Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Oops. I made a mistake.

Turns out- I am not perfect.

The Mistake- Sherwyn, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2016, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

The recent HarnQuest was recently released with articles on Sherwyn, Pled some Books and Scrolls and some maps I had nothing to do with.
While I decided to just color the Hotz drawing of the castle in Pled, I decided I wanted to redraw the castle for Sherwyn. It is a very complicated castle sitting on a series of rocky outcroppings off the shore of the town. As is often the case I build a quick Sketchup model so I could get the proportions correct.
Shortly after the release some eagle eyed Harniac was quick to point out a mistake that the drawbridge on the above image is too low.  Of course I thought "How dare you? Do you know who I am?!! Richard Luschek does not make mistakes!"

Then I checked it out and turns out I did make a mistake. I know! I could hardly believe it myself.
First, Here is the model after I corrected it. I did a video fly around so you can see the whole place.

While the product has shipped, I thought I would post the fixed image here. Feel free to print it out and use for your game.

Corrected Sherwyn Castle, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2016, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek  
It really just involved me moving the gate up about 15'.
Enjoy this corrected image- now get off my back!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Hot Models

Shipping now is the February HarnQuest made up of:  Arone Keep, Cherafir F5: The Wolves' Den, Coranan D2: Lia-Kavair Guildhall, Coranan D10: Gladiator School, Coranan H3: Palace of Pentacles, Atlas Hârnica F7

Below is a rough overview of some of the art for these articles.
First I will post an image of a creepy new aquatic Ivashu near an unfortunate pilgrim.

In the Brooder Pool, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2016, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
After reading the description I did a few sketches first to see what the writers liked best. They picked my favorite one.

Ormanoam, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2016, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

The creature is near an old Ilvirian temple, Ormanoam. The temple is surrounded by standing stones and earthworks.
Here is my very rough model for this illustration. Each of the models below at some point will feature the view I ended up selecting to use as reference for the final art.

Nearby is Arone is a small seaport on the southeastern tip of Orbaal. Along with the nearby thrans, Arone is isolated from its neighbors to the west by the vast Arone Marshes that form the northern edge of the great Anoth Delta. The keep sits on a low basalt headland overlooking a fine natural harbor that offers refuge to seafarers from the stormy Sea of Ivae and the pirate-infested waters of the delta.

Arone Gate House, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2016, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
 Below is a view of the model to get a good idea of layout.

Finally, I did illustrated the fine palace in Coranan.
The hall of the Coranan chapter of the Mangai was built in the mid-5th century to house the Court of Pentacles, the economic advisory body to the Corani Imperium.

Palace of the Pentacles, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2016, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

It was fun to add more to the model I did for the updated Coranan article. In this fly around you can see the reference I used for the Chamber of the Red Domes.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I'm In Charge!

The title of this blog post is referring to a book I just illustrated and not my own proud declaration to the world. Though I do try to be in charge when ever I get a chance and think things are usually the better for it.
One of the writers for Hârn, a game I am the art director for, knew about an author- a friend of a friend, who was looking for an illustrator for a children's book he was working on (was that sentence  more confusing than it needed to be?).
Henry Vogel was working an series of stories based on old medieval folk tales. I have wanted to illustrated a book for kids for a while now, so I inquired. After a some back and forth emails, we agreed to work together on this project.

I'm In Charge cover, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
Henry had 6 stories, and we chose 3 to be in this first book: I'm in Charge, the Seven Silly Brothers and The Three questions.
I would tell you more, but I am going to have you read the description on the Amazon page for the book. Click Here to read and to order piles of books for your family! It is available in print and for the Kindle (PDF).

I worked on the cover and interior art pretty much at the same time. I wanted this book to have an old timey, classic look. I love Arthur Rackham's work and wanted emulate that style.
I sent Henry a quick sketch done in photo shop to see what he thought.
I'm In Charge, digital sketch, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
He gave me some notes, a few sketches went back and forth and I then assembled my reference. I like to use the best looking and most handsomest models I can find for the money.

I'm In Charge, reference photo, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
I did a pencil sketch and then inked the drawing.

I'm In Charge, ink drawing, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
This is scanned into Photoshop and then colored digitally. I usually start by adding some texture to the image- I set a photo of parchment on a multiply layer and did laid a tone in.

I'm In Charge, digital value scheme, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
I select all the parts out on different layers and start adding color. Using my initial color sketch to select colors from.
I'm In Charge, early color layers, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
I keep painting and pushing things around till I like it. I didnt like how the spear touched the edge, so I selected it and angled it out to match the shield. I added the Seven Silly Brothers walking by the castle outside on their way to some adventures. The princes hand was a bit too manly and the face too harsh. I made the crown bigger and finished the painting. The text was added and then tweaked a bit by hand, painting around it to give it a more natural look.

