Friday, August 11, 2017

Hearthstone: Unchained Magic

Here's one more painting from my work on Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne. This one was tricky and it went through a bit more development than usual so perhaps I'll post some process images later. Meanwhile, this is the end result: an undead dragon (known as a frost wyrm in the game)!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hearthstone: Needy Hunter

I confess: I love painting gnomes and little people. It's among my favorite things to do so creating this illustration for Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne was a real treat.  The title changed from the original art description to the final work, as it often does on collectible card assignments. The original title for this one was "Underpowered Rogue" and, as you can see, this angry little fellow isn't armed with much. He might make up for that with enthusiasm...

I've included my preliminary sketch below.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hearthstone: Vryghoul

This is my painting for Vryghoul, a card in the new Hearthstone expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne. I've included my preliminary sketch with the painting. I had a blast painting this zombie-like character and I'm grateful for art director Jeremy Cranford's very helpful suggestions.

Meaningless aside that might interest someone: I often listen to audiobooks as I work and I was listening to Stephen King's Different Seasons while painting this picture. The book and subject matter went together well.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Hearthstone: Corpse Raiser

Here's another new Hearthstone illustration, painted for the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion.

I've included step-by-step process images below, beginning with my preliminary drawing.

Steps 1 and 2:
Sometimes the process for creating an image is pretty straightforward but there are times when a painting goes through a considerable transformation from start to finish. That was the case with this one. As usual, I began with a drawing, pictured below. I knew I would be dealing with complex lighting on this piece so my next step was to focus on value and I began building the picture in gray tones. Since I was painting a necromancer casting a corpse-raising spell, I wanted the piece to be dark and moody.

Step 3: After establishing some of the value structure, I began applying color on layers (I should mention that all of this work was painted digitally, in Photoshop).

Step 4: The drawing was superimposed over the painting and I started working out some more details, separating forms, etc.

Step 5: More details were added. Forms were refined and I continued pushing value and contrast.

Step 6: The figure was more or less completed and the values established. However, my initial plan of creating a dark, moody piece with a focus on the necromantic spell had gone a bit awry. The picture was too dark for it's intended purpose (card images are small and usually need more contrast) and I was gently reminded by art director Jeremy Cranford that this image wasn't for a spell card so there should be more focus on the character than the spell. That sound advice led to...

Step 7: In which, working on layers (including some Screen and Lighten layers), I seriously re-worked the values and adjusted the lighting to make it a brighter scene. The hands bursting up in the background had become a compositional distraction so landscape elements were painted over them. I was asked to add some spell energy coming from the necromancer's hands so that changed the lighting too. I tried to subtly work more color into the piece and push the focus upward, to the character's face and hands. This stage led to the final art, which you can see at the top of this post.

It was quite a journey, more involved than usual, but I was happy with the final results and, as always, when painting, I learned a few things along the way.