Today, I am happy to share the process and steps for one of my contributions to the Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse. This first contribution is the Star Spawn Seer. The Star Spawn
While these are established monsters, and I was asked to update them, there was still a bit of direction from production and a lot to work with. It was described as:
"This creature’s roughly humanoid appearance is a thin disguise that obscures its otherworldly horror. In this shot, the seer is making a grand gesture, leading a sermon promising a great beyond to an offscreen audience.
The seer’s body appears as a MALE HUMAN covered in tumorous skin growths with that raise the skin in strange whorls reminiscent of BRAIN WRINKLES. Inky tentacles and eyes made of star stuff appear to be poking out from the shadows between the wrinkles. Its figure is bloated, like a drowned body, and its hands are large and webbed.
The seer is wearing an open purple robe fit for a noble or high priest. It is holding a STAFF that appears to be a blend of flesh, bone, and chrome."That is a lot to play with and to make a fun monster. It was time for some thumbnails, so I made my best Star Spawn Seer impression, and my wife took lots of images of me. I knew what it needed to look like. The
There was something about each one that I liked, so no matter the end result, I would be happy to move forward with any of them. It turns out that 'B' was the winner, but production wanted to adjust the staff, so it showed off more. I was told that the staff designs were well received, which is always nice to hear. I made the requested modifications and submitted a revised thumbnail.
This revised version hit the mark and was accepted. It was now time to move closer to the painting. I always do a final traditional drawing for every project to work out the details and to give myself a tangible product from the assignment. Here are the two stages of the Star Spawn Seer drawing, the mid-stage line art
The drawing was approved without comment, and it was time to start painting. This was one of those paintings that, in my head, should go quickly and be (hopefully) relatively painless, but you never know. A lot of the color choices were made for me, and I had excellent lighting
With many of these monster paintings, the hard work is done in the design and drawing phases of the assignment. Doing the photoshoot, creating the thumbnails, addressing any feedback, and creating the drawing(s) are the points that I need to spend a lot of time and brain energy on making things and being creative. Not that this doesn't happen when I paint, but it often doesn't. There are happy accidents and things that need to be fixed or corrected, but at the end of the day, the painting stage is sitting in the chair and working on it until it is done. Thankfully, after all these years, knowing when it is done has gotten easier. Yes, I still have to think and work very hard to make a finished painting, but if I did my job correctly, most of the heavy lifting has already been done, and it is not time to simply 'make it in color now.' Here again, is the final painting for the Star Spawn Seer.
That's all for another exciting Wednesday on the blog. See you back here on Friday! Until then...