sure, and one who has yet to dip his sword upon flesh or bone, one barely of age to lift the frothing mug gripped in his fist, only days past suckling on the tit of his whore mother no doubt.

“Yet you know of the Scorpiods you say”, I wanted to smack the impertinence out of his mouth, but my aged restraint cooled my nerve. “You’ve seen the horrors of Xin? Well man, tells us what you have seen.” The others chuckled and tipped their earthen mugs, leaving froth on their lips, and the tips of their noses. The stink of this cellar hole I had stumbled into this night was far from the fresh smell of tundra, wind whipped by the north wind. I came to drink the night, forget the horrors of my travels beyond the north wind, and hope to cleanse my soul with the taint of man-made spirits.

I raised my own mug, the sickly thick brew slid with some effort down but warmed my guts and cooled my head.

“Aye, I know of the chitinous she devils”, I said glowering at the youth, my mug set not lightly upon the board we had called a table.

“I’ve seen them rend flesh in the swirling light of the bloated sun. I have seen their rituals, basking in the wavering lights of the Aurorae, their youth, if you can call them that clinging to them like barnacles on a ship.” The memory of my journey there sparked renewed fear, and loathing. 

The Monks paid well, and woe they sought upon the shimmering lights on the Xin, worshiping their gods as the snow caked to their robes, coated their bald pates, and froze their hides. What madness was it to go to such a place, harsh by day as in night, the sounds of crying girls upon the winds, haunting the already foreboding place.

Sure enough that the Xin might be called beautiful to those inhabitants on other spheres beyond the rim, but to the occasional passerby, not to one who trudged the crunch of the frozen earth. The most of inhospitable; hearty beasts die there in days, the imposing cold not daunted by the flames of man. My employers kept warm by the light of their gods, while the cadre of men hired for protection, myself included, froze if not moving or warming themselves by firelight. We had lost five to the cold. Three to the beasts who roam the Xin, and more.

“Your tale bores me.” His voice brings my wandering mind back to focus. I ignore him, rinsing my mouth with sludge.

“When first I laid eyes upon her, the chill breeze whipping icy rain between us, I thought she was beautiful. Dark against the ever pressing white. Her true countenance hidden from mine eyes, only a shadow of what she was. We had heard the crying girls on the wind for weeks, their haunting songs freezing our hearts before the oppressing weather could.”


“I’m not talking about these singing girls in the streets here, boy, with their baubles bare for you to gawk at, I am talking about a pure voice raised and intoned, where the sound broke men, left them wandering to their deaths in the cold. I heard it too, and if not for my will I might still be wandering the Xin, or frozen amongst the heaps we had seen.” I saw Vigol, a companion of once, nod recalling.

“She was not the singer though. She was most definitely not the one whose voice dragged men away unto to their deaths. Her song was in clicks, and shrills, made worse by the death calm around her. The men-folk if you can call them that, bowed to her commands, still and unmoving under her gaze. The glacial stone slabs that surrounded her place of worship rose around her imposingly. We had stumbled there lost to the marching rhythm, the swish of snow on our boots, and creak of frozen leather, the murmurs of our hosts slow chant.”



“I had feared we were lost, the Adept leader had no map, and followed what he called “winds of rhythm”, complete madness, and had I known before accepting this work, I would have laughed away the silver he offered. But a man must eat.”

“And drink!” This time it was Vigol, the barrel chested man of Vikland, who interupted. He quickly drained his mug, and catching a passing wench by the neck mouthed at her mouth, spat out the sharing and demanded another mug. I smiled, but briefly as she cringed and went to fetch it.

“Aye, and drink.” I raised my mug draining the last of the mud, and set it on the wood.

“What are they then?” The south-land boy asked, intrigued and his impertinence starting to wane.

“The bloody spit created when mixing beauty with horror, lad.” I wiped my beard before continuing.

