Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tarot Tuesday: The Emperor

It's that time again! Today I'd like to share another of the Major Arcana cards with you: 

The Emperor - 10" x 16.5" Oil on watercolor paper.
This guy was lots of fun as I always enjoy creating humanoid creatures that are part human with other animal features. The Emperor here is depicted as a version of Cernunnos, or "The Horned God" in Celtic Paganism. I can't go much more into explanations on the other symbolism as I don't want to go against or assume what the author has in mind, but I think everything works really well together in this one. 

This one didn't require too much preliminary sketching because the description given to me by the author, Melanie Marquis, provided a pretty clear mental image for what I want the final to look like. Here's a thumbnail I created for approval: 

Once the thumbnail was given the OK I went ahead with photos and created the charcoal sketch: 

10" x 16.5" Charcoal and digital.
If you compare the sketch with the final, I decided to shrink his head a little as it got slightly on the large side in the sketch. 

That's all for today! Next week's post may be delayed, as I will be travelling and might not have internet access, but never fear! I'll post as soon as I can soon after. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tarot Tuesday (Wednesday): Knight of Swords

Maybe I should start calling these Tarot Wednesday since I've been good about forgetting to post on actual tuesdays.... Oh well! 

Today, I present to you the Knight of Swords:
10.5" x 17.25" - Oil on watercolor paper
 I really like all of the knights cards from this deck because they are all riding interesting animals. As you can see with my previous post with the Knight of Cups here. I love horses, but who doesn't want to paint a guy riding on a charging bull? 

For this one, I did a couple thumbnails to try to determine which route to go with the illustration: 

The first thumbnail was a bit pulled back with a more heroic pose, and the second option is based on the original Rider-Waite design seen above with the knight charging across the image. The writer and I decided to go with the second image and I was off to sketch. Due to time constraints I decided to do the sketch digitally: 

  I like to do most of the sketching and final work with the card template visible so that I can keep in mind the final crop and text placement for the printed version of the cards.

Well that's all for today. Until next week!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tarot Tuesday: Ten of Cups

Here we are yet again at another Tuesday...time flies! Today I'd like to share a larger version of the Ten of Cups card. I had previously posted it here as a smaller version amongst the rest of the cups cards, but I thought it might be nice to show it larger so you can see details a little better.
10 of Cups - Digital.
 This is one of a few digitally painted cards that I've created for the deck. I've chosen to complete some of the cards digitally as opposed to painting simply because of time and size restraints. This painting would have taken me a lot longer, and I would have had to paint it much bigger than some of my other ones because of the multiple figures, and the many cups involved in the piece. Not to mention, the time it would have taken to properly paint and glaze the rainbow to make it look the way it should. Sadly, there's just not enough time to spend weeks on one of these illustrations. But despite those things, I'm fairly happy with how this one turned out. I've been learning a lot about digital painting over the few that I've completed digitally so far...I still feel like I'm doing it all wrong, but my mind works more as a physical painter than a manipulator of images like some of the digital painting videos I've watched seem to look like.

Anyway, thanks for looking and following along! See you next week!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tarot Tuesday (Wednesday): The Hermit

Well, only three weeks in, and I'm already off my schedule with Tarot Tuesday! As usual, things have been crazy around the studio and I got sidetracked away from my post yesterday. But, better late than never I suppose...(Though, I hate being late.)

Today's painting is one of my favorites from the deck thus far:
The Hermit - 10" x 16.25" - Oil on watercolor paper.

The Hermit is one of the first of the Major Arcana paintings that I've completed for the deck. He is one of 22 Major Arcana cards that will appear in the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot.
I really enjoyed this guy because the card description was on the simpler side so I could focus more on the mood and character in the piece. Plus cloaked and bearded old guys are pretty high on my list of "always fun things to paint."

That's all for today! Until next time, have a nice week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tarot Tuesday - Five of Swords

Here we are at another Tuesday, so I'm continuing with posting a finished tarot illustration for the upcoming Modern Spellcaster's Tarot by Llewellyn Worldwide. Today, I'm sharing the art for the Five of Swords: 
11" x 18" Oil on watercolor paper
I really enjoy the swords suit as all of the descriptions call for snowy mountainous landscapes, wolves, fire, and of course swords. So you really can't go wrong. 

I haven't been given the actual text for the accompanying book that will be available with this deck, so I'm not entirely sure what all of the symbolism means, but I do know that the deck intends to follow the general Rider-Waite format. 

That's all for today, check back next week for another Tarot Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tarot Tuesday- Ace of Swords

A quick post for today, but I wanted to start off a new blog series that I should have began a long time ago. So it's with this I will kick off "Tarot Tuesdays." I'll be posting a new painting for the upcoming Modern Spellcater's Tarot deck written by Melanie Marquis and being published by Llewellyn Worldwide later this year each Tuesday until I reach the end of the project. I've already posted some work from the deck in previous posts here and here.

So today I present the Ace of Swords:
7" x 11.5" Oil on watercolor paper.

The suit of swords contains some of my favorite images from the deck so far, so expect plenty more of those as we roll along with Tarot Tuesday.

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:

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!