Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hearthstone: Gadgetzan Robot

This artwork for the latest Hearthstone expansion, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, was recently revealed so now I can share it with you. The illustration is for card named Wind-up Burglebot in the game. I'm grateful that art director Jeremy Cranford (one of the best in the biz) gave me the opportunity to paint this card. I love designing robots!

I thought I'd provide some insight into my process on this one. Drawing in Adobe Photoshop, I began with some loose doodles, just simple ideas for the robot character.  Once I had one I liked (see below), I refined the drawing, working out the shapes and details of the robot, the stolen items it's peddling and it's surroundings.

At that point, I created a new RGB file in Photoshop, placed the drawing into an alpha channel and set the opacity of that channel to 50% so I could see the drawing as I applied color but it wouldn't be overpowering. I use a channel for this rather than a layer because that way I don't risk accidentally painting on the layer that contains the drawing.

Using several custom brushes, I began blocking in colors, working loosely to establish the color scheme and basic lighting. I worked with a complimentary color scheme, juxtaposing the orange robot against a blue background to boost contrast between the two. Once the basics of lighting and color had been established, I started working out details, refining and separating shapes, building textures, pushing contrast, etc. After that, the piece was essentially complete. However, upon seeing how it would look when cropped into the Hearthstone card format, Jeremy and I agreed that the wall on the left side of the picture was an unnecessary distraction so I painted it out.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More Inktober drawings

Here are a few more little drawings I've created during this "Inktober". Most are small, just  2-3" inches at their tallest or widest point. the first represents "The Innsmouth Look" as described in H. P. Lovecraft's story, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. After that, there's a family of mushroom folk, a little bearded character, a fellow who likes to pretend he's a gargoyle, an autumn girl with a dan of color and finally, a little character sketch I titled "Ivan and his bag of skulls".



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Inktober drawings

Here are some drawings from the first week of "Inktober". The first two were drawn with micron pens. The third is a brush drawing and the fourth was drawn using a crowquill pen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hearthstone: Orc Warrior and The Horde

Here are two more images I painted for the latest Hearthstone expansion, One Night in Karazhan. The close-up has a red swirl design around it in print.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hearthstone: Broom

This is my favorite of the pictures I painted for the new Hearthstone expansion One Night in Karazhan. It was a chance to get a bit silly and I love it when I can really embrace a humorous approach to a painting or a character design. In this case, I was able to paint a mean-spirited, magically-animated broom! It was a good time from start to finish.

I've included my initial concept sketches for the broom at left.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hearthstone: Protect the King!

Here's another illustration for the new Hearthstone release One Night in Karazhan. This one was a real challenge. I needed to depict chess pieces with no legs in motion. Eventually, I needed to work magical energy into the picture without creating chaos. Both the composition and the color scheme went through some big changes.

As you can see below, the original composition was more expansive, showing more of the pieces on the board. A decision was made to zoom in on a section of the composition so it would read better at the size of a Hearthstone card. From there, I did a complete value study in black and white to clarify the picture before adding color. I rather like the image this way, with black and white pieces actually painted in black and white. I wanted to preserve some of that feel so my initial approach to the color scheme was to use analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel—in this case, blues and purples).

Ultimately, the final art had to be much more colorful than that and I needed to work in magical energy so the pieces became a warm purple and ochre and I introduced red and blue energy. I think it works and in the end, I have a nice example of just how much color can change a piece even after most of the values have been established.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hearthstone: Avian Watcher

I painted this illustration of for the new Hearthstone release, One Night in Karazhan

I've included a preliminary study in gray. I was initially leaning toward something dark and moody but Hearthstone is a very colorful game so in the end, the color scheme ended up being rather electric, with a highly saturated palette, right down to the glowing green eyes.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Skylanders Battlecast: Crypt King and Bad Juju

Here's another painting for Skylanders Battlecast, this time featuring the characters Crypt King and Bad Juju. The latter is in the background and he's trying to control the actions of the former.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Smash Hit: Process

As I mentioned in my previous post, this painting went through some interesting changes during the development process. Here are some of the steps along the way.

1.) My preliminary sketch.

2.) Working in Photoshop, I blocked in basic colors and values and started developing a few details. The latter were only added after the blocking-in process but alas, I didn't save a version of the painting with just the basic colors and values in place.

As you can see, I also added a texture over the ground using a transparent layer. 

3.) More development: At this stage, I had begun working on the girders in the background and I shifted the color of the cement-slinging vehicle from orange to a bright red. Most of the work was done with the Hard Round brush in Photoshop, or with a brush named "Airbrush Pen Opacity Flow". 

4.) The color of the girders in the background was changed from red to a cool blue to push them back and keep them from competing for attention with the foreground elements. Texture and detail were added to the vehicle.

5.) Next, I began developing the character by adding details and refining shapes. I also did a bit more work on the background.

6.) Having completed the central elements of the picture, I refined and developed the rest of the background (and the actual ground) and the picture was finished...

