Monday, November 17, 2014

Henneth Annûn Guard - Lord of the Rings card game

Henneth Annûn Guard
for the Celebrimbor's Secret adventure pack
Doing card art is always an exercise in patience and changing taste. When it can take nearly a year for an image to be released, that's a lot of time to fall out of love with the art for any number of reasons.  Still, this piece I did for the Lord of the Rings card game was a lot of fun to work on and there is still a lot I like about it. So I unearthed some of my process to share!

One thing I enjoy about working with Zoe Robinson at Fantasy Flight (apart from LotR being one of the reasons I am an illustrator period)  is the descriptions. I love this world and whenever it's applicable, they will include a quote from the books in the art description. Nothing like the words of Tolkien to inspire! 
" They stood on a wet floor of polished stone, the doorstep, as it were, of arough-hewn gate of rock opening dark behind them. But in front a thin veilof water was hung, so near that Frodo could have put an outstretched arminto it. It faced westward. The level shafts of the setting sun behind beatupon it, and the red light was broken into many flickering beams ofever-changing colour. It was as if they stood at the window of someelven-tower, curtained with threaded jewels of silver and gold, and ruby,sapphire and amethyst, all kindled with an unconsuming fire."
The card description called for  a ranger of Ithilien standing guard in the entrance to Henneth Annûn
wearing a cloak and a sheathed sword.  Thinking back to the book, I remembered how ready for action and suspicious the rangers were and knew that this character would never be relaxed. Even if he'd been standing alone for hours, he would be ready at every suspicious sound. I wanted the entrance to be prominent, as if the next moment would bring someone or something crashing through. I also knew this would be a fun opportunity to play with some dramatic negative shapes and light. 

thumbnail 1

thumbnail 2

thumbnail 3
thumbnail 4 -
the winner

mood study

I knew I wanted to convey a dark, cool mood and was leaning toward a very limited palette. However, I soon realized, with some helpful feedback from Zoe, that this wouldn't be so effective on the small, card scale so ended up bumping up the palette and contrast so the figure would read clearly.

I'm a traditional girl at heart and do it whenever I can but often find that my schedule makes choosing digital for either part or the whole project a better path. Time that I would spend waiting for things to dry, photographing, color correcting, I can spend on making a better image.  I really wanted to play around with color in the shadows and subtle light shifts in the character and going digital gave me the chance to experiment and push those choices with more flexibility. Thank you again Zoe for the opportunity to contribute to one of my favorite all-time worlds!