Monday, June 20, 2011


I am about to start work on a rewritten and reworked article on a Harnic meredragons. I have never been thrilled with any of the past pictorial representations of these creatures.
The article has been much improved and expanded upon, so I am trying to do the same for the illustrations.
These creatures are most easily described as intelligent talking dinosaurs, so I thought I should at least learn how to draw the real world exstint creatures. Using a some books I started studying and sketching dinosaurs.
Here are some of the more successful ones:
Then I tried my hand at the creature called Ilme trying to follow the old illos and descriptions, but making improvements. I am still not done, but getting close. Let me know if you have any comments- especially you Harn Fans.

Copyright © 2011, Columbia Games, Inc., N. Robin Crossby (1954-2008) and Richard Luschek

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Artist at Work

I have been working very long hours lately trying to compose three imaginative paintings for a commission. I will discuss the details of this later and post some process shots. I do a lot of illustrations, but these will be fully rendered oil painting 3 foot by 2 foot. It is a very different and complicated process for me. I need to work out everything for the over all design now. I think at least two of them are coming along nicely. The color studies are due tomorrow, so I will have another late night.

 Just a typical day drawing on the computer.
Unfortunately my illustration studio is in the basement. I am near some nice windows and we have it set up so it is quite comfortable (I say "we", but I mean Laura my wife.) Still, it is gorgeous outside and the light in my studio must be amazing today. Once these go to canvas I will be able to leave the dungeon, but now I am at the computer.
Here are some action shots of me at work.
I am using a Wacom Tablet, that allows me to draw on the computer. I do pencil sketches, scan them into Photoshop and then rendering them in full value. As you can see in the photo, I picked a basic color scheme for the picture and have thrown a red filter over it. I will be adding more color today, but it will mostly be a red picture.

It has been a fun process, but my hand is really getting fatigued. I have been wearing one of those carpel tunnel wrist braces at night. Seems to be helping.

For some strange reason my neck is getting sore.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Making Props

I am working on a job where I have to do three paintings of knights. Each painting will be 3' x 2'. They have asked for paintings in the style of 19th century romantic paintings. That is a tall order. I will talk about this and show process shots on this later.
So to get everything right; the poses, lighting and color, I will have to hire models and set up the scenes to paint from. I ordered costumes from a site online but I needed some shields.
I decided to make some of my own. I needed a few different styles from the later period of the knights Templar. With a limited budget I figured by making my own and would save at least $350. Plus I could customize them to my own liking. It also leaves open the possibility of mass producing a bunch of shields for assembling my own personal army- always a dream of mine.

I found a site online that had some great advice for crafting your own curved shields. Following the instruction on the site, I built my own shield press to make the curved shields I needed.

Above is the shield press. Two quarter inch sheets of plywood, each 2' x 4' can be glued back to back and clamped smoothy around this curve. I drew the designs of the shields on the top sheet. They were put in the press and clamped to the curve using ratchet straps. I will not go into detail here. As I said there is a great site to visit if you are interested. Check out Ye Olde Gaffers site if you want to read on the subject further.

Here is the plywood unclamped after a full day allowing the glue to dry. The two 1/4 sheets are now one 1/2 curved shape. I use a jig saw to cut the shape out.
The shield blank is sanded smooth the edges cleaned up with a belt sander. Next I glued a heavy fabric on the front, around the edges and to the back. This will add strength, smooth it out, and take paint better than the plywood.
I then got some old leather belts at the thrift store for straps on the back. The shields typically had a pad on the back to protect the arm. I used an old heavy blanket to make the pad and covered it with suede cut from one of Laura's old skirts. I tacked that on the back, drilled holes for the handled and bolted them on. They were typically riveted, but this was way easier.
Here are the finished shields painted and waiting for the crest to be added.
This is a the front of both shields. The one on the left is called a heater shield the one on the right a kite shield or cavalry shield.
The back showing the handles and arm pad. I will probably grind the bolts down a bit to make them look more like rivets. I still need to add a should strap which will just bolt on the top two bolts of each shield.

It may seem like over kill, but it was not too hard to do. Plus I love this kind of procrastinating project. 
Now I suppose I should paint the pictures.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Updating a drawing.

I was recently asked for a small illustration to advertise someone's Harn game session at a convention- Des-Con 2011. It would go in the convention catalog. They are running the adventure 100 Bushels of Rye.
I did not to any of the illustrations for that adventure, those were all done wonderfully by Eric Hotz.

I did to an illustration of one of the characters in the adventure- Sheriff Maldan Harabor. I thought of sending the image I did for the Olokand article, but decided to just do an updated version of it. I really like this illustration, but it was a bit clunky. It was a done almost 10 years ago and I thought it needed an update. I often cringe at some of my early illustration work and hope I keep improving so I can cringe at the stuff I am doing now- but it is a problem if there is an opportunity to reuse art. I often end up reworking it.
Copyright © 2010, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek  
I thought I would just touch up the face of Maldan showing him without the hat on, a more relaxed I am going to take over the throne kind of look.
So here was my first image reworked in photoshop. I was able to sculpt his head out a bit more and give it more form.
Copyright © 2010, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Here he is without the hat and without hair. I got a few complaints from some of the Harn writers that his dad is not bald so he should not be. I don't think genetics works that way, but I thought about it and threw on a full head of hair. It was also suggested he looked too much like a Klingon.
Copyright © 2010, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Feel free to save these images to use in your game if you like. Let me know which one you like better- I still prefer the bald one.