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.