January 9, 2013

Final Pathfinder oil for 2012

Just released this month is the 6th and final book in the Pathfinder RPG "Shattered Star" adventure.  This concludes a 6-month, 24 illustration project that I had a great time doing.

In the previous books, I was juggling doing multiple oil paintings each month, but for this last book I decided to focus my efforts on doing a single painting, leaving the other 3 to do digitally.  Its been difficult to get to a finished state doing so many at once, so I thought best to pick the coolest of the commissions and do a 100% job where I wouldn't have to finish after it was sent off.

Here is the final drawing.  I do the drawings in photoshop for speed and to visualize values simultaneously.

Below we see my reference.  For those unfamiliar with best practices in using photos, you can see the limbs and parts have been "frankensteined" together to get positions that match my sketch.  No one photo will be the perfect shot, so you need to adjust and piece them to get what you want.

Below we see the printed out drawing mounted and sealed onto masonite board.  I have gone over the lines with umber acrylic paint so they will be darker and seen through the underpainting.

Some acrylic washes for an underpainting serve to provide relationships to judge colors and provides opacity as I paint each object in one finished layer.

Progress on the painting showing how each part is finished at once.

The final painting.  12X16"  This looks cleaner just due to it being a proper photo using flash equipment whereas the shots above are just snapshots of the work on my table.  The shot below has no retouching.

Anyhow, it was nice to not rush so much with this one.  It took about a week.  

I still have a load of digital ones that I probably won't bother to show as they fall under the category of "git 'er done" art and don't really have final quality details. If I get the chance to make another detail pass at some of them I will post in the coming months... but in the meantime here is one that is more or less finished...

This 6 month Pathfinder job was great in forcing volume from me, and I'm looking forward to using that experience for bigger and better results.


  1. Nice Mike! I like that worm one a lot!

  2. Great orchestration, especially on the acrylic painting, Mike! 24 pieces!?! Wow.. =)

  3. Thanks Chuck... its oil BTW. Yeah it was alot of work!

  4. Great work Mike! You've been cranking out lots of cool stuff for Paizo lately!

  5. Thanks Craig, but sadly it pales in comparison to yours. Much respect to your own work... inspiring and consistent!

  6. Damn! These are so awesome. Amazing work on that 2nd one, the worm looks fantastic. :)

  7. Very cool to see your process Mike. Thanks for sharing. Killer piece.