Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brel Blazebeard

This one's called Brel Blazebeard. Its oils on paper mounted to MDF, 11" x 14". The image was just released on Tuesday with the Twilight of the Dragons set for the World of Warcraft trading card game. Illustrating for Warcraft is a lot of fun, but is also a challenge, at least for me, in that they are very specific about the physical proportions of the different types of inhabitants of the game. Bodies are thicker, with large barrel chests and powerful hands. I've found that in many of the illustrations I've done for them so far it serves me well to do a anatomy study beforehand. Then it is easier to add on the fantastic armor and other costuming on top. This way, I know that the proportions are correct, and I still have the movement and gesture of the pose. These studies aren't pretty, but they help me out a great deal.

From this I do another pencil sketch. I could just refine the digital sketch, but I still feel more comfortable with a pencil than a stylus. So this study is printed out and used as a guide for the more refined sketch by means of a light box. The paper I do most of my drawings with is just Staples all purpose copy paper. It's acid free, and thin enough to use with a light box, but not too translucent like tracing paper. I love the surface of it as well. Very smooth with just enough tooth for me. I starting using this paper after I heard from Tom Kidd that he uses it for all his great sketches.
This pencil sketch is then scanned in and further refinements can be made in Photoshop. I'd probably save time if I did everything digitally, but I still haven't made the total leap yet.


  1. Super job Matthew - is going digital something you want to do or are you feeling like it is something you have to do ?

  2. I've been doing digital painting for about ten years now, and really tried to go fully digital. But I still haven't given up pencil sketch on copy paper as my base. No matter what improvements Wacom makes, I still can't get that toothy drag I crave out of the digital stylus.

  3. Thanks Larry!
    As for going digital, it's a little of both. I'd like to get more comfortable working digitally so that certain jobs are not off limits to me, like concept work.
    But mainly right now, it would be to streamline the preliminary stages in creating oil paintings. It's just a matter of doing it I guess. I just still find myself reaching for the pencil because it's so much more comfortable for me.

    @Sean-You and me both!

  4. Great piece! I know what you mean about WoW being a challenge, I think you've definitely nailed the Warcraft look and anatomy here without losing your particular style.

  5. Damn dude, loving this piece. Foreshortened arms/hands like that are a pain, I think you nailed it! Awesome colors too, definitely. There's no reason why you can't do a tight sketch digitally and print that out for the oil finish, just a thought ;)