Art: the middle of nowhere cover art
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  1. #1
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    the middle of nowhere cover art

    This painting is the wraparound cover for the Dragonlance book titled: the middle of nowhere. It was painted in oils on masonite 24x36

    Some times, well alot of times lately you are not given the book to read, sometimes it's not even finished being written but they need the cover for sales.

    this was the case with this one.
    I was told brief discriptions of some of the charactes and had to make up the rest.

    This band of motley warriors were hired to protect a peaceful country town from a sweet band of cut throats (sorry that line is from Errol Flynn's Robin hood! )

    The wrap had to include several of the heros.
    My favorite to create was the minotaur. he was both a blood thursty warrior and poet.
    how do you show the two natures ?
    I chose to rein back on the bull features and add a more human feel to his face. In this way I would be able to show the thoughtful poet side with his face and the warrior side with his pose and weapon.

    The battle scars counter his thoughtful gaze.

    The half ogre in front of him I wanted to be the little guy who is always game for a fight, and could hold his own.

    My father drove a truck for a living and just about everyone of his driver buddys looked like this, fierce in a fight but would give the shirt off his back.

    The amazon warrior I wanted to be apart from the group more of a loner and the leader of the group was a cast out knight who fell onto hard times but still had his pride.

    Daniel
    [IMG]216.71.84.80/devineillustration/themiddle.jpg[/IMG]

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    Beautiful work Dan. You seem to ahve captured the spirit of the writers vision, at least the description they gave you

    I know this is oils, but I was wondering if you also do (I do) sepia (or cobalt) toned underpainting ala old masters style when you work in painter, or if you go for the ala prima angle?

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    middle of nowhere

    Thanks Wacom Knight.

    I do a full colour underpainting over a burnt seinna value lay-in.
    The skys I paint a pale pink and let it come thought the blues .
    I was trained in the Pyle/Reily school where you laid out all your colours in value strings from lightest to darkest.

    I however could never do that for EVERY colour, it would make me crazy but I do lay out the flesh tones that way.

    I ty as much as i can to get it done ala prima but the figures I like to take my time and glaze and scumble colours till the cows come home.

    I have been on a march to loosen up more and more with my paintings.
    Back in the early 90's I was on a "paint every skin pore" mission, and I learned alot but it ahs taken me over TEN years to undo some of the effects of that kind of micro rendering.
    It's a good skill to learn but when you do what's next? where do you go from there?

    That's what I like about painting digitally, the ease of experimentation.
    Daniel

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    This is so luminous! Your control and understanding of light is astounding.

    Sularia

    Why am I in this handbasket, and where am I going?
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    thats awsome man!!!.... i just wish the little guys was stagered to the left...woudl help the compostion i think, i didnt see him .. but what do i know.,....lovely stuff

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    nowhere

    Alkaline111,
    Yes I would have liked to put all the characters in but on this type of cover, I had to leave the center open (for the spine of the book ) and leave room on the left hand side for type.
    Sometimes wraparound covers make more sense when you see them in print and then you can see what space is taken up by the type design and the upc code(the bar code)

    I have to design around all these elements .


    Sularia, thank you for the comments on my lighting.
    I think the trick is to envision the scene finished in your mind's eye first after that it's just putting it down.
    I study lighting all the time and try to use the natural light in my paintings, you will see that I don't use alot of special effects lighting in my paintings .
    When I do us let's say a wizard's magic blast, i make sure that everything elese is natural and a bit greyed down. This will make the magic blast even more magical.

    Take a look at some of the 19th centery british and French painters, they were masters of natural light.
    Check out the art renewal site, they have thousands of paintings that illustrate this piont.
    Daniel

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    Gorgeous ...you know colors so well I hope to have your eye someday ( not in a glass jar though )

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    Jason Manley is offline Administrator Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    that little big guy is awesome!

    what percentage of your work is done with traditional medias?

    How does understanding traditional medias and an understanding of the old masters help you with your digital works?



    J

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    ahhhh... i see now.. knew there had to be a function to that comp.....makes sense.. yeah i like the wrap around....... and the occational reach around:chug: .... night fellas... and once again awsome stuff!!

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    It might come accross as a silly question, but I was wondering how do you transpose your work from tangible canvas to digital ? Do you scan your painting or have a special way to take a picture of your piece ?

    I absolutely love the Minotaur. He's everything you described

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    nowhere

    Thanks jason.

    I have turned over all of my cover work to digital painting.
    The way I paint in oils has slowed my production down too much to make a living with it as a book illustrator.

    But I do all my private commissions in oils where I have more time to do them.
    I've been bit by the digital bug and the feeling is just like I felt when I started out 22 years ago!
    I have alot to learn about digital painting but that's the draw for me , to learn something brand new that I really have to improve on.

    So I still have a boot in each camp and they along with sculpting for toy companys really compliments each other.

    On the subject of action figures, my latest one was the Egg Shin figure from Big trouble in little China.
    With that figure I designed the pose and sculpted the two up prototype.

    I still study the 19th century painters because the American illustration tradition came out of this movement. Look at a Waterhouse or a Tadama or a Gerome and you will see the seeds of modern fantasy illustration.

