Wayne Reynolds

Wayne Reynolds's page

Contributing Artist. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber. 258 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Contributing Artist

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Pepsi Jedi wrote:

Hello Wayne.

I've loved your art for years, and follow you eagerly across IP. I am one of, I'm sure many, people who were -drawn- to Pathfinder due to your art, and I won't lie, your art is what keeps me coming back. PF is a good system and all but the depth of character (and Character) you give the IP is amazing. I've bought pathfinder books I didn't 'need' simply for your artwork.

I love the update on the Hobgoblins. They are instantly identifiable as being 'goblinoid' now, looking related to your "Pathfinder Goblins" Whom are so extremely distinctive (And well adored!).

I love the update.

I was wondering if you could give us any thoughts you had for the Hobgoblins, and their new designs. The Soldier from the Bestiary, and one from the Lost Omens Character Guide, are both very nice. (I'm not 100% sure the Lost Omens Character guide is your work.)

But any insight to the artistic development and implication of their new look would be appreciated.

Thanks for your interest in my artwork. I sincerely appreciate your kind words.

I’m very pleased that you like the new look for the Pathfinder hobgoblin.
Although, neither depictions in the Bestiary or Lost Omens Character Guide are my artwork. (Though the one in the Bestiary was based on my concept sketches)
For insights to the new look for the hobgoblins we need to go back to the original goblin design for Adventure Path # 1, Burnt Offerings.

In the early days of Pathfinder offered an opportunity to create new visual variations on fantasy themes. The idea was to create a new variation to an established theme that would be unique to Pathfinder. Being both recognisable as the depicted theme and instantly associated with Pathfinder.
The art description for goblins was fairly open. Erik Mona specified that the Goblins featured on the cover art of Pathfinder Adventure Path #1 – Burnt Offerings did not have to look like established versions of goblins portrayed in other RPGs. However, the new design had to retain enough visual aspects to still be identified and associated with a high – fantasy concept of a goblin.

That’s not an easy task.

There are numerous variations to the concept of goblin portrayed by different brands. ….
And I had to create a new design that didn’t look like any existing depiction. But kinda looked like them too!

I don’t know if you’ve heard this story, but the inspiration for Pathfinder goblins came from a bath sponge!

I was squeezing the soap suds out of an oval – shaped sponge and had folded the sponge in half. I noticed that the sponge kinda made a mouth – like a hand puppet. Except the creases around the edges created a strange shark – like maw. I imagined what it would look like with lots of jagged tiny teeth and realised that would look really scary. (I made the proto – sponge/goblin talk. It said some really messed up things. But that helped with the scary) Hence the idea for the Pathfinder goblin was born. Inspiration can come from unusual places.

Consequently, the goblins of Golarion broke a lot of preconceptions and became immediately recognisable and are instantly associated with Pathfinder RPG. They’re one of the game’s most Iconic creatures.

Pathfinder 2 gave us the opportunity to use the same approach to create Pathfinder- exclusive visuals for its content.

Up until then, hobgoblins just looked like blue/grey skinned half-orcs. There really wasn’t much visually to tell them apart. And from a creative point of view, that’s a really lazy design. Not that there was anything wrong with the original artwork. The design was just kinda generic….. And we didn’t want generic. We wanted unique imagery that would be immediately recognised as a Pathfinder hobgoblin.

It made sense that Pathfinder hobgoblins probably should share some similarities to Pathfinder goblins in terms of body shape and facial features. Goblin and hobgoblins (and bugbears) may be humanoid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re body proportions are exactly the same as a human. Distorting the body proportions help to convey a sense of unnaturalness about a creature and make it more like….. well…. a monster!

Consequently, I played around with designs that showed a larger and smarter gobliniod. Something that didn’t look like a hobgoblin depicted in other brands, but the natural progression of the Pathfinder goblin. Although they’re better equipped and armoured, their items should be slightly reminiscent of goblin items.
Hobgoblin equipment is like a sub-standard copy of items crafted by humans, elves or dwarves. Even though hobgoblins are intelligent their twisted minds haven’t quite got it right. Instead, their items have a slightly darker feel to them that reflects their true nature.
Similarly, goblin equipment is an attempt at copying hobgoblin equipment, except it’s even more messed up.

