Monday, 29 June 2009

Tha Work Thang #10: From here to there

Just noticed that Goodman Games have put up the cover for "From Here to There", which I had the pleasure of painting. It's the first time I have seen it with the trade dress.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Tha Work Thang #9: "Keeping an eye out": Concepting the Cyclops.

Way back in July 2006 Stacy Longstreet, then Art Director at Wizards of the Coast, contacted me about designing a Cyclops for the, as then unannounced, 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The art description asked for a design “based upon the traditional Cyclops (one-eyed monster) but altered slightly to create a version that is unique to D&D. The idea is to have a design that we can "own" that can be identified as the D&D Cyclops. He should be more sophisticated than an ogre. Wear descent metal armour, chainmail or scale mail and carry a real weapon hammer or axe, not a club. It will be related to the Formorians. (MM II pg 105 BUT we are going to make even him look a bit more intelligent.) “The Cyclopes were almost like human beings but of a gigantic size and with only one eye in the middle of their heads."
The first thing I thought I should concentrate on was the head. Getting the right look for the eye and determining the overall head shape. What should I go for? Something like the ‘Harryhausen’ look or more alien? So I came up with a selection of head designs (FIG 1)and sent them in for feedback

The initial feedback on these was, “We like F and would like to see a few more similar to that one. Make the eye slightly larger. No horn. No hair. Try maybe 4 ears, possibly not all the same size? Work with the head shape, not ridges like in H, but maybe lumpier or a more uniquely shaped back side of the head? We like the nose on F - does it have 2 or 4 nostrils? can't tell.

Once we have chose one, it will need to have a long spear being held in both hands above his head, pointed horizontally and he should be wearing a breastplate (but the arms are bare) and a pleated kilt (skirt) and boots.”
I went away and worked up a few more head designs, looking at dinosaur heads for inspiration like the pachycephalosaurus. I also sent in a couple of alternate poses (FIG.2 & FIG. 3) The first pass at a final figure, in the pose and armour required was FIG. 4

An additional idea was put forward at this point." What does the Cyclops look like if you make his eye run vertically instead of horizontally? Rotate it 90 degrees. and let's look at it....” So I came up with these concepts, including a more ceratopsian head shape. (FIG. 5) :

Wizards took a look and suggested the following changes (FIG. 6), and also stated, “Clothing and weapon for this creature should look a bit crude and other worldly. welded together bits of metal and chains torn or poorly stitched together leather/cloth.”

With this in mind I reworked the final version (FIG. 7)

Feedback at this stage requested a few more changes.
“There have been some changes and we'd like one more pass at the Cyclops.Changes we'd like to see:Body proportions altered a bit. Make the legs a bit longer not so stubby incomparison to the rest of the body. He should look more like a towering Gianttype.The armour seems a bit too Roman Gladiator,should be more primitive.Adjust the cheekbones a little so it does not look so cat-like.Pose is still good.”
I went back and adjusted the figure accordingly to reach the version seen in FIG. 8
At this point the figure was approved, the look of the 4th ED. Cyclops was decided and I could go on to draw the back and side views for the miniature design. (FIG. 9) This miniature was unveiled in the ‘Desert of Desolation’ set of D&D miniatures.

Since then I have had the pleasure of doing two more Cyclopes for the miniature range. (FIG 10 & 11.)

I am pleased that they have a consistent look (FIG 12.) about them. It was a great privilege to be able to concept these pieces and hopefully I’ve created a look which is unique to D&D.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Tha Work Thang #8 : Dragonborn.

Image copyright Goodman Games 2009.

Image copyright Goodman Games 2009.

Image copyright Goodman Games 2009.

These three pics are from Goodman Games' "Heroes Handbook Dragonborn". We have Paladin v Dragon, Dragonborn Necromancer and Dragonborn Rider. By the way,like the orc pieces in the previous post, these are printed in Black and White in the book, they look nattier on the blog page like this though!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tha Work Thang #7: Orcs!

Goodman Games has released "Monstercology:Orcs" and so I can show you three of the pieces I drew for this book. Solemn watcher, Warrior Scion and the Horde. All images are copyright Goodman Games 2009.

Da Life Ting #4: Avast ye land lubbers!!

I was volunteered by the wife to draw out a Pirate ship that was to be used to raise funds for the PTA at my childrens infants school. The idea being the children could wear their own clothes for the day if they donated 50p ,which they would place on the pirate ship as "Pieces of Eight". The drawing needed to be pretty big, so out came a kingsize sheet and hey presto! A hundred and one pounds was raised yesterday, so I feel warm and fuzzy that I have done something beneficial.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Da Life Ting #3: Hope and Social

If you are a fan of soulful, uplifting indie music in the vein of "Elbow", then please take a listen to Hope and Social. Their new album is available for free download (well 1pence!) or you can pay what you want for it. It is definitely worth a listen. You can find them here: