Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sir Oakley...

... or as I like to think of him, Sir Rides-An-Armored-Horse.

This is another piece from Madness at Gardmore Abbey. The horse armor (also called barding) is based on a blurry photograph I took of some horse armor on display in the Tower of London. The art director was kind enough to allow me to break the picture border in a few places, one of those techniques that's easily abused but when used wisely (as I like to think I've done here) can add a bit of motion or energy to a piece. In this case, I think allowing the horse's head to break the left side of the picture box reinforced a sense of forward motion.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Dragon

This is another piece from the D&D Adventure, Madness at Gardmore Abbey. It depicts a red dragon who dwells beneath the Abbey. The dragon has jewels embedded in it's neck/chest. Apparently, he's been lying around on some treasure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alien Beholder

I painted this translucent fellow for the recently released D&D adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. The assignment called for an "alien" beholder so I drew inspiration from the old Mars Attacks trading cards to make this beholder into a nice, green "alien". It was a lot of fun!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mordenkainen's Spots

As most of you probably know, spot illustrations are those little images you see in books, magazines, etc. that tend to have their own uniquely defined shape or represent a figure, object, etc,. with no background. They tend to be surrounded by text and the also tend to be simple (or at least to appear simple). However, they present their own unique set of challenges. When less is present in a piece, what's there needs to be well-executed and eye-pleasing. If you're illustrating an object and nota scene, that object needs to be shown in a relatively characteristic view because it's not just being drawn or painted, it's being displayed for the viewer. The spot becomes the equivalent of a photo in a catalog or an object in a store window. So, how do you make a sword, a lantern or a group of paint pots interesting, especially without a background (which can make lighting tricky)? There are plenty of solutions. here's what I came up with for Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium...

As you can see, decoration and embellishment tend to be important. In each case, I didn't just paint a sword, lantern or paint pot. I decorated them with heads, dragons, spikes, and so on. The paint pots provided the advantage of multiple objects within the spot so I could create an arrangement instead of just illustrating one object. The sword needed to be on fire so I had to create a background to set off the flames and provide some atmosphere without adding any detail that would draw attention away from the sword itself. The lantern is a simple shape but I made it a more complex silhouette by adding ornamental details.

Like the lantern, I hope that was illuminating (insert groans here). The next time you see a spot illustration, please take a close look at it and consider the choices the artist has made to make it interesting. Spots aren't always as simple as they appear at first glance!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium

I realize things have been quiet in this space for a while. Life and work have been busy and I'm afraid the blog suffered the consequences. However, I have a bunch of work to post in the coming weeks so please check in frequently.

Wizards of the Coast recently released a D&D book called Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium. I did a number of illustrations for it, many of them spots of magical items, but there were a couple of more fully realized compositions as well. First among them, this scene of a dwarf smith forging a magical blade and an elf casting a runic spell over it. Working out the lighting and the low point of view in this one was a great challenge!

I'll be posting more from this book over the next few days.