“The monks were mad with holy vitriol. Somehow we had stumbled upon the Scorpion bitches sacred site. Fortunately for us, the keening, singing and wind kept our position sacred too. I saw her there, while chattering with her god, rend flesh off of several sacrifices staked within the circle. Blood and entrails pooled below, as she split them from neck to nuts. She was emotionless, calculated, taking her time with the ritual." I took a moment to let that sit with the youths. 



"This was undreamed horror, where the sacrifices came from could only be guessed at, but where they were going was sure as shit clear. Aurorus was calling for their souls boys. The shining one drank her full that night fer sure." I watched the lads eyes grow, and compute what I had told them.

 "I alone stayed behind to cover the rear of our troop as they tried to once more find these “winds of rhythm”.

“I was set upon only seconds after the last man’s visage faded into the snow and ice rain. He was a great male specimen, his black chitin flashing dully in the light of our bloated sun, and the moon phobos dull upon the horizon. If it hadn’t been for the deathly silence at that moment, I mightn't have heard him at all, I heard the click of his segmented tergites upon the stone. I dispatched him silently, and swiftly, my sword arcing and splitting his breast, and then sliding up to between the plates at his throat. He flailed a bit, but went still. My eyes searching the cromlech for signs that our fight had been noticed. It had not.”

“The horror at my feet can only be described as inhuman. His head and upper body could be one of you seated here agape. Only shell covered and hideous. His lower half, arachnid, with prominent pedipalps set below his more human limbs. I bent to the body examining it briefly.”

“Pedipalps?” Another youth asked breaking my story to the dismay of his companions,  who cast bits of fat from their meals at him.

“Claws lad, large grasping crustaceous claws that could snap bull bone”.

The wench returned with mugs for the board, and shied away from Vigol with a teasing smile. I lifted mine and choked down more of the ichor.   

“Yet you claimed you met the she devil.” The first boy posited.

“Am I still breathing and speaking boy? Is my tale finished and yer wet-nurse tucked you in?” Vigol smacked the boy in his chest driving the wind from him, while draining half his mug. A man of few words Vigol.

“So here I stood, black gore covering my blade, the half scorpion man at my feet, my companions gone chasing the monks of the winds, I had but to move my feet and follow the boot poked snow trail. Clicks and whistles drew my attention back to the ritual, for I had lost myself looking at this creature I had just relieved. When I faced again the stones and the scene below, I was set upon by this beautifully hideous creature, larger and more imposing than her man-slave whose goo coated my sword. Her body moved effortlessly on eight legs, the stinger of her tail danced above her patiently waiting for the command to drive the foot-long prong through my skull, a drip of something nasty at its tip, eager to eat my insides. I could see in her dark feminine eyes a calculating intelligence, as she looked from my dripping blade to the body at my feet. My heart pounded my ribs, straining against its commander brain, but I could not move. All I could do was hope for a speedy death. I stared at her.”


“Her rounded breasts rose and fell with her breathing and her supple form under the hide-armor undulated with a horrible elegance. Each part of her was covered with a fine cilia, soft and wavering in the wind, a harsh contrast to the stiff nature of her armor. Her face was beautiful to a man about to die, but horrible; a mass of armored barbels replaced what could have been a human mouth. Below her arms, snapped a powerful set of pincers, they clicked threateningly, the bone on bone thunk sent a shiver through me.”

“Upon her abdomen clung her offspring, small arachnid creatures, terrifying as infants. They nuzzled her armor, dug into the spaces between her plates, and caressed her as a babe is want. I was lost to the look in her stunning human-like eyes.”

“Aurorus deems these sacred grounds, to all but the sacrifices.” A man’s monotonous voice startled me out of the cold panic and fear. “Scalalia shall not drain your life here.”

A skinny man twice my age rose from around the she-devil, stark naked save for a strip of cloth across his loins, yet not frozen. His body covered in claw rent scars, in patterns not unlike the rending’s that shown in multitude upon her exoskeleton. Sigils and incantations unholy I'm sure. His eyes were yellow, and pupiless, haunting and calm. In his hands he grasped a long staff, the eight pointed star of her god topping it, and he pointed it at the direction of my companions.  

