Saturday, June 25, 2011


This digital illustration from the recently released D&D supplement, Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale shows a collection of creatures called felldrakes (in fantasy settings, drakes are reptilian creatures related to dragons). Each of these drakes had it's own size, color and characteristics and it was my job to collect them all into a cohesive illustration. Hopefully, I've managed to do that here.

Borrowing a compositional technique from the old masters, I made sure to put the heads of the drakes at different levels. This keeps the eye moving around the picture, as do the curves of tails and horns. The sizes and colors of these drakes were predetermined so I tried to turn those traits to my advantage, using the blue of the largest drake to frame the orange drake, the orange to frame the green drake in the foreground, etc. It was a real challenge but I was happy with the results and all those scales were fun to paint!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dreamblade: 4-Armed Sentry

This is another miniature design turnaround I did for the Dreamblade miniatures game a few years ago. It's a 4-armed Sentry/warrior with a distinctly ancient southeast asian vibe.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Glass Djinn

This painting was a blast! It was done for the online version of the popular card game, Magic the Gathering and depicts a djinn (more popularly known as a genie) made of dark green glass. I didn't make the glass fully transparent because I felt it might yield a confusing image. Instead, I made it translucent. I was very pleased with the way this piece turned out and the swirling clouds, in particular, were fun to paint. Clouds are one of those elements in a picture you can really manipulate to suit your composition.

The drawing was done in Photoshop. As usual, I kept it in simple line and developed the values and colors at the painting stage.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mithrios and Windshear Totem

I've been immersed in illustration projects and preparations for next week's Summit City Comic Con so so that's why the blog has been quiet this week. However, the silence ends today with a pair of Warcraft card paintings, one showing a legendary axe (Mithrios), lost and and abandoned in the snow and the other showing a potent magical totem. Paintings of objects like this challenge the artist to find ways to make them interesting. In the case of the totem, I used forced perspective and some magical energy to create movement within the composition. In the Mithrios piece, I relied primarily on light and atmosphere to make the axe visually interesting. Hopefully, I succeeded!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Magic Fire Goblin

This is another painting created for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and it's another goblin, one of my favorite subjects. This fellow is being hit with a magical blast that contains both hot and cold energy. As you can see, it's literally knocking him off his feet.

I've included a few steps along the way to the final art so you can see the basic progression of the piece. As always, it began with a drawing (in this case, a digital drawing, drawn with a hard brush in Photoshop). From there, I blocked in basic colors and shapes, working things up until I had a nice balance of color and value. This step was also just done with a basic brush or two in Photoshop. Sometimes I actually prefer these early stages of a piece. There tends to be a loose vitality in them that's hard to maintain in the final.

After establishing the colors and values, I opened the picture in Painter and began blending and refining it, adding texture to some areas and smoothing it out of others.

Finally, it was back to Photoshop to finish it off with more refining, detail work and textural touches like the spatter you can see in the energy blast.