Friday, August 19, 2011

Crazy Reference

To be an illustrator I think it helps if you are a bit of a ham. I can confidently say I fit that description.
Often I have an idea in my head for an illustration that I can and will sketch out but it helps to have some points of reference. I had an few ideas for an illustration I was asked to do for the RPG (role playing game) called Burning Wheel. The illustration in question asked for a cool action shot. So, I had to get my actor/ action hero face on- meaning I ham it up while Laura takes some pictures.
I don't remember the exact description, but I think it was about special light chain mail which allowed for speedy movement. I actually got an idea for the pose from a Bouguereau painting.
Here is the image I came up with.
Copyright © 2011, Burning Wheel and Richard Luschek
I did a sketch for the basic idea and used that to make sure I was able to get all the needed photos. I got dressed up in a chain mail shaped smock I have and had my lovely photographer take a bunch of pictures. I had to lean up against a wall for part of it to get this to work. The following is made up of at least two separate photos. Then used photoshop to cut the parts apart and tilt and manipulate them into a close approximation. You can see the break at the waist. Here is that paper doll like assemblage.

I think the black socks are  nice touch. It is also funny to note that I am holding an arrow for some reason. This was before I got a cool sword to use for reference. I think you can see I did not copy it exactly, but it did help me tremendously to figure out a spacing gesture. It is also a wonderful way to understand the light and shadow on complicated forms. For a painting I would want more reference from nature, but as these are small pen and ink drawings the info in the photo is enough.
Here is another one for Burning wheel.
Last year I also drew a female magician with her imp helper. My wife posed for the lady and I posed for the imp.

Copyright © 2011, Burning Wheel and Richard Luschek
I was asked to revisit this Magician and her cute little imp for their recent Burning Wheel Gold book. I doing the first image and was looking forward to doing them again. This time she is casting a spell as the imp cowers behind.
Here was the description I got from Luke Crane the creator of the game.
"Full Figure. 5" high final size.
Using the same template for the sorceress you did for us in the last book  (because that is one of my favorite BW illustrations ever) Let's have her holding staff and sword -- all Gandalf-like -- while casting a spell. Bonus points for including her homunculus again!"
Copyright © 2011, Burning Wheel and Richard Luschek

Of course I made such a good imp, I got my actor face on and posed again.

Copyright © 1969, My Mother and Father
Sorry if this is too sexy for some of you. Yes, I got in the shower and went shirtless for this one. It was particularly challenging to turn the handsome devil you see in the photo above into a creepy imp. I was partially successful, the imp is still pretty cute.