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The cover image for Adventure Path #101 - The Kintargo Contract (Hell's Rebels, part 5 of 6 was recently previewed.
At the time I started working on this one, there were only a couple of reference images for Pathfinder Strix. It seemed that both versions varied slightly. One had triple jointed bird legs the other human legs with talons. I took a bit of extra time to work on variations – trying different things out and messing around with body shapes and proportions. The racial description mentions that they’re quite light and slim so I’ve elongated their limbs a bit and given them slightly oversized hands and feet (Slightly talon – like too. You can’t see their fingers in this sketch but I imagine they’d have sharp talons there too. I elongated her neck and trapezius to accommodate her wings. Her shoulders are hunched forwards – reminiscent of a bird with folded wings. I experimented with the angle of her head and wanted to put it at that odd sideways angle that birds have, but it didn’t quite work. Instead I went for a thrust forwards position.
The dark skin, combined with white tattoos and corvid wings suggested the concept of “Magpie” to me. It kinda fit with their background too. From the images I found, they seemed like a primitive culture. They obviously have the ability to make things for themselves (I gave them a visual aesthetic based upon the African Mursi) but I figured that they’d do a heck of a lot of raiding, considering they’re a winged race who live in a really remote place considered to be especially inaccessible to flightless creatures. Consequently, most of their clothes and equipment consist of items that they’ve stolen from lots of different Golorian cultures. I guessed they’d also wear a lot of jewellery (Going back to that magpie concept)
fernando rojas wrote:
Was the "timeline" of adventures embroidered on Hakon's cloak part of the notes you were given, or is that something you came up with that the story team elaborated on?
They were something that I came up with. This is a good example of how the design team create something out of a small detail in the art.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
As a freelance artist, I'm asked to depict many different things. It's largely down to the publisher who decides what visual elements is going to be in the product they create.
So if my art editor gives me an art description with a powerful -looking griffin - like creature based on Babylonian mythology......
Similarly, if Sarah gives me an art description which features Dahak...
There are many cool things to depict in a fantasy setting. I'm happy at having the opportunity to work on the setting and getting to depict a whole bunch of cool things.
I see the subject of Tiamat has been discussed on another (More appropriate) thread. I'm gonna leave it there.
Thanks for your interest in my artwork Kazzadok.
Merisiel was the third Iconic character I created in the early days of Pathfinder.
The stone on her forehead is made out of some sort of green mineral or crystal. I didn't have a specific material in mind. It could be emerald, jade or the polished shell of a dragon egg.
Merisiel was my initial rendition of a Pathfinder Elf - deliberately designed to be visually different from elves in other previous fantasy settings.
I used this methodology when designing all of the Pathfinder demi - humans. I felt that they needed to be distinctly different from regular human proportions that we're all so familiar with.
You picked up on the unusual size of Merisiel's eyes.
I'm hoping to be able to tap into something fundamentally primal in our collective perception of humanity and our reactions to that which is different.
The one-eyed entity depicted on the birchwood plaque bear does bear a striking resemblance to the stylised face on the hilt of Mavaro's sword.
Who is this entity?
I don't have the answers to these questions. However, I sometimes depict aspects or items that have a definite visual connection without necessarily having a specific answer in mind.
It's down to the Paizo design team whether they want to create a backstory behind these objects.
I illustrate fairly quickly, but I write fairly slowly. It takes a while for me to adequately translate my ideas into words. I hope to write about the design concepts behind the 6 new Iconics for Occult Adventures soon.
In answer to your last question.......
Valeros - The earlier version was more armoured.
Gars DarkLover wrote:
Apologies for the misunderstanding.I nearly always tend to go overboard whenever I create images or characters from a new race/culture. I'll spend a great deal of time working out visual aspects from the entire culture they belong to - not just what the character is wearing.
I'll often make multiple thumbnail sketches of costume, weapon and armour variants to create a definitive style that is specifically recognisable as belonging to that culture.
A good example is the Drow Elves from the cover of Inner Sea Races
I spent a lot of time working out the variations of how a culture of Drow elves living in a thorn forest would look different from their subterranean counterparts. I tried to introduce new elements (Such as spiky holly - leaf shapes) but at the same time retain some sort of visual racial aspects so that they weren't too dissimilar from regular Drow.
I hope it worked?
