Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fantasy Illustration - Tiamat's Chosen: Designing Ningal

Continuing the character design feature from last time, next up on the design plate is Ningal. Like Tiamat, Ningal is a pre-existing character in the D&D Forgotten Realms universe. This design was very straightforward. In the sketch, you can see how she compares to Tiamat's design - taller, with a more athletic build. I always tried to be very conscious of making every character unique from head to toe - not just clothing and facial features, but also their body type and build.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fantasy Illustration - Tiamat's Chosen: Designing Tiamat

A recent book cover commission I worked on called for five detailed fantasy-themed character designs. In a series of blog posts over the next week or two, I'll talk about some interesting points about each of character designs.

First up is Tiamat, a canonical character of the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms universe. The client called for some substantial changes to her appearance, however, so she's very different in these design sketches.

My initial pass on her was a modern take on the classic design in Jeff Easley's Tiamat painting.

The client liked a lot of the design elements of the initial design, but had a younger, playful and flirtier Tiamat in mind, so it was back to the drawing board for a second pass.

In the second design she's shorter and less curvy, more impish rather than sinister.

I also came up with some variations on her outfit. #1 is the classic fantasy bikini, but this interpretation of Tiamat called for a more modest costume, so I tried a number of other designs. All of them feature dragon claw shoes, a nod to Tiamat's other form, a five-headed dragon. The client chose design #4, which you'll see in the finished illustration.