Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Magic: Abzan Beastmaster

Today I'm happy to share some new Magic art that was just released! It's like my birthday whenever I get the chance to share new art for MTG because they literally sit in my flat files for almost a year unseen by anyone except myself until that fateful day when I can reveal them to the world. It's especially hard when it's a piece that you are really proud of at the time, because sadly, by the time the illustration comes out I'm usually not crazy proud of it anymore.

I still like this guy though: 

Abzan Beastmaster - 15" x 20" Oil on masonite.

This assignment was a little unique for me as it is an alternate art promo card that will be given out to winning players that participate in the Friday Night Magic tournaments held this upcoming May. It's unique because the art description called for me to create an illustration that was similar to, as in it had the same art description:

ART DESCRIPTION:
Setting: FATE REFORGED KHANAR
Clan: Abzan
Color: Green creature
Location: Out on the plains of Khanar, a scrubby grassland/desert

Action: This is an alternative take on a male ainok beastmaster. He is shepherding his collection of huge beasts across the plain (see notes).
The ainok appears to be standing among some tall tree trunks, which are actually the legs of giant beasts. The ainok has a magical staff.

This card needs a different composition from the original.
Focus: The Ainok beastmaster.
Mood: Wise. Such a small dude wields power over such giant beasts.


But it had to be different from an image that was already created for the standard card. It's especially tricky when the reference art that already exists is super good. Here's the great standard version of the card that I was given to differentiate from by Winona Nelson:

I love the lighting that she used in this piece.

I enjoyed the challenge though, and tried my best to make my own version focusing on his connection with the giant creatures and playing up the "standing among tall tree trunks" feel for the legs of the beasts.

Here's a couple digital thumbnail sketches I did: 



 Since the description was pretty straightforward I was mostly focusing on lighting and how close or far away to show the beastmaster. We decided to go with the first one as it seemed  a "best of both worlds" between showing him closer up or more in the distance. 

Here's the sketch: 

12" x 16" (on 14" x 17" paper) charcoal and digital.

And lastly, here's the card:

 


 As always, thanks to Dawn Murin the AD on this project for all the fun! There should be a couple more popping up for this upcoming Magic set so check back for more art soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An adventure in digital painting - Darth Maul

Today I'm happy to share a new painting I did for Fantasy Flight Games recently. I'm always excited when I get asked to create work for Star Wars as it's one of those universes that just has so much cool stuff to depict, and I've been a fan of the movies ever since I was young. So when I was asked if I could do a spread illustration of Darth Maul for an upcoming RPG book published by Fantasy Flight Games, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Normally I like to paint all of my finished work in oils, but this project came in at time where I was very busy and getting ready to move as well. I also knew that this painting required the character to be on a separate layer from the background. Not to mention that since the work is Licensed under Lucas Film...I wouldn't really be able to do anything with an original painting anyway. So I decided to complete the piece entirely digitally. Actually, this serves as the first published digital piece for me. 

As always, I created multiple "thumbnail" sketches for the art director to choose from. Since the job called for Darth Maul to stand against a black background, I was able to just focus on his pose and how it would fit within the page layout: 




 



After a few suggestions from the art director, we decided to go with option #3 and I began my sketch phase:



Normally I would have done this in charcoal, but since the end product was going to be digital, I decided to just complete it in Photoshop so that it would be easier to go ahead and start coloring it without taking the time to scan and fix a traditional drawing. 

I feel like it should be easier to color a grayscale image in Photoshop...and I'm sure that it is, but I'm also pretty stubborn and never feel like reading or watching demo videos of digital painting to figure it out. So I pretty much paint digitally the way that I do traditionally...or as close as I can approximate it. Though, it's not nearly as fun as pushing real paint around. If only I could get a single digital brush and paint to react the way they do in person. Well, I guess that's what'll keep me always turning to traditional medium... 

