Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Grim


--Greg Manchess

This is a quick portrait study of one of the characters from my novel, Above The Timberline.

I suppose this old bear, Grim, has been with me for most of my painting life. It showed up in art school when I found that painting the yellow-white fur of polar bears offered me great insight into painting with white pigment. In different types of light and in different temperatures, white can become the most fascinating of colors.

So perhaps the discovery of the subtle use of white became characterized in something animated that lived in all forms of light. An anthropomorphized color. This time, in a polar bear.

The bears of my story, though, do not talk and certainly do not wear armor. They are dangerous and wild, and yet, a little more than one would expect.

Painting this little portrait was an exercise in capturing character with quick pigment.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spectrum 24 Award Winners

Photo © JJ Torres

This past weekend was Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. Aside from being an amazing convention full of demos, panels, artists and friends, the real highlight of the weekend was the Spectrum 24 Awards Ceremony. Held at the beautiful Folly theatre, we were treated to an evening of stand-up comedy, live dancing, and some amazingly heartfelt speeches.

In addition to the book awards, Kristine and Colin Poole awarded their Spectrum Rising Star Award, and we got a sneak peak into J. Anthony Kosar's process of creating this year's Spectrum Award, which is a jaw dropping work of art.



SPECTRUM RISING STAR:

Alessandra Pisano




ADVERTISING CATEGORY

Silver Award: Greg Ruth, "Daredevil"


Gold Award: Bayard Wu, "Hunting"




BOOK CATEGORY

Silver Award: Edward Kinsella III, "Danneee"


Gold Award: Brom, "Lamia"




COMIC CATEGORY

Silver Award: Dave McKean, "Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash"


Gold Award: Jeremy Wilson, "Chimera Brigade #5"




CONCEPT ART CATEGORY

Silver Award: Iain McCaig, "Minion 5"


Gold Award: Sean Murray, "Court of the Dead: Voxxingard"




DIMENSIONAL CATEGORY

Silver Award: Akihito, "Nephila"


Gold Award: Jesse Thompson, "Dress-Up Frog Legs"




EDITORIAL CATEGORY

Silver Award: Galen Dara, "Seven Salt Tears"



Gold Award: Tim O'Brien, "Beyonce 'Lemonade'"




INSTITUTIONAL CATEGORY

Silver Award: Ed Binkley, "William Finds Some Flowers and a Giant"


Gold Award: Bill Carman, "Ms. Hatter and a Smile"




UNPUBLISHED CATEGORY

Silver Award: Jeffrey Alan Love, "Orange Skies"


Gold Award: Karla "Oritz" Ortiz, "The Death I Bring"




2017 GRAND MASTER AWARD

Bill Sienkiewicz


Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Blogger: Victor Adame Mínguez

-By Jesper Ejsing


I met Victor Adame Minguez half a year ago at a GP in Rotterdam. I had admired his work for awhile but seeing it all spread out on the table in form of huge posters and playmats I really fell in love with his style. I love his sense of colors and vibrancy to light and atmosphere. His shadows are always filled with colors and the light he paints seems to bounch all over the place. But it wasn´t until this last set of Magic the Gathering: Amonketh that I had my jaw drop. When the mummy procession painting was revealed, I said to myslef; "How the hell did he get the light so believable and cool? I gotta know! but I cannot just ask him. I will sound like a stalker or a fanboy or a fellow artist trying to rip his style and Technic..." Then it dawned on me. I would ask him to write an article for muddycolors about that specific painting and it will not sound weird. Well here it is. in his own words...

-Jesper


Hello everyone! My name is Victor Adame Mínguez and I work as a freelance artist for Magic, the Gathering. Today we’re going over the process of creating one of my favourite pieces of magic art I’ve done; Anointed Procession, for the egiptian-inspired mtg set Amonkhet. Before we dive in I would like to thank Jesper Ejsing and our host Muddy Colors for the opportunity.


A little disclaimer, this was a “simple” piece for me to make, all the elements fell into place smoothly during the initial stages, I was confident with the direction I was going to take and the art description was quite fitting for my style, and goes a little like this:

A procession of servant-mummies are carrying corpses of defeated warriors from inside the monument. The bodies hang limp -- they are clearly dead. It looks almost like a funeral procession, except that the dead are being carried so callously, like taking out the trash (not to mention the fact that they're being carried by undead mummies!). Somewhere in the frame, the Planeswalker GIDEON witnesses this procession of the dead. He is just now learning about this world's callous treatment of its dead, so maybe he looks deeply concerned, brow furrowed in dismay.

Focus: The procession of dead bodies
Mood: Living warriors went into the monument... dead warriors come out.

Pretty cool right? So one thing I was practicing the most during that time was the making of both thumbnails and maquettes, thumbnails are essential to figure out the composition on a piece and work especially well here since the final outcome is a 4 x 5 cm image. Unfortunately I did not keep an image of the thumbnail but it’s pretty close to what the underpainting looks like:

Underpainting

For this one I knew I wanted to use a muted palette and limit it as much as I could, for those who follow my work know I like to go all out on color so this was a welcome change of pace, it would also contrast well with the previous world of Kaladesh. The bright but scattered light, fog, and neutral tones are very reminiscent of the early morning, which was the feel I wanted to convey here, to make a funeral procession an everyday thing, something calm and quiet, mundane for the people in his plane but alien to the eyes of the spectator, and speaking of which, the figure that stands out is that of Gideon, we did not only want to place the planeswalker in this foreign, uncomfortable environment, but rather place us the viewer there, in the place of Gideon watching the scene in awe and horror. After throwing in some lines this is the sketch I sent:

Line art

It was approved only with one change in Gideon’s armor. I like sketching this way because it gives me a better understanding of limits and shapes, the lines also help me out posing objects while I shoot reference, which brings me to reference; what I use for the most part are maquettes and models, I often pose myself or have friends pose, this one I had a friend serve as Gideon and the mummies were those 5 dollar anatomic dummies you get in art supplies stores, except painted white and dressed with some toilet paper drapery and cloned times 20 with the magic of photography. How well you use reference will dictate the outcome of the piece, it will provide the light, shapes and even proportions to turn the final image into something believable.

I favor real life reference over 3D, first because I don’t know how to do 3D, second, it allows me to take time away from the screen for which my eyes are thankful, and third, it gives me a better understanding of three-dimensional objects, to go around them, hold in your hand and see how they react to different sources of light will help you have a better feel for those things.
Lastly the final image, this was done digitally like most of my work.

“Anointed Procession” for Magic: The Gathering, ©Wizards of the Coast 2017, Art Director: Cynthia Sheppard.

And the card itself. I’m quite happy with the outcome and response from the player base, the colors play well with the white borders of the card, it is readable at that size which is imperative to the success of any MtG painting and to the card itself, the player is able to recognize the card and what it does with just a simple glimpse of the art which speeds up the game. (note that I also play mtg and I shamessly admit that this card being so, so good makes me quite happy as well).

Thanks!
- Víctor


You can see more of Victor's work at: http://victoradameart.com