“She commands you to go. Do not look back. You have been spared by the grace of Aurorus. May you see that her grace shines like the aurorea.”

“At once she turned, a scowl upon her beautiful face, and I heard the click and keens of her language start the chant again.”

“Fast as my feet and the drifts they trod upon would let me I vacated the sanctuary. I caught up with my troop, nearly over-running them. We never returned. The few of us that made it out of the Xin swore we would never go back. No amount of silver in all of Hyperborea was worth the horror of that place. Our monks found their “rhythm in the wind” and we left them to it. Last we saw of them they cast themselves upon their knees, heads pressed to the cold earth, the swimming lights of the aurorea's cleansing them and driving us away.”

“I don’t believe a word of it! Tale-teller or liar? Women with the bodies of scorpions! Ha! Next you’ll tell me of trees that uproot themselves, or  giant grasshopper men from planets beyond the rim!”


I looked at the boy, reached into the oxen scrote sack at my waist. Stood up, adjusted my belt and dropped the one foot long solid black chitin stinger of a male Scorpiod upon the table with a thud. I didn’t wait for the surprised look in his eyes. All I heard as I left the “Cellar Ale House” was the laughter of Vigol. 


Well, that was a bit different than what I have done in the past.I hope you have enjoyed this next part  in this series of process reports. Scorpiod of Xin, was created by +Handy Haversack for the AS&SH game. Handy submitted these creatures on the Hyperborea Forums and +Jeff Talanian has included them in the 2nd edition of the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's of Hyperborea game. 

When Jeff first pointed me in the direction of this write up it was rather difficult to get my mind wrapped around this thing. Here we have a matriarchal society, built of these sort of man-scorpions-like centaur hybrids. I scoured the write up several times, and as it turned out Handy himself was available to answer a few questions regarding their armor, their body type etc. 

Thanks for coming here. Hope you enjoyed your stay.

Comments always welcome.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Amazon Paladin: AS&SH process report

While this illustration has been complete for some time I have not had the time to put together a proper WIP outline for the community. This illo is one for the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's of Hyperborea 2nd edition of the game. If you did not have the opportunity to back this in the kickstarter when it first came out then you can still pre-order it through here and here. This is a massive tome with a ton of great artwork from Val Semeiks, +Johnathan Bingham+russ nicholson+Jason Sholtis, Peter Mullen, and Logan Talanian with cartography by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal).  

When I started on this project back in early 2016, I had no idea the latitude that +Jeff Talanian would give me with character design. He basically pointed me to the original rule books and said that he would like some variety to the classes with the available "races" of humans. To include, vikings, amazons, picts, kelts, kimerians and all of the other people beyond the north wind. It was sort of daunting to think that I would be part of such a project and that the look and feel for so many gamers would sort of be set by some of my illustrations. 

Daunting, but exciting, to be sure. 

I had this wonderful opportunity to flesh out the look and feel of character classes, that each time someone would play that class they were sure to think back to the illustration that accompanied it, much in the same way that I looked back at the Mexntzer red box (which I started with) and envisioned the awesome Elmore drawings.

When it came down to the Paladin, I knew that I wanted action, in fact the only other advise that Jeff imparted was that he liked action and he liked monsters in the class pictures, the people of hyperborea were not just sitting in for a portrait, they were caught in the wild, brutal world of Jeff's imaginaton, which was spurred by Howard, Lovecraft, Smith and many others.  These people had to be active within the world. 

That all meant that this was going to be a snapshot of a moment in that character's life, something that not only would players remember but that the character themselves would look back on and say, "wow, I'm not sure how I survived that!"

I start just about all of these class pictures with a rough drawing of the character in action. Some artists draw out the figure and armor them up, and then place them in the scene. That is not really how I work. Sometimes I do, but mostly I just throw the image in my head down on paper quickly. The basic pose of them. It will most certainly change, but I have this vision in my head of how and what they are doing, and I just get them into the pose in a rough sort of way. 

