On the Mat

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Mar 142012
 

So GP Seattle-Tacoma was a lot of fun. REALLY busy, though. There was very little time to just hang out chatting as the line never shrank until the last few hours on Sunday.

As well as the playmats produced for tournament prizes, people requesting sketches on their own mats has become the big thing at recent shows. Playmats have been around for ages so I’m not sure why this has suddenly become so popular but I suspect the new mats with their smooth surface that takes drawings much better has encouraged this. Just a hunch.

I lost count of how many sketches I did. Some were certainly better than others – that’s always the case – but hopefully everyone was happy with their pics. These shows can become a blur and I often worry about getting too punchy and producing crappy scrawls.

One of the most bizarre pieces done was a hodge-podge Phyrexian that came about from an impromptu jam. I had drawn the upper portion of a Phyrexian warrior but had to call it at a certain spot when I had run out of time. Later the mat’s owner brought back the mat to show me that rkpost had added a lower torso and thighs to the creature (apparently he hates to see things unfinished) and then he thought he’d leave the legs for Mark Tedin. Franz Vohwinkel was last to get his hands on the mat and managed to bolt on a rather natty mini gun – with requisite ammo belt – to the Phyrexian’s free arm.

Here’s the crazy jam for you to enjoy –

Jam mat drawing featuring Venters, Post, Tedin and Vohwinkel

After the show, Mark and I were talking about doing this again and seeing what craziness happens. Only time will tell…

Finally, here’s a look at the finished Phyrexian Dreadnought playmat with all the noodly rendering completed.

Phyrexian Dreadnought mat finished

Apr 072011
 

The final stages of the painting await!

The first big change is the shoulder pads; they’ve been completely remodeled! Warcraft’s armor tends to be very intricate, even convoluted and sometimes the shapes can be hard to pin down quickly. It was only after looking at my ref for the umpteenth time that I realized the shoulder pads needed to be broader and the blade made chunkier with a little more curvature at the top and a lot less at the bottom.

Reworking.

If I find myself wondering how I missed this, I can console myself with the fact that no one at Blizzard caught it at the sketch stage either!
Time to get it done!

Apr 012011
 

On to the painting of the goblin. I have a few methods for painting pieces. They’re not wildly different, but there’s methods that work better for some images than others. However, almost all of them start with me blocking out the colors. ‘Blocking out’ refers to applying areas of flat color across an entire image to mark clearly what color (minus shadows and lighting) everything should be. I think my comic books roots are showing…

Block colors.

Prepping the underpainting.

Mar 162011
 

… when you’re having deadlines. Yeah, apart from family stuff, February was packed with deadlines as I dealt with my pieces for the Transmetropolitan Art Book and a couple images for the World of Warcraft CCG.

Speaking of which, here’s one of mine, ‘Kistix Shockvat’ from the last Warcraft release Worldbreaker which came out in December.

Kistix Shockvat from Worldbreaker

March has been quieter except for the awesomeness of the Emerald City Comicon which has managed to become bigger and cooler with every passing year. I hung out at the show this year, walking the aisles and meeting up with friends old, and new. In the latter category, I met Darick Robertson, artist on the brilliant Transmetropolitan who turned out to be an all round great and generous guy.

For ECCC 2012, I think I may get a table and sell some wares.

Anyway, I’ll be back soon with a new WIP, this time for the other card I did for Worldbreaker.