Friday, July 12, 2019

Freaking Magic- Melderyn Cover

It has been a while since my last blog. I've been doing some work that I feel like talking about, so you may see a few more of these pop up.

Please be nice, as I need to get my writing chops back.
I wanna talk about the recent cover I just finished for the Kingdom of Melderyn.

Bringer of Storms on the shores of Melderyn
pen and ink, digital, Copyright © 2019, Richard Luschek and Columbia Games, Inc.
Years ago, Tom Dalgliesh at Columbia Games asked for new covers for all the Hârn Kingdom Modules. This was a big job and the idea kinda frightened me. I worried I was not good enough to pull this off. I procrastinated. A few HârnQuests came up that were new or updated kingdoms and they needed covers: OrbaalIvinia, Rogna and most recently Lokis. When forced into a corner, one at a time, I felt they were pretty successful. So, after this request from three years ago, I'm off an running on the rest.
The original kingdoms in the 80's all had cover images, mostly painted by Eric Hotz, but as Hârn moved to the binder model with constant expansion to the product, the images did not quite fit and a simple monochrome cover was used.

Almost makes you yawn doesn't it? Are you yawning?
My original plan was to use the inside, page one image on the cover. This idea worked with Kanday- after a lot of tweaking.
This time for Melderyn, I did a mock up with that image just to get a rough idea. You can see where it was a long panel and I had a lot to add to the top and bottom.
Melderyn cover rough layout
I decided there was a lot I didn't like about this image for the cover. The pose was boring, the hands were not great, the color is iffy, and the image does not pop. It needed more punch.
I like the idea, not the execution. The idea is based on the destruction of the Viking fleet at Cape Renda that is in the Hârnic histories. Though it could also be a new, similar event. The details of the story can be left up to the Game Master.

So, I was back to the drawing board. I did a rough sketch and then asked my neighbor to pose as the sorcerer. He came over, we got him dressed up in the approximate garb and I had him strike a bunch of poses. He really got into it and did a great job.

sketch and pose reference
I did a more detailed drawing and then inked over the pencils lines with Pigma Micron pens. I mostly used the small ones (005 and 01) as I like the fine lines and building up a tone slowly.
Bringer of Storms on the shores of Melderyn
pen and ink, Copyright © 2019, Richard Luschek and Columbia Games, Inc.
I knew I wanted lightning being summoned or at least the illusion of that. I got the idea that the lightning would be in a similar position as the magic user's right hand. Like he was directing the lightning, composing the storm. I played around in the mirror, moving my hand into a pose I thought looked lightningy.
I even played around with different colored lightning. Below you can see I started out drawing the blue lightning over his arm, following all the joints of the skeleton, enlarged it and moved it into position. I have labeled things to make it clear.
Lightning Arm
The white lightning looked better- a bit more subtle and the giant arm of lightning felt a bit too on-the-nose. A bit harsh honestly. I tried a few other things on this piece, like having the lead boat be on fire. Sometimes restraint works well too.
I did have fun on the standing stones- making up some magical type designs, including the Shek Pvar wheel at the top, and some map that could be a strange solar system or list of portals.

All the Hârn Kingdoms will have a similar treatment. Kanday is done, Rethem is started and I am finishing up a "redo" of the original Hotz painting from the 1984 Kaldor cover.
All should be done and available by Gen Con.

As to how these will be made available to customers with the old kingdoms, I do not know.  You will be able to get them somehow.
This image will probably appear on some products in my new swag shop at Redbubble. Visit now to purchase all your Luschek Swag.

Post your thoughts below or on the many social media site this will show up on.

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! Your work for Harn has been excellent over the years.