Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bloody Vampires!

While I wait for the new work I have done to be released so that I can show, here is a pin-up I worked on for issue #12 of Decay. This young lass is Danikah, a vampire with little respect for the living and who likes to play with her food!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Stuff I'm Not Working On

This is just a quick update to keep the blog ticking over and prove to the doubters that I am still alive and have not actually fallen off the face of the Earth! At the moment I am in the middle of a deadline crunch that has taken all of my time, including the time I would normally dedicate to making a blog update or working on one of the numerous personal pieces I have simmering in the background. On one hand it is great to have enough work that it is keeping me busy, but on the other hand it also a little frustrating feeling that I never get around to finishing work that doesn't have a client and deadline attached!

Unfortunately I can't show any of the work that I currently have on my drawing board, so instead I thought I might show a few sketches at various levels of progress of the personal work that I have put aside in order to get my contract work complete. In other words the stuff I'm not working on at the moment ;)

This is a crop of a larger composition and one of my oldest personal pieces in progress (and sadly still only in the drawing phase!). Trying for a semi-realistic depiction of some wood elf trackers in action.

A test piece of a couple of rebel characters from the Star Wars extended universe. Bonus points for anyone who can identify the female character?

A very early stage thumbnail sketch of a composition I am planning for an upcoming playmat design. A feisty female sorceress obliterates some advancing barbarians.
Thanks for looking, hopefully I'll be able to show something a bit more complete and informative in my next post (which I'll try and make sooner rather than later!).

Monday, July 9, 2012

Getting it Right

Sometimes when working on a piece for a client, you don't always quite hit the mark. The client can still be happy with the work and it goes to print and does all the things it should, but as the artist you know that there are elements of the piece that didn't quite live up to your expectations.

Mirumoto Mitoshi for Legend of the Five Rings, was one of those pieces for me. You can see the artwork that went to print on the card in my previous log post here. I had a bit of rare free time in my schedule recently and I wanted to see if I could try and recapture how I had originally seen this picture in my mind. So I spent another couple of hours playing around with the piece and this is what I came up with...

Mirumoto Mitoshi - redux
I think it was very beneficial for me to spend the extra time, I nutted out a few things I was having trouble with and learned a bit in the process, and got a stronger finished image to put into my portfolio. I usually think it's better to call a piece done and move onto the next rather than re-visit a piece, but I think the exception is when you continue to carry the same mistakes through future work. I think in that case it is the right time to work through a problem before you move on, this time with the right tools to use in future work.

Thanks for reading, don't forget to check out more of my work at my website www.shawawa.com and please contact me if you think my work might suit your project!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mirumoto Mitoshi

Just a quick post to show a previewed card 'The Shadows Embrace' for Legend of Five Rings.

Mirumoto Mitoshi
This piece shows a Dragon Clan Kensai doing her thing. The original artwork included some facial painting to resemble dragon teeth but was removed as the art director felt it didn't fit with the character.

As always, L5R is a blast to work on and I'm hoping I'll get to do some more work in Rokugan soon!

For Legend of the Five Rings, © Alderac Entertainment Group.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Future Military

I have received permission to show some more concept art from a project in the works. These are all from a RPG/Tabletop miniatures game in development which pits various factions against each other. Hopefully they will make it through to miniature production in the near future.

The designs I am going to show today are from a future military faction, equipped with the best tech and weaponry available and trained in the most advanced combat tactics.

First up is the standard infantryman, while not specialists in any particular area of combat they are very versatile and make up the bulk of any fighting force.

Next is the Close Combat Specialist. Trained to fight in confined spaces and equipped with devastating weaponry such as shotguns and sub-machine guns, these are the ones sent in to clear out enemy strong points.

Experts in counterintelligence and infiltrating enemy security systems, the Hackers are the tech specialists of the force. Usually kept clear of the fighting positions, these highly trained soldiers are most valuable when kept well clear of enemy strikes.
Rounding out the team is the everyones favourite long distance assassin, the Sniper. Lethal weaponry and skill combines to strike deep into enemy lines and eliminate key opposition figures. Stealth, manoeuvrability and precision are the key features of this class.
If you are interested in checking out some of the other factions which will be available when the game is complete, have a look at the following links!

The Ordo

The Survivors

The Wild Ones

Friday, May 25, 2012

Creating The Boss

As promised (or threatened) I thought I would give a quick run down and a bit of insight into how I go about creating a character design. All projects (and artists) are different and often times the process will vary to suit the individual needs of the assignment, but in this case the concept followed quite a logical progression and I thought it would be an interesting one to share.