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Thanks very much for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it.I'll keep on trying in the hope that my future artwork will meet with your approval too. :)
Thanks Set. :)
One of the items on her left is indeed a wayfinder. The other is a magical stone/orb of some sort. It's not an Ioun Stone, as they float around the recipient's head on their own. This stone is being held by the Psychic.
I'm pleased that you like the design of the Star Knife. As far as I'm aware, there isn't a real-world historical counterpart to this weapon. (I'm not sure who created the RPG concept) I surmise that a starknife would have to be held in a diagonal plane, with the flat of the blades facing towards an opponent. I'd guess it'd be used in a side to side motion rather than a forward stabbing motion. Otherwise the wielder would increase the risk of cutting themselves. Probably great for disarming an opponent though.
Gars DarkLover wrote:
There isn't really any one subject that I have difficulty depicting.There can be occasions where an equipment design can be elusive - where a weapon shape, armour design or clothing pattern isn't quite working. These are the instances that involve a number of alternative sketch design until I get something that looks right. It can take a few pages of my sketchbook until I'm able to create the appropriate design.
Hi, I asked about the style behind Kyra and Sarenrae earlier and am wondering if you have a good reference for a 'Persian' style other than just the internet.
(Kinda off - topic)I have an extensive reference library of books, photographs and clippings relating to Persia and Persian objects throughout history. It has taken many years and a great deal of effort and research to collect this material. Much of it has some personal resonance and has been selected because of it's inspirational value to myself and my art.
Please understand that it is inappropriate for you to ask an artist to share their personal resources in this manner.
Visual information regarding Persian history can be found in a wide selection of books, museums and periodicals. It's all out there waiting for you to discover it for yourself.
pH unbalanced wrote:
Probably not.Lini's sticks aren't just a random collection of twigs. They're individually marked divination sticks. Kess's marker posts have been used for a specific purpose and have been psychometrically imprinted to make them wholly unsuitable.
Plus, they're too big.
chad hale 637 wrote:
A levitating character with multiple items floating around her head were specifically mentioned in the art description for this Iconic. Your statement that I aim to misbehave is incorrect.I follow my art briefs and give the client the artwork that they've asked for.
1) It's kind of a spiked gauntlet made from tusks/horns.2) It's not often I get to illustrate Alahazra. (I think I've only done 2 renditions of her.) But I'd illustrate her with eye tattoos on both hands, unless otherwise directed by the Paizo design team.
3) Yes. (Well spotted)
4) The art description mentioned that she's a kind of medieval gunfighter wearing a brimmed hat. I based a lot of the costume design on a hybrid of 18th century Europe and early 19th century American fashion. Then incorporated medieval armour into those aesthetics.
5) Quinn's lantern glows blue. You can summarise that it's probably not a normal lantern.
6) That would be her chatelaine. In RL - "a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with a useful household appendage such as scissors, thimble, watch, key, vinaigrette, household seal, etc" Enora's chatelaine clearly holds a dagger. Perhaps the other items are containers which unscrew to reveal items which would aid her magic?
7) Answered this one before in Kess's "Meet the Iconics" thread. They're marker sticks for marking out the corners of a makeshift arena or fight ring.
As an artist and designer, I really like seeing real - life interpretations of my character designs. I'm very often in awe of the time, effort and attention to detail that goes into these creations.
This year I'm happy to be exhibiting at the Paizo booth at GenCon. I look forward to seeing my characters brought to life.
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
Ha! Brilliant. :)
Wayne, do you get more direction when making the art for an NPC of Golarion like Ameiko or Karzoug than the iconics? Or are you given equal freedom to come up with their looks?
Yeah, I get a little bit more direction when designing NPCs.They've often got elements specific to their character and the scenario that need including in the design.
Sometimes I'm allowed a degree of creative flexibility on a previously designed NPC and can create an updated version within certain parameters (Such as costume changes)Other times I need to depict things exactly as they've been illustrated previously in order to maintain continuity.
baron arem heshvaun wrote:
No, my mind's usually too focused on visuals to contemplate any aural aspects.
Thanks for the wishes. Hope you have a good weekend too. Though the 4th of July is just like any other day to us Brits. :)
It's a "Third Eye" Chakra. Usually associated with psychic abilities in the real - world Sanatana/Hindu tradition. It was part of the art description.
It kinda looks cool too. ;)
Thanks Seannoss.I'm really pleased that you like the design of Sarenrae.