I'm In Charge, cover, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
For the interior art I decided a set of simple silhouettes would look nice.

I'm In Charge, Interior, pen and ink, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
Here we see the power hungry prince is ordering his friend's mother to jail for not letting them play together.

Seven Silly Brothers, Interior, Pen and Ink, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek
The Seven Silly Brothers are not the brightest lot. They get themselves into all kinds of trouble.

3 Questions, Interior, Pen and Ink, © 2016, Henry Vogel and Richard Luschek

In Three Questions, the princess and her father the king, do not agree on the qualities that will make for a good husband and prince.

No spoilers here, you will have to find out how they end on your own by reading the book yourself or preferably aloud to your kids.
So, go get the book and write some glowing reviews.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

HarnQuest- Geldeheim in the snow.

I am currently finishing up the December HarnQuest with only a few more illustrations to go. Till then, lets talk about the last issue. The royal city of Geldeheim in  Orbaal.
Geldeheim in the Snow, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
"Geldeheim is the seat of Alegar II, King of Orbaal. The castle is on the south shore of the Geldesfjord, the most populous region of the kingdom."
I had a lot of locations in the town to illustrate, so I went a bit overboard with the Sketchup model this time- but it was so much fun.
Here is a walk-thru of the model I posted on YouTube.

So, the various scenes are then used as reference for final illustration.
Used for the snowy view on page one.
The nice thing is that while a lot of the stuff done in sketchup is custom built, there is a nice online warehouse of prebuilt models, including a viking ship and a selection of medieval houses. You can also save components you build to use for later.

The Agrikan Temple had an exit below to the river that I wanted to show from the other bank. Getting things to scale without using this a model is challenging for me.
Agrikan Temple, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Not the exact view I used for the illustration, but this gives you an idea of the scale issues I needed to figure out.
Shipbuilder, pen and ink-digital color, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
This one didn't really need the model, but it doesn't hurt to double check things. Here is a distant view of that scene.

I did a separate model for the Annwyn ruins too. I was not too sure what I was going to draw so the model helps me get some ideas.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Barbarian Charge vs Barbarian Sneak

HarnWorld Barbarians, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
I was asked by Columbia Games to update a cover for one of their publications- Barbarians of Hârn. They wanted something featuring a lone warrior- something with a bit more action.
One of my big goals for this years production running up to the next Gen Con is get nice covers done for all the Kingdoms and the major cities. I think Hârn needs covers that will help sell the product to a new fan base. This was a good way to get the ball rolling on the cover situation for new products and to fancy up the current product like.
The original cover was done by Eric Hotz, the illustrator who set the gritty visual tone for Hârn and is one of the reasons I was drawn to this fantasy world in the first place.

Barbarians cover by Eric Hotz, Copyright © 1984, Columbia Games, Inc. and Eric Hotz
The original cover is 30 years old (that does not seem possible!) and was due for an update. There is something quaint about this cover but I always thought the barbarians looked more like shy, fat Dwarves.
I decided to compose my cover after one of my favorite Hotz covers- Nasty Brutish and Short.

N, B, & S cover by Eric Hotz, Copyright © 1984, Columbia Games, Inc. and Eric Hotz
Imagine your players being attacked from the right by goblins when suddenly a barbarian tribesman charges out of the woods on your left.
I started with some very rough sketches to get approval.

I did about 10 or so, some on horses, but thought a closeup of the barbarian would be more interesting.
I chose the Equani tribesmen known for their rough facial branding and collecting of scalps.
After posing myself for some very manly reference photos (which you will never see), I started sketching it out. I had a sword initially but the axe is just too bad ass.
Barbarian Sketch, 11" x 9", Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
I tweaked it a bit, printed it out on 11x14 card-stock then coated the drawing with amber shellac. The oils in the paint will eat the paper, something is needed to protect the drawing.

Barbarian drawing , 14" x 11", Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
I just started in painting in oil, working towards the big look of value and color on that first day.
Barbarian Day one Lay-In , 14" x 11", Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Each day I refined the drawing, bringing it into focus.

Barbarian Day 4 , 14" x 11", Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Once the painting progresses problems start to emerge and you discover things you just don't like. I did not like the back arm and totally repainted it removing the leather guard. The sketched in brands were starting to take on  a gross dimensional look.

Barbarian Day 5 , 14" x 11", Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
After I fixed the back arm, the one in the front started to look terrible. Looking in the mirror, I found a pose I liked better and I took some new reference shots.
Barbarian Day 6 , 14" x 11", Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
A bit more tweaking and I was basically done. I ended up adding a purple glaze over the whole figure to darken him down and give him a more swarthy look.
I shot a high-res photo of the painting. A bit of photoshop cleanup and it was ready for the title- which ended up covering more than I had hoped.
The cover was printed and added as a wrap around to the books in the warehouse. The interior text is all the same, so if this is already part of your collection, but you'd like to update with the new cover, contact Columbia Games for purchase.

