onsdag den 28. oktober 2009

Armored Ascension

This is one more of my illustrations for Magic the Gathering 2010. The fist sketch I did was kind of ok but even when it got approved I still felt it I could do better. To me it was seen too much from the side, the knight was too relaxed and even a little goofy. So I tried to pump up the action. It resulted in the next sketch that i really felt had all the first one lacked. Jeremy agreed and I painted the illustration. I have seen so many digital artist using the burn tool to make it look like a light source is burning away at the edge of things and I wanted to do the same but with paint. I am not sure the result is all I aimed for. Next time I will do the effect first in computer on a color study and then copy it directly in acrylic.

Damn; I like the sketch better than the final. The horse should have been white.

lørdag den 24. oktober 2009

Territorial Baloth

This here illustration is a rare success for me.
I did about five sketches of the Baloth charging forward and they all seemed less aggressive than the picture I had in mind. While cooking dinner I got a glimpse of a solution where the beast had the head held low and I did the thumb while the stew was simmering on the stove. I took a chance and sent it as it were to Jeremy, the artdirector at Wizards, hoping that he could make heads and tail of it. I was actually a little embarrassed having sent such a loose sketch. Having seen some of the other sketches that my fellow artist at magic submits I knew I was way beyond blurred sketching leaning on stick figure...But Jeremy liked the action and trusted me to go on.

So I simply transfered the thumb to a board and did all the detail - well most of the drawing actually - on the board. I have tried for years now to cut the stages of sketching and keeping the drawing fresh and impulsive while jumping directly from composition to final transferring. The rare thing for me is to actually succeed in cutting away the sketching and to seemingly effortlessly do a nice drawing almost from scratch and then proceed to the first layer of paint. If you compare the thumb and the final the bare silhouette is almost identical. I just added details.

I masked out the beast and did the background in coarse strokes and washes of thin acrylic. I use an airbrush to mist the wet paint with water, so that it doesn´t dry up too fast. That way I can control a glazing more precise, I think.

The mouth of the beast was inspired by Jason Chans Malfegor card.

The blood around the mouth was something that I added last because I thought the picture needed some color contrast instead of becoming to monochromatic.

tirsdag den 20. oktober 2009

Goblin Trailguide

This is one of the few cards I did for Zendikar Magic the gathering. I was really trying to do a detailed and rich background without having it confuse the figure. I always mask out the figure with frisket film to keep the main figure clean. It is always tense, when I take of the film.
The first sketch was kind of too nice. Jeremy Jarvis who is the great art director at Wizards, told me to watch out if it became too comical. My background has always been in comics, but doing traditional fantasy I am always aware of not doing it too comic-like. So when he said that I went back to the desk and changed it. I submitted a new sketch and got good to go.

The transferring look like this before I add greytones.
The final has a few things i like: the blanket he has on the backpack is only colored by the first wash. I kind of like that. The face is almost all done very transparent.

lørdag den 6. juni 2009


Here is a magiccard illustration. I was asked to do a owl man wizard with a mirror staff. 
I did 2 versions and the art director Jeremy Jarvis said I could choose one myself. He liked both of them. 
The colors is my favorite combination. red and orange and purple. All of it balanced with grey.
Much to my own disliking I did the mirrored faces in the staff digitally. If the original had been bigger I would have tried to paint it with brushes.

tirsdag den 19. maj 2009

Monstermanual 2

This here is my very first cover for Dungeons and Dragons. The book is: Monster Manual 2.
I still remember christmas 1984 when a friend of mine invited me to play this game he just got for christmas, and I killed my first Rust-monster. Back then, the illustrations inside the book and on the cover, was the only visual reprecentation of the world and the stories that emerged from our minds...and they were magical. I decided that, when I got grown up I would do illustrations like these. I would be Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson and jeff Easly. 
Well I guess I just grew up right now then.

This cover was quite a challenge. it is one thing to make a monster look cool, but it is a great deal more difficult when the anatomy is weird like with the Demogorgon. He has 2 baboon-heads, feet and legs of a lizard and split tentacles from the elbow and down. And a reptile tail. 
When doing the thumb I constantly entangled the tentacles. There is a lot going on there. So I focused on getting the shapes of the arms look tight and interesting and the rest followed from there.  In the thumb I submitted I did not even concentrate on the background or much else but the figure. As long as I had that in place the rest would just have to not cover him up to much or even draw much attention. 
I got one correction...one that I had not seen coming. The art-director was afraid that it looked like one of the tentacles was caressing his crouch! Jesus! I am from Denmark, Land of Naughty; I should have seen that. I shifted the arms a little and we where back on track. 

