16 May 2013

May Art Lottery Winner - Garth Holden

Howdy! It's been a bit since I last posted, owing mostly to a welcome increase in commissions for tabletop RPG publications. In case folks missed it on Google+, Canadian author Garth Holden won the May Art Lottery. His submission:

"A friend of mine was born with a mutable soul. He is an Inuit man and it is
not uncommon for the people of the north to be born with both a human and an
animal spirit. People with mutable souls live hard lives, eventually
transforming over the years from one state of being to the other --
sometimes from animal to human, or from human to animal. My friend is a
world class soap-stone carver and a brilliant man, as well as being a polar
bear. That is the heart for my friend’s dilemma. Is he a man coaxing a
polar bear out of the stone? Or, is he a bear laying a man’s spirit rest
in the stone? All I can say is that this is a real world situation. My
friend does not know if he is a man becoming a bear or a bear becoming a
man. I’ve seen the bear rise up and take him over and I’ve seen the
incredible forms he draws out of the stone. Most of my friend’s works are
transformation pieces."

Garth and I discussed the piece a bit more, and I came to a kind of movie poster image montage solution to his image. Here it is:

I've been working away at improving my inking skills, and this was a successful opportunity to explore that vein of illustration a bit more. I hope folks enjoy viewing this piece as much as I enjoyed working with Garth to bring it to life.

 If you have any ideas you'd like to bring to life in illustration, you can always submit to the Monthly Art Lottery. If you need illustrations executed for your awesome project or publication, feel free to contact me via the info on my profile page. Cheers!

17 April 2013

One Vile Pile at a Time, Petty Gods Style

The Petty Gods project, as I'm sure most folks know by now, has BLOWN UP. Greg over at Gorgonmilk shot some emergency adrenaline into the heart of what had been a dead/indefinitely forestalled collection of less than commonly worshiped deities from all sorts of OSR folks. You can get the full story here.

I volunteered my scratching and markmaking, completing a total of four particularly foul or corrupt outer beings thus far with more on the way. My first two, the Twin Blasphemies Nug and Yeb, come from Lovecraft through a number of stories which harbor no physical description aside from 'they look like their mom, Shub-Niggurath.'

So I consulted the Mythos-corrupted scholar Robert Parker, tended to his recommended reading (I call it 'research' to those who question my time management), listened to Robert Price read aloud Joe Pulver Sr.'s channeling of "The Black Litany of Nug and Yeb," followed the faint scent of Mesoamerican mythology from the stories, and arrived at a mixture of Shubby and physical descriptions of the Black and Red versions of the Azteca god Tezcatlipoca (Black Tezcatlipoca and Xipe Totec, respectively).

Now keep in mind this was my personal path to crafting an image for the two, as the illustrious James Mishler is writing up the  full descriptions for the two!

This is what came out:

 I also completed The Beast of Unbidden Challenges, based on an excellent description from Nate, the creator of A Desolate Shrine. Here's the cutie:

Following with the mad, lost god Qu'pan, developed by Richard Iorio II, who runs Rogue Games (Colonial Gothic; Shadow, Sword & Spell).

Full stats and descriptions for these godlings can be found in the forthcoming Expanded Petty Gods over at Gorgonmilk. Cheers!

15 April 2013

April Art Lottery - Infected Beasts of Hubris

Mike Evans was the first person to submit an idea for the monthly art lottery when I started back at the end of January, and this month that very first entry was drawn!

Mike runs a fantastic blog over at Wrath of Zombie, and he is perpetually writing gaming material, ranging from system adaptations to original campaign worlds. One of those worlds of his, a grim and grimy sword & sorcery world called Hubris, has gleefully commandeered much of his attention. And it kicks ass.

Mike wanted a Tetsuo: Iron Man inspired plague beast fighting and infecting body guards. When I asked Mike to elaborate, he ended up mentioning The Thing as additional inspiration, and that's when I found the look for the beast. Here's the scene:

Ultimately this beast doesn't have quite as much metal on his body as Tetsuo, but the cancerous ick makes up for the missing industrial ugliness.Cheers Mike!

As always, feel free to keep submitting ideas! The next drawing goes down on the 5th of May.

You can submit here.

15 March 2013

Revised: DaVinci-punk Wins March Art Lottery!

***So I got a wild hair going and decided to do some extra rendering on Brett's winning description, so after a long night, here's the revised version, followed by the original blog post. Cheers! - DLJ, 03/17/13 ***

Brett Slocum won the month of March, and his idea for the daVinci-punk genre read thus:

"Think of the outlandish costumes and scenery of the planetary romance novels and movies of the 19-Teens and the 1920s as seen through the lens of daVinci's Florence. This setting is what I call daVinci-punk, and it basically asks the question, 'What if the genius of daVinci met a magical artisan equal to his talents, and then Galileo showed them his telescope?' They of course make a space ship."

