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  1. #1
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    My Own Magic Cards project (environments)

    Hi everyone,

    I started with this project where I take a name of a playing card (I'm using Magic 2012 here) and try to create a own image just by reading the description and not take a look at the image that comes with the card.

    I'm currently working as a freelance artist and I want to improve my portfolio to send to card game publishers. It would be a dream come true to be able to draw cards for those publishers.
    So that is why I started this topic, I hope to get a lot of feedback while I post my wips here of the cards I want to make. Here is a list I combined:

    Cards
    • Drowned Catacomb
    • Glacial Fortress
    • Fog
    • Forest
    • Mountain
    • Island
    • Plains
    • Swamp
    • Sunpetal Grove
    • Rootbound Crag


    I also had a look at the Magic Style guide which you can find here:
    http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazin...gcom/daily/mc3
    and more information about the thinking process of the images: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazin...om/feature/252



    Finished cards:






    To let things started, I choose the Swamp card first.

    SWAMP

    I started with creating some quick thumbnails and made the canvases of the ones that I liked a bit darker:

    Attachment 1308301

    Then I made a small color sketch of one of the thumbnails.

    I currently have only one sketch to show. The plan is to create some more so I (or we ) can choose the best one to work out.

    Attachment 1308302Attachment 1308303Attachment 1308304


    Thank you very much in advance!
    Lino
    Last edited by Lyno; October 5th, 2011 at 03:31 AM.


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  4. #2
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    Hi matey

    I am not sure what to say here as I dont want to upset you or anything, but I am not getting swamp from this image I am getting spikey green mountains, like the cronicles of riddick prison planet environment (but green).
    A swamp has considerably more vegetation and still waters, also if this is going on a playing card you have to give maximum detail in a very small area. do more thumbs size for size and work them up from decent references.Research on a project like this is absoloutely everything.

    All the best with this matey
    Last edited by Lightship69; August 20th, 2011 at 08:49 AM.
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  5. #3
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    First off, thanks for linking to that Magic styleguide and image process stuff, great information there.

    You're on the right track doing all those thumbnails - a tip for those, though. Lines are definitely important to composition, but so are the big shapes, the lights and darks. As well as doing these kind of linear thumbs, grab a big marker, and block out some of the major shapes. A grey marker would help as well. The thumbs are just as small and just as quick, but give a better sense of the real shape of the final image. I looked at your SB a bit, and you definitely know what you're doing when it comes to blocking out these kinds of shapes in your finals, so why not do it at this stage?

    The image you've got there is quite nice, compositionally, but as Lightship says, it's not really a swamp. The green stuff has a toxic goo feel, rather than anything natural or even magical. Magic swamps do tend to use a little colour - blues, yellows, purples, and yes, greens - but not this kind of fluorescent green. And while they do have sharp shapes at times, they tend to be somewhat curved, organic ones.

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    Agreed with the above.
    Is the one you selected number 11 on your thumb list? If so i'd say that's one of the less swamp-y looking of the thumbnails.
    Keep working on it. I'm curious how this project will turn out.
    It doesn't cost You much to leave a comment in my sketchbook, and it can help me a lot.

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  7. #5
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    Though it's nice to see you doing lots of thumbnails (though it might be worth using couple gray values on them too) you repeat the same, spiky, vertical elements a lot in most of those. 99% of them rely on something being spiky and/or going up (usually all the way to the edge of the card), so I would suggest you to, like Lightship said, do bit more research on different types of swamp and explore a bit more in your thumbs.
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    Thank you for the comments and thoughts Lightship69, Revidescent, Gildorek and TinyBird. This is great!

    You're right about that the first thumbnail doesn't look at a swamp at all. Great advice about the colors!
    I kind of lack the discipline to be thinking in the beginning stages of my work. I want to work fast and want to get a nice composition down. The reference part mostly start after I chosen my sketch to work out.

    So normally I would do these in Photoshop but Revidescent gave this nice advice of doing some thumbnails with markers. This is what I've got:

    Attachment 1293411Attachment 1293412

    I'm still looking for a nice mood for this image. We can have the grey / evil desolated swamp or a nice and bright full of live swamp.

    Here are my thoughts about my thumbnails:
    • A: I think this could be a nice scene once worked out, but it doesn't have the feeling of a swamp. The hanging tree is too much in focus.
    • B: This is one of my favorites. It conveys a nice an tranquil swamp early in the morning with cool shadows and warm highlights.
    • C: I think this one has potential. The idea is to have a swamp with big grass that is creating a sort of tunnel
    • D: Here the front tree should be shrinked to get more the feeling of a plain with hanging trees and little vegetation. I like the sky, it creates a nice mood.
    • E: The tree is too much in focus but I like the idea of dark magical forest with a swamp full of rare animals.
    • F: Also a favorite. A foggy swamp with little or no vegetation and life. I the distance you can vaguely see some hills.


