The Khizriel Illustration


The folks at Titan Forge have been away at a convention for the past few days so I thought I'd take the opportunity to explore my art and try something new that I have never tried before. I've been thinking about this for a long time and finally decided on a new approach to drawing spaceships that I've never really seen anywhere. (Who really knows? There is so much art these days.) A more graphical approach but without using Illustrator or any mechanical means to help me. Still hand drawn, but extremely high-contrast flat shapes. With just a limited amount of shading when it comes to some of the lighting. The only shading in that image is for the two main lights, which really works well to draw attention to them.

That represents four days of work. Mixed in with some paying work for a client, a couple of Alliance logos, and whatnots. I'm not getting paid for this kind of thing sadly. But I'm extremely pleased with the results and the possibilities this opens up for me in my work. 

You might not know this but I've been having a slight crisis regarding my work lately. I've been working so hard on the board game this past year and my abilities have really benefitted from the experience, which is all good. But it has come at a cost. I feel like I've hit a dead end when it comes to illustrating and rendering spaceships in space. Like, how much better can I get at it? (Probably a lot better tbh!) But my creative mind is never happy and I'm always trying to challenge myself and try new things. So that is where this all comes from. I got to do a lot of new things on the Board Game project but after a year of working on that project my brain needs a distraction.

So I think this piece will be the first of two pieces, with the other one being the Mekubal. I have no idea when I'll get some free time to complete that one, but it will be the next piece.

The Khizriel will be going up on my store later today or tomorrow. So keep an eye out for it.

PS: A few people have asked me about my process on this piece. So typically I take a shit ton of reference shots. I crank up the video card to MAX settings and go get as much reference as I think I'll need. I have a two monitor set-up in my studio. The iMacPro 5k retina desktop and sitting beside it is my WacomPro 36. So I can bring up the selected reference while drawing on one or the other, it sorta depends on what style I'm working in at the moment. I typically paint on the Wacom and draw on the Mac, but that can change. (Its more a "feel" thing) This ship is a weird one and I wanted to make sure I got the feel of it right, I've drawn a few of these for the board game, but nothing like this. Those two prongs are especially challenging. The real skill in this type of drawing is to get the basic shape right from the beginning and that took some time, but once that was done the rest was just hard work and lots of judgement calls. What to include, what to suggest, what to ignore, how much detail, versus how much does lighting count - really just a thousand decisions.

At some point along the way I realized that I couldn't go flat with everything. The main two lights in the middle would just look like giant balls of color. That actually ended up working better as it helped to create this center-focus for the piece. The lights themselves are still relatively flat, but I used color and a very slight glow to help illuminate them. I think it worked perfectly.