When first approaching the design for the main character of the game there was alot of things we needed to establish to set the visual tone of the title. Was it going to be serious, funny, gritty, realistic, dark, quirky or any combination of the above! Sometimes the client will have a reasonably fixed idea of what they want to see, and other times they are employing your creative mind as much as your technical ability. For the Boss all we knew initially is that the main character would have to be tough enough to fight his way through hordes of minions using a variety of weapons. The game would work as a side scrolling platformer, therefore the player would often be quite small on the screen and need to be iconic and recognisable at any scale.

The first step I took was to explore some basic body shapes to see what both the client and I liked and thought would work within the game. The style of The Boss would have to carry through to every other aspect of the game.

Silhouettes or quick thumbnail sketches are usually the best way to
explore alot of ideas quickly.
After looking through the above sketches we decided that the Ogre figure on the bottom right had a bit of interest and was worth exploring further. This also raised the question of the race of The Boss. While initially our thinking was that he would be human as this allows the best connection to the player we found the idea of exploring other races interesting.

Exploring race and build options for The Boss.
We took the basic build of the Ogre and developed it into a couple of racial variations. In the end we decided to stick with a human character but based his body mass and build from the proportions of the Ogre sketch. We also liked the idea of the minotaur and wanted to bring some of the bull motif through into the final design. The next step was to explore the armour and styling of our character. Again, quick sketches to explore a few ideas was the way to go...

Yes, we even get to play dress-ups with our characters ;)
After exploring a few different styles for our character we decided that a traditional barbarian style armour was best and left alot of options for building on the armour design in the form of power-ups throughout the game. We chose the top left design to take further and noted that the horned helmet tied in nicely with the bull motif and would help create an iconic look for our hero.

Progression from rough sketch through to final drawing and colour concept.
Once we had settled on the general style and look of The Boss, it was now time to get down to details. In the rough sketch stage we elaborated on all of the shapes and designs and made sure that all of the pieces worked in  believable fashion and all tied together to give a cohesive design. The final drawing tidies up all of the ideas and gives a clear guide for other artists and designers to work from throughout the game development. The colour concept was the final piece in the puzzle and gave a marketable image that could be used to pitch the project if required and also to motivate and inspire other contributors to the game.

Thanks for taking the time to read about how I approach a design, how would you have done it? What do you like or dislike about The Boss and given the same opportunity what changes would you make? I'd love to hear your ideas :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Boss Vs Minions

Last year I was lucky enough to be asked to work on some concept art for a fun little game in development by Recharge Media called Boss Vs Minions. Unfortunately the development of the project has been put on hold, but I have been given permission to show some of the characters I developed for the game. Hopefully we'll get to see these guys in action once the gmae gets the go ahead, but for now you'll have to settle for my art...

First up, we have the title character of the game, The Boss. This guy is the head honcho of the game universe and the character that players will take control of. The basic premise is that the player will get to slaughter hundreds of Goblinoid minions in amusing and increasingly violent ways throughout the course of the game, so we needed someone who looked up to the task...

This sheet shows a colour concept, modelling turn-around, the game logo design
and some rough sword concepts for our hero to use.
As you can see the game took a bit of a light hearted style to tie in with the concept and characters sported an exaggerated look and proportions. As a counter to our super-tough Boss, we needed some cute, loveble and most inportantly, fun-to-destroy minions...

The Brawler, the most basic and least intellignet form of minion,
expect these guys to basically fall on your sword.
Colour concept, modelling turn-around and alternate designs.

The Archer, smart enough to know their best chance of survival is to fight
from as far away as possible!
Colour concept, modelling turn-around and alternate designs.

The Foot Soldier, comprised of the best and brightest of the brawlers.
These guys claim the best arnour and weapons available and therefore
extend their life expectancy by at least 15 seconds!
Colour concept, modelling turn-around and alternate designs.
 If you stick around til next post I'll give a run down of the process of developing the look and style of The Boss! Thanks for looking, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lux In Tenebris - step by step

I have been meaning to document my process for quite some time now but tend to get caught up in the work and miss various stages or get sidetracked on experimenting with different techniques not in my normal set of tools. However when I was asked by a good friend to create some artwork for a custom playmat I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take the time to show how I work.

I was asked to illustrate a scene that shows an Angel and Vampire fighting in a style and setting that has a similar visual style to the Innistrad block of Magic: The Gathering.

