Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Classic Harn- More Calories- Same Great Taste

Thought I would post a Harn Classic update I was pretty happy with.
The December Hârn Classics I had to update were as followed:
Using the art from the old, out of print articles, each of which was a black and white image by Eric Hotz,  I was trusted to update and color all the art. Some needed parts added or adjusted to fit the new layout, but mostly I am just coloring them in. I occasionally add my own twist- like adding a flag with the castle heraldry and a few birds as was done for Nurisel.
The Qualdris Castle was drawn from a high view point and I thought it would be nice to add a wispy bit of background to it. Using the map as reference, I did my best to make up what I thought would be a good looking background. Using some photographic reference and a few laid in textures, I was able to rough out the distant landscape. Some of the image had to be cropped out in the document, so I thought I would post the whole thing. I like early or late day scenes so I can get some contrast and interesting lighting.

Qualdris Castle, by Eric Hotz, Colored by Richard LuschekCopyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Below is the original illustration by Eric Hotz.
Qualdris Castle, by Eric Hotz, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Monday, December 3, 2012

Characters in Silhouette

A client for whom I  had recently drawn a few characters in his game saw the intro image I did for the Night People article.
The image was a silhouette with a colored back ground. He asked me to do a scene of the Knight, his squire and a pack animal  traveling through a cold and wintery scene late in the evening.

For these images I generally do a pencil sketch on drawing paper, draw the outline in pen and ink- filling in the big areas with a sharpie marker. I scan the work into photoshop. As is usually needed, I can select individual areas and move the shapes around to position them better in the space. The pen on paper can be a bit hairy so I clean it up digitally in photoshop going back and forth between digital brush and eraser. I have digital brushes that do a pretty good job of looking like pen and ink.
Sir Fulke and Squire, pen and ink and digital.
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek
I then create a layer under the line art and paint the color under it. All the color is done in photoshop. I drop in some textures and collected images to layer it up for a deeper look.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Melderyn- the Wizard's Isle

I just finished the art for the Columbia Games new release of the Melderyn Kingdom module. It should hit the presses very soon for  HarnQuest subscribers.
This one was tough for me. For some reason I had an easier time getting into the mind set of the Rethem Kingdom module- not sure what that says about me. For one thing, Rethem is anything but subtle. Melderyn is a bit more mysterious and subtle with influences from many sources on Ketheria and beyond. I did my best to sneak in those influences without it being to high fantasy and over the top.
I am having a great time adding more color to Harn releases. The following image from page 3 of Melderyn is one such example.
Bringer of Storms, pen and ink and digital.
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek
I did a very rough sketch in the space left to me just to test out the idea.
Melderyn page 3 layout sketch, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek
After refining the sketch, I then shoot some reference shots. I thought this character needed to be very handsome and powerful, so I posed for it myself. I did find the bald spot to be a bit upsetting. Thankfully, I don't get to see myself from that point of view very often.
I did not have a wind blown cliff overlooking the ocean on which to pose. Since Columbia Games was too cheap to fly me to Ireland for accurate reference shots, my wife's dressing room worked just fine.
The great actor and illustrator- Richard Luschek
 I am pretty excited with how the kingdom came out- probably my new favorite. Of course I say that almost every time don't I?  We even changed the settlement pages with a color heraldry symbol on each page. This was done in Kaldor using the full heraldry symbol- though it was in B&W. This idea was dropped in Rethem to make room for text. This time by using only the shield part of the coat of arms- and some artful layout design by Brent Bailey, we were able to fit the art, heraldry and keep all of the text.
Get yourself a HarnQuest subscription now!

Melderyn page 61 (Zuilos),
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Noron's Keep

The recent set of Harn Classics have just been released. Columbia Games has recently changed the model for these releases. The point of these Classics is to get old articles, some close to 30 years old, back in print. They are being re-edited with new maps. Now we have decided to add more color to Harn. The page one art work will either be a colorized version of art from the old article, or an updated image if we think it needs one.
I have wanted to draw Noron for a while.
Of course we needed to show the keep but feature Noron front and center- well, slightly off to the right.

