Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hitomi's Devotion

Another of my cards for the Legend of the Five Rings card game has just been released, this time for the upcoming 'Aftermath' expansion. This is one of 3 cards I did for the set, and the first to be previewed.

I really enjoyed working on this piece and it was my favourite card from the 3 pieces I was assigned. I really wanted to do some nice atmospheric lighting and some interesting colour choices to really give it a magical feeling.

First up, here's how the finished image looks:

Hitomi's Devotion
So, starting at the beginning, I was assigned this description for the card "Tamori Yayu blessing Mirumoto Mitoshi in front of a granite statue of Hitomi in a candle lit temple setting". I was also provided some reference images of the 3 named characters in the scene. I did a bit of research on my own, gathering some more reference and getting ideas. I was lucky in the fact that I had previously illustrated Mirumoto Mitoshi in another card ( so I was pretty comfortable with that character.

Here is the rough sketch I turned in for approval:

Hitomi's Devotion - Rough Sketch
The sketch was approved without any need for revisions, so the next step in my process is to do a more refined version of the drawing trying to get all of the details right and make sure I know where I'm headed when it comes to painting.

Here's how that turned out:

Hitomi's Devotion - Drawing
From here, I painted the image in stages, starting with a general background roughed in, then working from the focus parts such as the foreground characters and moving to the less important elements. I'll go itno my painting process more in depth in a different post when I have an image that I remembered to save progress shots for!

I also want to mention that I felt quite honoured to receive this assignment as the card was a result of a 2012 'Name the Spell' competition won by David Rodriguez Sanfiorenzo, a huge Hitomi fan. His naming of the card set the basic premise for the card description, so hopefully he's happy with the result :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Numenera: Partially Out of Phase & The Scarred Monoliths

These were the first 2 illustrations I was commissioned to produce for Numenera. These were created very early in the process and while I was still trying to come to grips with the styling that Kieran Yanner had developed and how my own style would fit into that vision.

I started off with some black and white ink work, which I am lead to believe is what attracted Monte Cook to my work in the first place, but I did also get to experiment with some shaded and sketchy looking work also.

First up is a character using an ability to step 'out of phase' and pass through solid objects such as walls. My initial thinking was that this ability would best suit a stealthy Jack of sorts, so I came up with a thief looking character emerging from a stone wall. I produced a couple of thumbnail sketches to work out the angle I wanted and then a rough sketch to send in for approval...

Sketches for 'Partially Out of Phase'
The idea and sketch got the tick of approval, so I went to work on the (digital) ink...

'Partially Out of Phase'

The other piece I worked on during the same time was an illustration of 'The Scarred Monoliths'. The art description read like this...

"A single character looks up at a number (at least 3) of massive, floating statues in the sky. The statues are vaguely humanoid, but strangely stylized (maybe vaguely Aztec in style?) These gigantic “statues” were actually once enormous war machines—like huge giant robots, almost. Now they are dormant, but still float. Each is probably 600 feet long/tall, and they float at different heights, starting at 800 feet in the air."
This was quite a compositional challenge to show the massive floating monoliths and get a sense of their scale. I came up with a few sketches to try and work out how it was going to look...

Sketches for 'The Scarred Monoliths'
I settled on the third composition, and got to work. The monoliths themselves went through a couple of revisions to work out their unique 'Numenera' style, and the finished piece looked like this...

'The Scarred Monoliths'

 I'll be back with more soon :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Numenera Equipment

Designing equipment for the world of Numenera is an interesting experience. As almost all of the technology in the game is left over from previous advanced civilisations, often the initial use and understanding behind the technology has been lost along with its creators. This leaves many items that have been modified to perform new functions or have abilities and functions that are not obvious from their appearance. This made for some fun drawing the items, where I could think about interesting and unusual shapes, textures or colours without necessarily having to work out exactly what each button or widget on the device does or even how it works.

Here are a couple of pieces which have been released as Thunderstone: Numenera cards from AEG, and also appear in the Numenera Core book from Monte Cook Games.

First up is the Chemical Injector, originally called a Virtuous Admixture (I think that was a much cooler name!) in the art description, here is how it was described:

"This is a high-tech injector, full of a frothy yellow liquid—like a Red Bull in injectible form. The hand holding it is kind of grimy, with bad nails. A low-tech person is using this high-tech device."
Chemical Injector
Next is the Bio-energy Cutter, or as the original description described it, the Soul Cutter! This one went through a bit of a change in the sketch phase. The Description asked for:

"This broad sword has a glowing blade. The cutting edge has a blue sheen to it, like there's a line of monofilament or something that lets you cut so sharply, you can cut SOULS as well as bodies. Whoa!"

