Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thank you Black Blade Publishing

     I have wanted to post this for some time but wanted the debut of the logo I created for Black Blade Publishing to have been printed and displayed at +NTRPGCON before I did so. +Jon Hershberger of Black Blade contacted me for this design for their tongue in cheek "World Tour" T=shirt. It was an absolute pleasure working with Jon on this logo, and this post is just a way of saying thanks to him for seeking me out in regards to the design.

The logo started out as a D20 with a globe inset as seen below with a quick mock up of a sword. It was originally hand drawn, and then inked in. I scanned it and touched it up digitally. I have worked with screen printers on other projects in the past and traditionally drawn art needs some post production touch-up in order for it to produce crisp screen prints. 
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As discussions progressed Jon thought it may be a good idea to keep the same sword from their original logo, so I quickly replaced the "cheesy" Del version of the sword with the original. I did this digitally versus hand drawing the whole thing over. 
 That version is seen below. 

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It was then decided that a similiar version of the logo was needed, without the BBP in the middle of the tetrahedral. So again in digital (granted, I am not the best with digital drawing and rendering) I removed the BBP and came up with this final image. 

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Again it was a pleasure working with Jon and Black Blade Publishing, feel free to visit their website for the OSRIC hardback and other OSR related items. 

Thanks for looking and comments are always welcome!

(All images in this blog post copyright Black Blade Publishing)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kobold Shaman finally done

I have finally finished the illustration of the Kobold Shaman I have been working on. It took longer than I first expected and has come a long way from concept to fruition. I think it could have been good as just a stand alone Shaman casting a net spell, without background, but I think it will work even better as a full illustration. 

After the last phase I tightened up the darkened areas, and used white gauche for highlights. Each pebble of the floor got a bit of shadow and highlight, making sure that the highlights and shadow were representative of the light source from the magic.   

I darkened up the shadowed parts of the Shaman as well, with a Pigma Black ink pen, and added in the arcane sigils to his chest boards. I then highlighted them as well with white gauche. 

Overall I am pleased with how this came out. I hope you enjoyed seeing the whole process throughout. 

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After a quick break I will start working on more illustration for & Magazine

Thanks for looking, comments always welcome!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kobold Shaman Part III

Continuing work on the Kobold Shaman for +& Publishing Group I have shaded all of the ceiling stones, and the wall stones, as well as the entrance edging. Around the magic net I used lighter shading so that it gave the illusion of illuminating the area around it. As the shading went outward from the it got darker. I also paid close attention to the mortar in between the stones, as the shading got darker, so too did the mortar. 

All that is left is the floor and some final highlighting on the Shaman himself, and it should be ready for publishing. What do you think so far?
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He is almost ready to release his trap onto an unsuspecting party!

Thanks for looking, comments are always welcome.

Kobold Shaman Part II

     I am continuing to work on the Kobold Shaman, adding final inks and marker/shading work to the pesky critter and starting to block in background details. I will continue to ink in the background and then begin shading and highlighting those areas that require it. I initially was not going to do a background, but I am trying to work on more and more backgrounds for my illustrations. 

In this final piece I added a few more trinkets to his wrist, and a pouch on his hip as well as the skull of some mammal on his rope belt. I have not yet put in the arcane sigils that will adorn his wooden breast plate, I will do that last and then highlight with white guache.

     Below is a work in progress. Hope you like these WIP's, I enjoy putting them up. 

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The darkness around the edges will fade into the center, showing that the light from his casting of the "net trap" spell illuminating the corridor. The majority of the bricks and stones will be dark except where the light reflects off of them. The lines I have in there now are just a baseline to get me started in the shading process, helps me get the stones and bricks level, and looking like they were stacked up one at a time. 

I think the most important thing that I learned in this particular drawing was the ceiling stones had to get bigger as they reached the edge of the page, this depicts a depth and distance to the overall illustration. I will do some similar work at the ground level, though I may make the floor more gravelly as it probably has been trod upon by countless generations of critters. 

Looks like this particular band of Kobolds took over a dwarven or human complex. What brave adventurers will get caught in his trap trying to regain their control of this dungeon?

