Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Forest Elephant

I wasn't quite sure what to title this post but the image above was created years ago for Magic the Gathering. If I'm not mistaken, it was only released digitally, as part of an online version of the game. It depicts an elephant being formed out of the moss, soil and vegetation of the forest. I painted it in Adobe Photoshop and had a great time doing it! It's a personal favorite.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Firefly Archetypes


A crazy work schedule has kept me away from posting for a while but once all the things I've been working on for the past few months are actually published, I'll have a lot of cool new work to share. Meanwhile, I wanted to share some more Firefly character archetypes with you. I've been holding them back for a bit because the hardcover for the game hasn't been released (up to this point, it has only been available in digital form) but it's coming out soon!

I've attached the artwork for the Triad Gangster archetype and the Minor League Hustler archetype, as well as the preliminary drawings for each. I hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Firefly Characters


The PDF version of the Firefly RPG has been released so I can post more of the character archetypes I painted for the game. I'm posting two of my favorites, along with the preliminary drawings for each piece. The first is an Alliance Engineer. I was able to incorporate more elements than just the figure into this one so I'm pleased with it in part because I like the overall design those extra elements allowed me to create.

The second character is a Derelict Salvager. As I mentioned in my previous post on these archetypes, I really tried to portray an ethnically diverse group of characters and these two pieces are certainly representative of that effort. The second piece also illustrates an effort to use colors that would work well with, and against, a blue background. In this case, I even went so far as to work quite a bit of that blue into the character. I did this because the planned layout for the book involved putting the characters on blue. Knowing the artwork would have no painted background but would be placed against a medium blue rather than a light color or white impacted the choices I made. For example, it takes darker colors and stronger edges to stand out against a medium value than against white, cream, etc. Each piece was painted with that in mind but, unfortunately, in the final PDF book (and presumably in the print edition, to be released soon) the artwork is all placed on a white background. Changes like that aren't uncommon and I'm sure there was a good reason for that decision so I'm not complaining but the decision did result in some of the artwork looking darker than intended. When painting something intended to go against a light or white background, I normally try to make choices that soften the contrast between art and page a little.

That's a little insight into how color choices are made and how layout choices can impact the final presentation of an illustration. I've included a sample image below to illustrate what I'm talking about. The figure is unchanged. Only the background color is different and as you can see, the difference is somewhat dramatic.

Thanks for reading! You can learn more about the Firefly RPG at http://www.margaretweis.com/

Friday, March 28, 2014

Firefly Character archetypes

As a science fiction fan and a fan of the short-lived TV show, Firefly, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to illustrate some character archetypes for the Firefly RPG being produced by Margaret Weis Productions.  The game should be released next month but for now, I'm able to show you two of the archetypes I painted. Quite a few of the characters don't have a futuristic or science fiction look to them because many aspects of the Firefly universe are pretty low-tech. However,  the bounty hunter illustration above was an exception. Since I paint fantasy subjects most of the time but tend to read a lot more science fiction, it's great to be able to dip my toes in "sci fi" waters once in a while. I hope to do it more often.

I've also posted a dock worker character. I really tried to vary body types, ethnicity, etc. in this group of illustrations. I'll be able to post more when the book releases but for now, I hope you enjoy seeing these characters.

You can learn more about the Firefly RPG at http://www.margaretweis.com.

The copyright to the artwork belongs to Margaret Weis Productions.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Here's another creature I painted for the Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 3 Box. It's essentially a heron made of brass. I love drawing and painting animals so naturally, I had a good time with this one!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


This odd creature, a huge beetle with a human-like face, was created for Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 3 Box and like the squonk I recently posted, it was really fun to design. I relish opportunities to design creatures that aren't big, menacing, "bad ass" monsters, equipped with massive teeth and claws. That stuff is fun too but quirky, strange, more atypical creatures like this are far more interesting to me. In addition to being a beetle with a human face, it was described as placid, "kind of an underground Buddhist beetle".  I'd like to think I managed to capture that tone.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


My first exposure to the word squonk and the creature associated with it came when I borrowed the Genesis album, A Trick of the Tail way back in high school! There's a song on that album named "Squonk" (it's a good tune, look it up) and it's based on the mythical creature of the same name.

The mythical squonk is said to dwell in Pennsylvania, of all places. It's a creature with ill-fitting skin, warts and blemishes. Ashamed of it's appearance, it spends much of it's time hiding and weeping and when threatened, it can dissolve into a pool of tears to evade capture!

This version of the creature was painted for Paizo Publishing's game Pathfinder (it appears in the Bestiary 4) and was described as a fat, hairless pig-like thing. I've included a preliminary sketch as well.

Now you know about squonks! I love the concept of this mythical creature so much that I'll have to re-visit the idea one day and design another take on it, just for kicks.

Squonk art  copyright © Paizo Publishing.