    If I would chose, I would go for 'B', because it also has the most depth in it.
    Once a thumbnails has been chosen, I start gathering references and rework the image.

    I'm more than curious to hear everyone's thoughts about this!

    Regards,
    Lino

  9. #7
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    Hello Lyno,

    I can't critique your progress as I am a beginner; but I felt I should mention a download from CA, it is "Sammy Hall's Evoke the Dragon" 2-parter in which he takes the viewer through the process of creating an image. The first part deals excessively with thumbnails and how he uses them, how he takes a pencil thumbnail to the next step, and the step after that. It is quite informative, and still on sale. I can only recommend it.

    -> http://theartdepartment.org/download...oke-the-dragon

  10. #8
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    I like E to be honest. Maybe put in a downed branch foreground element or something to the left and move the focus tree a tad to the right (1/3), but that's the one I would go for.

    When designing your compositions be weary of things like in A and E, where an element is about half-width of the canvas. Just cuts it straight down the middle.
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  11. #9
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    Hey guys, thanks!
    I just bought the Sammy Hall's Evoke the Dragon videos and I'm watching them right now, it looks like great material. Thank you for the suggestion!

    I also wanted to say that I will be away for a couple of days so expect regular updates again later next week.

    Thank you for the support!

  12. #10
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    I'm back and have an update!
    I'm working out 'E' :

    Attachment 1301338 Attachment 1301337

    I still need to create some color contrast too. This image leans too much towards the greens.
    I'm looking forward hearing your thoughts.

    I also wanted to say that I really enjoyed watching Sammy Hall's videos. He thought me that I have to think more about every stroke I'm making.

    Thank you.

  13. #11
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    Wow, look at this versus your first painting- good job here.

    I think it's wise that you're looking at the image at a small scale. It's good to do because they're going to print small, YES, but it's always good to do with an image. An image you can see from across the room (or shrunken digitally) and clearly make out is an image with a strong foundation and shapes that are working to serve your composition. Right now your image is looking really strong when shown smaller and you've begun to establish a sense of depth.

    Right now I'd simply urge you to keep going. Remember the color of the atmosphere, or your "fog" and use that to help push things further back and some things further up, a well as helping you begin to diversify your color palette. Generally I start with a dominant color and change things according to that- it's really not a bad way to begin a painting in my opinion (so I'd say you're fine). Just keep working- and like you said at the bottom- think about everything you're doing.
    Last edited by Quigleyer; August 15th, 2011 at 01:54 PM.
    "She took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?"

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  14. #12
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    Yep I'd agree with that! damn good job, loads better keep it comming through dont relax

    all the best matey
    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=209918 = my Sketchbook

  15. #13
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    Thank you both of you!
    Here is my progress:

    Attachment 1301485 Attachment 1301486

    I tried to create more depth by overlapping my forms and I created some 'peeking windows' by creating dark values on lighter values.

    Please met me know what you think!

  16. #14
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    I think you've done a good job framing the edge of the picture with darker values, it draws the eye to the centre of the image.

    One point though, swamps are usually flat because that's where all the water from other places seeps into the ground and right now it looks as though there's a hill in the backround, or a slope. That's just an opinion though. It could be a magical swamp!
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  17. #15
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    Thank you Caspia, you're right about the feeling of the hill. My image needed more plains to show of the slow moving water.

    Attachment 1301959 Attachment 1301960

    I think this image is nearly finished and I'm looking forward to your comments!

    Time to pick the next topic! Mountain

  18. #16
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    Hey man, I'd tone down the Lense flair sun thing and move it to the right or left a bit, not smack in the middle (like to the right, in between those two trees, but not PERFECTLY, ya know?). Other than that- I think you gone done it.
    "She took the ice cube trays out of the freezer. What kind of a sick bitch takes the ice cube trays out of the freezer?"

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  20. #17
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    Hi,
    I can realy give you any advise, because I am a very beginner in speedpaintings,
    but when i see your last painting, it looks realy nice (respect bro), but some things i have to say:

    there are some parts that needs to be finished yet like in the bottom center, is there some white I can't figure out why it's there.

    and give it a bit of life to it, a bird that is flying away in the distance, some leaves that are falling, an animal that is looking at you from behind a tree, a fish in the water, ....

  21. #18
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    Thank you both for the tips.

