Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grim Prarie Trails - Monsters

I had the pleasure of doing some work for Pinnacle Entertainment Group's recently published 'Grim Prairie Trails', the latest Deadlands Reloaded book. I contributed 3 monster spot illustrations which you can view below and enjoy some descriptions of the creatures as well!
 First up is the Hodag. In short, it's a zombie bull. I was particularly excited to tackle this piece because I knew there would be a lot of opportunities to flesh out some nasty looking details. I threw in some maggots and flies, purple and green discoloration to show that it's rotting, lots of uncovered and torn muscle, and some flesh slopping off into puddles. The only downside to working on a piece featuring this much gore is the reference hunt in preparation for the piece. I looked up a lot of depressing photos of dead and decaying animals, some more brutal to look at than others, but this kind of research is ultimately necessary in order to come up with a successful piece. I probably wouldn't have thought to add in the purple discoloration if it weren't for some of the photos I came across.
Raven Mocker
 Next up is the Raven Mocker. This one was a bit of a challenge for a couple reasons. For one, I had to paint the creature appearing out of smoke, which is something I haven't really done before and it took me a few repaints to get something I was happy with. In the end I'm happy with how the transition turned out. The other challenge was that I had to show that the creature ethnically appeared Native American. I thought the easiest way for this to come across would be by skin tone and facial structure, but the description in the art order specifically stated that they have pale white skin. So I looked up a bunch portraits of Native Americans on good-ole Google and I noticed a particular hairstyle that seemed to come up in a few of the images, so I tried to use the braided hair to allude to the ethnicity of the beast. This was another brutal search for reference though, as the creature had to look emaciated. It was pretty tough to look at some of the reference, though again it was very crucial to making the piece successful.
 Lastly we have the Terrormental, probably my favorite out of the batch. Throw earth, wind, water, and fire into a blender and you get this walking horror. The idea of having to incorporate all 4 elements into this one creature was a little intimidating at first but through sketching things out I came up with a way to blend them all together. The walking mountain of mud makes up the earth, the swirling leaves hint at the wind, the waterfall coming from the tree stump for water, and the molten core shows the fire. This piece was a huge blast to work on and I'm really happy with the end result. I got lost in painting all of the slopping mud and the fiery glowy parts.

Thanks for checking out my new work, I hope you enjoyed reading about the pieces. Don't forget to swing by the Pinnacle Store and pick up a copy of 'Grim Prarie Trails' where there's much more art to be devoured. Until next time!

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