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: 

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: 

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
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:

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. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

3x3 Bronze Medal for Badru and the Beanstalk!

I was recently notified that my series of paintings for Badru and the Beanstalk has received a bronze medal from the 3x3 International Picture Book Show! I'm super excited about this because this project is something that I've been working hard on as part of my thesis for the past two years. Being my first real foray into the picture book market, I'm honored to have my work recognized amongst the thousands of entries that I'm sure 3x3 received from across the world. You can see a list of the other winners here.

Many of you have seen one or two of the paintings I've done for this series before, but i've kept a wraps on the others because I wanted to wait until it was closer to my thesis show. But since that's only a month away now, here's the four illustrations that were awarded by 3x3:

Stealing the Chicken 12" x 22" oil on masonite.

At the Door to the Great House 12" x 22" oil on masonite.

Climbing the Stalk 12" x 22" oil on masonite.

Badru and the Giant 12" x 22" oil on masonite.

These illustrations are part of a whole book that I am slowly putting together, and hope to have published in the future. I will be writing more about these paintings individually over the next few months after my graduation from the Hartford Low-Residency MFA in Illustration Program. Also, I will be talking about the other half of my thesis which has not been shown yet. So stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2014

New Magic: The Elusive Minotaur (Token)

Hey guys, as usual there's been nothing but tumbleweeds on here for a little while since there's quite a bit of artwork I've had to patiently sit on. But I just got word that I can finally share a new piece I did for Magic last year. 

This one I had a hard time tracking down because it's apparently very hard to find, but here it is: 
Preliminary sketch, charcoal/digital, 12"x16"

Oil on masonite, 12"x16"

How it looks on the card

This guy was created as alternate promo art for the original Theros minotaur token. Apparently it's only been given out at special league events...So I've had a hard time tracking it down, and from what I've read, most of the players have also had a hard time finding them. So it's a rare card indeed! 

I had a great time painting this one as the art description basically said, "a badass minotaur running at the camera." Sounds good to me! I gotta thank Jeremy Jarvis for giving me the opportunity to create it. 

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mimir and Spectrum Live

Here's another set of guys I did for the game Rage of Bahamut last year. This character is based on the Norse god Mímir who resides near a well of knowledge. All who drink from his well must leave a gift as payment for a sip from his drinking horn. In this version I wanted to have him also be sort of a forest spirit who is friends with all of the animals. As usual, I've enjoyed doing these various stages of a character. I've left out one of the stages here because I really don't like it....Can't always win.
12" x 14.5" Oil on masonite.

12" x 14.5" Oil on masonite.

12" x 14.5" Oil on masonite.

In other news, I'll have a booth again at the upcoming Spectrum Live Convention in Kansas City next week. I'm bringing prints, some Magic artist proofs (hopefully more if they come in the mail), and original drawings and paintings. I'll be at booth 515 and just next to the Muddy Colors group so come stop by and say hey!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot: Judgement and Six of Swords

Today i'd like to talk a little about a new project that I've begun recently. 

I was contacted at the end of last year by Llewellyn Worldwide about illustrating a full tarot deck that was being written. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about dedicating my time to completing 78 illustrations for the set, but the deadline was reasonable, so I agreed to do the project. In the past I have not been too familiar with how tarot decks work or what the cards mean, but I've always liked the imagery and format of them. I look forward learning a lot more about the cards as I work through and research for this deck.  

After a few months of wrapping up illustrations for my MFA among other freelance jobs, I was finally able to get started on some illustrations for the tarot set. The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot is based on the standard Rider-Waite deck, but is modernized with additional symbolism and imagery. The first two served more or less as samples to give the publisher and author an idea of my process and what the finished cards will look like. The two cards I was recommended to start with were Judgement and the Six of Swords, both being important cards in the set. The full meanings are a bit much for me to go into detail about here, but if you're interested you can read more about Judgement here and the Six of Swords here.

The author, Melanie Marquis, provided me with some great descriptions of what she was looking for in the images and I got to work. Here's the sketches with the original card designs from the Rider deck for comparison:

                   Six of Swords 11" x 18" Charcoal and digital 

                   Judgement 11" x 18" Charcoal and digital

And here's the paintings:

Six of Swords 11" x 18" Oil on masonite

Judgement 11" x 18" Oil on masonite

I'm pretty excited about getting into this deck as the subject matter and imagery is a bit different from my usual swords and sorcery, but I'm sure i'll be able to sneak some of that in here and there. Now that i'm wrapping up my MFA program in the next couple months i'll be working on and posting a lot more about this project. So stay tuned!

These paintings are available for purchase, if interested, contact me at murphyillustration@gmail.com 

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Magic Art: Eagle of the Watch

Here's a new card for Magic: the Gathering that just came out. This one is for the newest set, Journey into Nyx. 

12" x16" Oil on masonite
I really enjoyed painting this guy since a: he's an eagle, and you know how I feel about those, and b: I got to paint a tiny cyclops smashing some unfortunate soldiers off a cliff. Though I will say that incorporating the "Nyx," the stars you can see in the shadows of the cyclops, was a bit of a challenge to paint and have it read properly. Here's the card:

 I'll get some new prints for it up in my etsy store, as well as the artist proofs once I get those in the mail. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Illustration: Beyond Griffith

Here's a new illustration I did recently as a reaction piece for my trip to Pasadena back in November with the Hartford MFA program. After each trip we are required to create an illustration about something we experienced during our travels. I usually try to keep these paintings within the vein of my typical work, but I found it difficult to come up with something purely fantasy in the context of L.A. and it's surrounding area...No offense L.A., but you're just not home to axe wielding northmen or hordes of skeleton warriors (outside of the movie studios). 

So instead, I was inspired by our brief trip up to the Griffith Observatory. I thought it was a really cool place with great architecture and some awesome murals...that I could see through the doors. Sadly, we had gotten there just after closing. But I imagined what it would be like to be a kid who was visiting and getting to learn about space and look through the giant telescopes. So I created a little story in my head about a girl who visits the observatory and imagines herself becoming an astronaut...and her dog pal too...because, why not? 
"Beyond Griffith"
12.5" x 18" Oil on masonite
Available for purchase, contact me if interested. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Evolution of Grendel

Hey folks, today I'm happy to share a "new" set that I did over a year ago for Cygames' card app game: Rage of Bahamut. As with the Skull Soldiers I posted last year, the idea is to take a given character and sort of evolve them over a series of four stages. It's always a fun challenge to take an already somewhat over-the-top character and push them further with each step. For this one we have a guy named Grendel...I'm not sure if he's supposed to be related to the Beowulf Grendel, but in any case they just said that he was a large beast man with an axe that lives in the forest and his "skin" is more like exposed muscle. So off I went:

All of the paintings are 10"x12" Oil on masonite. 

The originals are available for purchase, please contact me at murphyillustration@gmail.com if interested.