Great Bear Druid

Today I’m peeling back the process of creating the illustration of the Great Bear Druid found in the upcoming 13 True Ways book.  This piece almost got the cut because I think both Rob Heinsoo and myself may be a little overeager when it comes to the druid class.  There may have been a concern that the druids were overtaking the book, but evidently enough balance was restored to keep this piece.  This drawing came together rather quickly.  Below is my sketchbook page of the druid summoning his Spirit Bear and then a smattering of ungainly goblins.  The next stage was done in Photoshop.  I arranged the various sketch elements into a composition and added some digital paint. Lee Moyer swung his sorcerer’s wand around and brought contrast and clarity to the image.  One thing I’ve learned from working with Lee is the importance of creating a composition that can still read when reduced to the size of a postage stamp, a valuable “big picture” skill that he has keenly developed.
GreatBearDruid_ScanA GreatBearDruid_ThumbAGreatBearDruidRob wrote about the druid class at his blog.  Here’s an excerpt: As you’ll see, the druid class is a beast. The challenge of embracing elements of traditional druidic roles (wild healer, animal shifter, elemental magician, summoner, warrior of the wild) became huge fun as I took new approaches (talents defining spell lists and abilities, carefully calibrated summoning mechanics, spell lists tied to specific terrain). It’s definitely the biggest of all the class design jobs. I hope it turns out to be as much fun to play as it was to design.”

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13 True Ways Commander

Behold, a dwarven commander whose troops carry the flag of the Emperor!  Read Rob Heinsoo’s notes on the commander at this post.BattleCaptDwarf

I’ll work backward on the process this time around, for some variety. Below is the original image that I sent Lee Moyer.  Lee added the Emperor’s flag to the final illustration, as you can see above, not to mention greater contrast and golden light illuminating the scene. (Could that light be reflecting from a guarded treasure trove, perhaps?  Or perchance they have encountered the fleeting essence of The Gold Wyrm?!)BattleCaptDwarf_ThumbA

The charcoal sketch:BattleCaptDwarf_Pencils

And a preliminary sketchbook drawing of the Commander in repose:BattleCaptDwarf_Sketch

13 True Ways Necromancer

It’s a process post for 13 True Ways!  I had fun doing these posts for some of the 13th Age core book art about 2 years ago that I called “Behind-the-Illustration”.  The first image below is a preliminary pencil sketch in blue and red col-erase pencils.  You can see a little thumbnail scribble in blue, top left:  NecromancerDead_PencilSketchI added some color and Lich King symbols fused with Archmage emerging from the volcanic rock below her feet before turning it over to Lee Moyer: NecromancerDead_ThumbAAnd Lee gave the image an ethereal quality as if the adventurers witnessing the scene can’t be sure if their eyes are playing tricks on them or not: NecromancerDead3  Rob Heinsoo wrote a fun mechanic for the necromancer that you can read here.

Also, I’d like to invite anyone interested in 13th Age to consider contributing something to the first issue of a 13th Age Fanzine called ICON that is currently accepting submissions (deadline for the May issue is April 24th).  Click the banner below for details: blog-header-icon

Pixies No 13 Baby

Rob Heinsoo keeps releasing thumbnails for drawings I have yet to finish for 13 True Ways.  Makes me nervous, but since it’s already adrift on the internet waves I’m owning it here.  Read more about the Murder Pixies at Rob’s blog.

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I’m in a state… Pixies No 13 Baby on Youtube

Odosketch Test

Here’s a computer age novelty: an online sketching program that allows you to watch an animation of the creation of your sketch.  Click the images below to watch them move.

ODOPOD_FigurebytheSea_Sketch_smallODOPOD_Water01_Sketch_smallODOPOD_Shaman_Sketch_small

Medusa_01_sketchODOPOD_CapriGirl_Sargent_small

The 13th Hour

Yes, this is a page marker for the time being.  I just wanted to take note of the last exciting 13 hours of the Kickstarter for 13 True Ways.  It really took off yesterday and I think it has exceeded anyone’s expectations at this point.  Below is a sketch that I penciled and Lee Moyer inked at PAX.  This was based on a fan’s suggestion for a 13th Age adventurer, and I’ll add some additional info and more sketches to this post a little later.  For now I need to get back to staring at the thrill-a-minute kickstarter page.  Kidding!  That kind of vanity would be akin to the Lich King…well, a few icons could be guilty of that I suppose…but not me, I’m just a lowly scrivener;-)

 

 

Devil of the Fangs

Devil of the Fangs: When the Blessed Emperor pacified the Midland Sea, most of the terrible giants of the deeps swam out into the Iron Sea. But some of the great krakens moved onto land. They converted their deep magic into river magic and became the river devils, armored squid-like monstrosities capable of heaving themselves from one river to the next, always avoiding their ancient home. The very worst of the river devils made deals with the Diabolist to become devils in truth. The most terrifying river devil of this age is the Devil of the Fangs. The Devil torpedoes through the river networks that give it its name in a squid-like form before heaving itself onto land with tentacles shape-changed into taloned arms.

General Ironicus, one of the backers of 13 True Ways, was able to generously offer his support at the Diabolist Pledge Level, and the illustration above is the preliminary sketch of his monster that has been seamlessly integrated into the 13th Age universe.  These are the final days for the successfully funded 13 True Ways kickstarter and therefore the final opportunity to be directly involved in the creative side of the book.  Imagine the street cred you’ll get when all the kids are playing the hot new game 13th Age, and you can brush your knuckles against your sports jacket and say you personally contributed to the 13th Age universe.  Kickstarter…where dreams become reality.  Wait a minute, I’m proselytizing 13th Age not Kickstarter, but in this case the degrees of separation are minor.  Many thanks to those who helped fund the book, and thanks for your consideration as we attempt to meet our stretch goals.

Here’s the pencil sketch of the Devil of Fangs before I started working on it in Photoshop:

If you want to read more about the conception of this monstrosity go here: Kickstarter Update #12.