Nov 182011
 

I have a longer post about GP San Diego that I’m working on, but in the meantime I thought I’d share with you the two cases I designed for mine and my wife’s phones –

iPhone Case Designs

The images aren’t stickers they’re actually imbedded into the cases and are nice and solid. We got these done at Uncommon and they did a great job.

The one on the left is based off the designs I did for my wife’s site, Gothic Charm School. The one on the right is a tweaked version of my Skirk Marauder image. No, I can’t make the Skirk one available for purchase as it’s copyrighted to WotC, but one for my personal use is just fine.

So, would you be interested in a phone case with some of my fantasy art? I certainly think it’s a cool new way for people to enjoy my art. Let me know.

Event Alert: Grand Prix San Diego

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Nov 042011
 

I’ll be attending GP: San Diego next week! You can expect to find me there prepared for all manner of signing and sketches.

My hours (approximately) –
Friday Nov 11th 12:00 – 2:00, 3:00 – 6:00
Saturday Nov 12th 11:00 – 1:30, 2:30 – 6:00
Sunday Nov 13th 11:00 – 1:30, 2:30 – 5:00

Hopefully, I’ll see you there.

3D Goblin – Stage 3

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Oct 052011
 

I had to put the goblin sculpture aside a few weeks ago due to a new project making my schedule a little fuller than I’d originally planned. This is how far I got after a grand total of approximately eight hours work…

Goblin Sculpture Stage 3

We’re at stage 3. The significant geometry of the goblin’s head and shoulders has been done. Here’s a laundry list of the changes:

  • The brows got a little more furrowed.The nose got longer and the nostrils deeper. The flared outer parts of the nostrils got tidied up and better integrated with the face.
  • The lips and jaw had the planar brush lightly applied to them. For the lips this had the effect of creating a stronger edge to the lip line, better delineating the change from lips to surrounding flesh. For the jaw, this was a subtler change, removing a little of the curvature in the flesh, unifying the angles and giving the suggestion of bone along the jaw line.This is particularly noticeable in the middle image above.
  • The ears received a few tweaks in front and a significant amount of trimming in the back. At a certain angle (one I commonly use in goblin paintings) the upper rear of the ears had proven to be too chunky. By creating gentle slopes from the top and bottom rear of the ears that thickened toward the center I created the slimmer profile of ears I was used to but with a solid connection to the head that made it believable that the giant ears could be supported on the head rather than tear off under their own weight (ouch)!
  • The skin around the eyes was changed to compliment the alterations around the nostrils and bridge of the nose.
  • The skin of the cheeks that is forced upward due to the goblin’s smile was better blended with the upper lip. The previous version was a little too pronounced making the cheeks feel more like a significant protrusion than just cheeks pushed up and out in a smile.
  • The mouth was hollowed out more in preparation for the addition of teeth, gums and tongue. That’ll be stage four!

Yeah, even though at first glance the changes may appear to be minimal, there’s actually a lot of tweaks going on.

And there’s at least one more detail pass to do before moving on to a texture pass. Just look at this close-up to see that I’m still working on a relatively low resolution sculpt. The polygons are easy to spot.

Goblin Sculpture Close-Up

Finally, here’s a color test I tried out. This is just a proof of concept; a rough pass to see how a colored version might look. The eyes are especially bad at the moment as I’ve yet to learn how to use more than one material in a sculpt. The eyes obviously need to be more reflective as they’re currently quite dead which makes them bloody creepy, but not in a good way!

Goblin Sculpture Color Test

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.

Aug 232011
 

I’m still grabbing time to try out Zbrush when I can – which isn’t much – and Eric Keller’s book continues to prove to be invaluable for navigating my way through the complex interface.

Well, I just got to try out ZSpheres and ZSketch and the appropriate tutorial is about creating a new dragon and I thought, “Hey, I like a dragon as much as the next artist but I think I want to try something else.” And of course, being me, that ‘something else’ had to be a goblin.

This is about 90 minutes work, so very early stages and a lot of screwing around trying to work out what certain things did. Consider this stage one and hopefully I get to show you a stage two and three later on…

Goblin Sculpture Stage 1

Aug 122011
 

In what time I can grab, I’m trying to learn the amazing 3D app ZBrush. Just follow that link if you want to have your mind blown.

When I can, I’m digging through the tools and the (intimidating) interface via a book called Introducing ZBrush 4 by Eric Keller and kudos to Eric because the very first tutorial is making a dragon head!

So, here’s my first ever ZBrush sculpture, a dragon head. It’s probably 50% done; it’s lacking real detail and textures. I won’t be going any further with this version as I ran ahead of myself and made some errors which, frankly, it’s easier to start over than to fix. But hey, it looks cool.

3D Dragon Turnaround

I really like the way that he looks like he’s smiling until he’s looking straight at you then he looks really pissed off!

3D Dragon Turnaround

One more thought. 3D printing is getter better and better. Hmm…

Aug 012011
 

Question: If I was to use Kickstarter to fund creating an original fantasy painting, available as a print ranging from standard US letter size (8.5″ by 11″) all the way up to 2′ by 3′, would you be interested in supporting it?

What size print would you want?

It couldn’t be Magic the Gathering related (copyright issues), but what fantasy thing would you like to see?

Guesstimate prices would range from $15 to probably $120. With some super rare stuff in the $300 category.

So what d’ya think?

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!

I Dream in Scribbles

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Jul 082011
 

… or scribble dreams. That’s certainly the case this time.

While trying to rein in the horror that is my computer’s desktop, I found this little doodle I did of Morpheus of the Endless from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

The Lord Shaper

I vaguely remember doing this to try out some of the new brushes in the latest iteration of Artrage, which if you’re interested in digital painting, I strongly recommend you take a look at. It’s a budget price for an excellent piece of software.