Noron's Keep, pen and ink and digital. Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek
I had the map and the old illustration by Eric Hotz to work off from. I dropped the map into Google Sketchup and built a quick digital model. I was then able to swing around the model getting the placement I wanted. As you can see the drawing does not follow the model exactly, but it was a helpful aid in determining sight lines and basic perspective.
Rough Sketchup model

From the model I did a pen and ink drawing. Excessive ink likes can be too busy with the color, so a bit less inking saving some of the shading for the color to be added later. I scan the image, open it in photoshop, and then paint it digitally. I am not completely comfortable painting this way  but I am learning- and it is great fun.
The next stage is making sure what I see on the screen approximates what will come out of Columbia's printer. This may take a few publications to perfect that process.

Noron's Keep, pen and ink, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek
The other thing changing in Harn Products is a switch to a new Harnic Drop Cap (the decorative capital letter that starts off each article). Before we were using a pretty basic one that I thought was bit anachronistic. I thought it might be fun to go with a more medieval / Celtic feel, and when I could- use the Harnic Bestiary to make the initials.
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek

For Noron, the obvious choice was the Harnic beast, the Nolah. As I make my way through the alphabet, look for a whole set to be available. Let me know what you think and feel free to offer suggestion of Harnic creatures you would like to see for the Harnic Alphabet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chivalry and Kids

I just started my next painting for the Demolay International organization. This is the second of three paintings for this commission. I am working on the painting now but thought I would post the image of the charcoal drawing. The drawing is 36" x 24" and has been traced with wax paper and transferred to the canvas.
Protect and Serve, 36"x24", charcoal and chalk on toned paper, © copyright Demolay Int. and Richard Luschek 2012

Wax paper is laid over the drawing, the big shapes are traced with marker and then the back of the wax paper is rubbed with charcoal.
The wax paper is then placed over the canvas and the lines drawn over with a brush handle or dull pencil. The charcoal will mark the canvas like carbon paper.  I then inked the lines with thin paint and then lay in in a value study.
More to come soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Harnic Gypsies

I just finished the art for the article on Harnic Gypsies called the Night People. A great fanon project by Rob Barnes- with the help of many from the Harn Writers group. You can download the entire PDF by clicking here.

Night Parade, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek, and Rob Barnes.
The above image riffed off one I did for the CGI release of Rethem. Of course that one was before the details of the Night People were worked out, so I went a bit crazy with the wagon which had a mule pulling the wagon. I made some adjustments to the wagon, added a Vardyr and all the dancing revelers and musicians.  After I finished the Silhouette part, I added the late evening sky with a big moon. To do the stars I dipped a tooth brush in ink and splattered in on paper (if you want to try this technique I suggest you use an old tooth brush or just use your spouse's toothbrush). The splatters are scanned into photoshop, selected and inverted from black to white spots and then laid on top of the sky.

The above image was my 4th attempt. I had tried a few other options that I thought I would show. The first one is obviously painfully boring, and does not feature the figures enough. The others are kind of interesting, but I think the forth attempt was the obvious winner.
Night Parade- Boring attempt #1
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek, and Rob Barnes
Night Parade- Boring attempt #2
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek, and Rob Barnes
Night Parade- Pukey Sky  attempt #3
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc., Richard Luschek, and Rob Barnes

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Staying in the Lines.

Recently I was asked to update some art for the Harn classics- Old articles, some over 20 years old. We are getting them back in print with updated layout, maps and some new art.
One of the recent classic on a wilderness settlement called Kustan had a great image by Eric Hotz. His art was one of the things that first attracted me to Harn. The work by Hotz had a wonderfully gritty look, was realistic, not just in execution, but in believability. His warriors were not typical fantasy game fair, they looked like real people. The beasts had a quirky simplicity that felt more medieval than sci fi. When I started illustrating I did my best to emulate the work of Hotz and he is still a big influence on how I illustrate Harn.
Kustan, By Eric Hotz, 1984, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Eric Hotz

CGI is trying to update the Harn line with more color, so we thought it would be a great idea to use the old Hotz image, but it would need to be colored.
Using a high res scan of the image I opened it into photoshop and colored the image digitally. I am starting to get a handle on working digitally. Part of it has to do with settling on a few digital brushes that I like and doing my best to work in a similar fashion to how I work traditionally. I do enjoy working with layers, but most of my mistakes involved me not saving enough and in the proper fashion, or mismanaging my layers.I usually am painting pretty directly with as few layers as I can manage.