    If you ever get the chance, read Modern painters by the 19th century art critic,John Ruskin.
    he was the Champion of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood.

    Go check out some of the 19th centery poem web sites, print some out, the visuals are mind blowing !
    The old master's paintings have shown me the way, how to add pathos and feeling into my art.
    To give a minataur a soulful gaze comes from the classic tradition through to the Brandywine tradition, These are not Dead schools of thought and art , they are alive and vibrant! and they never go out of style.
    the study of the old masters can benefit all artists from comic book illustrators to fantasy /sci-fi aritsts. from oil painters to digital artists.


    EGERIE- I take a digital photo of my oil paintings , I use a Canon power shot G1 and it does a great job.

    POGONIP- it is all about looking and remembering and being open to new things.
    Daniel

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    Photo quality on the faces I LOVE that! As well, I think you represented the minotaur PERFECTLY! When you said that he was both warrior and poet, I looked at the cove and saw JUST that. GJ

    How long have you worked in this field btw?

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    nowhere

    meDrawUC, Thanks.
    I've been a professional illustrator for the past 22 years, it has been my sole source of income since art school

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    Those are amazing, and truly inspiring. You could feed a family off those, trust me. I'm keeping my eyes open for more of your talent-filled pictures.

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    really really nice. Would love to see some closeups if possible. Or the real deal...

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    Vey nice work dan !
    I remember your cover from spectrum 9 which I personally think is the best cover of the last 5 (which are the only spectrums I have and seen though) the female was great in that picture, with awesome colors and foreshortenings.
    Anyway, this picture is also very nice indeed, you are very good at having strong lightsources of intense colors, which still looks very natural and blend well into the overall image. Gives a nice feeling.

    Last edited by Joachim; February 13th, 2004 at 04:46 PM.
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    gourgeous

    gourgeous,



    I love the little guy in the lower left.

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    OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! OMG ! ...........................

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    jesus dan...your colors are amazing. they hurt my head.

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    "Peasant magic..."

    I loved that Egg Shen figure, looks just like him. Really nice piece you've posted here. Makes me wisdh I'd paid more attention in my art classes, as I'm only just now getting into painting and use of color after 12 years doing B&W art for comic books.... - mh

    http://www.matthaley.com

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    Re: nowhere

    Originally posted by dansadad
    Thanks jason.

    I have turned over all of my cover work to digital painting.
    The way I paint in oils has slowed my production down too much to make a living with it as a book illustrator.

    Oh wow it's so cool to see you posting here. I also changed over from oils to working digitally not too long ago. I was completely lost in digital painting until I figured a way to convert the Reilly palette I was using into photoshop so I could work. Once I did that it was smooth sailing. Just wondering, what program are you using? Painter, Photoshop?

    Dorian was another one who painted every pore. His portrait work is beautiful though. Shame he isn't doing cover work anymore. Anyway great work. Can't say I studied under a Pyle student but I got what I know from a Former Reilly student. Along with the rest of the Art students league. Guess that doesn't make me too special.

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  22. #22
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    wow!

    this is very nice, I wish I could see a bigger version here (to check the details). I'm wondering, are you the model for the bearded guy with the sword (or the little guy ?

    You know, I love the painting, but to be honest, there's one thing that bugs me: the mace of the minotaur woman. Seems to me (and I might be totally wrong) that the lighting is off and it doesn't look metallic to me, like the sword do (could be the size of the pix). Small detail, but I thought I'd point it out.

    That little guy is truly awesome!

    C.

    Cyril Van Der Haegen - www.tegehel.org
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    hi,

    it's the same thing that bothers me now like last time.
    I see too much, too saturated colors.
    By "too much" I mean uhm.. too different tones, I hope you can imagine what I think.

    I don't want to be impudent or offending, but I changed the colors a bit:


    To me, this is more balanced -

    well... since no one said something like that, I think I am the problem
    (plus - you guys are professionals, I'm just a hobbyist)

    cu

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    nowhere

    I want to thank every one for their input on this painting of mine.

    The colour are a bit too saturated, I shot it with my digital camera and it tends to do that to my work.

    the mace was painted thay way because I figured that after all the pummeling that he did, it would not be shiny and new looking.

    It's importaint when designing a character that you think through their costumes and weapons just as much as their faces and attitudes.

    I did pose for the Knight and the minataur and the little guy. this is how you can use photo reference for many characters .
    Photo reference should not drive the characterization but be used to show how the light fall on things.

    The model for the Amazon was the mother of two of my wife's stundent (she is a school teacher).
    A truly beautiful woman and mother.

    If you get a chance this book is still on the book stands with the rest of the dragonlance books, then you can see the reason for this composition.


    Tegehel- the little guy is also my favorite, I guess I habve a thing for dwarfs, I try to put them in my painting whenever I can.

    I will be posting some close-ups of the painting soon.

    Daniel

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  25. #25
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    Both front- & backcovers can be seen in close up on amazon - here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

    Too bad they covered up so much of the sky with that ... paper/map-thing. And too bad about the drop shadow. (I'm assuming you didn't do that, dansadad) But I guess that's just one of the things artist have to put up with..

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  26. #26
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    very very very very beautiful work. I am speechless.

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