Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall of the Gavel

Fall of the Gavel
oil on paper mounted on board, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast

Initially my idea for this piece was to have the accused, a Golgari elf, in the scene. I liked the idea and felt it worked for the card. Showing the judge banging the gavel should take priority though, and this would be more difficult to emphasize when reduced to card size. 

Or at least that's what I convinced myself.  Concentrating on the judge alone also allowed me to indulge myself in all those cool details of costume. In this case the silken robes, the silver metal and the blue orbs, and runes of legal code that decorate the garb of the Azorius guild. 

Giving the gavel some motion wasn't something I thought to do until the finish. He might have just been holding the gavel, but some blur and a few sparks seemed to do the trick.

Another thing I remember about this piece was being uncertain about vedalken anatomy (the vedalken are a blue skinned race of humanoids that appear in many of the settings in Magic). Some of the concept art had them with very long necks, while others had necks closer of human length.  As it turned out, either one was fine and the only concern for the art director, Jeremy Jarvis, was that the face not look like an alien. So I kept the longer neck. More room for more detail.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Knightly Valor

Knightly Valor
oil on paper on board, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast

In Knightly Valor, we see the same knight pictured in the token card from the last post. Here he is escorting an elderly woman through a the neighborhood he patrols. She is appreciative of the safety he provides in what is probably a rough neighborhood. Beware Ravnican purse-snatchers!

I rarely do complete character designs for two dimensional images. Rather, the design is tailored to work within the a specific abstract composition.  So it was a little odd to be constrained by making the knight exactly the same, but work in two different compositions.

An early attempt. Notice the conical helmet. This was deemed too medieval looking and changed.

Although this is a depiction of a chivalry, it couldn't come off as too sentimental. I didn't want this guy to look too much like a Boy Scout.  This was is the flaw in the sketch above. 
The sketch

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Knight Token

 Knight of Ravnica
Oil on paper mounted to board, 13" x 14 1/2" 
©Wizards of the Coast

This is the first card to be revealed that I illustrated for the upcoming Magic:The Gathering set, Return to Ravnica. The story with this character is that he is a local knight who protects the inhabitants of his neighborhood. Unaffiliated with any guild, his armor and clothing are unadorned with any device and are of a somewhat utilitarian design.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chesley Award!

The winners of the 2012 Chesley Awards were announced at Chicago World Con Friday night, and The Cloud Roads was honored with the award for the best paperback cover illustration. The Chesleys, named for renowned artist Chesley Bonestell, are given by the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists for excellence in sci-fi/fantasy art. It's a tremendous honor in this field, given the high quality of the work considered. Thank you to ASFA and all that voted and participated, and Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! Check out this post to see all the nominees and winners.