Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Emberhorn Minotaur - Princes of the Apocalypse Process

I have another VERY overdue process post for you. Today I am sharing the process and steps that went into the Emberhorn Minotaur piece that I did for the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragon's release of Princes of the Apocalypse. I first shared this piece with you back in April of 2015 which means I painted it in 2014... so, yeah, this is a little overdue. So many other things going on. Anyway, here is how the final piece turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur
Dungeons & Dragons - Princes of the Apocalypse
12 x 9 - Acrylic, pencil, and gouache on board 

Because this was one of my first traditional paintings for a client it was a rather stressful piece to work on. I talked about this a bit when I shared the process of the campaign piece to this one, Scrag Attack. The Scrag piece had a bit more going for it while I worked on it that this one lacked. In the end this piece was a LOT harder to get across the finish line. The lighting, the figure, and all the items in the scene that I needed to include were just a few of the things I struggled with. Not to mention the composition ended up being a little different then I had planned.

As with each and every other piece I create there were thumbnails. I shot photo reference of me as the Minotaur and as the warrior. I wanted to do a piece that was up close to the action right before the Minotaur, who is breathing fire, slams its axe against the warrior's shield. Here are how those thumbnails turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Thumbnails

While 'B' was the winner, production wanted me to pull the camera back a bit and include the entire weapons for both figures. I REALLY liked the cropped weapons, I felt that it drew more attention to the figures looking at each other and the fire... but I made the change. Also, there Minotaur needed to be a little taller. I was fine with that. Here is how the updated thumbnail turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Updated thumbnail

Now that I had an approved thumbnail it was time to get to work on the drawing. This went quicklu and without issue. Here is how the final drawing turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper
Original - SOLD

There was some concern from production that the fire didn't appear to be going in the right direction. To make sure it looked right I added some more volume to the fire ball and made sure that it was coming forward and did not appear to be blowing to the left. I made this edit digitally since it would have meant erasing a lot of line work on the drawing and would have, in my opinion, made for a less visually appealing drawing. Here is a the edited drawing...

Emberhorn Minotaur - edited drawing
14 x 11 - Pencil on paper with digital edit

With an approved drawing it was time to get started on the painting... and the stressing out and panicking. Here is the painting coming together is 15 stress free steps...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Process progression

The Minotaur was never the problem. The Minotaur was fun and  came together easily. It was the interior, the warrior, and the braiser of coals in the background that caused me nothing but hardship. I fought with this piece for way too long and it nearly won every battle. In house the cavity in the wall above the braiser was an issue and I was told it was not reading at all. Eventually it was removed. This was a learning experience since there was paint over paint over paint by the time I removed it, so that meant even more paint on top that needed to match everything else. Once I got the piece to a point I did not completely hate it I showed it to an outside advisor who told me it was totally not done. The entire environment needed more work as well as a lot of work to the warrior. This in no way totally and completely made me question what I was doing trying to attempt this piece traditionally. ... So I got to work adding more more more to everything. Added a lot more to the environment and reworked the warrior by making him more narrow overall which makes him appear taller. EVENTUALLY, I got to a stopping point and I turned the piece into the client. Here is an animated progression of the painting to better show how the piece evolved...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Animated process progression

I turned the piece in and it was approved, save for one thing that was completely out of my control. Here again is the final painting for the Emberhorn Minotaur...

Emberhorn Minotaur 
Dungeons & Dragons - Princes of the Apocalypse 
12 x 9 - Acrylic, pencil, and gouache on board  

While I was given approved reference and style guide images of the Minotaur, at some point it was decided that the new Minotaur hooves were not wanted and more traditional hooves were requested. I made this hoof edit digitally. By the time the edit request came back from production I did not want to have anything to do with this piece anymore and I could do it much quicker and easier digitally. Also, in the long run, the change in the hooves would probably never be an issue or a deal breaker for anyone interested in this piece. I liked the ones I did originally and kept them. Here is the final print version of the Emberhorn Minotaur turned out...

Emberhorn Minotaur - Print final 
12 x 9 - Acrylic, pencil, and gouache on board with digital finish 

Learned a lot while working on this piece and hope to never find myself in that situation again anytime soon. I felt like I was dangerously in over my head and that is just not a good place to be while trying to make art, at least for me.

That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog, see you back here on Friday! Until then... 

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