I know I'm a little late to the party, but I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!
I started off the year swamped with freelance deadlines and a nasty cold slowing me down. I'm finally getting a lot of last year's stuff out of the way and it's given me a moment to reflect on 2009 and set up some goals for 2010.
My biggest goal for 2010 is to pursue my freelance career full time. I'm at that point where the freelance is enough to have me pulling all kinds of crazy hours outside of my day job but not enough to support my retarded-high New York rent and food expenses. I started off 2009 with just one client, and was lucky enough to pick up another few throughout the year. A few of them in the RPG card game industry, something I've been hoping to do for a while now. In 2010 I'm targeting the Big Kahuna in the RPG industry, Wizards of the Coast. I've hung out with a bunch of the AD's from Wizards over the past few years and had some great reviews from them.
One of the AD's who's been a great source of information is Jon Schindehette (the Senior AD for Dungeons & Dragons®). On his blog ArtOder he posts great insights into the inner workings of Wizards of the Coast, answers questions from the AD's perspective, spotlights all kinds of great artists, runs weekly creative challenges, and a whole lot more. I tried to participate in as many of the weekly challenges as possible, but only managed to finish up one, the one for the Vampires Challenge. Here is my entry:
One of the funnest challenges form last year was the Drow vs. Mind Flayer Challenge. Jon enlisted top AD's in the industry to help him judge the challenge and it was a great opportunity for exposure. Unfortunately, due to prior deadlines for Dover and a fun week bleeding after sinus surgery, I wasn't able to finish my piece in time. I planned to finish it up after the deadline but haven't gotten around to it. Here's where I'm at:
There's probably some things I'd change in the composition but overall I'm happy with the direction it's headed.
One of the other really helpful things Jon used to do (and I hope he gets back to doing this year) was post selections from the D&D style guide so that non-D&D-playing artists like myself can familiarize ourselves with the characters of the D&D world. Every Thursday that Jon posted a style guide I'd spend my lunch hour at work sketching up some compositions and character studies. I also started using the style guides for warm-up sketches before tackling my freelance work. Here are a few:
A watercolor warm-up sketch:
And with some digital on top:
Lucky for me, the stars aligned themselves and I spent most of 2009 working on books for Dover that related to the RPG game industry. Dover just published my Fantasy Warriors Stained Glass Coloring Book. Here are a some pages form that:
It was a fun project to work on and I used it as an excuse to work up a bunch of sketches and collect a ton of reference that I may be able to use in the future.
Also, I just finished up a project for Dover that had a dragon in it. And thanks to Jon's critique of my dragon at GenCon, I was able to make a stronger image for this project. Here's a sneak peek:
Monday, January 18, 2010