Thursday, September 22, 2011

Manor Gargoyle

This one's called Manor Gargoyle. It's oils on paper mounted to board, 12" x 16".
When I was gathering the images for this post, I thought to myself, "Why didnt I go with the first sketch?" You can see it below. Here's my thinking as far as I can remember: I wanted the gargoyle to appear as both a living (or merely animated) creature, and a stone sculpture at the same time. The pose is important in communicating this. So I opted for a symmetrical, static pose you see in the finished piece. Only the head deviates from the forward facing position, turning to the viewer. I felt this communicated the balance better than the first sketch, which go could either way, a lifeless sculpture, or a looming demon. But not both. At least that's how I saw it at the time. I'm not sure if I would agree now, but I'm happy with the piece anyway.

The first sketch

Maybe I just think about that crap too much and I should just make it cool. I don't know.

Another reason I chose what I chose is because there was more sky in it to paint, which gave me a chance to rip off one of my favorite painters, Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). I looked to his work not only because of the great mood and atmosphere of his night scenes, but also his the variety of color he uses. I thought I might be painting a lot of night scenes in this set, and didn't want all of them to end up blue.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cobbled Wings

The full Innistrad spoiler is up so I can start showing the rest of the work I've had to sit on for a while. This one is called Cobbled Wings. Think of this guy as a gothic horror version of Leonardo Da Vinci. The necro-alchemist here has made a flying apparatus, and we see him as he has just jumped from the balcony of his laboratory to test his creation. The wings are made of pilfered bones and flesh, metal, and are controlled by wires and pulleys.

When I can, I try to show sketches to other artists to see if an image is reading properly. Usually its my wife Gina, who is also an artist and pulls no punches. Often there are problems or potential improvements with an image that I won't see while working on it. In this one, the sketch is pretty much unchanged except for one thing. There is more of a tilt in the figure and wings, giving it a stronger sense of movement. This change was a suggestion by fellow artist John Stanko. I was pretty happy with the sketch initially, but I think the change made it even better. There's always room for improvement, and another pair of eyes can be invaluable.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More Innistrad!

This image was revealed on the WotC website yesterday, so I can show it now. I dont know anything about the card, but the art depicts some of Innistrad's vampires feasting on some poor sap. I enjoyed composing a picture where the many figures are interacting with each other in close confines. I also liked the chance to depict the well heeled vampires in all their animal viciousness.

The development of the composition, from thumbnail to comprehensive drawing.
©Wizards of the Coast