Monday, February 25, 2013

Court of Stars: The Carrion King

The Febuary issue of Dragon magazine is out and I am happy to share with you my contribution to this issue. Dragon #420 features the article, Court of Stars: The Carrion King, and as you may have guessed, the Carrion King is a monster! I was tasked with designing and illustrate the lord of the myconids, the Carrion King, and this is how it turned out...

The Carrion King
© 2013 Wizards of the Coast

When I received this assignment to design a giant mushroom monster I knew it was going to be a fun one. I have always been a fan of the myconids and try to work them into my D&D campaigns whenever possible. So it was a real thrill to be tasked with designing the lord of all myconids! The fact that it is a giant multi-bodied slightly insane lord of all myconids made it that much better! Oh, and there is a gnome there to... silly gnomes. As always, I would like to thank Kate Irwin for involving me on this project and for her art direction!

In the coming weeks I will have for you a full break down of this assignment and share my designs, sketches, and process steps for this piece. 

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:


  1. Great work Christopher, great piece.

  2. Great lighting. There's something very unnerving about asking directions from a gigantic, cyclopean, insane fungi lord.

    1. Thanks! Silly gnomes and their silly giant insane fey monster friends. Remember, Carrion King has its eye on you...

  3. I love the way your colors look in your paintings. I saw the step by step images from your blog a few weeks ago, any chance you might explain how your coloring process works, in more detail (I like developing an idea in b/w first, but I am always perplexed at how many artists move from there to adding color). This is usually the step artists explain the least about (articles I've read, imagineFx etc.)

    1. I posted in more detail regarding my newer painting process here:

      This was the first piece in which I employed this method of building up the painting. Please keep in mind that there are usually several ways to do everything and the better you understand why things work the better control you will have over them.

      When I first tried working in color digitally I worked on figuring out how to colorize grey scale renderings. Worked with that a lot and eventually became dissatisfied with the look and quality I was able to achieve working this way. I began to teach myself how to simply lay down color and value and work up my pieces in color. You can still see examples of this painting method even today since I didn't change to my most current techniques until last June.

      When I was shown a version of my current technique I was able to see what will work for me and what will not and modified parts of the process and added it to my current work flow. MOST of what I originally did as part of my painting process is still intact, what changed is the early quick under painting steps and the reason they changed was to allow me better control over hue, value and saturation. I would NOT be able to get as much out of this new process if I did not have the experience of working the way I previously had. If I didn't have all the knowledge I have obtained over the last several years.

      What I am trying to say is... I can show you exactly what I did, but it does not mean it work exactly the same for you or result in the same finished product. I am finding that as diverse as traditional media can be I find digital is just as diverse. You will need to take what I do and figure out how or even if it will work for you. A lot of this is figuring it out and seeing what works for you and your style. The way I have painted has changed A LOT over the years and if anything it has streamlined and simplified.

      Have a look at the link I provided and if you have additional questions, please let me know and I will do my best to answer them. I am just always hesitant to give exact numbers and levels because folks think they can just copy them and miraculously they will paint better. I have been there and tried it earlier in my career :P I also stopped posting about my brushes for the very same reasons.

      Again, have a look and let me know if I can answer any questions!