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I was hired to produce 10 illustrations for a fantasy card game. The final images were to be delivered in digital format so they could be printed, but the actual illustrations were done in a traditional comic book medium. They were pencil drawings, inked with a brush and colored with alcohol based markers. I used various combinations of digital and traditional methods and tools for all phases of the project from conception to final assembly and some special effects.

 

 

First we have a fairly typical example, almost all traditional methods except for the final assembly of the foreground figure and the background. The figure is called "the champion" and is a generic fighter type. I found this picture at work where a collegue was working with a film professor. This was one of the film stills from her lecture. I liked the face of the warrior. He looked sufficiently savage.

 

 

I did this drawing and a little bit of Arnold Schwartzenneggar sneaked in somehow.

 

 

Here the image is inked, but not colored yet.

 

 

Here is the full color version.

 

 

I scanned the drawing and used PhotoShop to separate the figure leaving a transparent background. Then I used a separate drawing as the background. Since all of the ten characters belonged to a single setting in the game (the plains), they all used the same background image.

 

 

I used one of my posable mannikins to model for my knight. I arranged the single light source for dramatic effect and had him hold a chopstick as his lance.

 

 

Here is the pencil drawing. As it turned out, the seams in my jointed mannikin suggested the plate armor quite well.

 

 

In the colored version you can just see a small goof on his nose. I missed with the marker and colored the background. I made no real difference since it was easy to fix the image after I scanned it.

 

 

This character is called the scout. He's a forest warrier and expert with camoflage. I used a still frame from a DVD movie "Dragonslayer" for his face and hair. This is the Bad Guy in the movie.

 

 

I wanted a dramatic and foreshorthened view from the point of his arrow so I posed for the picture with a timer on my camera. I'm holding a walking stick for the bow and a driveway marker for the arrow. I'm also wearing a leopard skin throw rug as a cape.

 

 

Here is one of my drawings.

 

 

And the final result.

 

 

Another Dragonslayer image from a DVD. This is the Good Guy Wizard, about to do battle with the dragon. I had to have that expression.

 

 

The pencil drawing. One thing I like about working with computer images is that its easy to flip them left for right if you want the figure facing the other way.

 

 

This is the final drawing in color.

 

Much has happened here. This image has some post-production in it. I added the nebula image to the black of his cloak and I put a purple glow around the figure using a PhotoShop layer effect. Of course, the background is another PhotoShop layer.

 

 

 

The Clerics are all females in this game. I had my wife pose for one of them.

 

Here is the drawing. You may see the little "X"es. They mark areas of black in the inked version.

 

 

Here is the colored version. I left the three haloes blank because I planned to use a PhotoShop post-production effect to color them.

 

 

Here is the final artwork. After I separated the figure, I selected each halo and painted in a radial gradient of appropriate colors. The inner halo is sky blue and white, the outer one has muted landscape colors, and the middle one is colors from her cloak. While you are designing each gradient, you can actually pick colors for the gradiant directly from your image.

 

 

All of the figures in this set have the same background. I wanted to try generating a background with a piece of software I had called Bryce. It lets you build landscapes with rocks, clouds, ground, hills etc. This was one that I made, but when I used it as background for the figures, my client said that they wanted the artwork to look more consistent, so I did it over as a drawing.


I used the computer rendered image above as a reference and drew this background which was used in all ten pictures. I liked the Bryce rocks so much that I copied them, adding a few fossils for effect.

 

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