I knew from the start that I wanted an amazon paladin. When I passed the idea on to Jeff he mentioned this picture, and it was perfect. An Amazon in armor, a good start to the project, and it filled my head with what I needed to begin the initial concepts.



You can see from the image below that I start with a very small thumbnail of the overall pose. Here I have her standing with her arm in position, shield up and casting a spell of some sort. I have yet to work out which spell, what her environment is like, but I have a general idea of the flow of her pose. 

I then move to the larger sketch, I assemble her from basic shapes, boxes, cones, cylinders, etc, and get to work on the pose, defining things a bit more. I work the tilt of her face/head, and how her body curves. 


The way her pose is here, she is in motion, but she is not exactly as I want her yet, so I worked on the arm position and dropped in a sword and wallah the final pose. 

I had to figure out next what the over all scene was going to be. In the position she is in, I knew that there had to be some bad guys attacking her that would cause her to be casting a spell vs swinging at them with a sword. Undead. It had to be undead. The thought hit me over the head immediately. 

So the next thing I had to do was figure out a way to show her being overwhelmed by undead without masking her completely. Now the story really started to reveal itself in my mind. She had entered this crypt, and triggering the undead, she ran, possible split from her party, and vaulted atop a tomb. That is where the undead caught up to her, and that would be the scene we would catch up to her in as well. 

Some photo reference would spark my imagination further and so I began scouring the web for some pictures of tombs. They had to be tall, and they had to be big enough for someone to stand on. 

I came across many on the web, and used this one to get the general size of the tomb that our heroin would be perched upon.


It wasnt perfect, but it would work. All I needed was a spark of the imagination to get the idea of how big and imposing the tomb would be. It also gave me a good idea about the perspective I wanted for it. But as you see I didnt copy it exactly. 

I began sketching like mad. I placed her atop it, but once I did I realized that having her standing on the thing was going to put her too far out of reach of our undead. So I positioned her on her knees, the thought being that she was in such a hurry to get up on it, that she didnt have time to get to a standing position before they were upon her. So she was placed kneeling. It led to the desperation of the situation, and made me understand why she was not swinging her sword, instead holding her holy symbol of Artemis aloft. It was all coming together now. 


All of those hands were a challenge, I used a lot of photo ref and constantly was looking at my own hand during the process. Not all of them ended up exactly like I envisioned them, but for the most part they serve the purpose. 

Then began the inking, and fleshing out the background. 


The final product I think really portrays the harsh realities of Hyperborea. I think our heroin realizes that she should never have left her other party members. 

But after all is said and done, I'm sure that she recounts the details of this particular crypt many times over a glass of Ixian wine. 


Thanks for looking and comments always welcome. 




Monday, January 2, 2017

Mavfire Games Stock Art

Happy New Year to all of you. Hope your holiday season was filled with wonder, and joy. 

I have been busy finishing up work for the AS&SH game, as well as a few other projects. I have also decided to throw some of my artwork up as stock art for any interested parties.

 In the next few weeks I will be submitting artwork that is not licensed by publishers in downloadable zip files on one book shelf sites. My goal is to make available high resolution images for indie publishers or private individuals to use for their products. 

This does a few things, it ensures that some of my back catalog gets used, rather than sitting gathering dust in the confines of my flat files, it will hopefully continue to get my name out there to other publishers so that I can grow my fan base, and at low prices they should generate a few dollars to keep my art machine rolling into the this year. 

I really appreciate all of you who have become my community over the past few years, and have given me the opportunity to not only grow as an artist, but become a fellow among the OSR gaming community at large. 

I have already submitted two separate files to one book shelf. Search for mavfire games and you should find them easily enough.

Magical Wands I
and
 Swords and Daggers




Some of you may recognize these first images from the pages of & Magazine, continue to support that awesome product, the gang has a great future ahead of them. 

Both of these product should be available by weeks end as one book shelf approves their release. I will update this page when that happens. 

I hope that these are just the beginning of my releases. If any of you use them please let me know and I will give your product free plugs here on my blog and elsewhere.

If these go well, then I expect to produce more of all manner of stock art in the future. There is a large back catalog, and I am dreaming up more all the time. 