So here is my colored version. The lines in the sky were to much with the color, so I erased them and tried to replicate the design in color. Select areas of the line layer were erased if it hide too much of the color.
I did my best to keep it simple as the budget did not allow me a lot of time to work on this. Also after I was done we realized the image did not fit the new layout as well and had to be cropped at the top. It affected the design so I just selected the clouds and squashed them down a bit. I was pretty happy with the final image. Though unlike B&W one never knows for sure how it will look printed.
Hope the fans like the updated image. I also hope Hotz is happy with my work on his fine image.

Kustan, by Eric Hotz, Colored by Richard Luschek
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Now that I think of it, this type of tastefully done skull arrangement would look great at the end of our driveway. Would probably work great at keeping the solicitors away.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Harnic Gypsies, "Night People"

I am in the process of illustrating the next Harnic Kingdom release- Melderyn. It is all written and edited and just waiting for me to fill in the spaces with art. I hope to have it done by early October.
I also just started a fun fanon article on the Harnic Gypsies- know as the Night People.
I am about half way done with this 12 page article which has a lot of great information. I have had a great time illustrating these characters- borrowing from the gypsy research, but adding Harnic symbols and icons to make them unique.
I thought I would post a few just to wet your appetite. The article was written by Rob Barnes.

"Night People are known by many, understood by few, and widely hated or feared. They are wandering folk, traveling the countryside in family groups of up to several dozen people in black wagons festooned with brightly colored flags and painted images. They camp in fallow fields, trading with the villagers and hosting mad revels to the wild beat of their drums and the insane screeching of their violins until the lord’s men send them away.
The Night People are known for their strange powers. There is almost always a seer among them and they are great gamblers, dancers, and tellers of tales."
Asura, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Soren and Mircia, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Friday, August 31, 2012

Knight doing knight stuff

I was recently asked by a client to draw a knight in various knightly acts. Like standing around looking knightly, sitting on a horse in a knightly fashion and of course killing foul creatures like knights are required to do.

Fulke at Tournament, 8" x 4", pen and ink, © copyright Demolay Int. and Richard Luschek 2012

Fulke Mounted, 8" x 4", pen and ink, © copyright Demolay Int. and Richard Luschek 2012

Fulke Cleansing the Land, 8" x 4", pen and ink, © copyright Demolay Int. and Richard Luschek 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Demolay Away!

I finally finished the first painting in the series I am doing for Demolay International. It has been framed and shipped off. I delivered it to a convention in Louisville after which it was shipped on to Kansas City where it will hang in their headquarters.

Join the Fight, 36"x24", oil on linen, © copyright Demolay Int. and Richard Luschek 2012
I had the painting scanned and was not very happy with the results. I had a lot of work to do in photoshop to get the image to look like the painting. I like to paint on canvas with some texture and the lights of the scanner picked up all of those causing a lot of glare. I also increased contrast and adjusted the color that I thought would look good for the posters they should be printing up soon.

 It has come a long way from my initial sketch.
Pencil sketch with Digital paint over.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The End of the Expedition

Khalkhikus is a dragon mentioned in the most recent HarnQuest release. I tried to keep one of the fabled Harnic creatures named in the article in mind when I was illustrating each of the the beasts in this HQ.
For the page one image I wanted a dragon shown proud on high mountain ledge having just exited it's lair. An unfortunate party of  soon to cooked adventurers is easing along a narrow shelf to "ambush" the creature.
End of the Expedition, (pen and Ink, Oil and Digital) Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
 I started by just doing a pen and ink image.
End of the Expedition, pen and ink, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
I printed this image on heavy water color paper, seal it with a clear fixative and then did a quick paint over in broad shapes in oil paint.
End of the Expedition, oil on paper, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
It did not scan as well as I had hoped, but it got me started and gave a nice texture with which to play off of. I placed the scanned oil painting in photoshop under the scanned  ink image and set it to multiply- meaning the two images immediately above add up to equal the final image in the article. It did take some work to get the two images to line up. A few more layers were created under the ink and above the color layer. On these layers I painted digitally. These were also set to multiply so the texture of the scanned oil image would show through. The lines in the sky were distracting so those were erased. A few contrast adjustments, drawing refinements and the image was ready. The layers are flattened into one layer- the final image.

