this is step by step of my illustration "Fighter". It's one of my favourite illustrations, and also one that open the doors of Wizards of the Coast for me.
Illustrations is 50 x 40 cm, made in ecoline (water based liqid colors) and gouache on paper. The most of the illustration is painted in ecoline, and gouache is just for highlights. Paper is Fabriano artistico 300 g/m2.
Here is step by step process.
step 1. drawing and composition. Paper is already streched on a wooden board. This is important cause at the end after a lot of damping paper and work in wet technique paper will be completely flat.
step 2. more detailed drawing
step 3. inked drawing
step 4. first washes wet in wet. I use 10 cm vide brush for damping the complete surface of the paper, and splashing a lot of colors with big watercolor brushes.
step 5. I wasn't satisfied with washes so I put another wash
step 6. third wash - this time the masses of color are right and I can procede to paint character in next step
step 7. first block of colors on the character's armor. In process of blocking colors it's important to paint volume (shadows and lights on the surface).
step 8. blocking part of armor and equipment, and adding texture
step 9. painting face and blocking local colors ona last parts of equipment
step 10. adding texture and painting details, work on scale mail and chainmail, adding highlights on some parts
step 11. polishing deatils, adding some more texture and final details
step 12. legs are a bit slim so I paint them little wider, some final highlighting and softening edges with dry brush. When illustration is finished I cut it out from the board.
This is wonderful and I especially like how someone finally admits to how they got their foot in the door. But please, can you tell us just HOW you got this piece in front of someone at WotC? Did you mail a tear sheet? Meet them at a con?
yoyo - I can't remember but I think it was 3 days from empty paper to finish
Artfix - it's one of those unpredictable things in the life. Now here is the complete story: I was trying to break into the Wizards since 2006. I even go 2 times to USA (Comic con San Diego 2006. and Gen con 2007.) with primal goal to show my work to WotC art directors. Both times without success. It was a huge effort for me (espcially financial) cause I'm from middle Europe and costs was huge for me. I've spent $8000 in total on both trips and at that time monthly salary was about $800. I've made some other contacts with some other smaller companies but my portfolio wasn't good enough for WotC at that time. Though it was very preciouss experience to meet great artists, get their portfolio feedback, advices about jobs, art directors, art techniques etc., and see what's going on in real world. Of course I've got some feedback from WotC ad's but I admitt I was a bit discouraged after 2 attempts without actuall success.
Few years passed, I didn't have enough money for US trips, so I worked on other things and projects.
This year (2011) after sharpening more skills I've got an idea to make few pieces in portfolio that will be exactly what WotC AD's want to see. I've made slowly those illustrations in between other jobs and commissions and prepairing to send to Wizards art drop. At that time Todd Lockwood who helped me a lot with advices, gave me blog address - Art Order. It's blog by Jon Schindehette who is AD in Wizards. Now here is the final part: in that blog there are always some art challenges, and at that time current challenge was "Ultimate Human Fighter". So I've made as best D&D looking fighter as I can and got selected in best 6 out of 71 works.
(here is the link: http://theartorder.com/2011/04/page/4/ )
I was thrilled for being noticed, and with that illustration I've finished those few works I wanted to send to art drop... but Jon was quicker and send me an offer if I want to work with Wizards of the Coast! I can't describe how lucky I felt at that moment, and that was start of my coopertaion. I've got first "trial" assigment - 3 small illustrations for Dragon magazine and then I actually passed the test - to prove I can make the commissioned jobs by deadline and with quality that was presented in portfolio.
... but isn't that ironic? - after 5 years of trying and a lot of money spent - I break in with one single illustration, (but of course on right place in right time...).
Thank you very much indeed for posting that man its both beautiful and inspiring well done for creating it, and I'm impressed with your patience to get at WOC, with patience like that you gaotta be married!! LOL
Man thanks so much for sharing that story! It gives the rest of us a realistic view and encouragement. Because I have submitted to artdrop already without a response. I also participated in the Firaxe art order challenge and my piece never got a critique like it was supposed to lol. Anyway, I will keep up the hard work!
pezz You do realize that thousands of other artists are dissapointed because Mceran was able to submit to WoTC and get the job? IMO, the internet is the worst thing for artists! Every artist applies for every job it seems like.