Today I have you the process and steps that went into my Trandoshan Mercenary painting for the Star Wars LCG set, Aggressive Negotiation. Before we get to that, I wanted to share some thoughts about the significance of this piece. This painting was the very last Star Wars illustration that I produced for Fantasy Flight Games. In fact, this was the final painting of any kind that I created for that company. At the time, I am not sure if I knew it would be, but deep down, I think I might have. I was not originally going to take this assignment. I had gotten into the habit of turning down anything that they offered, but Erik Dahlman
I had been drifting away from FFG for a while at this point, and I knew it was only a matter of time that I would full severe ties. My opinion of freelance work, in general, was already changing and my attentions were beginning to be solely directed at The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia. When I started working with FFG in 2009, I never imagined the opportunities and projects I would work on, the fantastic art directors I would work with, and the exposure my work would receive. There were a lot of fun times, but in the end, there was only so long I could keep returning to them for work. If I was going to have a final painting with them, I am glad it was this one. If you are familiar with me, my work, or this blog you know my love for lizard monsters. The Trandoshan bounty hunter, Bossk, is my favorite Star Wars character and I have created many Trandoshans for the FFG games. So at the end, there was one last space lizard monster to paint.
Time to talk about making this final Star Wars painting! To start things off, here is a look at the final version of the Trandoshan Mercenary.
With all of my creations, I started with reference. Since I am not in my underwear this time, I can actually share some of the images that my wife took of me acting out my best space lizard life. At some
Now that I had reference, it was time to work up some thumbnails. One of the significant challenges with designing card art for FFG was the large amount of chrome the cards have. There were card elements that could
Option 'B' was approved without changes, and I was given the go-ahead to move forward. I was rather surprised I didn't need to adjust anything, but excited that I could produce an image that better fit the surface I was working on. I got to work on the drawing and submitted it soon after the thumbnails were approved.
The drawing was approved as well, and I was ready to start on the final painting. Wait, no, stop everything. At the last second, I was asked to shrink the entire image and add a lot of bleed to the top and sides. This came late in my process, and so the edits were made digitally to the drawing as I prepped it for the painting process. In the following animated process, you can see the two stages of the drawing and how much it needs to be reduced. This resulted in a lot more empty space on the sides and top, but as I mentioned before, it allowed all the chrome of the card to sit nicely over the image.
I apologize for the darkness of some of the process shots. It was challenging to get good photos of my work as it is taking shape. The lighting is never perfect; the surface is often wet, which results in dark images with distracting glare. Hopefully, it gives you enough of an idea of how my paintings take shape.
My takeaway from this piece is to always paint as if it is your very last painting. Give the work your all. Commit yourself to the fullest and constantly push to do better. In the end, that painting very much may your last painting, and it better be a damn good one if there will be no more after it.
Here again is the final painting for the Trandoshan Mercenary and the final card it appears on. Once it is cropped and placed with the chrome, it looks great, and this may be the best printed of my traditional pieces. At least, I think so. While the painting was made in 2016 and the work was released in 2017, now, in 2021, this marks an end of an era. I have no more Star Wars work, or FFG work in general, to share with you. Reprints of my work may surface at some point, but for now, we close the book on this period in my working career.
That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog. See you back here on Friday! Until then...