Creating unique imagery that would be instantly related to Pathfinder has been a large factor in the visualisation of the new version.

Contributing Artist

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Roswynn wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:

So that's why his shield seems so unique - it's because it is! Thanks for your reply, Wayne, I always love to get some insight into an artist's creative process. Most of all as good an artist as you (I love how much thought and research you always put behind everything you draw!).

I have another question, if that's okay with you.

Regarding Amiri (great ideas about her appearance in the comment above!), there was a lot of resistance in the player base to the idea that an "18 Strength barbarian" would look so relatively thin and unlike a really strong generic female athlete (and there was almost none...

The thread discussing Amiri was locked for very good reasons. It would be inappropriate of me to continue the discussion further on another thread.

Though I'm pleased that you like Valeros's shield design.
Much of my creation process consists of a great deal of research and imagination. It's an important requirement when tasked with
creating elements that might be uniquely associated with Pathfinder and the Golarion world setting.

Contributing Artist

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Roswynn wrote:

Hi Wayne - I wanted to add my voice to those saying how big your art plays a role in my choice of playing Pathfinder. It's an increasingly wonderful setting but without you and the other great artists featured in the products it would be so much poorer and less attractive. You folks really bring it to life!

I also have a small question - I'm very curious about Valeros' shield. I've never seen a shield like that anywhere! What was the inspiration? Can you talk about it a bit?

Thanks again for adding the spark of great art to a great game!

Thanks for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it.

I created over 100 potential designs for Valeros's shield. I must've completely filled 3 pages in my sketch pad with minute thumbnail designs too.
Firstly, myself and the Paizo design team didn't really want Valeros's shield to look like anything out of real-life history. Whilst I often take inspiration from real-world history, I change it to reflect a high fantasy setting based on imagination.
So recognisable shapes like the round shield, kite shield and heater weren't used. Even so, there were still a wide range of possibilities and variations to explore.

Some of the more complicated designs were discounted to make it easier for other creative outlets to replicate. So a much simpler shape and device was preferred.

Valeros is something of a packrat. His equipment is designed to look like it comes from a variety of cultures. Consequently, A more angular shape seemed to work better in contrast to the curved shapes featured in Valeros's armour.

The colour combination wasn't decided upon till I started painting the cover art for the playtest. A red shield rim showed up the best in the surrounding cold palette. So red it was.

Whilst a heck of a lot of work went into one shield design, it was a lot of fun. And on the plus side, I now have over 100 shield designs waiting to draw upon in the future.

Contributing Artist

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Paizoxmi wrote:

What was Amiri 1st edition design inspiration for her Red Sonja like costume?

Comparing Amiri to Red Sonja is like comparing Mad Max - Fury Road to Smokey and the Bandit II on the premise that both movies have cars in them.

I've spoken in Paizo podcasts and posted previously on this thread about the design concept behind Amiri's armour. But I guess not everyone's seen it.

Here's an edited version;

Amiri’s armour is based upon Ancient European barbarian culture concepts about magical protection in battle. These coincide with a visual statement of just how utterly fearless these people were in battle by leaving parts of the body deliberately exposed. (in some cases this resulted in warriors entering battle completely naked) These concepts may be utterly alien to a modern Western way of thinking and fighting. I can understand why Amiri’s armour configuration is often misunderstood when viewed with 21st Century cultural preconceptions. But these practices beautifully summarise a barbarian culture with their own set of unusual beliefs and reckless nature.
Coincidentally, the armour configuration kinda fit in with some historical two-handed weapon techniques. Particularly the great axe (Also known as a Dane Axe) There are accounts of Viking and Saxon Huscarls charging forwards swinging a long hafted axe 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.
I surmised that she’d mainly want heavier armour on her arms and legs. 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”. The combat style and armour configuration may be pure conjecture but it works for a high fantasy setting based on imagination.

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Paizoxmi wrote:

My favorite iconic is amari.She seems to be used when fighting dragons and giants.

I want to ask what was xin design inspration for his clockwork form.