    I had the feeling the composition wasn't guiding the viewer enough so I added more depth to the image by making the fields of grass going into perspective (red marks). In my previous piece they were all horizontal.
    I also removed the sunlight and realized it's more realistic to have a light source in the middle and darker at the top because of the leaves and branches in the top of the trees (purple mark).

    I think it's a step forward but I still have to break the values in the mid and foreground. They are very much the same. It feels too flat. It's a close shot so I will have to everything possible to create a nice depth.


    Curious to hear what everyone thinks and thanks again for sticking with me, much appreciate it !

    Attachment 1304280

    Attachment 1304281
    Last edited by Lyno; August 19th, 2011 at 02:19 PM.

  22. #19
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    Hi matey

    Congrats man you took all the advice and pulled it together! and yet you still did it in your own style and more importantly you did it really well, That is a classic game card image and I cant wait for you to have a crack at some more.

    I would just say If you do some more cards from your set then add them to this thread so that people know where you're coming from and can see the progress.

    well done again matey and all the best
    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=209918 = my Sketchbook

  23. #20
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    I love following your progress here. The image is really going well.

    I don't know if you did it on purpose, but it seems like that patch of grass in the middle stands out a lot.

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    Very inspiring work, everything that needed to be said has pretty much been said already, so I just wanted to let you know that I'm really enjoying your progress and improvements!

  25. #22
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    Wow thank you everyone, it is very motivational and I learn a lot too reading all of your comments !

    The patch of grass shouldn't be the focus so I lightened up the light at the back and pushed the saturation and detail in some parts of the painting to lead the eye.

    Attachment 1305655 Attachment 1305656

    I think this is my final at this moment. I will be adding my other paintings and wips in this thread too.

    So just to be clear again, I'm not working for Wizards at the moment but it is a goal I want to achieve. That is way I started with this thread to improve my drawings by trying to recreate a card in my own way.
    My next subject will be 'Mountain'. I updated my first post with the swamp image.

    Thank you again for watching and giving your comments, I really appreciate it and it keeps me motivated!

    Thanks,
    Lino

  26. #23
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    hey lyno, very cool project

    i'm still a bit lost with the swamp image, Although swamps don't always have to be dark and scary it could use some more atmosphere and light to guide the eye

    did a quick overpaint to show what i mean

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  28. #24
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    I totally like polydrawer's consideration for atmosphere. Your work is looking tight Lino!

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    +1 for the atmosphere, although in the corners I'd multiply it more so you don't lose too many details.

    It's a little green for my taste to be a black/dark swamp card, I worry it might read to the player as a green card before a black one. Maybe consider pulling back the saturation a tiny bit. Then again they don't all have to be the same. Nice job all in all, totally looks like a legit card bud

  30. #26
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    Thank you! I liked the other image too but I think some atmosphere adds some more interest to this piece and I also have a green to brown contrast. I guess this is better:
    Attachment 1305965

    Now that I have another look at it, I think I flattened the piece too much and it lost a lot of the feeling I liked in the previous version.
    I'm going to make another version with more atmospheric but I'm going to stay in the colder tones and trying to keep the feeling of the previous version.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Lyno; August 21st, 2011 at 04:47 PM.

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  32. #27
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    I'm a little concerned that it's not "finished" enough. Even though the cards are very, very tiny, they pack a lot of detail. I know a guy that has done some work for wizards and he puts a crazy amount of detail in all his work. You should check out his stuff: http://www.rahnart.com

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    Hm, I second MisterBoo's comment, perhaps if you "finish" your drawing a bit more, in that you work on getting rid of some of the sketchiness, particularly on the foreground? For example the leaves of the vern that is close to us, if you refine it and it's surroundings I'm sure it'll give a much more finished impression .

    Unless you were already going to do that of course, in which case nevermind me. Still enjoying the process, you've definitely improved this piece by a mile from where it first started (the green spikey rocks thing).

  34. #29
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    I wish I knew what Wizards looked for specifically. In MY opinion, it looks finished. I like it to look a little painterly. But is that what they want? I guess you could think of it as a wager: Is it likely they may like painterly fine, but they don't dislike tight rendering. Or is it likely they like tight, and dislike painterly?

    If I had to wager, I would bet on them disliking painterly just to be safe. I don't think they would ever dislike tight, so it seems like the safe bet.

    MisterBoo should tell Chris Rahn to stop by and tell us

    I think the painting is terrific. I look forward to seeing the rest. And by the way, I have the same dream as you. Doing cards and book covers. If I can help you in any way, let me know, and maybe we can be helpful to each other.

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    No crits here-- I just want to say I enjoy seeing your process, especially the bit with the thumbnails. Whenever I decide to tackle environments (iiiiintimidating!) I'm going to do the same. Can't wait to see your next card.

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