With the conclusion of Critical Role's Vox Machina campaign, its been a fun few weeks with a new part of the world, new characters, and new stories. It's been fun to see the community of both D&D and Critical Role create so much art is such a short period of time. And I wanted to join in with my rendition of the half orc warlock Fjord.
Sorry for the lack of posts through out December. The last month was a little crazy with a bunch of random stuff piling on top of each other. But its time to share some new work! This year I am working towards building a portfolio and finding a position at either a gaming or animation studio. And that calls for some pre-production art, which I haven't done in a while since I was focusing on book illustration. Though I have been focusing on book illustration, I have decided to shift to exploring Pre-production art to help me achieve my goals of having a creative job.
To start out my new portfolio, I have an elemental rock creature that I redesigned from an old concept piece. It was fun to push the shapes of the rock forms and use a different color technique that I used years ago.
Over all, I am happy with the design and looking forward to pushing myself both in concept and design in the next year.
The last time I drew a dragon, I was in college working on an independent study of book illustration. I was illustrating the Hobbit and was tasked to draw Smaug over lake town. I haven't drawn a dragon since. Well not really, the awesome Art Order is creating a collection of tiny dragons and not so tiny dragons for a book. I was recently published in the Art Order Invitational Gallery and knew I wanted to create a piece for their next project.
As a person who doesn't draw dragons, I had to figure out what my dragons look it. It was a mixture of using reference images for lizards and chickens. Chickens? Well for the wings, my idea was that since baby birds don't fly, maybe baby dragons have the same learning curve and anatomy.
One of the unusual parts of my normal process for this piece was doing a rough digital sketch in photoshop. Normally, that process is on paper, but this time I pulled all of my references together on one file and was able to look between the two files to create the rough drawing. It's something I want to continue to do for larger, complex pieces moving forward.
So I learned two things with this piece: digital mock ups and play with texture!
We'll see if it gets into the book!
Sorry for the lack of posting. October is always a busy month with NY Comic Con and Illuxcon along with the general busyness of life.
But no fear!
With all the drawings I've created, very few get finished with full color. But I'm trying to change that by taking some of my favorite pieces and color them to send out as examples to art directors. So I pulled out the Cyclops Stormcaller I drew inspired by the Critical Role source book. I really liked the description and lore Matt Mercer created and knew I wanted to draw it.
Digital color to me is always a balance of cools and warms and not losing the drawing under all the layers of color. The base colors always start either warm or cool then the shadows/highlights will be the opposite with glazes of color on top to unify. My method is probably not perfect but so far its been working for me. So back to coloring I go!
Over the past few months, I've been drawing lots of huge creatures compared to the normal bunch of goblins and halflings. So why not add an Ice Giant to the bunch. When I get stomped I like to look back at old work to inspire myself on how much I've improved.
Let's start with the new Ice Giant:
and here's the original piece from a few years back:
I hope it shows improvement! Especially going from ink and digital to graphite and digital. Which both were a huge step for me. And the growth will continue as I start to color the new Ice Giant,
Digitally coloring my drawings is my preferred method, but that does not mean it isn't a wrestle match to get color theory to be on my side. But when color theory and I get along, we get colored monsters. Behold the Spector that lives in the Dwarfish ruins in the Dragon Spire mountains (yes my friends have already faced this creature in Dungeons and Dragons)
For me, digital colors lets me experiment with out the constant worry of ruining the drawing like it does when I watercolor. In college I watercolored as my main method, but between working with Chris Gash and Cory Godbey (post college), digital grew on me. Now its mostly a balance of cool and warm, darks and lights, and not loosing the drawing under layers and layers of photoshop. But hey, feel like I'm getting some where now!
Recently Green Ronin published the first Critical Role campaign guide and it was a great read with some cool art work. One of the creatures that caught my eye in the book was a cyclops that Matt Mercer designed. A cyclops with the power to control the storm due to his birthright was something I couldn't pass up drawing and wanting to include in my own D&D campaign. I think this guy might end up being an antagonist to the party.
Another creature completed and ready to share, a Spectator. Seen as a minor beholder and not as threatening but still has the capability to obliterate adventurers. One of the first threatening beasts my D&D group fought while we were low level characters trying to save the city from a hoard of undead, kobolds, evil twins then a beholder. It was a wild ride. I wanted to draw my version of what that beast looked like before the party killed it or more like paladin Adira causing damage as my character was probably knocked out.
Another of the classic RPG characters I've been working on is the Hill Giant. Huge, strong, swinger of bats, but not that smart, the hill giant wanders the rolling grasses in search of sheep to steal from the near by farms. Watch out that he doesn't smash your house with his bat or foot.. or he might sit on it. Who knows?!
I drew this character with out a background to use as a paper miniature for a future Dungeons and Dragons adventure for my friends. In the future I will probably release a download pack of paper miniatures through the DMs Guild.
It's been a while since I've drawn Otis and Gertrude. Forever ago, I drew this interesting tree folk that I wanted to use for an illustration and knew it was a perfect Otis moment. Otis sits on one of the legs of the oldest tree folk in all of Fablewood called the Grand Historian. Since Otis is always looking for a good story, he sits with the tree for many hours sharing his trinkets and stories with the elder.
Here are the base sketches I used for the grayscale comp, cut and pasting them in photoshop to use as a guide of where to place the lighting. While its just to give me direction of lighting and shapes, it was a nice exercise before siting and drawing out the entire piece. The size is going to be 11x17 inches and I'll print this gray scale comp out to use as my guide to transfer of shapes to the bristol.
