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.