Thursday, July 31, 2014

Appearances may be approaching

I will be exposing myself at gencon in Indianapolis, or rather, appearing to the public and exposing them to my art. My booth number is #2633. If you look on the exhibit hall map, you can see this is situated somewhere between the island of Atlantis, and mars. Which is to say it will be hard to find. If there is a bright center of the universe, my booth is the booth that is farthest from it.

However, I will endeavor to make it a worthy destination, as always. This year I bring free booze, go-go dancers, cake, fireworks, and lots of art. Most of that was a lie.

I will be bringing a good number of original pencil works this time, including matted original drawings of my Magic the Gathering cards, over a dozen in fact, and the first time I have offered any of these particular works for sale, and a full portfolio of artist proof magic cards, all with pen drawings on the backs for extra spice and flavor. I learned a lot about these last year, and what people seem to want and what they have less interest in. Just random fantasy drawing, even well executed, is surprisingly in less demand then simply cool stuff. And so I have heard your pleas and answered back with generous abandon.

I will also have several large canvases on display, 3 ft. x 4 ft., which will make up a good amount of my display, and while they almost certainly won't sell due to their size and price tag, they should add quite a layer of frothy ambiance to the background. Which is really more what I'm going for anyway.

I have also secured a table in the art show of Dragon Con. I made a larger purchase then I originally realized in fact, not realizing that I was purchasing the "full package", which evidently at Dragoncon, entitles you to a death star sized area for display, including a table in the "Bazaar", a spot in the print shop, and two large bays in the gallery. These bays are 8 ft. long and 4 ft. deep. each. Which means I have inadvertently acquired an area fully the size of two booths at most conventions when I thought I was just doing a slightly pricey art show. Which would have meant I was sitting at a table. Generally a small one. With a tiny amount of art laid out both upon and behind said table.

So instead of that small presentation, I'm now forced to bring my full artistly powers to bear, doing it up with utmost zeal and workmanship. So to sum up, basically I'm hanging lots of stuff, and about twice as much as I originally planned.

I also have one more new announcement for the schedule this year, I am signed up for my first Magic Grande Prix in Orlando, which is totally a thing if you're into Magic, and the gladiatorial mindset it encourages. Tales of such events have been relayed to me over the years from many of my artist peers in the business, tales of such harrowing adventure and daring, glorious enterprise that I simply had no choice but to seek out such an event, and involve myself in its roiling sea of potential.

So that should be cool.

 Lastly, I may also be appearing somewhere in and around the United Kingdom, during the exact weekend of the Legend of the Five Rings world championships, so I may be stopping in there as well. I will announce that shortly if it can be made a real thing.

If you can make it to Indianapolis, see you in two weeks

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spectrum Live 2014

A little over a week ago, I was in Kansas City, as foretold. It was a lot of fun, and Spectrum Live, a convention of artists and for artists, is definitely growing every year. It is still quite small compared to any comic convention I've ever attended, but that can actually be a good thing. It allows people to walk around and actually spend the time to look at art, talk to the artists, and not feel pushed around and herded like cattle. Which is never terribly appealing, and a reality in almost every convention out there, except this one.
As in past years, that is to say, both of them, it was host to the brightest stars in fantasy art, and around every corner was another masterpiece of the genre, being touted by its humble creator. Also I was there, doing my best not to look too humble in such vaunted company. As proof, I have a shot of my booth from the show floor here.
This photo is courtesy of the moderately tall and extremely Internet famous Noah Bradley. This may be one of his finest works.

During the convention hours, I had the chance to work on only one piece, a detailed drawing that I could manage while talking and drawing, and not worry about the difficult stuff. Like perspective, or anatomy. Or much lighting, or texture. But it was a lot of fun, and I thought it turned out pretty well, so I wanted to include it here, so you can observe what art looks like when an artist only pays half his attention to a drawing.

Anyway, I flew into town Thursday night, and that evening and the next three days were kind of a blur. For such a relaxed convention, it's amazing how fast it seems to go by. Days filled with awesome art, and some great conversation, and nights filled with much of the same. And a little alcohol as well. It's always a privilege to see such good people in the business that has been my life's pursuit, and it's never enough time spent with them when it's all over, and time to pack up and leave. And while all the booth setup is a lot of work, and the packing up after the fact even more so, I can't wait to do it again.