Thanks for looking, comments always welcome!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kobold Shaman studies

     For the last few days I have been reading some submissions for & Magazine ( www.and-mag.com ) to include what may be content for issue 10 on shapechangers. One of the articles calls for a few art pieces based on Kobold Shaman spells written by +Daniel Rasaiah . It got me thinking that I had never drawn or had the first clue what "my" kobold would look like. I started sketching heads, and arms and hands (unfortunately I have not scanned them in), and then worked up this version.

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     Needless to say a bit too cartoon-like for my tastes. Let me know what you think. 

     I know there are alot of folks out there who have different visions of the Kobold, including Liz Stewart of  the www.saveordie.info podcast who has explained her "cute puppies" version several times on air. While I dig the idea of the kobolds being "dog-like" after reading several descriptions I wanted my version to be more offshoots of lizard kind or long lost relatives of dragon kind. 

     So for my next, and probably final version I changed the posture making it more "action pose" oriented, and changed and added more details. The illustration below is in its inking stages, and once I finish it I will add it to this post. 
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     I am not happy with the left leg's crooked toe, and I will fix that in the final version. I am quite happy with the "planks" of wood for armor and will probably work in some sort of arcane script on it, along with the wood grain process that I intend to explain in a future blog. 
     This particular spell is one where the shaman improves the functionality of net traps, and thus the magically radiated net above his head. I am looking forward to finishing this drawing soon and uploading it here when finished. 
Thanks for looking, comments are welcome, Keep Drawing!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why is perspective so difficult?

     I have been struggling with perspective for a very long time. I grew up drawing all kinds of things and for the longest time I would not do backgrounds, scenes or any piece that would require perspective. Why is it so difficult? Take a look at my recent cover of & Magazine issue 8 for example.
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     This is a typical example of 2 point perspective. The city-scape in the background uses 2 points along a horizon line and all horizontal(ish) lines converge on those two points in both directions. Still, to me it looks flat. The variances between buildings I had to work and work at, so that it didnt look like they were all in line, like blocks. But if you look at the buildings higher up they look distorted (ie. the yellow building, and the "cathedral" with the pink roof.) I have found through experiment that you have to use multiple perspective views on medieval cities, because none of the buildings are built on straight roads. (Just look at any of the OSR city maps, there typically are very few straight roads like cities we know today.)
     An example of multiple perspectives would be the foreground wall and timber-frame building with the big window. Those are on the same horizon but use different vanishing points. I am not sure this is how the master artists do this, but this is about as close as I can get. Very frustrating. 

     I am currently working on another city-scape for issue 10 of & Magazine for a city in a cave. Take a look at this work in progress (WIP). This is a concept sketch for the final (WIP) further down. I initially was going to try and pull off a Timber-frame city in a cave, but the concept of timber-frame in the moist environ of a cave just didn't work as well as what I settled on. I probably would have continued finishing this piece if I hadn't screwed up on it. Look at the center of the picture. There is a crooked tower there. My bristol board must have come un-taped from the drawing board and my building became a "leaning tower". In ink no less. I about screamed, but I learned from this mistake too. 

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     The perspective here is 2 point as well. And you can see some of the distortion I was talking about in the upper and lower most buildings. I really liked the concept of the covered bridge leading into this place and you can see I continued this in the illustration below. 

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     This one is in the works still, (and has been for weeks), I tend to leave them and come back to them often. Again this is in 2 point perspective, and I kept all the points the same here, as this is more an overview of the city. As an aside, now that I am looking at it I should have probably made the buildings in the background lighter, as the general rule is "Objects further away are light, and objects closer to the viewer are dark", but I like the contrast, and eventually the stalagmites/stalactites that surround the city will be black. 
     The only part of this that breaks the 2 point perspective is the covered bridge, which has it's own perspective. I think it works, but maybe there is a better way to accomplish it. 

     I guess the take away message here is; experimentation with perspective is the only way you will get better. Look at how other artists are accomplishing what you want to accomplish and mimic them. Get intimately familiar with the T-square and drawing triangles. Make sure you tape your work down. Wash, rinse, repeat!
Thanks for looking, comments always welcome, keep on drawing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Oni (Ogre-Magi) Caravan Part II

     Well I finished the caravan. Wow, it took some hours to do, but I feel pretty good about it. What do you think? Publishable?

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     Just a simple sand dune background for this one, being that the foreground characters are complex I think it sets it up pretty well. Where do you suppose these guys are driving this goup? And what could be in the giant box?

Thanks for looking, comments welcome, keep drawing!