The concept for the clockwork version of Xin was very unusual. There wasn't really any frame of reference I knew of the draw upon as a starting block. Consequently, The only way I could think of to begin visualising the design was to make lots of rough sketches that just consisted of combinations of random shapes until I found one that seemed to work. It was then a case of refining those shapes. Adding details and figuring out some method of locomotion to create the final form.

It was a challenge, but fun to work on.

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Nyerkh wrote:

While I'm here, those art panels from the cons were really fun. Shame they tend to end with "oh god we're out of time" ^^.

I'm very glad that you liked the panels.

I agree that an hour is not often enough time, given the scope of visual material from Pathfinder and Golarion that we could talk about.

Erik, Sarah and I have talked about the possibility of holding more hour - long panels at future cons.

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RiverMesa wrote:

Will we see sketches of the updated Advanced Player's Guide iconics in the playtest document, or maybe in some blog posts leading up to the book's release?

It was really fun following them prior to the 2e playtest, so I was wondering if something similar was planned for the 2e Advanced Player's Guide.

Alas! I am but a freelance contributor. I only create the pics.

It's the talented Paizo Design Team who decides what to put into the APG 2e playtest document.
But I hope they put the new sketches in. :)

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DerNils wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:

Consistency is one of the reasons why I was asked to create back views of the 2e Iconic characters.
Will we be able to see These in the future? I would love to have the full view of what all the characters look like, front to back!

Yes. Back view sketches for most of the Iconic characters have already been previewed in the "Iconic Evolution" Paizo Blog clips.

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deuxhero wrote:
Do you have an approximate age for Yoon?

The art description never specified an approximate age, other than "child". You'd have to ask Mark Seifter.

Contributing Artist

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Adjoint wrote:
Monkeybox wrote:
Concerning Karzoug's design, one thing has had me curious for quite a while, is he supposed to have two pony tails? I'm sure there has been one picture of him with his back to the audience where he has two, though I could be wrong.
He does, check this picture on PathfinderWiki.

I originally designed him with two ponytails positioned one above the other. The top ponytail is tied with a decorative sleeve. The lower ponytail is tied with a leather chord.

Other artists may have interpreted this design differently.
Consistency is one of the reasons why I was asked to create back views of the 2e Iconic characters.

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ErichAD wrote:
So we're missing out on some context for the colors, that makes sense. Are all the iconics being drawn in the same light?

Most of the new Iconic artwork takes into account environmental lighting, which varies depending upon the character.

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Viviolay wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
It seems like her skin is lighter in the new art, and I'm not a huge fan of that :(

I also noticed this and was disappointed. As a black female, seeing someone with my skin tone as a younger girl was so impactful to me when I opened up the original rulebook.

In my community, being a darker tone individual can come with its own set of struggles (I remember being called ugly because of my skin).
Seeing someone like her in an rpg book being a hero and amazing means a lot. To see her skin get lightened here disappoints me a lot. :(

Sorry to hear that you're disappointed with this rendition of my favourite Iconic character.

However, Doktor Weasel is correct with regards to his assessment of the lighting used in the artwork.
the model I used is of African descent with a darker skin colour. When viewed under warm bright light (That I wanted for this image) her skin took on a warmer hue. As soon as she put on my cuirass (breastplate) her skin tone brightened even more due to the reflected light from the metal.
Everybody's skin hue changes as the light changes. It also changes depending upon temperature, what they're wearing and what they've been doing......
Though some of it can depend upon the camera taking the photograph too.

You may notice that in an upcoming rendition of Seeleh, her skin looks darker due to the environment that she's been depicted in.

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Rysky wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Regarding eyes, this seems like a good time to verify for second edition. Are they entirely single color, or are they just incredibly large corneas with a bit of normal-white Sclera?
I believe it's the latter.

Yep, that's correct!

Elven eyes only have an iris and sclera (No visible pupil). The eye is predominantly one colour, except that the iris is a darker shade than the sclera.

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All of the non/demi-human Golarion ancestries (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling & Gnome) now have non-human proportions and facial features, as befitting their role in a high fantasy setting.
Whilst they're similar in appearance to humans, the proportions for non/demi-humans differ slightly from normal human proportions. This helps to create a richer visual diversity within the game.
It also helps to distinguish the difference between Golarion ancestries from their counterparts in other IPs/brands.

