Archive for the ‘digital painting’ Category

Starfarer: Celestial Spheres


The world of Starfarer has lovely 3d planets which roll beneath whatever chaos you are sure to wreak out in space. It is only right, for what good is space without planets to fight over?

Below: Flying an absurdly over-armed frigate past a jungle-covered planet.

Read the rest of this post on the Starfarer development blog

Dredmor Skill Icons


I’ve just finished the latest round of revisions to the entire pile of spell icons. This is just one task which is part of the massive spell overhaul we’re doing for Dredmor’s beta 0.92 (when I’m not getting distracted drawing the disembodied heads of founding members of Gaslamp Games).

Man, there are a lot of these buggers, but they do get easier (and better) every time I redraw them. Telling you anything about them would ruin the fun*, so I’ve just thrown together a collection of some of my favorite spell and skill icons for your enjoyment:

dungeons of dredmor skill and spell icons

Still have to draw animated effects for most of these. Urrgh.

* whereas “the fun” refers to how much fun I have as people try to guess what the hell some of these skills do.

[Originally written for the Gaslamp Games blog]

Starfarer: Pew Pew!


Or: Weapon design & graphics modularity in Starfarer

A game which revolves around combat in space naturally places great importance on the weapons uses in said space. In short: They must look really cool. Here’s a picture to show how I’ve been going about this:

Click to view full size. You see here the process of taking a weapon design from concept art to pixel-art sprite to in-game screenshot. The barrels of the Heavy Autocannon — a nice standard warship cannon — recoil individually upon firing.

And how about some background on what influenced this outlook on displaying weapons?

Read the rest of this entry on the Starfarer blog

I don’t know what this is but I want to do the art for it


Painted these while daydreaming about tile-based games:

What is it, the world map of an RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world, a spiritual successor to Fallout? (The only Fallout.) Is it Armageddon Empires with charmingly re-interpreted graphics and non-awful UI?

(From a design and aesthetics standpoint, I admitĀ  it’s actually a combination of the idea of Danc’s Miraculously Flexible Game Prototyping Tiles with a reaction to Arne’s art style, particularly how he draws terrain, as you can see in the Cortex Command campaign map.)

Dredmor Comics: The Curse, page 1


Okay, done. With page one of five. (This is going to take longer than I expected.)

This is a comic I’m drawing to promote Dungeons of Dredmor which has been written by the talented Mr. Vining, our lead programmer, and illustrated by myself. I’m going to do these as a series, so uh, stay tuned for more in the next … some period of time.

Click the image below to view the first page.

(Yeah, it doesn’t fit too well on this 450px-wide layout. I should fix that one of these days.)

Gaslamp Portrait (sketches)


[Posted to the Gaslamp Games blog.]

For the Great Gaslamp Webpage Revival I’ve started drawing steampunk portraits of the crew of the good ship Gaslamp Games.

(click to view full size)

From left to right: Nicholas, deranged technologist/bootlegger; David (myself), foppish art-lord; Derek, internet-tube engineer; and Daniel, merchant of ludology and man of science.

I’ll probably make them more overtly steampunk to fit the theme of the Gaslamp site, maybe with a sepia-tone photograph and vignette effect. Yeah, I stole my pose from a picture of Oscar Wilde; the rest I just winged. It’s hard to draw people you haven’t hung out with much in person (Derek in this case) or who are mysterious and don’t put pictures of themself on Facebook (Daniel the engima); Nicholas is probably the easiest to draw because he’s got crazy mathematician hair and is just … a real character. And for myself, it’s very hard to try to be objective with a portrait; It feels narcissistic. Not that I’m against narcissism as-such, it just feels like it could be very crass, indulgent, and cheap if done poorly. Rembrandt got away with self portraits, of course; And there’s Albrecht Durher and Egon Schiele, clearly narcissistic, but they’re allowed because they’re that good. But I digress: The website will be fun.



Trying some things. Keeping saturation below 50%.

Darklands is on the mind. I love gothic sallets.