I take a different approach when designing mythical creatures and massively powerful entities than when I'm creating characters. It's easier to add aspects that don't require any explanation such as floating items or magical effects. Because these items are the way they are due to powerful or divine magic beyond mortal understanding - No other explanation needed.
Thanks Rosgakori.Shardra was a pretty tricky character to illustrate. The difficulties were with conveying that shamanistic quality but at the same time giving her combat abilities. If I made her too armoured she'd look like a fighter. If I didn't put enough armour on she'd look too much like a spellcaster.
The cloak was my idea. To my knowledge, there isn't a real - life counterpart. The shape of the cloak was always part of my concept idea for Shardra. Combined with her head piece it gave her a conical silhouette - A bit like a mountain. I thought the shape fit with a dwarven character. I'd tried incorporating sections of maille under the cloak but it wasn't working. She was looking too combat orientated. After a few frustrating tries, I came up with the idea with making the cloak her armour. On hindsight, I'd have like to have put some buckles on the sides so she could tie it up.
My initial concept had Shardra barefoot, wearing a simple breechcloth and halter underneath the maille cloak. I wanted to show more tattoos on her skin which I felt would be very in - keeping with the Shamanic concept. However, I figured this rendition would probably offend too many people so I covered her up a bit more.
I think of all the Iconics, Shardra would be the one I'd go back and change the most.
In my imagination, Duergar have pointed ears.I find that pointed ears in conjunction with the grey skin and dark eyes, just makes them seem a bit more sinister.
It's also another anatomical variation that distinguishes a duergar from normal dwarves.
Now that official images of at least two psychic Iconics have been released, what can you say about choosing color schemes for characters?
One thing that caught me off guard, though, was the Psychic Iconic’s overall color scheme. I altogether expected, for whatever reason, a saffron and gold color scheme. Is there anything in particular that inspires you as to a given commision’s overall color-scheme?
I thought a combination of blue, gold and red looked better.I stayed away from predominantly yellow and red because they kinda have cultural meanings and I didn't want people to misinterpret any implications by my use of them.
Sometimes I'll choose a colour scheme that distinguishes one character from another. For example, I'd already used a lot of sandy yellow colours in the depiction of the Occultist and didn't want to repeat a similar palette for the psychic.
I think those are the only two characters from Occult Adventures that have been previewed so far? I'm sure there's more to come soon. Very exciting!
Thanks Zavas.I didn't design spell books for Ezren or Seltyiel.
Shortly before I illustrated Ezren I'd painted the image for Karzoug from the Rise of the Runelords adventure path. Karzoug is holding a (now very recognisable) spellbook so I wanted to stay clear of the "Mage - holding - spellbook" image for Ezren for fear of duplicating visual elements from Karzoug. I gave Ezren a bunch of scrolls instead. The map case seemed to fit with my concept of Ezren better than a book.
Seltyiel was initially described to me as a Fighter/Mage so a book didn't seem to fit with his image.
Maybe it's time for me to add a spellbook into the equipment of the next spellcaster I illustrate?
Do you think that the chainsaw Amiri picked up in Wrath of the Righteous should be a permanent addition to her equipment?
Nope.I think the changes you see being made to Iconic characters in Adventure Paths or supplements are meant to be temporary illustrations of events that could take place in that instance or scenario. Making permanent changes to the Iconic characters in that way kinda defeats the whole concept of having "Iconic" characters?
Thanks for your request. I'll bear it in mind.
The corner of linen is a kind of stole or length of vellum "scroll". There's one attached to the back of each shoulder underneath her caplet. (you can only see one in that image)
Look forward to seeing your finished costume.
Thanks Zhangar. I hope you found the design concepts interesting?
The most complicated Iconic designs are usually the ones with repetitive patterns or textures. Kyra's fairly complex with all that maille. There's a lot going on with the multiple material content of Valeros's design too. But I think the most complex I conic character has to be Alain the Cavalier. Or the many jars, bottles, boxes, phials, flasks and barrels that belong to Damiel the Alchemist.
The art description for Kyra specified that she was a Cleric of Sarenrae. She wielded a scimitar and her vestments should look Middle Eastern.
Underneath she’s wearing a short sleeved gambeson. This is a padded coat made from layers of wool and material. It probably comes down to lower thigh/mid leg. She might be wearing a simple vest and pantaloons underneath (But we can’t see those). Over the top of the gambeson is a wide sleeved chemise sometimes known as a Farasia. We can see she’s wearing simple vambraces over her forearms with a few decorative bracelets. On her right wrist is a small spherical phylactery (Possibly containing ashes, powder or incense?)
