Mostly art, but also game trailers, text posts, and links to resources.
I use it to fuel my inspiration as I finish up my first full-length novel.
And don't worry, it's taking a while.
So there are plenty more wolves to come.
Werewolves are adept trackers, being able to catalog and recognize a wide range of animal tracks. During times when game is lean, werewolf packs often become nomadic, straying from their established territories to track game, often following spoors for days between sightings. Being powerful athletes, werewolves will chase prey for hours without tiring, pack-mates taking turns chasing larger pray animals such as caribou until they wear down their target’s stamina. Werewolves often will then drive their exhausted prey into their hidden, waiting pack-mates or away from their herd, allowing them to be cornered.
Werewolves have been documented stealing kills from competing predators. In North America several incidents have revealed that not only will werewolves steal from competing wolf packs but will also steal both small and large kills from bobcats, lynxes and even cougars. Cougars have been seen defending their kills and even lunging at aggressor werewolves before abandoning kills.
Look, I don’t name these things. The flip side to last week’s “Grizzled Outcasts" was not called this when it was assigned. I don’t remember exactly, but it was something like "Grizzled Pack." And actually, the word "Grizzled" wasn’t in the original title, either. It’s just how these things work. I don’t know what it is to be Krallen, or what makes the horde feel wanton, an apt word for sure, but in modern parlance Merriam-Webster’s definition #2 is the most often used….
…So in the age of the interwebz, I think it is a crime to allow oneself to go ignorant of facts for very long when the Incredible Answer Machine is right at your fingertips. So Krallen is deutsch for Claws. Don’t say I never taught you anything. Unless you’re German or speak German, in which case it’s possible I still may never have taught you anything. I’ll teach you something yet!
Two entries ago, I mentioned there were cues I needed to maintain from human-to-werewolves to make sure you knew who was who. One thing I decided to do was to spread the range of human types. The other thing I hinted at last week but didn’t get to.
When I did the study for “Grizzled Outcasts” I mentioned that it was done in charcoal, and it was. There weren’t any branches yet, though. Just the figures. From there I moved to the study for “Krallenhorde Wantons.” Having established that the now-werewolves were going to pop into town to borrow a cup of sugar or whatever, I decided that what I’d have them doing would be ripping apart a set of thick lead glass windows. Apparently there was no sugar, and now they are wanton.
It’s always a fantastic surprise to be a part of the first wave of a new Magic: the Gathering block. For the uninitiated, each year, 3 sets of cards (one large, two small) are released that explore a storyline and theme set somewhere in Magic’s Multiverse […]
[…] for this year’s set we have something which one might sum up as Magic’s take on Gothic Horror. Given how far Magic has stretched the notions of what fantasy art is, it’s always fun to see it move closer to home, as it were. New to the game are werewolf cards, wherein characters are featured in their normal form on one side, and werewolf form on the other […]
[…] this week, we have, “Grizzled Outcasts.”
In this case, we had four, well, grizzled outcasts, who have banded together and live outside the towns. They were to appear united, and suspicious of those who might encounter them. Though this was essentially a “line-up” of characters, I figured I’d use some branches or foliage in the foreground to create a barrier between the viewer and our crew. On the flip-side, I was to portray the same four, who by night head back into town to sort of say hi to those who cast them out. Very neighborly.
Though I often do digital thumbnails, in this case I did a group the old-fashioned way.In all the werewolf art, you’ll see that the artists were instructed to create visual cues from front-to-back so that the characters could be understood to be the same on both sides. The werewolves themselves were to also have identifying characteristics. So, for single figures, many artists went for mirror-image compositions, for instance. For four figures, it was a little tougher. I sought two ways of fulfilling this goal, and one of them was just to create a wider-than-usual gamut of physical types to transform into werewolves. This allowed me a great excuse to introduce more ethnicities into the illustration, which Magic is always grateful for. What we westerners know as fantasy art has a long history of being primarily of a Western/European template, and with Innistrad itself moving back to a more European-inspired approach in terms of setting, I figured this variety would also just make a nice visual treat.So, I picked one asian woman and one black male character. I gave another guy an eye patch and a hunch, and there’s default dude there, too. I didn’t want to go all United Nations and overkill it.I busted out my charcoals and did this “sketch” […] . One can see a couple of changes that were already being made. Intentionally: the patch on the leftmost character was boring. Instead, I gashed his entire right eye shut, and intended to replicate this on the flipside. The walking stick the next guy is holding no longer appears at the top of the composition […] I initially thought he might have some fish or something hanging off it. Would’ve been a nice touch, but had to go. […]Innistrad has a lot of costuming, and the goal of making it look worn, particularly for these grizzled outcasts. They shouldn’t look completely threadbare and impoverished—after all these were people outcast from the local town—who knows what sorts of lives they led before being infected with lycanthropy? So some of them have rather nice clothing, even nice furs. Modified tricorn hats feature prominently on the humans in this society. But with my black character I opted against it, just to break it up. But then again, what hair style to give him? Surely African tribal hairdos, which might otherwise rock Magic’s world just fine, were out of the question. But blacks aren’t going to be found in most European art going back to that era either, to see what they were wearing. I went to the civil war and looked at photos a bit, but most men seemed to simply wear a simple afro of varying length, usually fairly short. […] instead I went Frederick Douglass. One of Magic’s keywords, with regards to artwork, is the word, “Badass.” Well, Frederick Douglass was a badass if ever there was one. Granted, he was primarily an intellectual badass, but still. And he had a rockin’ hairdo. I don’t pretend he was the only fellow wearing his hair like that, necessarily, but being famous in his day, we have the luxury of having lots of photos of him. So, Frederick Douglass. Badass.I was told to lose the eye scar, as another artist had already done that fairly prominently. Shoot. So, I simply emphasized the corners of his beard near his jaw. […]There are two other tweaks that I made along the way. First off, the walking stick was anemic in the sketch, so I made it a nice branch with character. Second, the spacing of the characters had the main guy’s elbow tangenting with our female’s bosom, which was a bad idea. So I brought that figure in a touch.The last thing of note is the environment […] with a composition featuring four figures, simplifying shapes was going to be key. Also, empty or negative space was going to be necessary. It was for this reason that I varied the heights and positioning of the characters to a triangle leading to the main guy, and why I opted for there being a nice negative space to his right, so he still has visual supremacy. The werewolves were obviously going to be shown at night, so I wanted the contrast with day to be clear. I also changed the manner of patching on the sleeve of main guy and added a clasp to the overcoat on the leftmost figure. Little changes like these often happen throughout the process.
Here is a design I did a while back for the horror movie themed clothing line Fright Rags. They asked me to do a design based on the British Horror movie ‘Dog Soldiers’. This was right up my street as I have always liked the film. I wanted to depict a moment as if you had just pushed through some trees and walked straight into a scene of carnage. 6 colours on Black. Awwooo!!!