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Submitted on
June 13, 2011
Image Size
1.2 MB


179 (who?)
Spellbound Cover by Inkthinker Spellbound Cover by Inkthinker
The cover to Crafty Games upcoming Fantasy Craft supplement SpellBound, due out later this year. Check out the supersize edition by clicking the DL button up there.

Full color painting and I have been cautious friends at best. I'm much more comfortable with contours and linework, and even when I work with tone and shape it tends to influence my thinking. If I'm comfortable with any color technique, it's a cel style (unsurprisingly), but I keep throwing myself into the full-paints grinder whenever I can get a proper chance. I'm very much open to suggestions for ways I could improve my techniques.

I think with this cover, I substituted amusing details for solid painting skills. I liked the effect I put together for reaching into a Bag of Holding. Ideally there should be something funny or neat or at least visually interesting going on nearly everywhere you look, but if I composed it well then it doesn't overwhelm the action of the larger illustration. Ooo, listen to me sound fancy.


In addition, it's the return of the Hunt the Logo game! Buried in the details are variant versions of my lightbulb logo, try and find 'em all. I'm going to have to start painting a reminder of the total number I put into a piece like this, 'cause when almost a year goes by I tend to forget. At least 6 that I know of (repeat patterns count as 1), plus a couple signatures beyond the most obvious.

It makes a nice wallpaper too, if I don't mind saying so.

Illustrated entirely in Photoshop on a Cintiq 21UX, if you'd like to see the progression of stages (and witness all the horrible mistakes I made right from the beginning) check out the gallery at Crafty's Facebook page, and see if you Like it.

©2010 Crafty Games and Ben McSweeney.
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Not used to seeing you work in colour, but I've been gone from dA a long, long time.

O.K. *knuckle crack* Composition looks fairly solid to me; the dragonfire gives a good visual loop around the picture plane, assisted by the claws lower left and upper right, and the electrical discharges at upper right (the upper left electrical sparks shove my eye off of the picture plane.) In the centre portion, the only element that bugs me, in terms of composition, is the sword; although the axis of the blade thoroughly avoids the lower right corner, it still shunts my gaze off the page. Perhaps a greater contrast between inside and outside of her barrier?

Having myself all of the coloursense of a noon-blind owlet, I cannot say much in the colouring department (though I prefer the red claws in the initial WIPs, since they draw more attention to the draconic threat in the background, and I really like that version where the interior of her shielding is still just barely blue with a bit of red over the... fiery thing... **** cannot think of the word... is it brazier?).

Now, the main thing that bothers me is her left arm. Yes, I can clearly see where it is *supposed* to be, but between the gold bracelets, red pockets, and excessive darkness in the palm, it, to me, ends up as a rather amorphous lump. (The drop of blood from her slit pinky is absolutely perfect, I must say.) Those pockets on her forearms create a tricky problem; apart from the books, they are the only really oblong objects present. Most of the books, energy-struck and moving as they are, contribute to the movement of the eye, and have movement in their own lines, but those pockets... sorry to harp on them, but they just keep drawing my eye as these leaden, lifeless objects....

Also, are the dragon's claws meant to be translucent? The shading confuses me. The black burning thing at the centre right confuses me as well and keeps pulling my eye to it, disrupting the flow... yet something seems to need to be there... argh, sorry to be so useless...

Things I love? That shield boundary is the sh*t, Ink. Also, the sackboy/homunculus combusting at the lower left. The charring wood of her worktable is also excellent.

Things I seriously question? That aqua in the background. Despite the marked contrast to the yellow-white of the barrier, the aqua-blue still tries to jump into the foreground. I know the guidelines, cold goes back, warm comes forward, but I guess that aqua-blue is just warm enough to compete with the foreground colours. Personally, I would cool the b/g down a bit, see if it could be pushed back enough to move the dragon's head to the middle-ground (even with the leaf/forest green of the dragon's head, the aqua in the background tends to pull the dragon back, especially with the strong contrast against the flames).

Oh, and did I say I love those dragonflames around her barrier? Because I do.

Hmm... nothing else useful to say -- assuming any of this is useful!! :D Your work is great, as always.
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LeeGodfrey Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2013
Amazing! The colors all work nicely, and the attention to detail is great. True talent
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm still a novice when painting, but I keep at it! :D
xelianthought Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
Brilliant piece!
gothmylittlepony Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011
Love all the little details. X3
legomaestro Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
What the freaking hell. This is too amazing man. Get into groups! This deserves to be seen!
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I'm bothered by the lack of foreground elements in the composition. But if people want to add it to groups I don't see why not... I don't think I've turned down many requests.
legomaestro Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, i should've known your standards are god like to be critical of this picture. How long have you been drawing? (I'm not asking this as a gauge on 'how to get better' since you clearly have the inherent talent for it. Just interested.)
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Most of my life (I'm 35). I've been getting paid to do it for about 15 years, though about half that time consisted of garbage work, a dependance on lucky breaks, and a ramen-noodle-level of pay. Hell, I was still taking on second jobs (non-drawing) as recently as ten years ago just to make ends meet, but I hopefully won't ever have to do that again.

When I started taking the basics of composition and layout (among other things) more seriously, the quality of my work (and my clients, and hence my returns) improved dramatically.
legomaestro Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll keep that in mind. Thank you for sharing
Whothehellisthat Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
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