Thanks again for all of your support, and I will make further announcements as more products are available. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's Runegraver

We are deep into our second week for the AS&SH kickstarter for the 2nd edition of the game. Only 18 days to go, and it is funded beyond the first 8 stretch goals, and less than $300.00 away from $50,000 which means +Jeff Talanian can commission more artwork for the already busting at the seems book!

For those of you thinking that this second edition is going to be a different game, it is not. In the infamous words of +David Prata it is the same game; 

The hardcover Second Edition includes new classes, spells, monsters, and magic items. Errata have been incorporated, and ambiguities clarified, but no substantive rules changes have been made. This Second Edition is not a wholly new game to be learnt; it remains fully compatible with the AS&SH original edition boxed set.

As I have said before, this book will add a ton of new artwork, by Charles Lang, Val Semeiks, Russ Nicholson, Jonathon Bingham, Daisy Bingham, Jason Sholtis, Peter Mullen, Glynn Seal, Logan Talanian and yours truly. 

While those of you who have already pledged have seen this, perhaps some of you have not. Here is a new sub-class for the game; the Runegraver. 

"Runegraver: a mystic warrior who carves runic spells on bone, metal, stone, and wood"

This started off as a few rough sketches, some of which can be seen here.

The rest of the process is detailed here. 

First the beginnings of the full sized rough. 

Here I have detailed the rungraver, and a few of the critters. Even this will change as I try and pack as many of those beetle into the scene. 


Starting the inking process. I nearly always start out with the face, especially if I have it the way I like it, as in this illustration. These wont be finished inks, just light weight inking at this stage. 


I really strove to get a feel for depth in this one, and as I started detailing the tomb, and several other items, this was beginning to show through. I also have roughed in his hands, and most of his shoulders, and some of his waist area. The perspective here, really hides the majority of his body, and that is a critical thing that has to happen in order to show it from this sort of angle. Never worry about losing part of the figure's body, unless you are drawing straight on, you never see all parts of the figures body. 

Ouch, he may have cut himself here. 


Oh, the creepy crawlies are coming in now. Again, I didn't worry about not seeing every little bit of the bugs, I knew that most of their bodies and legs would be hidden by the outcropping of rock that he is perched upon. All of the line work for the tiles on the floor is almost complete here. I like all of the little details, the brick, the tiles, the tight runic carvings in the tomb, it is what keeps me interested. It's a lot of work, but with the music going it goes by pretty quickly. 

I have to admit I started to itch at this point in the drawing, bugs just tend to do that to me. 


Opps, this view is angled wrong, but I think you can see the progress that is being made here anyway. Just the beginnings of the beetle in the lower left corner (lower right in the final), ready to pounce on our Runegraver before he finishes his incantation. 

From the previous image to this one, I have filled in the final bits of floor, it is imperative when working in ink, that everything that is in the foreground is done first. Once ink is on paper (Bristol), there is no going back. So once I got the beetles on the edge of the cliff done, I was able to fill in the details below. 


This is the final progress shot I took, for the most part everything is fleshed in. All the beetles are there, in various stages of completion, and the stone stairs are being engulfed by the horde. In the final you can see that I added some more carvings to the floor area  under the Runegraver, and finished this whole thing up with my grey wash. Incidentally this was the last piece I did with Prismacolor markers. 

Which spell is he casting? I will refer you to this website, and see if you can figure it out!

I have switched my technique to actual ink washing now, it is more like painting, I can get a variety of hues, mixing it myself and the brush I use is a Pentel Waterbrush so it is easy to dilute as I go. I will have to detail that process in a future blog-post. 

For now I think that has wet your appetites, now go out and pledge your support for the kickstarter. 

Thanks for looking, comments always welcome. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

AS&SH Hardcover: Huntsman WIP and final, Plus Kickstarter is coming soon!

It seems that I have not been able to get blog posts up as frequently as I had at one time desired. Much of what I am doing now is work that publishers do not want to be let out to the general public...yet!. I love showing off my art to those of you who appreciate it, but without the generous publishers, and their desires, I would not be doing what I do. 

