Nov 28, 2012

Elf token

I've started playing a bit of Magic the Gathering again lately, after many years of simply collecting cards by my favourite artists, namely Greg Staples, Kev Walker, Jim Murray, Larry MacDougall, Wayne Reynolds and a couple of others.
Back in 2002, I had a rocking little Elf Deck based around Elvish Vanguard, Heedless One and Wellwisher, which got me all the way to a massive Friday Night Magic final with old friend John Delaney. I can't quite recall what his deck was, but it involved lots and lots of creatures. In the last match, we were in a stalemate of epic proportions, neither of us willing to actually attack, but instead building up our defences and our life gaining capabilities, becoming a race to see who was on the most life at the end of the required time deadline. I ended up in the hundreds, John not far behind.
Anyway, with fond memories of that game, and that deck, I've started a new Elf Deck. It revolves around some of the old cards, as well as newer Elf cards such as Drove of Elves, Jagged-Scar Archers, Elvish Promenade and Gaea's Herald.
One thing that is different about Magic now than when I was regularly playing it is the prominence of Tokens. Several of the cards in my new deck have abilities including the creation of Elf Tokens. Now, there are proper Elf Tokens printed by Magic, but I got the thought that maybe I could make my own. I've been wanting to get some painting done recently, and I think this gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that.
So I'm going to paint an Elf, make up an Elf Token in Illustrator, then print it out.
I also thought that this would be a good one to show in various stages of progress. So here's the first sketch I made a few weeks ago at the Galway Pub Scrawl...


Rough #1
Okay, I've been back at it since this morning when I posted the above image. I've now got the figure 99% locked in. I threw a pen around the page just so that I can get a better idea of where the lines should be...
Figure final rough

As I said, it's 99% locked in. I'm not happy with a few bits here and there, such as the belt clasp and the wrist bands, so I'll probably change them on the actual page.
Next up is to put it in place on an A3 sheet in Photoshop and then print it out to be transferred to the board I'll be painting on. I use just a simple mounting board to paint on. It doesn't absorb the paint, it's silky smooth and cheap as chips. As far as transferring the printed out copy of the rough figure to the mounting board... I've tried a few things over the years. Carbon paper is a bloody nightmare! The marks don't erase and you'll invariably manage to get marks you don't want transferred. Nope, what I do now is just turn the printed copy over, get a really soft pencil and just start laying on the pencil where you need it using the side of the tip of the pencil. Then turn the paper over to its printed side, lay it on the board then draw over the rough. The pencil rubbings on the other side will transfer to the board only where you draw over it, i.e. on the lines you want. Simple!

So I'm going to do a really light transfer of the figure onto the board, then I'll start working on the background right on the board. See you for that soon.

Update: I've been a bit busy with other various projects over the last few days, so all I've managed to do with the Elf Token is a quick design of the actual card for the artwork to be inserted into. It took all of 10 minutes to do thanks to the wizardry of Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator.

The next couple of days look pretty busy with a gargoyle and a greek god, but hopefully a bit later in the week I'll find some time to lay some paint down.

Update 17.12.12  I've been rather busy with a bunch of other jobs of late, so I haven't been able to get back to the Elf Token other than transferring the image onto the board. I'm off on holiday tomorrow, and won't be back until the second week of January. A few new jobs are going to be starting up as soon as I get back, but I fully intend to dive right in with the Elf painting somehow as well. and I'll be sure to update this post as it progresses. Merry Christmas everyone, here's hoping it's spent with the ones you love and that 2013 brings much joy to all.

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