Then I roughly transfered the thumb to the board. I do this by increasing the size of the thumb from 5 cm to 50cm on a copy-machine. Then smear the back of the copy with grafhite and transfer it by drawing on top of the line on the side that has the lines. Then I draw the final version directly on the board. This way I still keep the drawing proces fresh and spontainously, instead of transfering a neat and fully detailed drawing. I find that it looses a lot of life if I transfer to much. I ink the the whole thing with a pen and add greytones in acrylic. this here version is the final pencil sketch.

After the greytones I take another copy and do a color rough. This is very important to me. The color rough does 2 things. It lets me be bold and testy. When I am satisfied with a color rough I cheat myself not to be nervous when laying colors on the final painting. I have the color rough to prove that everything works. The second thing is that when doing the color rough I already mixed the colors that I am going to use.
The final painting is 50x40 cm on watercolor board. The orange from the color rough has been toned down a little in Photoshop. I kind of like the rough, and wished I had followed it more accurate.

onsdag den 13. maj 2009


The red dragon smashing the adventures is for a Pathfinder cover for Paizo Publishing. 
I always enjoyed drawing situations from roleplaying games. Being a devoted roleplayer myself I draw from experiences via first hand knowledge. 
Well in this painting I wanted the heroes to be in serious trouble. The female has been thrown from the balcony and the fighter is down and burning...but I have left them some hope, since the sword of the man at arms is jutting out from the neck of the dragon. Who knows if it is a mortal wound?
The somewhat simple palette was chosen because of the paper I was painting on. For some reason I used a sheet I got left and thought it was the same thing I usually used, but when laying in the first layer, it felt totally different and kind of soaked into the surface in a whole other way than what I had imagined. So I took it from there and used a more thin way of painting. Kind of like a watercolor way. 
had I known I would have left some of the ornaments in pencil instead of inking them first.

the sketch is a scan of the board as it looks right before I start painting. 

torsdag den 30. april 2009


I got assigned to do 6 covers in a row for Paizo Publishing. Before me they had used Wayne Reynolds and Steven Prescott, and I am a huge fan of both of them. So I really had to up it up a notch to be able to compete with those guys. 
The theme of the covers are a main figure and a widescreen illustration
 behind the figure. 

Here is the steps of the illustration for the main figure:

I start out with a sketch roughly done and focused on the face and the expression. 

Then i clean up the sketch and add the details. in this case a holly book, a sabre and strips of holly scripture hanging from his hands. I do a tonal study in Photoshop and submit it to the art director. 

The final is done in acrylics on paper.  

onsdag den 22. april 2009

Retaliator Griffin

For a while I had gotten tired of the way I showed light. I had gotten into a way of always doing rim-light in the same way every time. So I wanted to do a picture that should mirror a more naturalistic light-source but still wanted to keep the rim-light. ( I think it creates a nice 3d feeling )
So this is me in a more updated version when it comes to light:

I was heavy influenced by a painting of James Gurney and more or less stole the color-palette. 
The reason I think this is one of my best card illustration is because the silhouette is so clearly readable and it does very well in a small size. 

As you can see on the sketch I like to keep it fairly simple and not too detailed and done. That way I keep some interesting parts, like background and ornaments and stuff for the final version and do not just color a finished transfered drawing. Paul Bonner was the first one to teach me that, and I thought he was crazy at the time. Now I see that the final result gets more spontaneous that way, and I have tried, ever since, to sort away the fine- sketching part and instead go straight from thumb to drawing directly on the board.

søndag den 22. marts 2009


I got in! and I am so very glad. The thing is, you do not know how many and which picture got in: Your name is on a list; that is it.

But I am hopeing it will be this one: 
It is a painting I did for Fantasy Flight Games. 

onsdag den 18. marts 2009

"Wren´s Run Vanquisher"

This was one of my first magic card illustrations and one that I am really proud of. It has not been used until recently so I have not been able to show it before, but doing so now, feels good.
I struggled with the face a lot, because I wanted to get away from my usual heroesqe type and tried for a more believable figure. The face should look like a person more than a steriotype. 

The small flask he has hanging around his neck, is sopposed to contain the Moonglove extract with which he has poisoned the weapons; hence the card ability "Deathtouch".

Inthe sketch you can see that the wing-like armor did not make it to final. 

onsdag den 11. februar 2009

I just visited Irene Gallo at her office at the Flat Iron Building in New York. She actually was in a corner office and it was litterally filled to the brim with originals. She had em in stacks, on the wall and even in the hallway.