Friday, October 18, 2013

Ungoliant's Spawn - Process

Way back in May I shared with you a big spiky spider that I did for the Lord of the Rings card game. Today I finally have for you the process that went into the piece as well as a look at how things didn't go as planned for this particular piece. So that we are all on the same page, here is how the final for the Ungoliant's Spawn turned out...

Ungoliant's Spawn
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

RAWR! Giant spider! Hard to go wrong with an assignment like that... but I almost found a way, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning with some good ole thumbnails like I do every time I start an illustration. As with many other of my assignements for LotR the dimensions of the final card art needs to be more of less a square. I don't really want to make square illustrations. To make sure everyone is happy I plan out the piece to work in the required square and a personally more desirable rectangle. If I remember correctly this assignment came to me with a bit of urgency and I hit the ground running. I turned over the thumbnails rather quickly and included notes if my frantic scribblings were a little to chaotic...

Ungoliant's Spawn - Thumbnails
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Option 'A' was a quick winner and I was sent on my way to make the final drawing... which I did... As mentioned before, this assignment had a bit of urgency around it. Which means I probably felt rushed... which means I probably didn't spend as much time as I should have on the drawing. This was my first mistake. Not a huge mistake... but like a snowball rolling down hill it soon got bigger. That was all still ahead of me, here is the final drawing...

Ungoliant's Spawn - Drawing
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Now that I had an approved drawing I made some edits to the mouth of the spider and got started painting. When this was painted I was still using my older process. I touched on this last week as well. In six easy steps the spider took shape and came together really quickly...

Ungoliant's Spawn - Process Steps

Wait... wait... I said something about things not working out and almost messing up this painting, didn't I? Yes I did! Going into this assignment I had the big idea to do this piece traditionally. I got permission from my art director (Thanks, Zoe!) and she gave me the blessing to proceed... as long as I left time in my schedule to do it digitally is things hit the fan (this is when I pause and look you meaningfully directly in the eyes).

SO... I got started working on this piece in real paint. At this time I had a couple traditional pieces under my belt and I was feeling rather brave. What is the worse that could wrong? I would have to paint a giant spider twice... right... yeah... hurm... Anyway, I had a clear vision of what I wanted this piece to look like (see above process and finished piece to see what that clear vision actually was) and I got started painting...

Ungoliant's Spawn traditional process steps of what was never to be.

Yeah... I had lost control of my color almost immediately, among other things. That mouth that I rushed was causing me a lot of problems and I was trying to fix it in the paint which was causing more problems then it was solving. Needless to say, there is a lot of local color issues, color temperature issues, and a general lack of cohesiveness trough out the image... as well as the little fact the piece was spiraling further and further away from where I actually wanted to go.

After a lot of work and struggle and some soul searching I decided to abandon my first attempt at making a traditional piece for a client and go back to my digital strengths. I of course quickly banged out a final piece that was better then I actually expected it to be as well as a piece that was very well received by the client. This left me a little frustrated to say the least. Since this personal set back I have produced two completely traditional pieces for clients, the most recent for Fantasy Flight Games. So in the end it all worked out and I just needed more time and practice. know, that thing I have talked about time and time and time and time again here on the blog, all you need in the end to succeed is a lot of time and hard work. Maybe I am not just rambling incoherent nonsense here on the blog... or maybe I am and I just got one thing right...

Here again is how the final Ungoliant's Spawn turned out as well as a very bad scan of how the final card turned out with the cropped down selection of the art...

Ungoliant's Spawn
© 2013 Fantasy Flight Games

Ungoliant's Spawn in handy dandy card form!

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

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  1. Another great process post. Seeing how the original traditional version differs from the final digital illustration is interesting, especially in the color choices. The final version turned out great. The way you use the warm and cool colors to bring the focal area to the fore front is really nice.

    1. Thanks, Lance! Well... to be honest, my mental image of this piece going into the original traditionally painted piece was how the digital piece turned out. I just didn't have the skill set or confidence to get the traditional one there in the time constraints of the deadline.