Around her waist she wears a cotton hijam (Kinda like a cummerbund) combined with a wide sash and leather belt. Tucked into her belt she has her scabbard and scroll case. Attached to her belt is a small pouch and a larger shaped pouch. The larger pouch has a stylised silhouette of sarenrae implying that it carries clerical equipment.
I had to base my design of Sarenrae on the cover of Gods & Magic. upon Kyra’s outfit and holy symbol.
Ross Byers wrote:
It's actually quite daunting considering some of the fantastically talented artists that are using my work as character reference. I feel that it really puts pressure on me to try to create artwork that's an acceptable standard to the skilled artists working on Pathfinder who create utterly amazing renditions of the characters that I designed.
The weirdest renditions of my Iconic characters I've seen is fan art depicting them doing things to each other probably best not mentioned on a public forum.
Ross Byers wrote:
The sword wasn't part of the art description for Mythic Adventures. I deliberately put the sword in as an "Easter Egg" to raise those type of questions. :)
Why does Mythic Valeros have the sword that we see Alain reaching for in another illustration?
I don't have the answer to these questions. I included the sword into the illustration without an answer in mind in the hope of stimulating the imagination of the viewer. Not only to ask the questions about the reasons why a potentially powerful sword is in two illustrations, but to begin creating possible answers too..... Perhaps even to begin creating their own adventures around this mystery?
Any official answers concerning the mysterious sword lie within the capable imaginations of the Paizo design team. I just do the visuals.
You're correct that Crowe was based upon my barbarian character when I played Curse of the Crimson Throne AP (Which is a great campaign. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't played it yet!)
There is an unreleased illustration of "Crow Henge" wielding a 2 - handed axe which I painted for my own enjoyment. I sent the image as an aside to Sarah Robinson along with some commissioned Pathfinder artwork. It was just a "Hey, here's my character. Let me know if you ever need an illo of a Shoanti barbarian?". I never realised that the design team were working on the Bloodrager concept.
The Bloodrager description specified;
The description seemed to almost fit my depiction of Crow the Barbarian. Sarah was happy for me to adapt the barbarian illustration to the Bloodrager Illustration. I had to replace the 2 handed axe with an earth breaker. I also added more robes and changed equipment to better reflect the Sorcerous aspect of the character class.
Wes contacted me and asked about the background for my barbarian character. My writing skills aren't as developed as my art aptitude. I was more than happy for Wes to use his much superior writing abilities to create a back story for Crowe based upon the background of my barbarian character. I was really happy with the detailed back story that Wes created. Especially considering that I didn't really give Wes much to go on;
I hope to be able to write about the design concepts behind each of the Iconic characters over time. Some have more going on than others.
There's probably some details in Ezren's equipment that have been missed - Like the wooden toggles on his gaiters that I mentioned earlier on in this thread. But I think there is one detail that most people don't seem to have picked up upon. This may be because it's small and partially obscured. But it's an interesting detail that I may keep under wraps for now. I might decide to use in a future piece and illustrate it in full, then refer back to Ezren.
Bear in mind that I depicted The Barbarian character before Amiri and her backstory was created by the ingenious James Jacobs
I wanted Amiri the Barbarian to be a total badass warrior. In order to achieve this I had to start thinking about basing her on historical barbarian cultures. Her armour and equipment is based upon the concept of her fighting style. I based this upon the use of a great wielded by Viking and Saxon Huscarls axe (Incorrectly referred to as a “Dane Axe”). They would charge forwards swinging the long hafted in a figure of “8”. In theory, this would create a constantly moving area of protection around the front of the body provided by the constantly moving weapon. An opponent would conceivably have to time their attack just right in order to stab someone fighting in this style.
Sorry, got distracted there by history.
Applying this concept to Amiri I thought that she’d mainly want heavier armour on her arms and legs. (In hindsight I wonder if I might have been better making her arm and leg armour out of maille of lamellar plates? Such as Crowe’s ) Her arms and legs would be the places where she’d mostly be getting hit if she was swinging that 2 handed sword in a figure “8”. This concept also coincided with some of the battle practices and superstitions of the celts where warriors would go into battle naked, believing that fighting in this way would give the magical protection from death. It also showed the enemy just how utterly fearless these people were in battle. There are also tales of Celtic warriors refusing to wear helmets to show that they weren’t afraid of being hit on the head. It’s also a statement of just how confident they were in their combat abilities. These concepts may be utterly alien to a modern Western way of thinking and combat but these practices beautifully summarise a barbarian culture with their own set of beliefs and reckless nature.