In any case, I did enjoy creating this guy very much despite my digital wrestling. It also taught me a lot about painting in photoshop that I never really dealt with when only using it to create quick sketches and rough color studies before. So in the end, I'm happy with how he turned out:


Thanks again to my AD Zoƫ Robinson for always being a joy to work with! Also be sure to check out the Star Wars RPG: Force and Destiny Core Rulebook coming out later this year.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Magic - Dark Deal, and Infected By Art

As I mentioned last week in my tarot post, some new Magic work was on the way. Well, here we are a week later, and I'm happy to be able to stay true to my word. Today all of the final card images were released for the new Fate Reforged set in the Tarkir block of Magic: The Gathering. I'm happy that one of my new cards was in this group, as sometimes it's hard to tell where my illustrations will fall. Here it is: 
 
Dark Deal - 12" x 16" - Oil on masonite


And here's my sketch:

12" x 16" - Charcoal and digital



In other news, I'm super honored to announce that two of my paintings were selected for inclusion in the Infected By Art, Volume 3 Book:


The caliber of artwork entered this year was amazing, and the judges were some real leaders in this industry, so I'm very thankful to have been chosen. Congratulations to everyone else who was selected as well, I think this will be a beautiful book!

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year! New Post!

Hello there dear followers,
Once again I've managed to let this blog get coated in a nice thick layer of dust. My apologies for that...Often I find myself so enthralled in trying to stay on track with my work, that I don't want to spend the time to write up blog posts. I'm a terribly slow writer, so it takes me quite a while to put something together, no matter how small it is. But! Here we are in a new year yet again, so with that, I will do my best to post more regularly.

So what have I been up to lately?? Well, lot's of things, but mostly working away on the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot that I made a post about back in April. This project is huge, and I think I underestimated the challenge it would be especially on top of finishing graduate school, getting married, moving to a different state, and now holidays that have just passed. However, I am making good headway now that I have a good stretch of time ahead of me without any significant interruptions. So onward I battle! 

I have completed all of the Cups cards in the deck, and I put together a little image showing the whole group:
Ace-King of Cups, varying sizes, Oil on paper and digital.

 Here's some larger views of my favorites from the group (I like them all, but you know how it is): 

Two of Cups, Oil on masonite

Eight of Cups, Oil on paper

Knight of Cups, Oil on paper

Queen of Cups, Oil on paper


Additionally, I've completed all of the drawings for the Swords cards, and many initial sketches for the Major Arcana. There's still tons left to do, but I'll try to post more progress as I roll along here.

Also expect some new Magic updates in the coming days. Until then, Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Paintings: Revival King

Here's another set of characters that was recently released for the Japanese game I've been working on "Rage of Bahamut." They wanted a mummified king in various stages of coming back to life and commanding an undead army. I liked that I was able to throw in some made-up Egyptian inspired costuming, and also paint lots of zombie-mummy dudes...I mean, you can't go wrong in my book. 
Stage 1  11" x 14" Oil on masonite.

Stage 2  11" x 14" Oil on masonite.

Stage 3  11" x 14" Oil on masonite.

Stage 4  11" x 14" Oil on masonite.

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Painting for D&D: Bar Fight!

I was really excited this past weekend when I was told that the new Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook would be released at Gencon. Because that meant I could show a painting I created for it: 
"Brawl at the Yawning Portal Tavern"
17"x22" Oil on masonite.

I've been really itching to show this painting off for a while, and to be able to display it at Gencon where the fans could really appreciate it was awesome. 
This painting was a bit unique for me because due to a bit a scheduling mix-up I only had about a week to paint it, and on top of that it contains the most people I've ever painted in a scene ever. So the challenge was on. But in such a crunch I'm really happy with how it turned out and enjoyed the challenge of composing an image with so much going on. Actually, I was in such a rush I even did the entire preliminary sketch digitally, which I think was a first for me: 
Photoshop

I'll have this painting as well as many others with me at Illuxcon in Allentown, PA,where I'll be set up in the weekend salon September 20-21st. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gencon Sketch Recap

I've finally managed to get home and somewhat settled after returning from Gencon this past weekend. As usual, I had a blast meeting fans, signing cards, drawing a million sketches, selling art, and hanging out with many of my artist pals that I only get to see at conventions. 

I think this year I ended up drawing as many sketches in one weekend as I had over the previous three Gencons combined! It was lots of fun, although pretty exhausting. Here's a few of my Magic artist proof sketches that I did for customers and managed to remember to take photos of...there was way more than just these.









I guess when left to my own devices I like to draw portraits facing to the left...

I also participated in the Gencon charity auction by creating a special playmat sketch that was auctioned off to raise money for a special cause. Here's the mat that I did:


All in all it was a great weekend and I look forward to the next time.