A brief word about the story, here. I chose this dragon which is rumored dwell somewhere among the southern Rayesha Mountains, in an abandoned salt mine near Rethem. I know the setting does not exactly scream salt mine, but really wanted the mountain top view. Is this is the entrance to a tunnel that eventually leads down to a salt mine? I would say that if you were running a salt mine and you tunneled into an opening that lead to a dragon lair....well, that would explain why it was abandoned. Is this lair located just above the salt mine? What a great thing for your players to find out.
The articles says "Both the Red Shadows of Herpa, an Agrikan fighting order, and the commander of the Imrium Cohort have offered a reward to any who can bring them proof of the dragon’s demise."

The group of men about to die, have obviously found the answer to that question. It's still alive.
The knight leading this quest has called a halt to the if that will help. You can almost imagine hims saying,"Shhhhh." He is leading a few members of  the mercenary group, the Warriors of the Bloody Mace. Among them a Kuboran warrior is shown, spear ready. He was probably captured by the Agrikans and forced into service for this disastrous expedition.
I wanted the dragon to have the appearance that one could almost wonder if the dragon even sees the expedition below on the side of the mountain, but I will let you in on a secret- It totally sees them.  

Please let me know what you think of the updated article. Feel free to offer comments or let me know if you have any questions about this image.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Meredragons- A New Look for the Ilme

Ilme nest, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I am going to do a few posts about the newest HarnQuest release. The latest publication has some cool new articles with greatly expanded text and art for some old friends- though "friends" maybe an odd choice of words for a set of articles that will most likely get your player characters bitten, set on fire, or hit upside the head with a mace- that may also itself be on fire.

This HarnQuest has some expanded articles on two Agrikan Orders,  Dragons, and Ilme- the Meredragon, a creature unique to Harn. These articles are an attempt to give new life to creatures with ideas for your game offering many adventure possibilities.
Also on this HarnQuest, CGI decided to start adding color to the first page of all new articles. This decision came after much of the work was done. So while I was excited about the decision, I had not planned for it and had to rework stuff that I had considered finished.

When I started with Harn one of the things that stood out for me was the look of the product. Of course there were the great maps, but the art of Eric Hotz was what really attracted my attention. It had a simple and gritty realism. When I started illustrating for Harn in 2001 I did my best to continue that trend. I learned a lot trying to emulate the standard set by Hotz. I think I have since developed my own style, but it has definitely been influence by the work of Hotz.  So, for the page one art for Ilme I thought I would pay homage to the original Hotz image- 28 years later. In preparation of this article I had been studying and drawing dinosaurs in an attempt to create a more realistic beast by improving on the anatomy and setting.

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc.
So as you can see in the above image, my image has a very familiar layout with some direct references to the original Hotz image. Hotz did a great job making his work very simple with clear reading subjects.
Honestly, my image could have used a bit more of that, so when I got the opportunity to color the image, that was the main goals, to make the subject read more strongly in this complicated image. I took the scanned pen and ink image into photoshop, colored some of the lines so they were not so black, and then painted color on the layer under the line work. I flattened the image and then painted highlights on top of that.
I would be curious to know what you think of the image, and my nod to the original from 1984.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

More Agrik Stuff

It has been a busy month for me.
I just finished the next HarnQuest for Columbia Games. It has been a long time coming. This set of articles includes Dragons, Lesser Dragons, Mere Dragons (Ilme), and two hot Agrikan Orders.
I posted about the start of this HQ in February. I can't believe it has been that long.

In the mean time I also worked on CGI's fancy new website which was unveiled on Free RPG Day. While I had nothing to do with the building of the site, I helped with the look and did all of the icons for the main page. I wanted the site to look much like a medieval manuscript. I am very proud of the art for adding things to your cart, and checkout. You see? it is a medieval cart. Clever huh?

