Things That Make You Go BOOM

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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!
Incoming!
Goblin War Strike.

Goblins with pillar of fiery doom = Comedy gold.
Leaving!
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.

Feb 032011
 

So, which version of the Lhurgoyf was I happier with; Ice Age or 8th? Well, Ice Age gets the nostalgia vote but 8th is a better painting – as I’d hope given that over half a decade separates them – but unfortunately some of that didn’t translated as well to final print size as I would have liked. If I’m looking at the two originals then I prefer the newest. If I’m looking at the printed versions then I like them equally; this probably means I didn’t take reduction into account enough when doing the new piece. Also the new piece was painted about twice the size of the old version so these things can be more difficult to get right the greater the reduction to final print size.

Maybe with more time I’d have given the new Lhurgoyf a little bolder texture, hard to say. The only unfortunate thing about the actual printed card is that it dropped out a few of the mid tones (a printing issue I would spot again throughout Mirrodin and especially on Tanglewalker). The printing made the image more heavily contrasted which has the benefit of increasing the dynamism but at the expense of the subtler qualities that make the creature’s skin look more realistic.
So what would I do now?

From the Vault: Lhurgoyf 8th Ed (2003) Pt. 4

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Jan 112011
 

The current sketch’s readability issue was really just related to where the head was, so I moved the head up to the upper left of the image. This kept the center of the figure uncluttered, gave the head a prominent location in the image and filled a growing area of dead space in the upper left of the picture. Win/Win! It fixed a whole host of issues and as a bonus, also gave the Lhurgoyf a more defiant, aggressive look. Probably a good thing as WotC wanted an image that exemplified the power of a pumped-up Lhurgoyf.
The final sketch awaits.

Jan 062011
 

The rejection of the first sketch came as a blow, especially given how long I’d spent trying to nail down a composition I was happy with.

The people responsible for signing off on Magic art (chiefly the art director and at least one member of story and R&D) felt that the Lhurgoyf was too thin and lacked the power that was associated with this fearsome creature. I pointed out that the new Lhurgoyf was actually a little more muscular than his predecessor, but this fell on deaf ears. They wanted me to make him bigger and tougher. I had to scrap the foreshortening notion as that was going to be counterproductive to making the figure look larger.
Okay, so what the hell do I do now?

Dec 302010
 

The original Lhurgoyf from Ice Age.

Remember this guy? Ice Age’s Lhurgoyf was one of my first encounters with having a card that generated a LOT of excitement upon its release. Sure, ‘The Abyss’ is still the most expensive card I’ve drawn but at the time of Legends launch, a lot of cards were jostling for the limelight. But at the Ice Age release event that I attended, the buzz was all about the Lhurgoyf.

Ice Age's Lhurgoyf card.

So, when I was offered the chance to do a new image of Lhurgy for 8th edition, I jumped at the chance…
This way for Lhurgoyf sketches.

Nov 102010
 

While searching through a drawer of old sketches I found this oddity on a piece of tracing paper (a common method of transferring a sketch to art board). The image is odd because it’s substantially more of the figure than was seen in the final card image.

Vulshok Berserker Sketch

I suspect this is because I drew the whole figure and then placed the image within the boundaries of the card image, repositioning it until I got a balance of dynamism and seeing as much of the figure as possible.

Well, that’s my guess anyway. It was painted eight years ago so things aren’t exactly crystal clear…

I can’t help but hear “HULK SMASH!” when I see it.