Golarion ancestries don't just look like tall humans with pointed ears or small humans with large hairy feet anymore. They're so much more than that.

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Roswynn wrote:

Hi Wayne! Great job with version 2e of the Iconics so far, and I'm sure they will all rock! I'll also be eager to find out as many cultural and historical influences in their character design as I can (I have some Osprey books you illustrated, and I always appreciate the accuracy of your real life details!).

You talk about pantaloons tucked into wide rak boots. I immediately googled that, but found nothing about "rak". I've never heard or read this word before. Is it a type of leather, or a particular crafting technique, used during the Islamic Golden Age perhaps?

Thanks very much Roswynn.

Rak are boots with armoured plates rivetted on the inside of the boot. You can see the rivet studs on the outside of the boot. They're pretty clumpy. The two examples (and replica) I've studied are dated at 18C India. But the technology has been around Europe and Asia for centuries before then.

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Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Medieval Arabic clothing, especially for women, was just huge and poofy like that. Which is presumably the inspiration here. The art's not bad, it's well-researched. I for one like it.
How effective did it make them in combat?

Something like this? Would have also been similar to what men wore, including over armor in combat. So, plenty effective.

Oh, and I portray a 12th century Saracen in the Society for Creative Anachronism. The costume I wear for fencing is pretty similar to Kyra's outfit, actually. So, I can speak from personal experience here. Notice how her pants are tucked into her boots, the wider sleeves of the overrobe don't go fully down her arm and stop short enough to not entangle her sword hilt, etc. The overrobe is a little long but could easily be belted up. And I've won fencing bouts because someone hit the edge of my tunic instead of successfully hitting me; having a concealed figure can be an advantage.

Yeah, I don't think Kyra's outfit will hinder her.

That's a very accurate assessment. ( I like research by deed)

People tended to wear baggy clothes in the Middle East because they helped keep the body cool during the heat of the day and then warm at night when the temperature dropped. It definitely doesn't interfere with combat.

Middle Eastern pantaloons tucked into wide rak boots does create the impression of a wide stance. (It's how they looked on my reference model IRL)It's further accentuated by the expansive material being pushed out by the weight of the long maille and gambeson. I deliberately kept it this way to emphasise Kyra's triangular visual silhouette. This has clearly caused some people to misinterpret what is being depicted. (Understandably) But her feet are positioned exactly where they should be for her body frame and stance.

I'm not going to comment on Iconic art that hasn't been previewed yet. I'm sure there are gonna be people who will lose their s@%@ regardless. But I hope they will be well received.
Some of the Iconics have been changed more than others as part of the evolution for 2E.
There are numerous factors that contribute to the Iconic characters design. All of the Iconic characters have visual aspects that have been extensively researched from real-life cross-cultural history. This research into historical elements has been modified with imagination to fit a high fantasy setting. But they often contain more similarities to amazing real-life elements than people often realise. Historical and cultural research is a large portion of the many factors that are taken into consideration when I design a character for a commercial IP. Consequently, there's usually rational aspects to the designs which aren't always immediately apparent to some viewers.

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It's interesting to read how people's perceptions of the artwork differ.
For the record, I never imagined Amiri as particularly muscle-bound. I always considered her to be wiry and rangy. I always felt the pose on the first version was too proud and I wanted to apply a more feral stance Like an animal crouching before they leap.(I've seen martial artists do the same when they're about to lose their temper in a fight)
I much prefer the new version because it fits better with the way I imagine her and what I'm trying to visually achieve. Particularly in terms of body shape and complexion. But I guess I have a creators perspective on how I want my designs to evolve.
I'm very pleased that most of the feedback I've received on various platforms has been positive.Especially from a few female gamers who have identified with the new body shape and skin tone which has enabled them to relate closely to the character.
Thanks for the feedback on this thread.
I realise that perceptions and expectations differ and not everyone likes the changes to the Iconic characters. But I can live with that.

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Project_Mayhem wrote:
Anyone else think she looks quite a bit younger? Be interesting to know if that was intended.

Any perceptions of age difference is purely coincidental.

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ErichAD wrote:
I don't recall her looking quite this waifish. No shoulders, arms and legs super skinny, narrow chest, little visible tappering from lats. She looks pretty fragile.