So I put some mages inside the Duomo of Florence, imagined that a considerable volume of gearing would be necessary to prop up all the parts of the rocketship, and decided to send a young court-sanctioned explorer out to visit the Moon.

Hope you dig it, keep submitting new ideas - yours could be drawn next!

15 February 2013

February Art Lottery Winner!

Amidst all the recent commissions at which I've been scratching away, I finished up the first winning image from the art lottery. +Mike Davison 's request won the first round, so congrats man! Here's the pic:

"Best treehouse EVER!"

Mike had requested a Chaos Marine with mutations boarding a space hulk - and in all fairness I spent almost as much time lost on the Warhammer 40k Wiki as I did actual painting, which added to the fun. I chose to approximate a Plague Marine, because I often make a joyous noise unto the Plague Lord anyhow. It was a natural fit.

Don't forget to keep your submissions coming! All submissions that don't get drawn will stay in the lottery for next month, so no need to repeat yourself. Anything that pops into your head, go for it! The submission button is below, and thanks again!

16 January 2013

Monthly Painting Lottery! (I make art for you for free.)

Its simple: I want to kick out some jams! and make some artwork for folks in the gaming community on G+ and beyond, and I figured a monthly assignment for myself would be a realistic goal.

All you have to do to for a chance for some free artwork from yours truly is to click the Kontactr Button at the bottom of this post, fill in the form with your info and a description of what you want me to digitally draw or paint, and your submission will be numbered and entered into a new lottery each month. Here's the lowdown:

  • On the 5th of every month I will run a random selector and announce the winner on G+ and this blog. 
  • I will spend 5 to 8 hours on every piece and do my best to meet the specs in your description.
  • I will email you your artwork in advance of posting and discussing it on this blog, which will happen by no later than the 20th of the month. 
  • If there's time, I might be able to make some minor changes at your suggestion. If time is short and I can't make changes, please don't beat me. I am a fragile kitten and bruise easily.
  • You can submit as often as you like, but keep it cool. Try not to flood me with piles of submissions, as I will grumble loudly and burp acid.
  • I promise not to share your contact info with anyone, EVER, and also forever pinky swear not to send spammy things to your inbox.
  • If your subject line says, "MAKE ART, MENDICANT!!!" I will love you deeply. 
Thanks guys! Spread the word and submit away!

13 January 2013

Them there lines and funny figures.

Its been a bit since I last posted, so I figured this ought to feature some quality eye candy and a bit of insight. I've been rendering some of the final line art for characters in Arcane Knights, and thought I would share a bit of that as well as some process show & tell. The first pic details two playable female characters up on one sheet:

They read well at a distance, and when magnified display quite a bit of detail. This deviates from the painterly style I usually post here, but the process of creating line art for the characters requires me to be explicit with my designs, which aids the 3D artists when they set out to render one of these characters. When painting I can imply detail with a few quick values and let the viewer's eye fill in the rest. Since this is a bit different situation, I thought I would show the process with another playable character from the game, Winton (he's a bomb-chucking wizard).

He comes off pretty sassy. Again, he reads from a distance. Here's a close-up:

I used two brushes with identical dynamics, only one painted black and the other erased. This is a first generation line drawing, meaning that I didn't do a rough sketch and then trace over, but instead drew roughly and messy and continued to draw and erase, draws and erase. This kept the rough, gestural marks in the linework, which tends to keep things a bit more dynamic and alive. In pretty much any art program you can toggle between two brushes like this with hot keys, and its a method exclusively available to the digital medium (just try it with a pencil, wise guy).

After the line work is done, on a layer below, I paint in a 50% greyscale mask to begin toning, like so:
I do this so that I can use layer modes to paint more values and eventually color into the character. Again, this is a feature common to the majority of painting programs, and you'll see it in everything from concept art to comic books to industrial design. I've found on more than one occasion that if this silhouette doesn't read well, it means I need to fix the drawing before proceeding.

After that I start adding lights and darks, like so:

At this point, the drawing provides more than enough information for a 3D artist to build the character. All the details have been designed and clearly drawn and all the volumes have been indicated. I also added some toothy background texture to sell the drawing to interested parties. He can also be colored any which way with overlay or multiply layers, keeping everything nice and non-destructive. Word!

I intend to share some more info on the creation of digital art using Linux based software soon.

Also, I'm always available for commissions for a wide variety of subjects and media, so drop me a line and let's make some sweet art! Thanks!