Friday, November 11, 2016

Looking Back: Genteel Husk - Dreamblade

Today on the blog I am looking back at another Dreamblade miniature design that I have never shared before. This one has bugged me for over 11 years and I might as well go ahead and share it finally and be done with it. Here is the design and miniature for the Genteel Husk which appeared in the original set of Dreamblade back in 2006...

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

Where to even begin with this one... This was one of the first three designs I was assigned when I started working on Dreamblade, these included the Blight Rat, Pick-Pick (which I still need to share), and the then named Alistair - which eventually became the Genteel Husk. One was a rat monster with a stick, one was a ball with blade limbs, and one was a handsome guy... wait, what?! I was just starting to get my feet under me as a designer for hire and this one nearly took them right out from under me. If I received this assignment today it would be a none issue and I would do the work and it would be done, but 11 years ago was a completely different matter. I was working on my first game, I was learning about the this new game's visual esthetic, I was learning about working with an AD remotely, and I was learning to be a better artist. This one piece, well all three kind of, but mainly this one nearly ended my career in the gaming industry before it even began. Seriously. Somehow I made it through and there was an approved design at the end. Here is how the final turnaround for the Genteel Husk turned out...

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

Now that you see the turnaround it should be obvious that this piece was not just a handsome man miniature. It was business on the front and monster on the back. A classic double take miniature. As I said before, I was not prepared for this and I had NO idea what needed to happen for this piece to be successful. Let's say there was a lot of trials and errors as this piece headed toward the finish line. At first my thoughts on this piece were WAY wrong and WAY to weird and silly. There was a lot of back and forth with the art director and a few more attempts at the design before I was anywhere near getting this piece approved. Some of this had to do with me not understanding it needed to be "just a dude" from the front, some had to do with my lack of confidence as a designer, and some had to do with my inexperience as an artist. Eventually, it all worked out. Eventually it was approved. Eventually, I got better, got to do lots more miniatures, and had a lot of fun. Here are some of my bad drawings and early attempts at the Genteel Husk design...

Genteel Husk - Versions 1, 2, and 3
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast LLC

It is sometimes hilarious to me how much time and effort I would put into one of these designs to then see the final miniature. Not that the miniature is in any way lacking or bad, they are for the most part gorgeous. It is the amount of fretting over the details I would do, or would be asked to do, and there was just no way for that detail to ever show up in the miniature. They got really really close sometimes, and I guess that is why we did it for each and every piece. Also, maybe it is funnier to me because I never really liked my designs for this one and never felt like I had done a good enough job. I really could have done better... but I was learning and in the end, the AD was happy, it got approved, and it got made. Here is a look a the final miniature for the Genteel Husk...

Genteel Husk Miniature

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

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