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The Battle WIP roughs by Inkthinker The Battle WIP roughs by Inkthinker
Here's a rundown of the passes I did to build up this illustration for the RPG core rulebook Fantasy Craft.

The first thing I get is a description from the Art Director. This illustration was described as:

An epic battle scene with humans, dwarves, elves, orks and other fantasy races. Something like this [sample image], but add a hulking ogre wielding a spiked wrecking ball on a chain that smashes into several soldiers. Make sure there is plenty of chaos and spraying blood on the battlefield. Also vary the weapons and armor – I want each race to have its own distinct look.

And that's about all I have to start with.

From there I drew out the top rough sketch on a Layer in Manga Studio using the pen tool... there's pencil tools and such for roughs, but I enjoy sketching with the same tools I use for cleanup. In a very real sense it feels a bit like sketching with ballpoint pen, and I do very little erasing. The object of the initial rough is NOT to put in detail! It's important to just get a feel for the loose blocking of the composition, where the shapes will go and where the spaces will be left, etc. Detail at this stage will only be confusing, unless it's a focal aspect of the illustration.

That rough sketch is cleanup up on a second Layer with a more comprehensive (but still very rough) sketch, and that's what I send back to the AD for confirmation. The Art Director will let me know if there's anything they want changed, and if I need to resend it for confirmation again or just proceed with the cleanup, incorporating whatever changes they required.

The final image is the cleanup "inks", drawn on yet another Layer. The trick there, I think, is to not be too intimidated by all the chaos going on on. You just start on one side and work your way back and forth until you've gotten all of it. I think I started with the background and moved forward, doing the tiny stuff first and then working up to the bigger characters, though to be honest I probably bounced back and forth a lot. Some details, like tattoos and insignia and such is put together at the very end, after all the figure work is done.

All the work was done with a 9x12 Intuos lap-tablet, and drawn directly in Manga Studio EX v.3, no trees needed. ©2008 Crafty Games. Feel free to ask any questions that you've got, and I'll see if I can't clear it up some.
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roronora Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009
Yeah, you're friggin insane.
weisen1 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009  Professional Filmographer
Amazing how much detail you squished into there with such a vague description.
The overall effect is overwhelming and the fact that you did a compositional sketch really shows through in the end.

And thank goodness for saving trees : )
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I like to think of it as "open" rather than "vague"... One of the things I enjoy about my work is that I can be almost lawyerly in determining how to interpret a description... if it doesn't directly contradict the text, and I think I can make it work, then I'm free to try it. Worst that usually happens is that they tell me "no", and I have to fall back to a more traditional interpretation.

As it is, I did kinda contradict the text, in that I made the battle much larger than originally indicated by the reference image, and used Giants instead of Ogres with the ball-and-chain ("Ogres" in FC terms are the 8-foot guys with the horns), but the AD loved the rough sketch so I ran with it.
Steelpengu Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
You are insane.
JohnSu Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, so much is happening it is amazing!

I am surprised that one soldier with the spear isn't using it to nab him some "low hanging fruit"
katheb Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009  Professional Filmographer
I was just hinking the same thing hah

I mean he is right there

he could knock the giant aout COLD!
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Hahaha... which soldier with the spear? :D
JohnSu Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh whoops!

the soldier with the spear who is standing just under the ogre's pouch and looking at it.
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Ah. I think he's waiting for the wizard next to him to do something with his glowy hands.
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Submitted on
August 8, 2009
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