With almost a month with out a Fablewood posting, it returns! With a collection of sketches of some new residents of kobolds and bird witch. These kobolds are my first try at adding them to Fablewood. I kept away from the lizard type kobolds of RPGs. These kobolds live under ground in a complex tunnel system. The design needs to reflect where they live in Fablewood along with their clothing. There's a bunch of facial designs and anatomy sketches. Theres a few mandrakes, which are always fun way to play with potato shapes.
Then on the right side is Bird Witch, an old character created for my thesis in college, which was essential the demo tape of Fablewood. Bird Witch was the villain but I don't want any singular good or bad characters in Fablewood. Her design gets an update to reflect the alignment change. She still holds her former characteristics of filling in a kettle with her walking house. But now she helps more residents of Fablewood.
First off, sorry for not posting Fablewood this week (yet) and next week. I hate the fact that I haven't been able to give Fablewood the attention it deserves. But that's going to change!
Any way, It's hard not to sketch monsters inspired by my favorite Tabletop RPGs or books. So why fight yourself when all you want to draw are monsters? Just draw monsters, whenever, wherever and who cares if people don't think its 'real art' because what is 'real art'?
Any way, here's a bug bear I drew a few weeks back as a paper miniature for a future D&D one shot I hope to run for friends this summer. It's draw with pencil, mostly a number 2. I like drawing with basic artist supplies. This started out in my sketchbook and took a life of its own to a completed character piece. I am very pleased with the result.
In college, I starting playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends of mine. We would take turns dungeon mastering and playing characters. During one campaign based on the dark soul series (if I recall correctly) I played a warforge (a magical robot) knight. I liked the idea of the character still and decided to reinvent the character to be a non-player character that the players have the potential to meet in the City of the Iron Conclave; a mysterious city run by these magical automatons in a weird Disney world like recreation of what a city should be. But Zorn is a little different from the other automatons.
Here is her updated design:
Just for full, I searched my tumblr for the first drawing I made of Zorn while we were playing through the adventure. Then I redrew her again a few years later thinking I might play the character again. And added the new drawing as well.
I like to think I got better at drawing.
Here it is, the finished Lantern Troll and wisp. More texture work was done along with cleaning up the drawing in photoshop. Lots of randomly smudged graphite over the bristol that is best to be cleaned up digitally. I like to start with the cleanest image possible before starting to color a drawing. That way at the end, its minor fixes and not major cleaning. Since I hurt my right hand (my drawing hand) the other day, I haven't been able to sketch comfortably so I've been pushing towards getting all of the flat color done on this drawing for my next postcard. So far about half way done and will share at a later date.
Otherwise enjoy the final product!
Work continues on the lantern troll. While I was working I scanned the drawing half way through to share what the drawing looks like as I am building up the values and adding textures. It doesn't always look pretty or clean. Graphite gets over everything with a tiny easer to pull the high lights out. This was drawn with a No. 2 pencil and a HB mechanical pencil for tight details. A lot of people us a paper towel or tissue to smudge graphic. But a wash cloth works best for me, its soft but durable and never hurts the paper. Just a suggestion if your looking for a longer lasting cloth then a paper product for drawing.
Here's the half way point and next week I'll share the finished piece with you all. Soon to be on the backside of the new postcards I will be sending out to Art Directors!
Sorry for posting a day late. I usually have Tuesdays off from my day job and am thinking of switching Fablewood postings to Tuesdays from now on. Any way, this week I took a sketch I posted a few weeks back with the troll and wisp. With a little bit of reference for the lanterns and some finishing off of the over design, I took the sketch to the next step. I used a light box to transfer over the drawing to bristol to render the drawing. It starts out with the basic lines, then I smudge the entire drawing i spent hours on to create a base gray value for the rendering stag. This is where the texture starts from then is slowly built up.
This is the stage of finished line work, right before the smudge, and rendering.
Lots of sketches and gestures as the magic market is being populated by vendors of all sorts with a variety of enchanted bobbles. In the past I've drawn a few satyrs of Fablewood that are akin to classic depictions of satyrs rather then ones that would 100 percent fit into Fablewood. This week I've been exploring how satyrs of Fablewood would look like, experimenting with horns and clothing. The satyr below mixes classic depictions, my personal task, and influence of traditional Japanese clothing into a sitting satyr with his scrolls. In the finial I plan to add more the Japanese influence into the clothing as well as the pottery and calligraphy props.
Here's the first go at a structured drawing.
Sorry for posting two days late. I wanted to post more then just loose sketches and a more finished preliminary drawing then I had last week. So I took a little extra time to clean up the drawing below to a polished state. This troll is off to a market to Magic Market to sell his ever burning lanterns. But along the way, he's met a new friend in a little wisp friend. Unfortunately the paper I was drawing on was a little small and the hand couldn't be finished, but the final will be all fleshed out!
I don't create fan art often because I like to draw my own worlds. But Critical Role will be the only show that constantly inspires me. A D&D game played by a group of voice actors that is honestly better then most TV shows. I'm in!
Here is a drawing of their first major villain for their online stream. K'Varn the evil scientist beholder of the under dark. He controls a vast army of mind controlled denizens of the darkness. Through many battles of war camps, castles, and strange lands Vox Machina barreled into K'Varn's layer and a difficult battle Vox Machina killed the beholder. Returning to the land above with their rescued friend Kima of Vord
Here's the progress towards the color version:
I think I have narrowed down a theme for this years sketch book! It's a mixture of a few different ideas I've had combining into one. It's going to be a magic market, with trolls, goblins, and gnomes selling enchanted trinkets to the residents of Fablewood. Starting off with some of the primary sketches for a sly goblin vendor.
It started with some figure gestures to get the personality of the character down. Some are more approachable while one is more sinister. Once I get the figure down, I'll start to add details to the costume and explore who this character might be.