I was honored (and more than a little surprised) when Sarah Robinson at Paizo asked if I'd be interested in illustrating the covers for the next Pathfinder Adventure Path- Reign of Winter. They're a two part cover design: a wide background image (usually a combat situation), and a character superimposed over the right side.
Illuxcon is the premiere event each year for those interested in or working in fantasy illustration.The fifth Illuxcon concluded this past Sunday and three members of Shadowcore were present to take in the convention. This year Chris Rahn returned to the main show and myself and Mike Sass returned to the showcase event and Mike and I took part in panel discussions. I hosted a panel joined by Wizards of the Coast's very own Jon Schindehette where we talked about getting serious as an illustrator. Mike was joined by Randy Gallegos, Aaron Miller, Todd Lockwood, and Jim Pavelec as they talked about options for artists to improve the industry.
This was the last Illuxcon to take place in Altoona, Pa., next year they are moving to Allentown to take advantage of a larger venue. There will be other changes to Illuxcon with the move, but hopefully it will maintain all the charm and uniqueness as the convention grows and evolves. Hopefully more members of Shadowcore will be able to attend next year, I know I will be!
Here are some images that Mike and I took during Illuxcon V...
The main show of Illuxcon.
Shadowcore at Illuxcon! (L to R: Christopher Burdett, Mike Sass, and Chris Rahn)
Again, Chris Rahn in his booth.
A panorama of the Illuxcon main show from the ground floor.
Mike Sass in the Showcase.
My table in the Showcase.
A look out into the classroom at the end of my talk.
Panel Buddies! Myself and Jon Schindehette... RAWR!
(L to R) Mike Sass, Randy Gallegos, Aaron Miller, Todd Lockwood, and Jim Pavelec at their talk.
There were way more up beat then this image leads on...
The last group meal of Illuxcon V.
(L to R) Christopher Burdett, Filip Burburan, Milivoj Ceran, Ralph Horsley, Chris Rahn, and Mike Sass.
Haters gonna hate... something familiar caught my eye from the garbage can out the front door of the main show. Looks good even in there!
Starting this Thursday nightIlluxcon 5 will be underway. 3 members of Shadowcore are proud to be involved with this intimate and important show and will be exhibiting work, presenting panels and having a darn good time. Gaming illustrators are strongly represented at Illuxcon, which is a respectful nod to the challenging task of consistently crafting compelling work on deadline and the high quality seen in today's gaming art.
Our flyer, which may be picked up from one of the exhibitors below....
"I am happy to be hosting a panel this year at Illuxcon. Wizards of the Coast's
very own Jon Schindehette will be joining me as we discuss "getting serious". If
you are interested in attending the panel it is at noon on Saturday 11/10. We
will be discussing topics such as establishing a strong web presence,
networking, setting goals, specialization within the industry, overcoming set
backs, handling yourself professionally online, branding, and monsters.
will also be returning to the Showcase event on Friday evening. In addition to
prints and all three of my sketchbooks I will also have with me a stack of
original drawings and some of my traditional paintings, two of which have never
been seen. "
As I wrap up another busy art year I'm knee deep in Illuxcon preparation. I just bought a proper carry-on suitcase for my originals, of which I purposely kept at sizes for safe personal transport. This and some prayer that my frames survive in my luggage will hopefully get me to Altoona to show off my latest oil paintings in the Friday showcase.
In addition, I will be on a panel with Jim Pavelec, Todd Lockwood, Randy Gallegos and Aaron Miller presenting a discussion on "strengthening the artist's role in our industry". This will be a discussion on the challenges we face as fantasy illustrators and some solutions to guide young artists."
But first I gotta pack!!!
" It's been a ton of work over the last couple of weeks getting everything
ready for the show but now that it's just around the corner I'm getting more and
more excited thinking about seeing all that incredible art up close and hanging
out with so many great and talented people. If I have half the fun I did last
year it's going to be awesome!
Here is a new work I will be unveiling in the main show"
Back in October, I had the first experience as an instructor holding a class at the Northern Light Workshop in lovely Stockholm in tandem with Jesper Ejsing. I was a tad nervous I have to admit but fortunately I loosened up after a beer :P Definitely can see myself doing more teaching in the future - as long as there's a bar somewhere close...
We focused on character art and character development, explaining what's going on behind the whole process, what to consider, what to research, how to make the figure look like it has its own story and is not just standing around decoratively. Over the whole weekend all students created their own characters and all of them turned out so great and full of ideas.
For the demonstration I chose the RPG character of my husband Martin. I asked him to give me a brief description of his characters he created over the years and I instantly fell in love with his wizard, which doesn't look like a wizard at all. Rather a travelling fortune teller disguised as a gypsy, hiding his face behind a scarf or cloth and a wide brimmed hat. And inspired a bit by Duncan McCloud, look-wise.
So I started to do my research of all the objects and styles that popped into my mind, I collected pictures and put them on an image reference board so I won't loose an idea in this inspirational thunderstorm:
I quite often use reference boards. Not for plainly copying parts but to be constantly inspired by looking over the details whilst drawing and painting the character. It keeps my motivation up and I get new ideas by simply combining styles, patterns or colours.
Here's a simple step by step of the character art:
Jesper actually pushed me to be bolder with the highlights and I learned a lot by painting this guy. He was working on his own RPG character at the same time, so we sat next to each other, furiously digi-painting and drooling over each others artwork ;) Jesper had to start twice though, his Photoshop crashed and the first painting would have been lost forever... if I wouldn't have taken a sneaky picture of his screen a few minutes earlier. So, that's all that's left of it, ha ha...
PS: Martin loved the character I created for him! But still I failed :P I was so enthusiastic with throwing colour and patterns on the character, that I completely missed the fact that this guy was supposed to wear dark clothes since he's a shadow mage... uhm, yes... will do the revisions, Sir!
I just recently finished a big 6 month job for the Pathfinder Roleplaying game; completing 24 illustrations for the current 6-book adventure path "Shattered Star". I have managed to paint about half of them in oil paints, and its been a challenge to do multiple paintings at a time plus other client work in a one month period! In past posts, I have shown a few of the oil paintings, and the third book is now out so I can show more.
Here we have an alchemical golem attacking the Pathfinder Alchemist on the edge of a balcony.
Next, Karzoug hands the shard of gluttony over to the Dark Rider:
Drawing mounted on masonite and outlined in acrylic...
Establishing the background...
Working on the characters...
And a last quick one the Hounds of Tindalos attack the female Barbarian:
In a future post I will show some of the digital paintings I produced for this set of books. It was a real challenge to illustrate so many multi-figure scenes in paint and on the computer with tight deadlines.
Over the past year I have done about 1/3 of my work in oils which added up to 17 paintings... now I just have to decide what to bring to Illuxcon next week... volume or quality??
I've bought some large bubble envelopes from the post office, and the plan is to slip the paintings into padded envelopes and onto the plane, thus avoiding the inevitable lost luggage that always happens in my 3 connection flight to Altoona from Canada.
Lastly, I recently recorded a new podcast that I'm quite proud of. Give it a listen!