My initial design was a bit too 'generic fantasy sword' in style and didn't have the unusual-tech influence we were going for in Numenera. As you can see the revised sketch (below) captured a more unique design...
Bio-energy Cutter Sketches

And I think the final illustration is much better for it (and I think one of my favourite equipment pieces I worked on!

Bio-energy Cutter
Heaps more to show, but you'll have to come back next time for more ;)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Numenera Creatures

With Numenera being one of the products including my artwork released this year at GenCon, I have a swag of interior work to show. Instead of swamping you with all of it in one hit I thought I'd break it up into a few posts (and also give me something to show for the next couple of months!)

First up are a couple of critters I got to illustrate for the creature section of the Numenera Corebook from Monte Cook Games (awesome people to work for by the way!).

The Culova is a spidery humanoid with spindly legs, a bulbous midsection, and a pair of human-like arms with three fingers. Eight beady eyes adorn its head above a disturbingly broad, toothy mouth.
Bred for battle in a prior world, these creatures are gigantic moths with pale yellow wings and bodies the color of skulls. Most have a wingspan of at least 5 feet. When they open their wings wide, they shed a brilliance that withers flesh without harming nonliving objects. “Stratharians” were not the ones to create the war moths, but were the first to find and make use of them in the early days of the Ninth World. The Stratharians are gone now, destroyed by the very creatures they sought to unleash on their enemies.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


GenCon is a great time of year, alot of the work done over the previous 12 months is released and finally able to be shared. I have a handful of products coming onto the market this year, and Karthador is one I have been really itching to show!

This book is from Reality Blurs, with the bulk of the setting and writing by the talented Darrell Hardy. It's a retro feeling future fantasy with a sprinkle of post apoc, and was a whole lot of fun to work on. I was trusted to produce the cover and all of the interior art.

I'll share the cover first, I was really pleased with how this piece came out and found it very refreshing to work on something a little different. The idea was a still life of some of the equipment you might find in the world of Karthador...

Next up I'll share some of the interior artwork...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Magistrate Falls

Coils of Madness, the latest set for Legend of the Five Rings has hit the shelves and allows me to show of a card I worked on. I actually worked on 3 cards for the set, but upon the release have only managed to find 1 of them. I'm guessing the other 2 may have been pushed back to a future set, so you'll have to check back later to see those.

The one I can show is called 'A Magistrate Falls' and shows the Crane duelist Doji Hakuseki facing off against the Dark Naga. Given that Hakuseki is the Magistrate, the end result doesn't bode well for her!

A Magistrate Falls

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ravaged Earth

Ravaged Earth is an RPG setting that has been around for quite a few years now with a heavy focus on pulp and adventure. Rugged Adventurers face off against Nazi's and aliens intent on world domination! The setting is about to get a reboot from Reality Blurs, and I was luck enough to be involved in working on the artwork to feature in the book :)

Grab your whip, fedora, rocket pack, magic wand, or robot friend, and prepare to do battle!

Ravaged Earth
This was alot of fun and I was given a fair amount of artistic freedom for the project. Not only did I get to produce the cover, but all of the interior work is mine swell! Hopefully I'll get the green light to share that in the coming weeks. Reality Blurs was a great outfit to work with and I'm looking forward to our next project together.

If your interested in how this piece came about, I threw together a few progress shots to show the build-up...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Talisman Art and Berserkers!

It's been quite awhile since I've had the time to post here, it seems like I have been busier in the last 6 months than any other time in my career to date but also I strangely have little work to share! Unfortunately being busy with contract work that I can't show has limited the time for personal work, and therefore limited the finished work that I can share.

I do however have a couple of pieces that I can give you a peek at. First up is a card I had the pleasure of working on for the Talisman expansion 'The City'. While I would have liked to work on more than 1 card, circumstances were against me on this occasion. This was my first work for Fantasy Flight Games, but I am hoping it wont be my last. I'd love to do some more Talisman work in the future :)

Sneakthief from Talisman 'The City'

And I also managed to finish of a Playmat design for an old friend, this one will soon be available to buy from The Hobby Matrix if it takes your fancy :)