1 - Thumbnails/Ideation
1. This is where almost every image starts. I try and do at least a handful of small sketches called thumbnails just to work out the basic composition of the piece and how the elements interact. It it important to not get bogged down in details here, rather just get a feel for the energy of the piece and what 'reads' well. If you get a good feeling at this size/complexity then there's a fair chance you'll have a solid structure when you work it up to a larger size.
2 - Composition Sketch
2. Once I have selected the thumbnail I wish to continue with I enlarge it to the size that I am going to be working and make sure that the aspect ratio is correct for the final image. Still make sure that you don't dive into details too early but instead refine the large shapes and work out any compositional issues. Make sure all the elements required are present.
3 - Rough Sketch
3. This part of my process I find is the most fun! It still feels like the image has alot of potential but I'm not getting bogged down in technique or details. On completing this stage the sketch should give a good indication of how the final image will look and have enough detail to be able to switch my brain from the creative ideation mode to a more technique based application. It is at this point I would normally send a sketch to the client for approval.
4 - Line Drawing
4. The refined drawing, here I am concentrating on making all of my lines of a nice quality and refine all the details within the image. I like to have all of the drawing resolved at this point so that when I move to values or colour I don't have to re-draw anything (obviously there are always minor corrections and revisions).
5 - Value Study
5. I don't always complete this step in my work as often I like to work with colour and tone together. But in this instance I worked up the tones of the image thinking about light and design without having to consider colour yet.

6 - Colour Study
6. Here I have applied local colours to the various elements within the image. The colour then gets varied according to the lighting effects, atmospherics and details I apply in the last stage.
7 - Final Artwork

Presto! Hit the finish button in photoshop and collect the money ;) Actually this last stage takes the most work and can be very frustrating trying to finalise all the little details and get the whole image working together as a whole. Hopefully I managed to get there!

The final step is thinking about what you learnt from the process and how to apply those lessons to the next piece.

Onwards and upwards! I hope someone gets some benefit for this.

Monday, May 7, 2012

RuneQuest 6th Edition

RuneQuest is a fantasy Role Playing Game set in the mythical world of Glorantha,  it has been around for over 30 years and was at one stage considered one of the top 3 RPG's on the market (With Dungeons & Dragons and Traveller). later this year will see the release of the 6th Edition of the game from The Design Mechanism. I was lucky enough to contribute about 20 illustrations to the book mainly within the bestiary section of the book and had a blast creating some of the monsters that will appear in players games.

Here's a selection of artwork that I have been allowed to show prior to the books release (thanks Loz!). I'd love to hear what you think or from any fans of RuneQuest :)



Spirit Classes

Animism - Transference



Theism - Divine Magic

If people like these I might show some more as we get closer to the book release, enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Victoriana: Marvels of Science and Steampunk

The new book from Cubicle 7 for the Victoriana game line, 'Marvels of Science and Steampunk' has just been released! That means I can show of the pieces I worked on for the book. As always Jon Hodgson and the team at Cubicle 7 were alot of fun to work with and I think they have produced another brilliant looking book (wait until you see some of the work from the rest of the art team!)

Here's my efforts...

Mechanical Magic


Dirigible Repair

Doc Naacal
All images are © Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd. If you feel so inclined you can purchase the book direct from Cubicle 7 here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

L5R, Cthulhu and Ultramarines!

Well,... it has been a while and I feel very guilty about not updating this blog more often. It's hard when you get so little time to dedicate to artwork that you usually want to spend that time producing art rather than udating various blogs and forums. Unfortunately that probably makes me a very uninteresting person to follow, so thank to those few who actually take the time to read this!

I'll try and give a brief run down of what I have been up to since my last update...

I have been working on Legend of the Five Rings cards for Alderac entertainment, so far 3 of my cards have been released or previewed...

Diagotsu Kazuko

Kaiu Kawachi


I have also completed a cover for an all Cthulhu edition of horror anthology 'Decay' by Dark Oz. This was alot of fun to work on and ties into a story within the issue. Surprisingly this was the first time I have been called on to illustrate 'The Old One', but I look forward to  working with him again in the future!

And finally, fresh of the virtual drawing table a bit of Warhammer 40K fan art with a poster to advertise a campaign being run by an old friend. This is the Glavius and his Ultramarines infiltrating a dense jungle planet called Argaeria Prime...
Assault on Argaeria Prime

Sorry that this post was a bit of an image dump, next time I promise I'll try and talk a bit more about process or my thoughts behind the work. Until then, enjoy!