Oni (Ogre-magi) Caravan

     With & Magazine issue 10 (www.and-mag.com) on the horizon I thought I would post some WIP's to this blog so that everyone can see how I progress through a piece of artwork from concept to finish. After reading the article I began to visualize this image of several Oni driving this caravan across an empty expanse. I figured that they were moving their camp etc. and would be driving human slaves and maybe a horse or two along which would be carrying their gear and what-not. I wanted to show this from a straight on perspective so that in the article it would be placed maybe along the bottom edge.

    With that in mind I sketched out the following, and in ink (Prismacolor Premier 01 black fine line marker) filled in some of the details. The Oni figures in the sketch are less than 1.5 inches in height, and so it is very small. I would be enlarging the final to get more detail but this is just a sketch.
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     The next phase was to enlarge the sizes of the Oni and their slaves. I started over and drew my guidelines making the Oni around 3.5 inches tall. Sketching out the details and getting the figures what I thought was the correct position and pose I started filling in the base inks (again with fine line Prismacolor). This is where the details really start to get filled in, and I work the final through to this point.
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     As you can see there is quite a difference in the overall length and feel to this version. The characters are a bit more bunched up, they overlap so that depth is created. The movements and poses of the figures look more natural and like they belong together. The facial expressions of the slaves and the Oni are feeling a bit more complete, and the horse is rendered to scale with the rest of it.
     From here I will continue inking in the figures, adding in more and more depth with details, filling in the details on the box and adding in another set of slaves for the left hand Oni to drag. The details will get sharpened up as I go as well. Once the base inks are done, I will then move on to shading with marker and colored pencil, maybe ink in the background with india ink and add highlights with white gouache.
     I will try and post up the final for everyone to see later today.

Thanks for looking, keep drawing!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Old Sketches, new thoughts...

     Over the past few days I have been combing through my sketchbooks looking for some of my older sketches that I can post up and talk about. As stated in my previous blog, there is alot that can be learned from going back and looking at your older works.
     When you look at your older stuff, sometimes it brings back the thoughts that you had when you first drew it. And sometimes it stirs in you ideas you had that were quickly sketched down and then forgotten. Both of the below sketches do that for me, as well as teach me a few things about where I have been, and perhaps where I am going.

     I did this waaaayyyy back in 1996! I was actually still in the Army, and this was probably drawn while out on maneuvers. Young men out in the field far from civilization, what else is there to think about and draw, than a mostly nude female. The sketch is quite primitive, but conveys quite a bit of movement and emotion. I am not insane enough to think that the sketch is quality, but somehow its simplicity is attractive. Is she laying down, or performing some ritualist dance? Hard to tell, and to this day I am not sure myself. 
     This was drawn well before I felt comfortable drawing female faces, and thus the reason for her face to be covered by her arm. And while not perfect, her figure is actually surprisingly proportioned well. This was of course drawn from imagination and no model was used. I remember thinking back then that I had to get the shoulders right for the sketch to work. Looking at it now, I think I could have done better, but in its simplistic style it's not half bad in my opinion. Her mid-section leaves something to be desired. 
     What do you think? What could I have improved upon in this sketch? I would love to hear your comments. 
     Onto the next sketch:

     This one comes from even further back, 1995. During this time I had just finished reading "the Raven" poem, and was inspired by it to sketch this out. Back in my younger years it seems that my attention span was quite short, and I rarely finished sketches to finals in ink, or paint or other medium.
     Overall I am still intrigued by this sketch. This man is obviously a vagabond, vagrant of some sort, perhaps a street fighter, or thief. He seems to be dressed in a more modern flair, with the pockets and collar of his jacket lending this feel. Again the hair obscured the face, as I was not comfortable with drawing facial features at this time. He is sort of a dark character, and one I would like to revisit in the future, finishing the sketch, and maybe doing a side by side comparison. Request it, and when I get around to it I will post it up.
      As far as overall technique on either of these sketches, they are rough, I didnt have the feel for really spending time on a piece and really "fleshing" it out. The straight countour lines tend to tell me that I had not yet started to experiment with crosshatching, or lights and shadows. Both Characters need work, in the face, and hands, being obscured by hair, or not detailed. I think I have come along way with both, as you will have seen already or will see on this blog in the future.

     Thanks for looking, keep drawing!