Painter’s Progress: Dungeons of Dredmor Title Screens


It’s been a fairly brutal crunch of art-making for the Dungeons of Dredmor beta, so pardon me if I part with the greatest part of my usual verbosity [edit: Who am I kidding, I’m going to ramble on and on for the fun of it].

I knew it was serious when I started being able to walk into the Tim Horton’s down the block and they knew my order — extra large coffee, black — without me having to say anything.

Part of the polish I’ve been wrapping up to make Dredmor presentable is the Very Important title screen art. First impressions are important; the opening screen has to be /totally cool/ and show off the spirit of the game.

I present to you the evolution of the title screen painting and, in turn, my growth as an artist over the last year and a half.

Here’s the first title painting I did, in the vein of the Doom title art . The date was October 13, 2008, a month or two after we first began the epic re-working of Dredmor from Nicholas’ oft-abandoned side-project into the flagship release (if you will) from Gaslamp Games.

(click to view at full size)

Looking back, my god was was this ever an awkward image — the hesitant painting, the gradient background. The digital canvas was a frightening expanse whose threshold frightened me to step over. And yet the core composition, based on the Doom artwork, was set, as well as the first tentative interpretations of our cast of sprite monsters drawn by previous artists.

Next, a major revision from sometime in 2009. Though the character is essentially the same, the shading is more confident, the color-dodge and airbrush tools are well-abused (both artistic crutches, I think), and we see the hint of a background.

Then we have a strange re-interpretation of the character in a more painterly style, with stronger shading, done with the best of intentions. The eyebrows are starting to take off, as is only Good and Right.

[If you can’t be bothered to draw every bloody brick, you aren’t worthy of drawing a wall! And see how the sword and wand switched hands? And how the blue of the Blobby offsets the blue of the sky? I enjoy this!]

Finally, from just last night on May 16 2010, over a year and a half from my beginning work on Dredmor (having laughed, having cried, having been weened on the wretched wonderful black fluid vomited from the infernal machine in the corner of Gaslamp’s old wood-paneled basement-office), … finally we have something more presentable for the Dredmor beta, which is due any day now.

(And who am I kidding, I’m going to touch this thing up further for the actual release of Dredmor.)

Oh, and thanks to Nicholas, here’s the latest trailer for Dungeons of Dredmor on Youtube.

Against a Background Painterly


These were for an ocean-themed kid’s game. I tend toward darker subject matter, but I found it was a provocative exercise for myself to make work aimed toward children.

Click the image to view the full background.

I painted these for a project that seems unlikely to ever see light. At that, I am a touch bitter about the effort I put into it because I never saw payment, but at the same time they never saw my signature on a contract, so I’m going to use these for my portfolio to get what mileage out of them that I can.


  1. Get a contract or down-payment before putting any serious effort into a project.
  2. I love painting backgrounds.

I’ve not had the problem of not getting paid for a job very often at all. Usually I’m working on a very personable basis with a client in the form of an individual hobbyist or small-time game designer/programmer who is enthusiastic about their project and has a small reputation to foster just like I do. No, I’m not going to badmouth anyone because everyone I’ve dealt with personally in nearly every project has been truly excellent and willing to work past any rough spots that come up — it’s just when multiple levels of contractors and investors are involved that a personal connection is never made and it’s easy to get screwed because someone never thought to think of one thing or another something and is too far from the guy on the wacom tablet to care enough to make it right.

It’s straightforward: With emotional distance, it’s easy to say “It’s not my problem”. We all do the same thing in different areas of life.

Actually, I do recall a certain reptilian web hosting company that I’m a bit mad about. I figured out too late that I was in fact sub-contracting, and their owner was jerking around the guy between me and him. Meanwhile I got offered a job in Texas at this company — but I never got paid for my work.
Maybe I just don’t understand how business works.

Let me restate my lessons:

  1. Get a contract or down-payment on a project before putting any effort into it when working with big companies, investors, or multiple levels of subcontracting.

This is how we do it at Gaslamp


Instead of real work, let me show you the Gaslamp Games dispute resolution process.
(I’m the difficult artist-type on the right.)

Click the link for full size.