Monday, May 30, 2011

We don't need no Stinkin' Badges

How does that saying go?
You can satisfy some of the people all of the time. You and satisfy all of the people part of the time, but you can't satisfy all of the people........ I just lost my train of thought.
Point is, it is hard to satisfy everyone.

Illustration can be a tough business. In fine arts, most of the time the painter gets to make a product that is placed into a gallery and if someone likes it, they buy it.
An illustration is ordered by a client, laid out in a book which is then distributed to a bunch of people that may or may not agree with your representation. I do most of my illustrations for the game world Harn, which has been around for over 20 years. It has a loyal following of intelligent players, well versed in that world and everything historically related to it. So I have to be on my 'game'.  I can't be doing any armor or weapons that do not fit the period. I got an email once for someone telling me I illustrated the arrow on the wrong side of the bow.
I think most of my work is pretty well received. I get the occasional "I always imagined that guy with a full head of hair" kind of comments, but basically I think the customers like what I do. I work pretty hard to satisfy.
Recently I did an illustration that I got some flack for in the online game forum. The problem is that I did what I thought looked cool, and it turned out to not work so well historically. It has been printed and delivered to customers all over the world. Too late now.
So I thought I would post some of the ideas and images here. First to explain why, and second so those not happy can down load these images if they want.
The idea was to draw some symbols for various groups of mercenary units. I did not want typical heraldry symbols. I thought they should be iconic, simple and easy to read. The groups were named, and I tried to come up with symbols that matched. The writer had suggestions and even mocked up a few.
I did pen and ink line images and dropped in color in photoshop.
Copyright © 2010, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
They look a bit harsh and stiff. In hind sight, they probably should have had different styles too.
I took the above image and lowered the saturation of the color a bit to make them look old and darkened them down.
Copyright © 2010, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Getting a bit better. These maybe would have worked fine. I should have stopped here.

I thought it needed to be a bit funkier and I added a texture to it by scanning some canvas texture into photoshop and adding it on top of the image. Now I thought it looked cool, aged the image and made it a bit more like a badge.
Copyright © 2010, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Boos and hisses from the crowd.
Well I tried. Lesson learned. I agree with the criticism now, so in the future I will not be doing this. I will have to come up with a new way to get the effect. The above does look too much like a modern screen print. Kind of reminds me of a prize you might get in a cereal box- "Kool Harnic Mercenary Badges for your Mom to iron on your Denim Jacket!".  It would have been more successful to do shield designs or some clumsy paint job to give them an authentic look.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Bloggin' Goodness

I have decided to set up a new blog, completely devoted to my illustration work. You might ask why I would set up another blog? Verisimilitude is so great and all consuming, why create another blog?
I have two reasons, first I think the illustration work deserves its own blog, through which I can more fully explore its every nook and cranny. Second, it gave me a chance to create a blog address using my name, and thus make an address with the word "kill" in the middle.  So my name ends in and is part of the word "kill". That's cool isn't it? Of course I would never harm anyone-else.  Unless I had to- but still it is pretty cool.

So, introducing the new Luschek Illustration blog. Mostly made up of stuff that is not observed from nature, but is hopefully developed and executed in a truthful way that makes it both believable and fascinating.

Please read, make comments, post requests and questions. I will be posting process sketches, ideas and finished illustrations. I am sure there will be many directions, ways to reach, many ways to travel, many ways too look.
Not unlike the following creature with multiple arms, legs and arms (or tentacles) as owned by the following creature I drew for Dark Skull Studios.  Hope you enjoy the blog.
 Sheushan-naoth, © Richard Luschek and Dark Skull Studios, 2011