Her sword got to that size purely by accident. I’d been roughly sketching the position of a much smaller blade and some of the lines were overlapping. It gave the illusion of a much larger weapon. It made me think that this was just another way of making Amiri even more badass if she’s wielding a clumsy weapon that’s bigger and probably weighs more than she does. This kind of exaggerated weapon might not fit in an authentic historical setting, but might work just fine in a fictional high fantasy world. I’m not making any claims that this would work IRL , just giving an insight into my ideas.
On her back she wears a couple of javelins along with an atlatl, which is a furrowed stick used for throwing darts, javelins and spears further.
Those are the ingredients that make Amiri.
Thanks Dragon 78. There sure are a lot of things in Golorion that would be fun to illustrate.
I don't think I have a single favourite Iconic. But if I HAD to choose then I think it'd be Valeros, because he was the first Pathfinder Iconic I illustrated. I guess there's a degree of sentimentality with that choice.
I don't think I have a particular favourite monster either. Though I do like to illustrate creatures that you wouldn't want to put your finger in their mouths.
Dustin Ashe wrote:
Thanks Dustin & Auke.
I began working with Paizo when they took over publication of Dragon and Dungeon magazines. I’d already been doing artwork for both editions previously.
I can’t remember which issue the original Dungeon Magazine Iconic characters first appeared in but I know the first cover to show them was #114.. It showed the Paladin, Ranger, Rogue & Wizard.
They were designed to be stand – ins to represent a particular character class that could be used and identified with the adventures published in Dungeon magazine.
The creation of Pathfinder provided me with an opportunity to design all new characters as part of cover commissions. On recollection, I think my artistic evolution had been moving me in this direction as I’d began to really start putting a lot of thought into the creation of new characters. Getting an opportunity to work with a company that I’d had a good creative relationship with meant that I was very excited to work on the Pathfinder project.
I never really realised or thought about whether the characters I’d illustrated were going to become popular. I had no idea what people’s reactions to them were. For me, it’s a really fulfilling way of playing around and visualising concepts and idea. I’m just very pleased that some people like the aspect of my artwork and process of creativity that I really enjoy doing. I hope my future work will meet with your approvals too.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Maybe?Those Dungeon characters were kind of a precursor to the Pathfinder Iconics.
I felt that some worked better than others. Many were probably more "Throwaway" ideas but there were others that I'd started to put a little bit more thought into their equipment and background. I'd carried that method forwards when I began designing the Pathfinder Iconics. I suppose you could call the Dungeon Iconics my practise run ;) But that's all part of the process of artistic progression and evolution.
You can always PM me via the message boards or write to me via my website or Facebook page if you have an off-thread question.
Stacey Buxton wrote:
The vials are potion bottles.
Her belt is made from dark brown leather with a 4 - square pattern etched into it along it's length. It's long enough to wrap 2 times around her waist and has a silver buckle and strap end.
Her chest panel is made from thick material which holds the shape such as felt.
The only rendition of Sheila Heidmarch I've created is the cover to PF AP #61 - Shards of Sin.
There may be other illustrations by different artists that show her from different angles?
Dustin Ashe wrote:
What did you draw on in designing Alahazra's headdress? Is Shardra's headdress the dwarven version of it?
Alhazra the Oracle’s costume was based on the Ancient Greek and Persian cultures to evoke visual connotations with the famous Oracle at Delphi. I based her gold jewelry and equipment on early Mycean and Mesopotamian culture to infer another ancient tradition. The headdress came about through just playing with shapes and seeing what worked within that cultural context.(A lot of people criticize my depiction of her headdress – saying it’d be too heavy. Although there is a degree of artistic exaggeration here, I based the headdress on actual artefacts made with a light wooden core with incredibly thin sheet of gold over the top. The item isn’t solid metal – It’s mostly soft wood.)
Shardra the Shaman was based more on shapes and designs that could be identified with a fictional Dwarven culture. Although these motifs are slightly reminiscent of Northern European Viking cultures. I wanted to contrast the angular shapes with curved ones to create a visual intertwining of ethnic themes.