Monday, January 28, 2013

Predator's Rapport

 Predator's Rapport
oil on paper on board, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast

Another one for Gatecrash. This one shows a two vicious predators, a Gruul warrior and a huge sabre fanged beast having a mental connection. The intent was to give a sense that there was a mutual respect going on between the two.
The Gruul guys were fun to design because they fashion their weapons and armor from bones, fur, and scavenged gear from other guilds.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Knight Watch

 Knight Watch
oil on paper on board, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast

Here's the first illustration of four that I did for the Gatecrash expansion set. The relieved goblin knight has called in for backup, who are proceeding to beat the tar out of some louts. 

Thanks to my friend and extremely talented artist Dominick Saponaro, I got some really top notch reference for this piece. Dom did a great job of posing for the armored guys, and I filled in for the louts and and the goblin. My wife Gina took the pictures, as she does whenever I pose, (Thanks to her too, as always). 

While I'm at it, I should also credit her for finding that great roman armor you see Dom wearing in the photo below. It was my Christmas present a couple years ago, and it's really helped me a great deal on a number of pieces. Gina picked the roman armor because it's comes apart, and is pretty basic, making it easy to transform into armor of my own design. 

Sometimes I'll arrange my photo reference in photoshop into a mockup. This allows me to see how it will all fit together and choose the best photos. Many times, I'll combine reference from a number of photos for one figure. I'll take the arm from one photo, for example, and meld it with the torso from another, and the head from yet another. Just be sure the lighting always matches up.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Luthien Tinuviel

Luthien Tinuviel
blue pencil and white chalk on toned paper, 11" x 14"

"The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in a glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinuviel was dancing there
To music and pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering"

                                               J.R.R Tolkien

These are two studies for a painting I plan to do, hopefully sooner than later.  The watercolor sketch below is from few years ago, and the sketch above I did this past November. It's one of those back burner pieces that I mentioned in the last post, but it's not a commissioned piece. I have a number of projects like this, that I'll revisit from time to time, as new inspirations and ideas present themselves. I'm thinking the eventual painting could be one half of a diptych with a portrait of Beren as its companion piece.

Study for Luthien Tinuviel
watercolor , 8" x 17"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Lost Hunters

  The Lost Hunters
oil on board, 20" x 28"
Usually I have a number of private commissions and personal pieces that I'm always working on in between commercial commissions. The commercial jobs have hard deadlines, and often demand my more immediate attention. So these other works have to spend a little time on the back burner. The Lost Hunters is one of those pieces that spent a lot of time on the back burner...a number of years in fact. 
It's a portrait of a long time group of friends as their Dungeons and Dragons characters. The group played with these same characters for over 20 years.  My link to the group is my brother-in-law Chris. He's the guy with the pot on his head, which isn't a reference to anything other than his character actually wore a small cauldron on his head in many of the adventures. You might recognize him as a model in a number of my paintings, most recently as the Knight of Ravnica 
 The painting was commissioned as a gift for the Scott, the cloaked figure on the back table. He was always the Dungeon master (the DM isnt a player, but runs the game). Therefore I depicted him as apart from the group, looking on as they argue. 

Wulgar (Lou)
Sashen Oolindarf (Blair)
Omar (Charles)

 Character studies. Each 9" x 12", red pencil and white chalk on toned paper.
  The painting was a balance of fantasy and portraiture. Each character bears the facial likeness of the player, but liberties were taken their physical stature.

 I took a more fluid approach in producing this piece. Instead of coming up with a concrete design and gathering reference based on my ideas. I chose to sit in on one of their games. With only a general idea (they should be in a tavern ) I asked them for ideas on what they thought they would like to be doing. I then set up some lights and took some reference shots. Afterwards I sat in on the game to get an idea of the dynamic of their different personalities and how they interacted in the game.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"I knew much and I have learned much"

 "I knew much and I have learned much"
red pencil and white chalk on toned paper 11" x 14"

I'd like to first wish everyone a Happy New Year. One of my resolutions is to not let two months go by between posts. Another is to try to draw more. Not just drawing for preliminaries in service of an eventual painting, but drawings as finished pieces of art.  We'll see how that works out. 

I did this one as a Christmas gift for my dad. He posed for my earlier painting of Gandalf, so I thought he'd like it. The title is a quote of Gandalf to Frodo, referring to his investigation of Bilbo's magic ring. It shows the old wizard in the archives of Minas Tirith.

I find the sanguine color on brown paper isn't as stark as a graphite line on white paper, so it is a little softer touch, allowing one to be more aggressive with one's lines. The white also adds a feeling of form that makes it closer to a painting than a pure line drawing. The red pencils also can't be made as sharp as a graphite pencil, so it forces one not to noodle as much, and make more declarative lines. And erasing isn't as easy, so it's harder to make a lot of changes. I have experimented with it before, and hope to do more in the future.

There isn't much reference used here either. I just sat down and let the pencil do the work and waited for what would happen. The exceptions are Gandalf's hands. I took a quick photo with the photo booth application on my iMac for a little help. The other exception is the candle. I drew an earlier candle out of my head, but we had one in our house that I thought looked cooler, so I redrew it.