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By RalphHorsley

Dragon #392 cover.
©Wizards of the Coast.

Acrylic, Approx 26" x 23"

Original artwork SOLD

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I had the great pleasure of working on the latest Dragon magazine cover. A piece which had lots of fun elements to work with, but which also presented a challenge with the composition.

One of the key aspects I enjoy about illustration is the storytelling, and this brief had a compelling narrative. An Elf, battered and beaten, is cornered by a fearsome War Troll, when a Dwarf Cleric intervenes by throwing up a defensive ring of obsidian spikes, then fighting back with her earth's grasp power. Oh, and of course this needed to work in two formats, the full one above, and a second cropped version for use internally.

I decided to emphasise the cornered predicament of our heroes by using the Troll as the framing device, and also to elevate our point of view. Looking down upon someone helps make them appear more vulnerable. Whilst placing the Troll in the foreground like this gives him that imposing mass and big silhouette.

The Trolls body and sword provide a neat triangular window through which to see our protagonists. I combined this with stronger 'spot' lighting upon them to really make the beleagured heroes our focus. The white Elf shield also aids in letting the Dwarf head stand out clearly. Important as she is the source of the action with her spell going off.

The earth's grasp presented the biggest challenge. An illustration is a 'frozen moment', yet the spell required some clarification, and a sense of movement. The Dwarf seizes a handful of dirt, throws it into the air, where it transforms into a grasping stone hand that grabs, and starts to crush, the Troll's face. The trailing dust cloud allowed me to cover both those bases. Plus the swirling 's-shape' is given energy by breaking the frame set up by the Troll, and is further emphasised by the contrasting, saturated, red of it's magical effect.

Initially this might give the impression of a final stand, but really it is just the start of the Fightback!
Image details
Image size
984x935px 299.59 KB
© 2010 - 2021 RalphHorsley
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SandroRybak's avatar
wow i dont know whats going on there but this is crazy
plugaruseby's avatar
Is REALLY hard to work in acrilycs, BRAVO !!!
RalphHorsley's avatar
I really enjoy them as amedium - lots of flexibility.
plugaruseby's avatar
aha, I tried to paint but I don't like how they mix, how in the world did you mix them to make a smooth transition, pls tell me, and on what do you paint?? tnx.
RalphHorsley's avatar
Previously I haven't bothered trying to get a smooth transition. leaving marks in can add texture and interest. however I have now started using various gel mediums, and they make blending a lo teasier.
plugaruseby's avatar
aha, tnx, gel mediums, got it :)
Pluto52's avatar
An awesome piece of art…=D..beautiful my friend...
MonaParvin's avatar
wow stunning work! :love:
I request this work to be featured in one of my groups :iconsoulcollectors: :hug:
Wolfzero-kun's avatar
Ragnarok6664's avatar
:devil: Woohoo! Glad I "found out" about you, some innocent googling and voi'la a terrific gallery! :devil:
RalphHorsley's avatar
Great - thanks for stopping by :D
Patrixy's avatar
This is truly a piece of awssomeness!
RalphHorsley's avatar
Thansk very much :)
ogrebear's avatar
Go Mr Troll GO!
tycarey's avatar
Fantastic work!
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