In addition, one special fan even went so far as to present me with a gift of epic proportions:


It's a bit difficult to see in the photo, but it's actually a three-dimensional version of my Setessan Oathsword card that they made out of eight different layers of the same card. It even included a foil version as the top framing card and as the background card for the waterfall. Super cool! 



Thursday, August 7, 2014

New art for Star Wars and Gencon!

Here's a new painting that was recently released for the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Roleplaying Game's Core Rulebook. It's always nice to jump into a more sci-fi setting for a change so I really enjoyed my chance to work on this project. The image called for a painting of a scout on watch duty as the other soldiers set up camp on a jungle planet. It's not really a super exciting scene but I'm happy with how it turned out nonetheless. 
12"x18" Oil on masonite.

In other news, I'll be at Gencon in Indianapolis next week from August 14-17th. Come find my booth in the art show where I'll have original art, sketches, prints, and Magic artist proofs for sale.  


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Magic: A Large Rock (or Meteorite)

Here's another of my contributions to Magic's M15 core set. This was a bit of an odd one since rather than your typical fire wreathed meteorite hurtling towards doomed person/place/thing (I guess those have been a bit overdone), the art description called for something a little more comedic: 

ART DESCRIPTION:
Setting: SHANDALAR
Color: Colorless artifact
Location: On a city street.
Action: Show an iridescent
 meteorite about 10' across that has landed on someone who had previously been walking down the street. Maybe we can see the poor victim's legs under the still sizzling, smoking meteorite. Kind of looking for that Wizard of Oz moment where the Wicked Witch of the East was crushed by the house.
If it adds to the scene, show some shocked and horrified onlookers.
Focus: The smoking, irridescent
 meteorite.
Mood: Humorous - two pathetic looking legs/feet under a massive meteorite.


Ok...not really what I envisioned Magic art to be (outside of Unhinged), but I thought it was funny and tried my best with it anyway. After playing with many different angles, we finally decided that a street-level angle with the unfortunate guy's legs sticking out towards the viewer was the best way to go. Here's the sketch:

12" x 16" Charcoal and digital.

...and the final painting:

12" x16" Oil on masonite.

And it's another Uncommon! ...Which I know isn't really a big deal, but I'll take what I can get.

As usual I'll have the artist proofs available in my Etsy shop once I get them in the mail. 
Also, the painting and sketch are available for sale, please contact me at murphyillustration@gmail.com.

Thanks for checking in! I hope to have some more stuff coming along pretty soon.

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Magic - Brood Keeper

Here's a new painting that was just released for Magic's new core set, M15. I really enjoyed working on this piece as it was my first "human" I painted for Magic, and it was the first setting I worked on that was outside of the Theros realm. 

Here's what I got for an art description:

SET ON ALARA
Color: Red Creature
Location: On a mountain peak on the plane of Jund - we can see the savage landscape, volcanoes, fissures, craggy mountains. Reddish, Turner-esque sky.
Action: A female human shaman stands among a clutch of dragon eggs. She holds one of the eggs, which is maybe a bit larger than her head. Her hands glow a bright red, looking like hot metal. Radiating from her hands are cracks in the egg. Perhaps the light from her hands illuminates the young dragon in the egg. The shaman is dressed in savage, Jund attire.
Focus: the shaman
Mood: my power can awaken dragons!
Notes: Jund humans have very slight reptilian touches. maybe she has 'alligator eyes'.


A female shaman with dragons eggs?! Sweet!

Here's a few thumbnails that I turned in to the AD from the description:






But needing to see the dragon in the egg a bit clearer, the AD requested a couple other options with the egg a little more pronounced. So I went back to the drawing board and did these:



Satisfied that the first one hit the vision that they wanted for card, I went ahead with my charcoal sketch. I had a lot of fun working dragon claws and teeth into her jewelry: 

12" x 16" Charcoal and Digital
I enjoyed painting her and the eggs a lot, but I really had a blast making up the volcanic landscape behind her. Here's the final:

12" x 16" Oil on Masonite

And it's my first Uncommon card! So maybe she'll see a little more play than my previous cards?...I have no idea.


Both the charcoal drawing and the original painting are available for purchase. Please contact me at murphyillustration@gmail.com if interested.