Sep 292011

Occasionally I create a piece for Magic that practically vanishes.

Sometimes the piece is put into the graveyard. This is a repository for art that no longer has a home due to its card either radically changing – and requiring new art – or the card being scrapped entirely. I have one piece that may never see the light of day as it was a very setting-specific creature for Kamigawa and Magic may never return to Kamigawa as it wasn’t a popular block.

The other occasion when a Magic piece doesn’t reach its broadest audience is when it’s an image for a token, especially when it’s a token made solely for the digital version of the game.

This entry is about the latter.

I was assigned the horror token card for the Ravnica set. The card that actually generated the horror tokens was painted by someone else and it didn’t actually show any horrors so I was free to design my own creature. The art description amounted to not much more than “It’s a horror and it lives in Ravnica”.

So given that, I went for a disturbing, distorted creature, y’know, like you do. I wanted to creep myself out if I could.

Horror token sketch.

And I painted it in an unsettling mix of reds and purples that while suggestive of those few minutes right after sunset actually have more in common with the colors of raw meat.

Horror token final painting.

Now with 80% more tendrils!

The creature flying overhead is a callback to the card that generated the horror tokens in-game.

And, yes, I sleep just fine at night, thanks.

Sep 232011

Another drought of posts invariably means I’ve gotten busy with work. But hey, work = paying bills = well, you get the picture.

I’ve had only a little time to try out more sculpting with ZBrush. The goblin head got a little more detailed and I’ll share that with you soon.

Some people have asked if I’ve considered using 3D printing to make the goblin head a physical reality. You bet I have! But I’m not going to jump into that until I feel I know what the hell I’m doing so that when I make the sculpture available, it’s worth people’s pennies.

Chances are that when it comes time to make the sculpture, I’ll use Kickstarter to produce it. Seems like the best way to reach people worldwide and ensure the production run isn’t horribly over or under stocked.

Here’s a link to someone who’s managed to really capture people’s attention on Kickstarter with a 3D printed sculpture. It’s a beautifully ornate skull. He started with the hopes of raising $500 and he presently stands at just shy of $34,000 with 30 days left to run!

Just look at the static image for his video, that’s just damn cool and sells the piece before he’s even said a word. Besides the beautiful design, I think the subject matter appeals to a wide audience and that’s fueling this amazingly successful endeavor. I don’t think a fantasy based sculpt could hope to come close to that kind of total.

Though I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Switching gears, but still sticking with Kickstarter, my wife Jillian, better known as the Lady of the Manners from Gothic Charm School is helping out on an indie coming-of-age goth movie called ‘My Summer as a Goth’ and they’re also raising money on Kickstarter to help with initial costs. One of the donation rewards is a part in the movie! Anyway, check it out here.

With that, it’s back to the current assignments. Eventually I’ll be able to share them with you but for now I’ll leave you with these tidbits about this mystery commission;
It’s for a company I’ve never worked with before.
They’re a HUGE company.
The stuff I’m drawing for them is probably one of the last things you’d ever imagine me doing.

…Aaaaaaaand that’s all my NDA will allow at the moment. Okay, back to work!

Sep 062011

While 99% of the stuff I’m working on at the moment is either not ‘ready for primetime’ or secreted away under an NDA, I continue to dink around with ZBrush, trying to add 3D modelling to my skill set.

You might ask “Why”? Well, having a broader skill base never hurts. Also, sculpting is fascinating to me as I’ve limited myself to 2D works up until now.

And that’s the primary reason for tackling a goblin head; I’ve drawn goblins in Magic for 15 or more years and while I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on how a Venters-style goblin looks (presumably better than anyone else!), it’s fascinating to test the nebulous 3D object I hold in my mind against the hard reality of a 3D sculpture.

It’s been especially interesting seeing how the over-sized nostrils interact with the giant nose and the minimal upper lip. And the ears continue to be a warzone of polygon brutalization to achieve some of the shapes found in the soft tissue.

Goblin Sculpture Stage 2

Anyway, this is not quite the goblin head you saw last time. I encountered some issues that couldn’t be fixed without generating bad polygon distortion so I took it back to the initial Zsphere sculpt and rebuilt. At this point, the sculpture is significantly more developed than the last one you saw, with more shaping and detail. Also, eyes and eyelids have been added and the mouth has been opened a little further to allow for an upcoming display of some damn-ugly teeth.

Prepare your scrolling finger… NOW!

Goblin Sculpture Stage 2

Oh, the other reason for all of this… ZBrush is a blast.