There were a few hiccups along the way for this release, but the exciting thing that held this up is CGI's decision that all new articles for Harn will have at least one color image. Though Dragons is lucky enough to contain 3 color images. I will discuss the dragon art in an upcoming post.

First is the color version of the image I posted about in the February post, now in full color- well at least some red, yellow and orange. Harn has for years been know for it's gritty pen and ink illustrations. Those will still be in most of the publications, but the page one color images will add more life to Harn. I tried a few different methods to color the pen and ink illustrations. I used oil paint, digital painting and a bit of water color. For this particular image I used a few methods. The first was to do a very rough water color wash on a new sheet of paper. I did a fast and loose painting which I scanned and laid it under the pen and ink image in photoshop. I then did the rest of the painting digitally.

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
"Hârn is home to many clerical orders devoted to Agrik, the dark god of war and violence, but none is more mystical than the Order of Herpa the Mace, whose priests are known for their ability to foresee the future with remarkable clarity."
The above is a description of the article had lots of fodder for illustrating- and most of that fodder I threw in a big pile and set on fire.

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
The above image shows a priestess divining using a deck of cards. I am lucky to have a writing team that trusts me and leaves me pretty free to draw what I want. I get some suggests in the empty spots where the art goes, often they are fairly vague or just suggestions. So, in sense I get to tell my own stories- riffing off the text that I am given. I try to use the space to "say 1000 words". For the Agrikan fortune telling image I got to make up the look of the cards, the lay of the cards and even added a scroll that shows various spreads for different situations. The spread on the table is the 'Mace'. You can see on the scroll two other spreads, the 'Octagon' and the 'Comet' card arrangement. None of these details are mentioned in the text, but I think they add to the story. It would be exciting to see some fanon written about the Agrikan Tarot cards.

I am looking forward to hearing what the Harn fans think of this Harn Quest. I am pretty excited about the results. 

If you are not a HarnQuest subscriber, What you are waiting for?!!-
Click here Now!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dragon in Charcoal

I am finishing up the first painting of my commissioned series for the Demolay International. The design firm that ordered the project also wants the charcoal study I did for the painting. The charcoal study was pretty beat up from being around the studio-  an easel fell on it and I accidentally dragged a cloth across the front of it. So, I spent a bit of time cleaning up the drawing and then decided to just pop the light effect and fix some of the things that I had moved in cursory fashion while testing changes that I would make on the painting. I also decided to strengthen and correct the design on the shield, since I knew that would be an important part of the image.
I have to ship the image, and it is a big drawing- 24" x 36". I ordered a very nice frame with a warm, dark grey matte. The issue was the glass. The client asked for conservation glass, which is at least 3 times the cost of normal glass. So, the glass alone was going to be almost $120.
I was not comfortable shipping that huge piece of glass to Boston. Both the frame shop and I decided it would be best to frame it with plexi-glass. Now the issue with plexi is that it can produce a lot of static and suck charcoal particles off the drawing. Despite my better judgement, I used spray fixative on the drawing. Fixative protects and adheres the charcoal but it also kills the contrast a bit, making the darks a lighter, more silvery grey.
I am hoping the client will replace the plexi with conservation glass when they receive the drawing. This is the stuff you never really plan on or think about when taking a commission.

Join the Fight, 36"x24", charcoal and chalk on toned paper, © copyright Demolay Int. and Richard Luschek 2011
I will post the final image of the painting soon. I need to get a high res scan of the image so it can be reproduced as a full size poster.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Harn Fan Commissions

I tend to get a lot of work from RPG fans. For a while I did more fan work than company illustration. It honestly was a great way to learn on the job and build a portfolio. I tend to do more work for companies these days, but I still do my fair share of fan work.

Often fan work is much more specific than the stuff I do for companies. You may think that it would be the other way around, that the companies would be more demanding. Generally I get the text of the article or book and just have to successfully fill in the blanks.
As a fan develops game, they are creating a story or world for the players from the published material. So often the person ordering has a very set idea for the look of the work.
Sometimes I am asked to illustrate a character using the photos of them or their fellow gamers- which can offer a challenge, especially when I am asked to draw the character to look the like the player, who may be 100 lbs heavier, 10 years older and not quite as handsome as the desired image of a dashing young knight. I am usually sweating the response to my first sketch. So far I have not offended anyone that I know of.
More often then not, I am asked to portray the character to look like a particular actor or historical figure. This is nice, since often I can find multiple references in varied light and poses. When I do use famous people as a model, I try to just get the general look and try to not have the character be too recognizable. For one thing I don't like it when the character looks like some actor. I also don't want to be sued.

