Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Name this Quest

If this was a Quest card what should it be named and how should it work? Sometimes when designing a set I just create some interesting image and then design the card later. This is one of those cases.

Green vase

A little watercolor still life. The idea was predominantly cools with the one warm pitcher in the middle to be the focal point, but the green vase with the pattern ended up being much more interesting as I was working on it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dungeoneer comic #1

Back when we were working on the first expansion for Dungeoneer, Vault of the Fiends, my friend James Kei did a short comic set in the Dungeoneer World. It follows the adventures of Nord as he confronts Ramalith in the Vault of the Fiends.

Over the next 9 weeks I will post a page each Monday from the comic for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Marker and ink sketch of piers

Marker and ink sketch done near the Piers in San Francisco.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ask the Dungeonlord

New Dungeoneer player Kravell asks:
I am eagerly awaiting the Dungeoneer RPG and that has led me to the card game on which it is based (good marketing idea there).

Two questions. What set is recommended to start and what optional rules are most recommended? I saw somewhere that prebuilding the map is recommended for instance.

I play D&D 3.5 a lot and have played many board games like Runebound and card games like Star Wars. I like strategy, cool characters, and the chance for a lot of interaction between players in a board game.


The Dungeonlord responds:
Hello Kravell,

Glad you are interested in Dungeoneer. Tomb of the Lich Lord is generally considered the best to start with. The best options are summarized in the latest rules available here. Pre-building the map is a good one, though for your first couple of games I would recommend playing standard rules.
Of particular interest to the Dungeonlord is that excitement for the Dungeoneer RPG is building.

Digital tree sketch

I recently got a hold of several brushes for Photoshop, and I was playing around seeing what I could do with them. Some very interesting effects.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oil landscape sketch

Its been a cold winter, hey I thought this was California! What's up with that? I'm hoping it warms up soon so I can go out plein air painting. This is an oil sketch, about 8" x 10". This is a basic composition of 3 horizontal lines: foreground, middle ground, background. A focal point that has the most contrast and form, with a counter point: that little church. The sky is probably too saturated, but it was really cyan that day. I like how all the color variation occupies a thin strip across the center while the top is essentially monochromatic blue and the bottom is almost monochromatic neutrals. Imagine all of that thought in such a simple little composition.

Sorceress sketch

This is for an improved version of Spell Focus, a classic spell from Tomb of the Lich Lord. One of the things those in playtests have heard me complain about is how much freaking art it takes to make one of these Dungeoneer sets. There are 110 cards in a set, and each illustration takes me about 1 day to do, sometimes more. Not every card is a unique illustration, there can be about 90 illustrated cards when you remove things like trackers, summaries and duplicates. That's 90 days of art! I don't make that much in return on a set, so Dungeoneer truly is a labor of love. Astute players have noted that there have been more duplicates in recent sets, a cost cutting measure, but it also makes for a better game because it adds to the consistency of cards. But I've figured out another way to re-use art, and that is to make the hero card art be the "signature Boon" of that hero, so that same art can be used on the Boon (or possibly Treasure) card. In this case this is the illustration for the sorceress and also for the more powerful Spell Focus Boon.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Studio Denmark at Kublacon

Our table at Kublacon has been confirmed. We will be running demos, showing previews, and have unique products you can't get elsewhere. Come join the fun at our favorite San Francisco Bay Area convention!

I might even show a sneak peek of the Dungeoneer RPG. :)

Clothed figure drawings

Figure drawing workshops are generally unclothed, which is great for studying the figure, but I enjoy studying folds and fabric on the figure too. Inventing convincing folds from the imagination is very difficult, and even harder if an artist doesn't study real folds.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dungeoneer RPG design blog

Richard Plockington, the primary writer on the Dungeoneer RPG being published by Goodman Games has started a design blog where you can see some of the ideas and process going into the creation of this exciting new product. Richard is known for his excellent Dungeon Crawl Classics he has written. In particular I thought The Sunken Ziggurat was very fun.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tentacle Beast

Yes, it's true I've been working on a new Dungeoneer set. It has not been announced yet, and I'm not ready to reveal the theme or much else about it. However, I will post this sneak peek of art. Enjoy. :)

Welcome to the Dungeoneer Blog

This site will cover Dungeoneer news and be a resource for all things Dungeoneer.

