Thursday, July 2, 2015

Intimidation Tactic

So I realized that my L5R card was released and I can finally show it!  This is my first card and first time working on L5R, I can say I had a blast working on it and I think it is safe to say that you can be on the look out for many more cards from me in the future.

I though to commemorate my first card on the set I would share my process on how I worked on the painting (yes I actually remembered process shots yay!)

Okay first off here is the brief I got for my assignment

A very big young Crab Clan samurai stands intimidatingly with a huge ax chest puffed out as he stands in front of his much older shorter smaller thinner but wise old Crab general who’s sent him ahead of him on the castle bridge. 

Okay so now that I have my prompt I started coming up with an image in my head of what is happening in the scene.  Usually I will try to do a couple different ideas and send in about 3 sketches for each assignment but because the prompt was so straight forward (there are only so many ways you can depict that particular scene) I just went ahead with the one sketch.  When I do my sketches I make sure the document I am working on is the size requested for the card, nothing looks more unprofessional then submitting work that does not fit the dimensions requested.  After I got the figures and composition placed I added some color so my Art Director will have an idea of what I am looking to do for the final, also it gives me a great reference point to work from as I work on the final, to make sure I do not change things too much from the approved sketch.

I am always super nervous that the Art Director will not understand/see what I am trying to do I also write in a description of what I am doing/planning on doing in the painting 

the main figure arrogantly standing in front holding his axe over his shoulder, ready to kick some ass with the general behind watching.  Everything is mostly in shadow with just the light hitting the figures down to their torso.  they are on the bridge and you can see the bridge span overhead.  there is smoke in the background (laying siege to a castle maybe?) and smoke and embers from a fire flying around in the foreground.  I am going to keep the armor of the young samurai plain and simple as opposed to richly designed and embroidered armor of the general.

After getting a little bit of feedback from my art director, he asked for me to place the helmet of the foreground figure in his left arm it is time to start the final.

I did some research on Samurai armor and right on top of my sketch I drew out the design of the armor.  I also shot some reference of me arrogantly holding a broom (I was very intimidating looking) and pulling out a sword for the general so I had good reference for the hands and a basis to work on for the faces.  Here you can also see I began to lay in the base colors on the two figures.

I spent most of my time here working on the foreground figure, at this point I am working on a layer on top of the drawing painting in the armor.  I was also tweaking the colors of the image, I was really looking for a warm light/cool shadow so I lowered the temperature of the shadows to a more purplish blue as opposed to a warmer looking teal color from the sketch.

Here I am finishing off the armor on the foreground figure and beginning to work more on the background general, I changed the shape of the axe, I wasnt liking how it was looking so I changed the design to a more traditional looking axe.
Here I am starting to render the General and I also finished painting the axe

Here I started working on the background, I wanted you to see there was an army back there but I also wanted them obscured by the smoke/fog so your eye stayed focused on the main figures.  Blending between the organic shapes of the smoke and the figures was more challenging than I thought.  Also this is where I realized the large bridge spans from the sketch were not going to work so I changed it to a more simple wooden stakes and rope.  I made some final adjustments on the main figure, I fixed the swords (I had the curve backwards) and I also finally gave up on the tassels on the breastplate...I felt they looked too much like, lets be honest....nipples.  Not the look I was going for so they had to go

Remember I said I was having trouble with the figures in the background?  I decided I did not like what I was doing so I erased them out and started over.  I also did another color adjust to get the colors more where I wanted them.

Here I added the army in the background and did some final color tweaks (have you guessed that I love color adjustments yet?) and sent this off to my AD

 I got an e-mail back from him asking me to tweak the colors on the figures, their overall color was not looking like the color associated with that particular clan/army, I did a few adjustments and sent this off.

If you made it to the end of this congratulations, you have an attention span!  I hope this was in some way interesting/helpful and I will see about doing more of these in the future.