Saturday, October 3, 2009


I have been listening to a bunch of rpg pod casts of late. I like this one, The Tome

It pretty much just goes through the D&D books as they're released explaining what's in there and how it works and whether they like it or not. Helps me understand 4e D&D without playing it (never did get the chance).

Monday, October 20, 2008


I thought I'd put one last Shadowmoor block piece up before moving on, Medicine Runner (Swift Dawnhand to me). I like the tone of this card and they way the lighting turned out, maybe because it didn't run away with itself. Looking back, it possibly did on some of the other cards, they look a bit busy colour wise....I guess it's subjective. It was one of the last cards I did for the set (I think) so maybe that's why. I finished this one off at the Wizards offices actually, while I was helping concept out Alara. Used to working from home alone it was a bit strange to be doing work in public, so to speak. I had various people dropping past to see what I was doing in the office so early, most of them liked the rendering of the tree in the foreground...I like how stark the image is, there's very little fuss to it so it feels very quiet.

Here's the sketch (talk about vague) and then my pencils and the finish. You can see that i changed the arm from the sketch to the finish, I think i did that to isolate the medicine bag a little more as it needed to be one of the "important" things in the image.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I got my comp. copies of the Forgotten Realms Players Guide through and thought I'd share some of the finer details in the pieces.
They were commissioned as 1/3 pages but it looks like they ran out of room for them and they got reduced more than I thought they they turned out a little darker than I thought anticipated so a lot of cool little details were lost. I continued with a new way of working on these that I'd started on some of the WoW cards Ive done. Inspired by the detail mentalist himself, Clint Langley, I borrowed his method of 'painting with photographs' (stop me if I'm getting too technical). I don't use them as raw as Clint does, his can almost be collage like, as I still prefer to retain a more traditional feel to the pieces, I try to get a more painterly effect on them so I do a bit more, well, over painting.

It's a really fun way to work as it introduces texture quite quickly and introduces ideas for detail, like the magic sextant thingy that the corsair piece has (below her buckle). It started out as a bit of obscure detail from a museum exhibit and only ended up there by accident (notice the squid pommels on the swords :).

In this Drow pieces I was perhaps guilty of getting lost in spider details (how the hell was that spider necklace ever going to show up in print??) I was really happy with the eyes on the hand crossbow though.

The Doomguide piece is awash with metal textures I've found on my travels, and again details in the photographs suggested details in the finish I would never have thought (you can see in the sketch things are a bit more basic).

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I got to sign quite a few swamps and forests from Shadowmoor at Kobe and thought it would be nice to show it in it's complete landscape format. When I went looking for it I was surprised by how much I liked the sketch, it's very moody and I think it works well all by itself.

The finish is a lot more colourful, mostly to help establish the ott magic/spooky wood effect that Wizards wanted this set to have. It's also a lot brighter with more contrast to help it work better at it's intended size. This was one of those pieces that's colour palette changed over and over before I was happy (easy'ish when you use photoshop). I lied the idea of using pink for a swamp card though.

I'm not sure why I handed in such a detailed sketch for this piece, I think I was happy to get some basic lands to do and had plenty of time so went to town on it. It's not that I don't do descent pencils for my finishes I just tend to see sketches as rough ideas as opposed to something that's just about to go to finish (like many artists do), I find it helps to keep things moving if there's any changes needed fro the art director side. In fact I'll try to show that process in a bit more detail next time I post something up.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Getting to go to Japan also gave me the opportunity to add to my ever expanding texture library. I'm increasingly using more digital textures in my pieces, not so much in Magic, but quite extensively in my World of Warcraft and D&D work. Every trip or day out I have now usually doubles up into a texture finding expidition, but far from detracting from my 'me' time I find that it gets you looking at stuff you wouldn't have considered otherwise. At the signing in Japan, the 3rd annual "Only Choppers" event was in one of the neighbouring halls...well it's not every day you get to go to a Japanese Chopper expo.

so after looking at all the cool bikes (and having a very tasty hand made cheeseburger), because I'm looking for textures I end up with a bunch more photos that look like this;

I'll use these mainly for armour probably, lots of cool stuff in there for that, but half the details on the bikes I would have never noticed unless i was actively looking for and at textures. I guess it's my modern equivelant of the still life...

(I could bore you with the fact that 'Chippy' comes from a push bike I owned as a kid and that it was smallest in a range made by Raleigh, the biggest being the classic Chopper...but I wont )

Extra Dimensions

Hopefully things have calmed down enough work wise that i might actually be able to get some more stuff up here. Anyway, It's one of the cool perks of doing Magic that I occasionally get invited to events to sign cards. Kobe Japan has to rank as one of the most exotic Ive been to and the most fun. The event was particularly busy for Jim Murray and me, pretty much wall to wall signing and sketching from start to finish.

One of the coolest thing about going to Kobe Japan for a Magic signing were the little gifts that some people gave us for signing cards. The coolest amongst these were these 3-d cards that were given to both Jim and me (Jim's were of his cards...)

Here's the Tormentor's Pupil up close ....check out the mental detail in there... :-O

and in this shot you can see all the layers...guess they're not tournament legal now though.

So the talented men themselves? I'm going to dare to try and get their names on here (many apologies if I get them wrong) Ohkubo Seishirou san, Masanobu Kondoiu san and Yunsuke Yamamoto san.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I got back from a signing in Japan on Monday and Ive been straight back into work since then. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on things next week and make a couple of blog thing I should mention (because it's sitting right in fron of me) is that i picked up KOW Yokoyama's sketch book while I was there and it's well worth checking out. I don't know much about the whole Ma.K. scene but it's one I'm keen to have more of a look at. Here's a couple of links if you're not aware of the stuff.

the wiki entry

a model site

and the book i bought