Watercolor Head Sketches in the Key of Melancholy

Some watercolor sketches where I used warm tones as the foundation to create an emotional response with the viewer. I like trying to capture melancholy, it is one of my favorite emotions in music and art. Something about that feeling strikes a deep chord that is both pleasant and just the slightest bit sad. It makes me think of lost childhood memories and forgotten places and people on the fringes of memory.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Teeny sketchbook

For a while I carried around this really tiny sketchbook, I think it was like 2.5" across. It was great for when I was at the airport waiting. It turns out the airport is a fantastic place to draw people since they are sitting around for extended periods of time and you get to see all types of interesting people.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hi-key still life

I was exploring a composition with white on white, and put a darker object in for an accent. This was done in acrylics, the original is about 12" x 16". I did this at a time that I began using masonite as a painting surface.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Digital sketch

Most of my professional work is done in Photoshop, but I do dabble with Painter. I love how organic Painter looks but I get frustrated with the interface. I wish they'd adopt more Photoshop-like interface, or that Photoshop would adopt more of the way Painter mixes color. Ideally Photoshop would just add a "smudge" effect to their brush controls, where you could introduce an amount of smudge to the brush from 0% to 100%. Currently the only way to do it is to use the smudge tool, but it is very limited and it doesn't add color when smudging, it only smears around existing pixels. Anyway, I try to practice everyday, sometimes it is in my sketchbook and sometimes it will be something digital. This is a quick little portrait I did in Painter, but I confess I ended up in Photoshop with it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Redwood Marina

This was a little watercolor study done near Redwood Shores, near the PDI studio. I recall struggling with the color of the shadows to keep them from getting too muddy, it was getting later in the day and the shadows were getting dark and hard to read the color. Generally the perspective is working and the composition is okay though the focal point could be better and the color isn't as pleasing as I was hoping for. The main point I was going for, capturing the light, works well enough that I'm posting it here. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Figure sketches in gold and sepia

Since art school I have generally attended weekly figure drawing workshops to at least maintain or hopefully improve my figure drawing skills. As an experiment I did these sessions with a gold colored marker and a sepia ink pen just to get a different look. Sometimes just using unique mediums or colors can add some pizazz to routine drawings.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Watercolor Sketches

John Singer Sargent said he carried watercolors "in case of emergencies". I have a love/hate relationship with watercolors. On one hand they are immediate, portable, and make beautiful marks on the paper. On the other hand I find them unforgiving and nearly uncontrollable! I often carry watercolors for "emergencies" and they can be fun until they become frustrating. I've long since given up the notion I'll ever master this medium, but I do enjoy sketching outdoors with them occasionally.

Acrylic Quick Studies

While I love oils, I work naturally in acrylics. The reason I take to acrylics is that it forces me to avoid some bad habits: over blending and noodling. These were done at a figure painting workshop, each of these is 20 minutes! I used techniques I learned from Craig Nelson's quick studies class. Craig is a great teacher, he has a way of teaching artists to overcome their fears and just going for it. His book and video on quick studies are good lessons for anyone interested in painting in oils or acrylics.

This was another acrylic quick study done on location in Sausalito.

Friday, January 12, 2007

San Francisco Wharf sketches

These are some pen & ink sketches I did in my sketchbook near and around the San Francisco wharf. I don't do nearly as much of this kind of sketching as I like, never seems to be enough time.

Maria - oil portrait

Its been years since I touched oils, luckily Maria was a great model! Late '06 we found a figure drawing/painting workshop on Saturday mornings at a local art store. Very cool! Some of the guys from Molly's work (LucasArts/ILM) also attend, so it was very inspiring to paint next to such talented artists. I plan on going a lot more in '07, I guess you could call that one of my New Year's resolutions. :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Sketchcrawl is a drawing event where artists spend the day walking around sketching. It is good to get motivated to sketch and to get a little exercise. These are sketches from the first sketchcrawl I went to last year.

My new blog

I guess its the thing for artists to do nowadays. Let's see how regularly I can post here.