Bad Ass Woman Warrior

I have this friend, Lauren, who is in incredible shape. She's a personal trainer, and has been getting pretty serious about building some serious muscle. After seeing some of her progress pics online I thought "This is a woman who is building the kind of body that a TRULY strong fantasy character would have." I've seen enough fantasy art to know that there isn't as much variation in women's bodies portrayed in fantasy art as there should be. There's lots of lithe and petite bodies, but not nearly enough truly strong and muscular women being portrayed. So I contacted Lauren about modeling for me, and explained what I wanted to do, which was do a piece that really portrayed that strength. A character that was strong and not interested in trying to be "sexy" in the traditional sense. Lucky for me, she was all in and loved the idea.

I thought a lot about what I wanted to portray. On the one hand I wanted to avoid the "barely clad warrior woman" trope. On the other, I wanted to be sure to be able to portray the muscle and strength that was the intention of the piece. I decided that maybe "barely clad" would be forgivable if it wasn't done in an overtly titillating way. I settled on an idea that was influenced by woad body paint (but red rather than blue), leather, and some loosely Celtic and Viking influences. I had an image in mind of a woman warrior staring intensely over the edge of her shield, sword in hand.

While the end result is in many ways a really simple piece, I'm still pleased with what it represents, at least to me.
As an additional note, this piece was a departure for me in some ways as I tackled the background differently than how I normally approach things. I decided to see how little rendering I could get away with and still have a believable and good looking background. I decided to let form and light tell the story (along with a couple of texture brushes), rather than hand rendering a bunch of ultimately meaningless details. I like the results here, and plan to continue to explore along these lines.

Glamazons vs The Curse of the Chainmail Bikini

Last month I was approached to work on a project that had been successfully Kickstartered, but that had a problem with an artist needing to drop out. This project, "Glamazons vsThe Curse of the Chainmail Bikini"  , lampoons the old trope of women in fantasy wearing very little actual effective armor. During game play players will kill monsters and fashion from them much more effective armor, with the player who fashions a full suit of armor first being the winner.

As I mentioned, the original artist, well known tattoo and pin up artist Joe Capobianco, had to step down due to a conflict in scheduling. The game designer decided that rather than trying to have anyone ape his style, they would instead use a variety of well known fantasy styles, from classic fantasy illustration (my strength), to Capobianco's pin up style, to anime and comic books, etc. Each artist would design a player character, a monster, and a set of armor based on their monster.

While all the client needed was the character illustrated for their player sheet, I decided it would be fun to flesh the image out with a dragon. Since I work digitally, the client can still easily have just the character isolated from the background, a win for both of us.

And here was my monster. I was given free reign to choose something of my own liking, preferably something that would trigger some gamer nostalgia for the old school Monster Manual. I decided to do a take on the old Shambling Mound, a monster made of pure vegetation.

An experiment in Photobashing.

Today I downloaded a video from concept artist Jan Urschel (find it HERE). The video showed a popular concept artist technique where pieces of photos are combined, then painted over to speed up the creation of concept art. I was enjoying the video, and since I'd never tried anything like that I thought I'd give it a try. Since this was a first try and an experiment, I didn't take the time to break the photo pieces into as many small pieces as I would want to if I was giving this a much more serious try. Many of the pieces here are still fairly recognizable compared to their source material, and a true attempt I would make a much bigger effort to disguise them. Still, for a first experimental effort I did kind of like the result.

EDIT: Looking at this with fresh eyes a couple days later, I wish I had pushed the distance more by making the rock formations and castle much smaller. Too bad I didn't save a copy of the layered file. Oh well, first try and all, we'll see how the next one goes as I think I'll be trying more of this!)

(Note: I do not own copyright on any of the photos used. I found them on Google. If any photographer sees their work in this image let me know and I'll be happy to list a credit and provide a link to your portfolio or website)

Dragon's Prophet and Other Art

As I've previously mentioned in this post, I've been working with Mike Sass as he designs dragons for the game Dragon's Prophet. Last time I showed a line up of profile line drawings. This time I thought I'd show a bit more. In the upper left corner we have the illustration Mike was working on. You can see it isn't quite finished, but the design of the dragon was nailed down enough that I could begin work on the guide for the 3d modelers. I started with the profile view. Once done I checked in with Mike to make sure I was understanding all of the forms and elements correctly. Once I had his approval I went on the do the top down view on the body, and the front view of the head. I'll admit, the top down views are the hardest for me. It's not often we draw something like a dragon from that perspective, and mentally imagining how all of the forms look from that view isn't always easy. In the end the hard work pays off, as we can see in the final model seen here at the Dragon's Prophet developer's blog.

And now for something completely different.

As a freelance sci-fi and fantasy artist I can be called on to paint a lot of odd stuff. You can never predict what a client will need painted. Paizo has a line of paper miniatures for people to use in their gaming, and for one set I was asked to paint a few swarms of things, and this lead to one of the most odd things I have ever been asked to paint. A swarm of "giant" amoebas. Amoebas are normally single cell organisms, and so microscopic. So how big is a "giant" amoeba? I'm not really sure. I couldn't use a background in the illustration, and thus nothing to give a sense of scale. All I know is a swarm of them fits on the smallest paper mini they make. Also, a swarm of jellyfish!

Big Update!

Today I decided to update the blog with a bunch of stuff that I didn't necessarily want to add directly to my portfolio, but which is still some pretty cool art. First up is some of the World of Warcraft card art I did for the trading card game.

Next up is a piece I did for Sony Online Entertainment's Legends of Norrath.

A character illustration I did for Eclipse Phase: Transhuman

Dragon's Prophet

Earlier this year an artist friend of mine, Mike Sass, recruited me to help him out with a project he was working on for the game Dragon's Prophet, by Sony Online Entertainment. Mike was commissioned to design a series of dragons for their game, and Mike asked me if I could help him out by creating the line drawings of his designs for the 3d modelers to work from. Here are the profile line drawings I did for Mike's first four designs.

You can see the game's Developer Blog post with the first design here:

A Few Quick Designs

Playing around tonight and did some quick sketches/designs. Didn't spend much time on rendering up details.

Long Time, No Blog

So, yeah, that goal of blogging much more often really didn't materialize. I'm not really sure why, other than new habits are hard to get started. Like dieting, good intentions don't always lead to great follow through. It takes some serious effort to put in place a new good habit. Let's see how I do this time!

Starting off with some new creature head designs, done for fun.