Which will be in August, at Gencon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the final piece from Lords of Waterdeep: Skullport - Survive Arcturia’s Transformation

 This image was really fun, I had to draw an elven sorceress in the early stages of a monstrous transformation, and I enjoyed working on the details of the monster hand and her expression of sheer terror. Again, you can see me still using the same limited palette I used on the other pieces from this set, and here I tried to really use the lighting to reinforce the focus and work with the composition and mood.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Relic iconic - Priestess

Another character from an as yet unpublished sequel to Relic: Caladon falls, this one is the healer and spell caster, a woman from the desert merchant kingdoms.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thunderscape Iconic - Golemoid

You'll notice here there was quite a shift from the initial sketch to the final art. The client wanted a more aggressive stance and hunched back to bring out the beastly quality in the character. Fortunately, I was able to make the necessary changes in photoshop by simply moving and tilting a few things around.

Also, the description called for the character to have a steam golem torso, which ended up looking just like a breastplate, so they asked me to add in the arm as well, to make the artificial anatomy more obvious.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pathfinder art - Katapesh Halfling

Another character from the Guide to Katapesh,this was actually one of the easier ones from the set. I ended up adding a lot of little details and patterns to the costuming once I finished the color, which did add some time, but in total it was still under 4-5 hours.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More art from Hex - The Faterack

The second of my cards done for Cryptozoic, this one features a magic torture device, an evil rack designed with multiple colored tentacles, and a sad victim demonstrating exactly why we don't want to experience the thing firsthand.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

more work from Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport

 Done for the Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport expansion, this one was an interesting challenge. I knew the bone throne was going to need a lot of detail, and gems, and putting in the snakes, and leaving room for the halfling to take his shot at recovering said treasure, was going to be a tough balance.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pathfinder art - Dervish

Another character from the guide to Katapesh, this one is a classic desert warrior, done with the characteristic style and detail required for Pathfinder art.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Iron Ring Slaves

 Done for the Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport expansion. This image features a blackguard taking a slave from the slave market of Skullport. I had a lot of fun detailing the armor of the blackguard, and all the figures in the background.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Magic the Gathering special release Hydra set

 Done for the Theros block, but as a special set, the Hydra card images are very cool. Many of them are done from the same, "first person" perspective seen here, and all of them are truly badass. It was interesting to see so many different takes on the hydra design, as they gave us some great concept art, but then told us to re-interpret it as we saw fit, so the set has many awesome ideas and some of the coolest hydra designs ever.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

convention sketches from the 2013 season

These are just two of the dozens of sketches that came out of my convention season this year, as you probably know by now, whenever I find myself sitting in a booth at a show, standing or sitting behind a table, I always find time to draw until my wrist is ready to fall off and my fingers are bloody. OK that's not true. But at times, it feels like it at the end of the day. Nonetheless it always results in some truly great sketches, as nothing motivates like an audience, and to be honest, its a rarity that I find the time to sketch for four whole days in a row when at home.
Most of the really great sketches that come out of conventions however, are lost to time, and I will very rarely have the opportunity to share. You see, the better the sketch, the faster someone buys it from me, so the less chance I will have to snap a quick photo before its disappeared into the roiling crowd forever.

Friday, November 1, 2013

 This is the Rapacian Steamwright iconic from the upcoming Thunderscape roleplaying game. This was one of the more detailed characters in the set, and certainly an unusual fantasy character that really illustrates what makes this setting unique. Yes that's an acid squirt gun.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thunderscape iconic - Entomancer

This is the entomancer, another one of the iconic characters done for the upcoming Thunderscape role playing game. As you can see it changed some from the sketch to the final, as I was asked to add in a giant Bee to give more emphasis to the class abilities.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jungle Predator

This one is from my convention exclusive Savage Age lithograph collection, and actually features the likeness of a model I worked with back in my T-shirt designing days. Here she is dressed as a Conan era amazon huntress, with a pet black panther just for fun.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Magic the Gathering: Theros - Meletis Charlatan

This was my first image for the Magic the Gathering: Theros block. The people are more Mediterranean, the monsters and architecture are more Greek, and the colors are bright and sun drenched. It was a great experience, and I loved the setting, Greek mythology was a huge inspiration for me as a kid, so combining my love of magic and mythology just worked out really well.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Scoundrels of Skullport

Last year I had the privilege to create some work for the expansion to the Lords of Waterdeep board game, Scoundrels of Skullport, and it was a lot of fun. In the base set of Lords of Waterdeep, I contributed 5 images, and gave them a rather bright, graphic look to bring them in line with modern D&D branding.
With the expansion, I knew it was featuring one of the darker cities in D&D lore, and in fact was featuring the first ever image of murder that has ever appeared in D&D (I know, I couldn't believe it either) and so I wanted to give the art for this set a darker look. A more subdued color palette, more realistic proportions and lighting, and just a grittier feel overall.

