Oct 272011

… to the second year of the blog – which is finally underway, hey, it was a big deadline! – and to doors which, well you know how it goes; one closes and another one opens.

Or, should you prefer, there’s this toast…

Orcish Settlers.

Orcish Settlers (from 1997’s Weatherlight) was one of those brain-fart ideas for a picture.

Back in ’96 I was leading the team in charge of card-naming and flavortext and I was solely responsible for all the cards’ art descriptions. When this card lost its working title and became ‘Orcish Settlers’ this image jumped fully realized into my brain and I asked if I could be assigned the piece.

Obviously, it’s the goblinoid version of American Gothic by Grant Wood. The orcs’ clothing mirror the original’s and were significantly pushing the envelope on how anachronistic the piece could be within the world of Magic the Gathering. The house was a bigger problem as it would tear that same envelope into confetti.

So, I burnt the house down. And it gave a nice fiery background for a red mana card which was an added bonus. And the card’s power ended up destroying lands, so double bonus!

That just left me with explaining why the house was ablaze. One burnt piece of toast and a guilty look later and I had my punchline.

Still amazed I got away with it, though.

Jul 272011

Remember that equation “Goblins + (Fire and/or Explosions) = Hilarity!”? Yeah, still holds true.

Here’s my one new piece of art in Magic’s 2012 core set – the Goblin Fireslinger.

Goblin Fireslinger Final Art

Here’s the art description –

Goblin Slinger
Location: Arid mountain region, perhaps near a goblin camp or cave
Action: Show a goblin swinging a some kind of goblin sling weapon, in which is a red-hot sling-stone. He looks viciously at the viewer, as if he’s about to bean us in the head with that stone.
Focus: The goblin slinger
Mood: An irritating little bugger!

And here’s the sketch. Sometimes I hand in black & white sketches, but sometimes I like to go with a color one, especially if the lighting is important to the image. Here’s that sketch –

Goblin Fireslinger Sketch

I imagine the goblin is on the opposite side of a narrow ravine filled with molten lava. The rock formations at the extreme lower left and lower right are rock bridges and the goblin is doing a fine job of protecting them both. However, it looks like at the moment of this image he’s decided to take the fight to the viewer and is beginning to launch himself across the ravine for a little ‘face-time’. And by face-time, I mean ‘face meets burning rock’.

As you can see, most of the goblin drawing is unchanged from sketch to final. His coloring underwent a big transformation because the hot lighting (from the unseen molten lava) was strengthened. This meant the green of the goblin felt more and more out of place with the ambient light in the image so his skin tone was shifted to yellow with warm brown shadows. Because all color is perceived relative to its surroundings, your brain tells you the final version of the goblin is more green that he actually is. Color is a tricksy evil swine sometimes. Ask any artist.

And talking of color, take a good look at his eyes. The center of his pupils are a brilliant blue.

Baby Blues

This might indicate the color of whatever he’s looking at reflected there but it’s really me using the strikingly out of place color to make his eyes more piercing, and that little bit extra crazy.

Oh, and bonus points if you noticed the ear on his swinging side is shortened and capped with a singed stump. Hey, swinging burning rocks ain’t easy and every goblin learns it one way or another!

Things That Make You Go BOOM

 Art  Comments Off on Things That Make You Go BOOM
Jul 042011

It’s 4th of July and here in Seattle there’s been people letting off fireworks in the dead of night for about three days now. Oh, the joy.

Me, I’m not a fan of publicly available fireworks. I much prefer the local authorities to put on a show and leave it in the hands of (presumably) professionals. You usually get a more impressive display and a lower injury rate. I was unfortunately once witness to a bottle rocket’s bottle tipping just before take off and firing the rocket into a crowd of spectators and I’ve never really felt the same way about fireworks ever again.

Anyway, whatever shenanigans you’re up to, stay safe. Goblins, on the other hand, should be encouraged to play with fire at all times. Remember this very important formula;

Goblins + (Fire and/or Explosions) = Hilarity!

I’d now like to demonstrate with samples from just one set – 2003’s Scourge;

Goblins with burning rock projectiles = Fun!
Goblin War Strike.

Goblins with pillar of fiery doom = Comedy gold.
Pyrostatic Pillar, which had the working title of Bug Zapper.

Whether they’re having a ball raining incendiaries down upon their enemies or running for their lives, nothing goes better with hot flaming death than a whole bunch of goblins. It’s true. I looked it up.

And finally, please try not to stab anyone’s eye out with a sparkler! Unless it’s an actual goblin, then that’s probably okay. Probably. Just remember, if you feel like picking a fight with a goblin, you better be ready to fight a dozen more. At least.