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.