I thought it would be interesting to show the type of info I get from a client. The below email is a good example of a typical request. I have gotten orders which are as simple as one sentence- "I need a Norman style knight with a sword and round shield." I have also gotten a 3 page description for one character.
Here is the email I got from the client:
"I think he should be holding the helm in one arm (use the helm style you did for Tourney p. 7), and his shield - a knight shield, not, definitely, not a kite shield, should be resting on a wall/furnishing behind him. His arms should be depicted on both the shield and the surcoat. The latter should be full, as in the Minarsas illo, not a little shield on his chest. He should have a bastard sword and dagger in scabbards, and some indication that he is wealthy. He should have a mail hauberk and leggings, but his head and face should be bare. In my campaign, I plan on using him as the Melderyni ambassador to Kaldor to give you some context.

I attached the coat of arms, a cut from Minarsas Hall illustrating the surcoat style I would like, and the Morgan of Darring illo. This guy is a bastard son of Morgan, and as I said below, shouldn't be quite as handsome. Beyond that I have no preconceptions on how he might look. Maybe this attached actor might work. The character's name is Sir Arren Lydel. Please let me know if you have any questions or issues."
 Now, I took a few liberties and put in outside a tent. I hung the shield in full view as asked.
Basically, looking at the illustrations I had done previously that related to this image, all the reference material I was sent, it was up to me gather all that into an image that included all that info.
Here is the resulting illustration. I was pretty happy with the design- and the client was thrilled, which is what it is all about in the end.
Sir Arren Lydel, Copyright © 2012, J. Matthew Roegner and Richard Luschek
If you are wanting a similar image for your game, feel free to contact me for prices.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I have just finished a bunch of images for the new CGI Block Game. I drew 15 new blocks for the games pieces that will be reproduced at 3/4" square. I drew them at 4", inked them by hand and then colored them very quickly and simply in photoshop.
I am no expert on the WWII machinery, so I had to stay pretty faithful to old images or museum replicas I found. I tried to create simple images that could be easily read on the small blocks.
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek
Price: $50.00
Release Date: 2012-05-15
K.I.S.S. Preorder (signed edition)
DESIGNERS: Leonard Coufal and Tom Dalgliesh.
K.I.S.S is a fast-paced World War II squad level game, employing our wooden blocks. The game system features innovative and interactive rules for Fire Combat, Close Combat, Morale, and Leaders. The game is sophisticated, yet very playable.
You command a German or American infantry company, composed of three infantry platoons and a heavy weapons platoon. Expansion sets will include British, Soviet, Italian, and Japanese companies.
Unit types include:
  • Leaders
  • Rifle Squads
  • MachineGuns
  • Mortars
  • Anti-Tank
  • Tank
Here is how the images will look on the final block layout. Both of the following images have been reworked for the final game.

The United States wins the war in the end.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Heading East

Thought I would post some new work I just completed for the new Columbia Games block game Ancient Kings that will be shipped at the end of the month (March 25th).
As most of my illustration work is black and white ink drawings, this is a bit different for me, but I really enjoyed the process. As a great admirer of Japanese prints with their wonderful design and subtle color relationships, I thought it would be nice to incorporate some of what I like from those prints into these images. The final images are to be printed as 3/4" square sticker which will be placed on wood block game pieces. That is pretty small. So they have to be strong silhouettes which are easy to read in game play. I drew them out at 2"x2".  I decided to ink them by hand, scan them into the computer and color them in in Photoshop. I used a few texture overlays and gradient fills to get that Japanese woodcut feel.
Please ignore that I misspelled Cavalry as Calvary. There is not going to be a crucifixion game piece.
I had draw the Monk with a hat I liked better, but I was asked to draw it a bit more historically accurate as shown above. Here is a look at my first attempt.

