Archive for October, 2009

Digital Painting: Character Portraits for Aragon Online


I’ve been digitally painting character portraits for the web fantasy rpg/wargame Aragon Online. I’ve turned into a huge perfectionist about these images and have been getting very excited about learning technique.

Unfortunately these are intended to end up as at 80×80 pixels, so I’m quite overdoing my job.

richard_big hildebadt_big pitlag_big

Some thoughts:

  • From my compositions, I can see that I’m clearly quite taken with the use of rich colors with strong black lines and shadows.
  • Rendering of colored light adds something quite expressive and lovely, I think.  (Can I be the Thomas Kinkade of overblown fantasy painting? For all I loathe his artistic practice, he does indeed employ admirable technique.)
  • I saw this page (by Daniel Olafson) on the dramatic effect of painting clouds with a sharp brush and was inspired to take up his approach; I’ve very pleased with the results.
  • I’m trying to experiment with the rendering of different materials. Flat metal/plastic is easy and largely textureless, but I’ve pushed myself a bit with the clouds, the leaves, fur and hair, cloth, and a little with some of the leather. Much more development is needed here. And I seem to really like drawing segmented armor.
  • No smiling is allowed. (Or, note to self: I want to try showing a greater range of expression than “grim determination”, appropriate as it may be for a pack of fantasy warriors.)

(Edit: I’ve also made a post on my gamedev journal showing the progression of painting these images with some discussion of what went into each step.)

I can’t wait to do more. And I admit, I wish I could get paid lots of money to do this all the time, but ideas for future creative projects shall be the subject of another post.




If infernopunk isn’t yet the name of a genre of works inspired somehow by Dante’s Inferno (or, more generally, the medieval conception of hell), …  it should be.  And because someone is going to ask, perhaps the punk implies some kind of post/modern rather than medieval sensibility in approaching the subject and themes surrounding hell. Done.

What are some examples of infernopunk [in video games]? The big one: Id’s Doom.  But the latest I’ve been paying a little attention to in the indie game world is Vic Davis’ Solium Infernum. Outside of video games, there are all kinds of movies and comic books — Hellboy? — , and literature: I think of the Niven/Pournell novel Inferno or Blish’s Black Easter, though I think both of those stick to what is fundamentally a medieval hell upsetting modern sensibilities (which is itself perhaps postmodern?).

Or here’s an angle: Look at what made Blizzard North’s Diablo, the first one in the series, but not Diablo 2 so much — I’d contend that perhaps the difference between the two is that the former is somehow much more infernopunk than the latter (which is a subject fit for its own post). Or, in counterpoint, does Diablo play inferno straight and therefore not count as punk?

… This all came to me this morning reading an infernopunk game idea by some fellow on the GameDev forums and I couldn’t believe that infernopunk didn’t show up on Google. So I had to say it first.

[Image from “Hell“, a painting by Bosch ]

Worlds Within Worlds


So here goes.

I’m a freelance digital artist and I mostly do graphics for computer games — “What, really? You make graphics for video games. How is that a real job?” — Yet here I am, paying the rent. It is not so easy as one might imagine — “What, you have to actually work?” — but  there are worse things I could be doing!

I mean hell, it’s not like I haven’t ‘blogged’ before in various forms, particularly on my GameDev journal, but there is some legitimacy to having this *waves hands at screen*. That! … and a blog, from all I’ve seen, is a great way to populate search engines with your stink, thus I have a certain self-promotional angle here which is ideally good not only for me professionally [if I can manage not to stick my foot in my mouth too hard; I assure you, every sentence is a struggle in self-restraint] … um, not only good for me professionally, but it’ll also fulfill some narcissistic impulse I will readily admit to possessing.

Because, honestly, any artist has to be a narcissistic egotist on some level because they think what they have to express is good enough to unload upon the world whether the world likes it or not. With all the junk in the world, it takes some gall to think you’ve got something to add to it. And maybe I just have to because it’s what I must do. I’m just admitting all of this upfront, openly, and self-critically — (I’ll warn you now, I’m all for self-examination. More on this in future self-examinations.)


I’m going to talk about art, Art (with a capital ‘a’!), digital art, games, drawing comics, game design, game art, game programming, writing, the businesses thereof, and my various struggles within and without it.

With pictures! for you tl:dr folks. (No picture in this post because it’s the first one and I was caught off-guard by the horror of having a silly filler intro remain here and so had to write this whole bit to ameliorate the situation.)