That all being said, many of you know that +Jeff Talanian's  Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's of Hyperborea 2nd Edition is going to Kickstarter soon. (And if you don't...please do yourself a favor and crawl out from under that rock...I hear giant spider demons live under those) 

This is going to be a huge tome of a book, and being in on the gory details has me salivating already. I have been tasked with a ton of art too (Class pictures, monsters, and comic style panel art) which is a good thing. On top of all that, I am in unbelievable company with this project.  

There are many artists that I admire including the works of +Jason Sholtis +russ nicholson Val Semeiks, Charles Lang(cover), John Bingham and Peter Mullen. They have all been signed on to provide art for the book to go along with the fantastic art of +Ian Baggley. I have also seen amazing cartography work by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) and I have to say wow (Large Wall Sized Map in Color)!! Glynn is doing some amazing work right now, and his AS&SH work is going to be spectacular!!

On to the art and process!

I shared only a portion of this in a previous post, but I wanted to get a concept to final post up for the Huntsman, a new class for the game. 

What is not shown here is the many gorilla images, ape images and other ref material I went through in order to capture the pose and expressions of all the pieces involved. I also was unable to grace you with pictures of me posing for the huntsman, so I could get the pose just right, trust me when I say you are not missing anything.  

This first is the thumbnail rough to get the feel for the action. I initially wanted to see the front of the ape thing, but that defeated the purpose of this being a illustration about the huntsman. If you cannot see the face of the subject, then the subject is not the subject if that makes sense. A viewers eye is pulled to the face of the critter and it is completely forgotten that this is a picture of the warrior. So I had some re-thinking to do. 


What that meant was that I had to take all of the reference images and try and show an over the shoulder shot of the ape. Those photos do not exist, so I had to begin visualizing the apes head from over his shoulder where the viewer would be. This image is the first rough from this angle. 


Progressing on the ape here is the pencil work on the final Bristol Board where the final inks will be laid down. You can see that for the most part everything was tidied up and then his body was beginning to take shape. These are basic guidelines laid in, in pencil just to get an idea and as a reminder to which direction all of that fur goes, and the creatures expression.


Here we have the whole scene coming together. We have the over the shoulder shot of the ape being thoroughly skewered by the Huntsman, whose face you can begin to pick out. There are rough images around the page representing things that might appear in the foreground and the background. This established depth. The huntsman's mount is in the background as well, a sabre-toothed tiger, seemed appropriate. 


Inks are getting fleshed out (excuse the pun) and now the ape critter is nearly completed. I key here I have found is that I usually work from foreground to background, especially in inks, in pencil it doesn't matter quite so much. 


Now we get to our hero...so to speak. The huntsman has stabbed the ape under the arm pit, making it holler out. You can start to see some of that Hyperborean architecture in the background at this stage too, and the sabre-toothed tiger is beginning to materialize. 


Here is the final image. You can see everything complete now. I purposely wanted the garb of the huntsman to be sort of thrown together, representing the many kills he has made over the course of his career. Look closely you can pick out boney plates, furs, tusks, skulls, talons, and all sorts of "trophies" from his previous kills. I also wanted to illustrate the point that he not only employs the spears for his kills but also a bow. (Extra credit goes to those who can pick out where he started his hunt from...here is a hint his bow still rests there)
Huntsman by Del Teigeler
Copyright Del Teigeler 2016 for North Wind Adventures.

The statue of Apollo, disfigured and broken, remnants of ruins on the hills, the moons of Hyperborea, plinths, obelisks and debris all over the place. This was a fun image to work on, and only one of the ten class pictures lined up for the world of Hyperborea!

The anticipation for the AS&SH 2nd edition is palpable among the social sites of the inter-webs, and if you have not joined in on the superb quality and fun that is the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's of Hyperborea game system this new book is a great way to hit the ground running. Be sure to check out the Forums for the game and get in on some of the conversations. 

Thanks for looking, comments always welcome.