The framed original painting is available for sale as well. Contact me if you are interested. If you have young children, this would look great hanging at the foot of their bed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cover Babe

I think we can all agree that Hârn has been in need of the stereotypical high-fantasy, hot chain-mail clad babe on a cover a long time. Well, I have finally made all your dreams come true -Sort of.
Bestiary of Harn, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

There has never been a Bestiary for Harn. We have a lot of separate beast articles but there has never been a starter product or a binder to hold them. I will admit the selection of articles in the current starter bundle needs work and will probably change (for one, Garguns are not in the bundle), but we got one ready for GenCon and sold all we had.
I wanted this cover to be similar to the HarnWorld and HarnDex covers. So I started with that as a base.
Of course a Bestiary needs a dragon on the front so I thought a St. George and the Dragon type image would be cool. I decided to not be sexist and go with a female knight. A knight from the Order of the Crimson Dancer located at Quimen in Orbaal was the obvious choice. I like the idea of an Agrikan being a hero of the story.
Bestiary of Harn- Early version, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
As these things tend to develop and change as I work them up, here is a very early version of the cover. I initially had a more typical, knight saving a damsel in distress thing going on but decided it would be more Agrikan like if the knight used a slave tied to a tree as bait for the heroic hunting of the beast. I imagine that slave will be abused and burned at the stake in celebration of the kill.
The HarnDex cover did have some beasts already though it needed some adjustments.  The Kuboran warrior need to be changed, I tried adding a bear in that spot but thought it would be more cool to make the Kuboran undead. The Aklash was added in the top with the stinking breath decorating the corner. I adjusted the castle to look a bit more like Quimen and changed the shield to a generic Agrikan symbol.
I tend to shy away from true accuracy in these medieval manuscript images and make sure the image is pleasing and decorative. I find the mistakes and odd interpretations in medieval manuscripts fascinating.
On my To-Do list is to get all the beasts colored, at least the first page of every article. I did 10 for this release, including the Yelgri and the Old Ones.

Yelgri Attack, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
 It is not up yet, but for those of you who have all the articles already, the covers for this and the barbarians covers should be available for sale from Columbia Games soon. Or you could just ask for one now.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Big Catch

The next HarnQuest is coming out very soon. I have all the art done (only about 2 months past due) but I had other Harn related stuff to do -so give me a freaking break will you!
Floating to Freedom, Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Actually I will post about some of that other Harn / Gen Con related stuff next.
This issue of HarnQuest will contain Menekai, Patrel and the Salt route.
Menekai has never been illustrated. The rough looking Larga Gydsilen has been shown in Rethem, but the castle and its surroundings had not. I started with Sketchup model drawn over the maps by Oddgeir Drevdal.
Often things are found in modeling that helps us draw better maps. One discovery was that the north tower and walls are in mid construction. I had modeled them too high. Brent pointed this out and we realized the maps really should have scaffolding and some signs of construction. The corrections were made.
Here is the cool flyover animation I did of the model once I had something in mind.

Once the model is complete, I pick a view that I think will look best and gives a good flavor to the place. I wanted to show the metalworks, with the smelting furnaces going, and the charcoaler piles smoldering. I decided to show a boy fishing as a dead body floats by, probably from the slave quarters. I would imagine with the harsh conditions of this place, slaves don't last long. A lazy guard may just decide to toss the body in the river rather than deal with it. I use Sketchups rough 3d figures as stand-ins.

Menekai Sketchup screen shot
After I do a sketch, I ink it, scan the image in photoshop and start coloring. I usually create some layers for the major units of the image. The inked layer is on top set to multiply. I had a sky layer, a water layer, a town layer, foreground layer, boy/body layer, and a water reflection layer -which was the town layer selected, filled with a gradient, vertically flipped and set to multiply over the water layer.
All this gets painted in broad strokes, working towards detail. I often add some multiply layers to get darker and add some mood.
I thought I was done.

Floating to Freedom (minus mood), Copyright © 2015, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
One of the writers pointed out the image was not dark enough in mood, and possibly in value. That the place should feel dirtier. After my attempts to get that person fired failed, I thought maybe I should consider this criticism.
I do like contrast in subject matter. So a sunny scene of a kid fishing with a dead body floating by had a touch of that. I figured a bit more mood could help, plus I keep forgetting my promise to myself to do more rain scenes. Harn is a wet place. Adding a rain texture gave it the miserable mood that was needed. I had to darken some things, like the kids wet clothes, add some splashes resulting in the image you see at the top of the page.

Look for a few more posts soon. I will try to keep up on this blog more. Let me know if there are any topics you'd like to see covered.