Featured here is the first of the images, featuring the above referenced scene of murder, and I will be debuting the rest of them here over the coming weeks.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Magic the Gathering art - Curse of Chaos

This was done for the special release for Magic the Gathering: Commander 2013. The art order asked to show an opulently garbed priest standing in front of a stained glass window getting bathed in crimson light and looking terrified, which proved to be an interesting challenge. I really enjoyed painting the folds of his robes and the little ornate details into his outfit.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Inner Sea NPC Codex cover

This is my second cover for Paizo publishing's Pathfinder set of books. And it nearly killed me.
When the art director asks me to draw with a certain style, I love the challenge. When she gives me the art order, and its actually referencing a previous cover in tone, and the cover is by Wayne Reynolds, I knew it was going to be a lot of fun, but a serious undertaking. And it definitely was.
I've done a number of pieces over the years that have included many separate characters. In fact, some of the card games I work on have commissioned me to do huge pieces with giant backgrounds and hordes of characters all fitting together to create one giant story they could cut into many different cards, which has always been a significant bit of work artistically, and a lot of time to complete.
But this image, it was a cover. So the real estate was limited. I couldn't spread out the characters over a wide background, and layer them in easily and simply. No, this was the kind of image I had actually never approached, the kind where characters are literally piled on top of each other, and every square inch includes some kind of small story or detail. And for the final catch, I had a little less then two weeks to complete it, which turned out to be just enough time.
And out of the 21 characters in the image (I'm counting the cat) 12 of them had reference art that needed to match exactly. Which added just a little bit more difficulty to the overall project.

 And here is the original cover by Wayne that I referenced earlier, which I was asked to use as inspiration and reference, since in some ways the cover I was creating was like a sequel to his work.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Magic the Gathering art

This image was really interesting to create. I had to show the paladin character as the main figure, getting sucked into a fragmenting hole in time and space. I knew it would read easiest as shattering glass, which turned into a lot of fun to render actually. I probably spent way more time then I should have on all the little shards and cracks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hex - Emberspire Witch

Last year I did a few pieces for the new Cryptozoic card game Hex, and as they have posted the preview for the whole game online, I am now able to show the work. Here is the initial sketch, the color rough, and the final rendered image.


Back in 1995, A game called Thunderscape was released for PC, and I loved it. It was a really edgy take on fantasy, with steam power and new takes on all the classic fantasy tropes. It was far from perfect, but as a lifelong fan of computer rpg's, to me it was a big step forward for the genre.
 In 2013, Kyoudai Games bought the rights to produce a new pen & paper rpg based on the license. It's a true joy, as I've mentioned many times, to work on a game from my childhood. It's an even greater pleasure to contribute to the new life of a game I loved, that has long since sat in the back of a dusty closet for 18 years. Thunderscape would be graduating from high school if it had stayed around this whole time.
And so, when the guys at Kyoudai contacted me about doing art for the game after they ran a wildly successful kickstarter, I jumped at the chance. And I'm glad I did, because they didn't just want me to do art, they wanted me to create the iconic character archetypes for the book. The main characters by which every player who picks up the book will use as a compass to shape their own contributions to the world of Aden.

For the next few weeks, I will be showing the iconic Thunderscape character art here.
Here is the first, the Mechamage.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Numenera is finally here!

I have participated in quite a few kickstarter projects at this point, both as a professional contractor, and as a backer of projects that I find intriguing or just plain exciting.
Numenera was just such a project a little while ago, and having worked with Monte years ago, I knew the quality of the game that was forthcoming, and the setting was so interesting and original, that I had to offer up some money to see it made real. Of course, I was not alone in this regard. It was a successful kickstarter, to say the least.
And a few weeks after it finished its round of kick-starting as such a resounding success, Monte shot me an e-mail asking me if I wanted to be a part of it, and of course I said yes.

Here are the sketches and final works that resulted from the initial work produced for the corebook of the setting. I am, as I write this, now working on the next several books in the line. So, more weird is likely to follow in the future!