7.) ... or so I thought! It turned out that the girders weren't an appropriate element for the game setting so they had to be removed. They were replaced with more clouds and stacked bricks and then the picture was truly finished.

I actually prefer the version in step 6. I think the strong vertical lines of the girders really added something valuable to the composition but hopefully, both versions of the picture are successful.

Questions are welcome!

Skylanders Battlecast: Smash Hit

This painting for Activision's Skylanders Battlecast game features a character named Smash Hit and a cement-slinging machine he's invented, Designing the cement slinger was a hoot and I had a great time with this painting as a whole. It went through some changes along the way so I'm going to share the process for it in my next post.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Skylanders Battlecast: Grave Clobber

Here's another piece I painted for Activision's Skylanders Battlecast. It's one of my favorites. The character, Grave Clobber, has just been dumped out of a water pipe and he's feeling a little stunned.

Like all of the Battlecast paintings I've been posting, this one was painted digitally, in Adobe Photoshop.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Skylanders Battlecast—Cali

I've been given permission to post some more Skylanders Battlecast art so here we go...

This painting features Cali, an explorer/adventurer in the Skylanders world. She's being airlifted away from a group of green Chompies!

I've included my preliminary drawing above. All of the images I painted for this game are intended to fit into a card format that, in places, intrudes slightly into the picture. Consequently, there's usually a bit of extra space around the perimeter of each composition to allow room for those elements.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Green Thumb and Machinecraft

Here are two more card paintings for Activision's new game Skylanders Battlecast, Green Thumb and Machinecraft. These are simpler compositions than the multi-figure scenes I've posted the last two days, although they both presented challenges of their own. For example, I wasn't sure at first how I wanted to paint Broccoli Guy's head in Green Thumb. It took a bit of experimentation to arrive at an approach I liked.

The holographic belts and gears in Machinecraft were a challenge too. They needed to read very clearly but they were also supposed to be slightly transparent. Creating the "factory" background was a challenge too. There's quite a bit going on back there.

Friday, June 3, 2016


This one has a delightful title, eh? It's another of my favorites among the paintings I did for Activision's Skylanders Battlecast. The little blue creatures with the glowing eyes are called Chompy Rustbuds!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hoist of the Century

This is my favorite of the Skylanders Battlecast cards I've done so far. They've all been fun but this one provided an opportunity to do a scene with some real depth and multiple characters. It was difficult but rewarding!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Skylanders Battlecast

Last summer, I was fortunate to get involved with a new game, Skylanders Battlecast, which has just been released. It's based on the popular Skylanders video game universe and published by Activision. I encourage you to check it out! It's a free mobile game. The game itself involves cards and battles. You can buy actual, physical cards, digital cards or both!

Now that the game has been released, I can finally share some of the art I've been doing for it. I'll "roll out" some new art every day for the next few days so if you like what you see, please keep checking in.

The first two pieces I painted were Finishing Blow (which features the eagle character Jet-Vac) and Skylithium Scale, which features a gem dragoness named Flashwing.

Both illustrations were painted in Photoshop.

I have loved working on this game so I hope you enjoy the artwork. I'll post more tomorrow!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hearthstone: Twilight Summoner

This is the last of my published illustrations for the new Hearthstone expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods. Like the others, it was fun to paint!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hearthstone: Blood to Ichor

Here's another painting for the new Hearthstone set, Whispers of the Old Gods. Conceptually, this one started off from a slightly different place than it ended up. Originally, the slime creatures emerging from the ichor weren't a part of the picture. The wounded figure in the foreground was simply supposed to be "bleeding" green ichor. Then, the art description for the picture shifted and the green slime creatures were actually supposed to become the focus. That was tricky since it wasn't quite how I had originally conceived the artwork. Ultimately, with the help of art director Jeremy Cranford, I think I arrived at a pretty good solution. The green slime things were a blast to paint!

I'm including the original sketch below.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hearthstone: Grotesque Dragonhawk

Here's another image painted for Hearthstone's new Whispers of the Old Gods expansion. This one was painted at the same time as the Berserker painting I posted last month and now that Old Gods has been released, I can finally share it with you.

I'll share a couple more paintings from the set here over the weekend so please check in again!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hearthstone: Corrupted Berserker

Here's an image I painted for the upcoming Hearthstone set, Whispers of the Old Gods. It was an absolute blast to create as it gave me the opportunity to really push the character, colors and forms (you can twist and turn tentacles so they go in whatever shape and direction you'd like).

I'm able to share this now, before the set is released,  because the artwork has been "spoiled". It's been used as part of a worldwide ad campaign to promote Whispers of the Old Gods. I found out the other day that this image is now a mural in Australia! It would be an understatement to say I'm thrilled about that. I'm sharing a  photo of the mural here. I wish I could credit the photographer but unfortunately, I don't know who took the picture (so if if any of you do, please let me know and I'll update this post with a credit).