In hindsight I wish the group of images were more consistent in style. While I feel they work pretty well, I wish a few were a bit more stylized. I also probably got a bit carried away with the detail, but I had great fun doing these- I could not help myself.
The most difficult one to do was the ship. It was hard to find good references for a Samurai ship. I wanted big sails so I could design the image with a light in front of the dark sky, and the darker ship over lighter water. I found a lot of non-military Junk type ships and a lot of warships without sails. It is a combination of a few references. In the end it is one of my favorites of the group.
Let me know what you think of the group of Samurai. If you do not comment, I will be forced to commit ritual Seppuku.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flaming Octagon

I recently posted a small peak of an illustration I did for a new article about the Agrikan order, Herpa the Mace.
There was some fun discussion about this on Facebook and most got it right away. 

Harn fan Charlie suggested, "He's flipping someone The Mace?" An amusing idea. David L. pretty much got it with "The first half of the symbol identifies the signer as Agrikian (fingers pointing up representing fire) and secondly the order to which they belong the Octagonal Pit (finger and thumb forming an approximation of a Octagon)." David S. followed up with "As for a name, how about "Eye of Manrasusha"???
Since the Octoganal pit is the source of the "Primal" Flame, it would be from the Elder God that it flowed."

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Some cool stuff. Pretty much what I was thinking. Here is the full image, though it is not the final version. The one in the article is pushed more and I worked to make the demon-faced fire look less cartoony. It shows a priest in a ritual of summoning.

For those interested, the next HarnQuest is probably a few months off. I still have a few articles to illustrate for this, but there are some exciting things in the pipeline, including a much expanded new article on the Ilme with all new art.
I will include this one from the Tontury article available now on CGIs website. This scene shows a failed attack on a  Ilme.

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some New stuff

I am still pretty busy working on the large painting for Demolay International. I will post an updated image shortly when I get a better shot of the painting. I am very close to getting the first one done, though it feels like I could easily spend another year on this if I had the time- which I don't.
I have a few articles for Harn done that are waiting to be released- honestly they are waiting for me to finish the art. As I said, I have been busy. One such article is Herpa the Mace, the Agrikan religious order. I decided a few cool visuals for this article, and while I don't want to give away too much and let it be a surprise I have been thinking a lot about the symbolism and ritual associated with religion- real or fantasy.
I have been trying to sneak in hand symbols- sort of that secret handshake kind of thing. For me it is a fun way to do some writing, expanding the universe of Harn, but with the pictures and the stories associated with them. Hopefully too, the are vague enough for individual interpretation.
Below is a cropped portion of an illustration from Herpa the Mace article- you didn't think I was going to show you the entire image did you? It shows one such hand position. Comment below to let me know what you think and if you have some idea of what this symbols is.
Copyright © 2011, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Illustration Crush

An article I started illustrating for someone 5 years ago has finally been released. You can download Anyana’s Vale for free on article is a fan article set in the Harn world.
It was a fun project to work on as I got to be involved in the design process. Sometime when reading the articles, I suggest changes to the writing- usually so I can draw something cool. I was given maps of a mystical tree house. Often when  trying to realize the plans, a problem appears that either does not not quite work in 3D or could be improved upon. Below is my rough sketch to work out some of the ideas. I did  a draw-over  in photoshop.

Next I did a rough side-view of the tree to figure out the shape, layout and various heights of the floors. As some sinks had been indicated in the maps, I thought it would be fun to have them work via a cistern inside the trunk that filled throuch a collection system when it rained. The piping is magically grown into the trunk of the tree, as are the chimneys for the small stoves.
After some back and forth between me, the mapper and the writer, we got a design everyone was happy with, I drew the fancy tree house.
Anyana’s Living Tree home, © copyright John Daniel and Richard Luschek 2012
I totally want one of these in my yard.
Of course a tree like this needs a beautiful resident. The elven lady was the first illustration I did. It was drawn 5 years ago. When John ordered the illustration, neither he nor I thought it would evolve into this article. Here she is, and I will admit, it is one of the first drawing I think I have a bit of a crush on. Don't tell my wife.
Anyana, © copyright John Daniel and Richard Luschek 2012