Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sketch Redux: Dragon Age

Hey all,
Here is a piece I finished a while back for a Dragon Age RPG published by

The illo should show an Orlesian Chevalier mounted on a charging steed lancing a darkspawn. Ideally, the Chevalier will be charging towards the viewer with the darkspawn in the foreground and the lance bursting out of its back.  We want this hero to have a face, so either give him a helm with the face mask up or no helm at all. He should look grim and determined as he rides this horror down. His horse should be a mean looking warhorse with barding. For the darkspawn let's make it a Shriek. You can find out about them here: Perhaps his head is thrown back in an ironic death scream. You can suggest a larger battle of Chevaliers vs. darkspawn but the focus should be on the main figures just described.

With this description in mind I executed these thumbnails

They client liked number 3 so I progressed to a more refined sketch.

The client liked the sketch but informed me that the shreiks had been redesigned, so I reworked the sketch accordingly.

Comments: If you can figure out a way to get a little more force into that lance arm, awesome. But the creatures are all good to go. can't wait to see the next stage! 

So I took another shot at it.

Comments: I think that what seems off about this composition is the lancer's relatively back-leaning posture. It looks incongruous to me given how far that lance is impaled in the darkspawn. Ditto the horse's rearing. Those two factors say, "Get this thing off the end of my lance!" instead of "DIE, FOUL CREATURE!" to me.

No more half measures, I decided to completely rework the horse and rider.

With final sketch approval I began painting

Comments: Not sure how you would actually work more gore in there – maybe some blood on the stairs from the Shreiks previous victims or some ribs shooting out of the one getting stabbed?
The guy on the right looks odd – maybe because he’s a floating head and shoulders with no body? Lol, Where are his legs? As is he looks like he might be some ornamental pilaster or something as there are no other footmen in the picture there is no additional angle.

A few last revisions and...


Kurt Aspland said...

Once you completed your thumbnails, and final sketch. What type of reference do you use, and if you do use reference do you go out and shoot it.

E.M. Gist said...

Hey Kurt, In this case I shot reference after the thumbnail phase, but I used it very loosely. For most of the Knights and Shreiks I used illustrator extraordinaire Lucas Graciano for my model. he has some great armor, and was kind enough to let me photo him in it. I may do another post on that in the future. I also visited my parents and shot ref of my Mom's horses. Last but not least I used Google Sketchup and scrap ref to create the background. All in all I would say this piece is 70-30 invented to reference. In fact the rework of the main horse and rider was almost completely invented.

Danielle Case said...

Amazing--I love seeing the whole client-artist correspondence and the process!