Friday, December 9, 2016

Looking Back: Pick-Pick - Dreamblade

Today I am sharing all the ins and outs that went into making one of my first Dreamblade designs, Pick-Pick. I have never shared any of the art or design work that went into Pick-Pick, so this will be all new to everybody! Along with the Blight Rat and Genteel Husk, Pick-Pick was the third of my original assignment for Dreamblade. An assignment that went from three designs to seventeen designs extremely quickly. Before I was knee deep in Dreamblade assignments I first had to get through the initial three and those were some of the toughest designs I have ever tackled. Here is how the final approved design for the Pick-Pick turned out...

9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Pick-Pick was a weird one to say the least. It also went through a bit of evolution as I worked on it, very much like the Blight Rat and Genteel Husk did. I dug into my archives and found the original art order description for the Pick-Pick. Even now as I read it I can't imagine coming up with my final design...
This is a small bizarre creature with no eyes. It has a lot of puckered marks in its skin (actually sensory organs). The creature is round with 3 knobby legs that protrude from it. Each leg ends in a giant spike.
All the parts are there, but how they are manifested is a bit of a leap. I thank my art director for pushing me as well as my wife for the input, second opinions, and feedback as I was working on this one. Here is how the full turnaround for this piece turned out...

Pick-Pick Turnaround
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper (multiple sheets)
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Sadly there is not much in the way of actual drawings for this piece, due to the consent revisions, quick deadlines, and edits, much of the above images are digital. I was fixing things, flipping things, coping things, and cleaning things up on the computer to get the images the way they needed to be. At the time it was WAY more important to get the piece done and approved rather then having a physical piece of art. This of course has changed over the years, but this change came with increased experience, confidence, and desire to have a real world manifestation of my time and work.

I mentioned that this piece went through a lot to finally get approved. Here is a look at the many stages that the Pick-Pick went though as it zeroed in on the final design. I still don't see how I got from point A to B on this one, but glad I did. Here are versions 1 and 2...

Pick-Pick Versions 1 and 2
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

While these may look alike they are in fact... completely alike. The first pass was rejected and I was asked to add more detail, texture, and in general make it more interesting. After doing that it was again rejected. The complexity of the pose was all wrong since Pick-Pick had a common rarity, which means they needed to be easily molded and cast. There would have also been an issue of the piece even standing up straight with all of the mass positioned on one little pointed leg. I also think this design was just not doing it for any one. While it met the requirements of the art order... it was just kind of 'meh'. I was asked to start over, come at it fresh and think outside the box. Here is what followed...

Pick-Pick Versions 3 - 6
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

Not sure how many of these I did at a time, but I know version 5 and 6 were definitely turned in together. I think 3 and 4 were turned in separately. I think you can really see the evolution of where this was going in these four designs. Version 3 was considered to chicken bodied. Or was it turkey bodied? Version 4 shows the shift in thinking about Pick-Pick as less of an 100% organic creature and more as a weird thing that does not play by the rules. Suggestions from Dear Wife as well as bouncing ideas off of her eventually led to versions 5 and 6 and the eventual approved design for Pick-Pick. Version 5 was selected, but I was asked to move the third blade up to the top so that there would be no mold and casting issues. It was a long and strange road, but I finally made it to a finished and approved design.

The final production miniature turned out great. I feel the design with both simple and complex and the miniature captured it well. Here is a look at the production miniature...

Pick-Pick Miniature

Over the years I have taken the time to re-imagine some of my earlier work, especially with my Dreamblade concepts. This practice actually started in 2006, a mere year after I first began working on Dreamblade. In just that single year my skill sets and drawing chops had improved a great deal. When it came time to show off some of my Dreamblade work in a portfolio I already felt uncertain about sharing the drawings due to their quality. Instead of using the original art I opted to redraw them for my portfolio. I did my best to be true to the original design and art, but present it with my current drawing skills. This all might seem weird, but I felt it was necessary if I was to share some of my Dreamblade concept work. Keep in mind I did this for at most two pieces and it was for designs I felt confident in their concept, just not their execution. Here is the redraw that I did for Pick-Pick...

Pick-Pick Redraw
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper
© 2006 Wizards of the Coast LLC

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

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

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