I kinda like that some people are perceiving her as fragile, in contrast with the huge sword she's wielding. It makes a good visual juxtaposition.

Amiri's body-shape and skin complexion have indeed changed.

A common feedback I receive from speaking with players at conventions (especially female players) is a request for different female bodyshapes. I've been happy to oblige.
Amiri corresponds to what's known as the "classic pear", where the hips are wider, shoulders and bust are narrower.
I wanted to avoid the muscled barbarian cliché. By fortunate coincidence,the upward facing triangle created by the pear body shape fit in visually well with her costume.

Her skin complexion has also changed to correspond with pale complexions common in Northern Europe and South-western Russia. Places that aren't necessarily freezing cold, but don't get a whole lot of sunlight. Her pale skin makes a good visual contrast with the rest of her costume. Otherwise, there'd be just too many shades of tan in there.

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Great backstory Michael.

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Tectorman wrote:
Nevertheless, while I joked in another thread that Wayne Reynolds needed to go back and redo all the art for the Iconics to account for how conservative they need to be regarding their choice of carried gear, apparently he really does need to redo all the art. Valeros is supposed to be little more than an emaciated skeleton, rather than healthy and muscled, I guess.

Valeros has never been described as an emaciated skeleton (or anything similar) in any of the art descriptions I received.

Valeros has always been designed to be a fairly slim body shape. However, his physique hasn't changed in my rendition for Pathfinder 2.

As part of the new artwork for Pathfinder 2, some of the Iconic characters have been altered to accommodate the revised rules. A few weapon configurations have changed and specific items have been altered to reflect cultural design features. However, the amount of equipment they carry has remained the same.
(I'll be posting design notes about the Iconics at some point next year. I'll also be addressing the misconceptions regarding their equipment too)

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rknop wrote:

I think that's in response to the iconic characters drawn by Wayne Reynolds, and I think he did that on purpose. After all, the typical PC still probably has more junk carried around than even those pictures. Most have more than one backup weapon, lots of scrolls, lots of potions, rope, etc. And, if you're a player who actually thinks about the character living, you probably have rations, a waterskin. I play a lot of PFS, so I figure my character ought to have a journal, ink, etc.

It's definitely a different style from what you see in a lot of fantasy RPG art, but I have to admit I kind of like it, because it does come a bit closer to looking like what actual PCs might look like.

Thanks Rknop.

The equipment shown on the Iconic characters did kinda start out as a visual pun on the amount of gear that gets recorded on an RPG character sheet. (Where does your character store 50ft of rope, 10 potions, Iron rations and that 10” pole?) Though based on my knowledge and research of real – life history some of the equipment configurations weren’t that far from reality.
Bearing in mind that medieval soldiers on campaign would be carrying their worldly goods and pockets weren't invented till the 17th Century.
Numerous pouches, bags and satchels were fairly commonplace.
Check out these historical soldier kits.

Whilst the equipment configuration on the Iconic characters may seem haphazard to some people... I know what every strap, belt, pouch, sheath and item is for and how it's attached. All that stuff has to go somewhere and I'm fascinated by it all.

A written account detailing my design process and inspirations for all of the 2.0 iconic characters will be available at some point in the near future.

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Wheeljack wrote:

Was Seoni's look inspired by Hild from the manga and anime Oh My Goddess?

They have similar hair color and style, tan skin, facial tattoos, exposed outfits with trailing ribbons and so on.

Hild Reference.

Seoni wasn't inspired by Hilda.

Any perceived similarity is purely coincidental.
"Something always looks like something else to someone else".

A written account detailing my design process and inspirations for all of the 2.0 iconic characters will be available at some point in the near future.

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deuxhero wrote:
Do you have specific heights (like 5'11) for the iconic characters or just general ones?

The Iconic characters have all been illustrated to scale, but I haven't allocated a specific height to each character. It's more like a height band of 2 -3 inches.

Seelah is taller than Valeros. But Valeros is taller than Ezren, Sajan, Kyra and Seoni.

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At some point I'll be releasing design notes for all of the new versions of the Iconics which clarifies the ideas and reasons why they look like they do.
I can't say too much about the design process at the moment.
However, here's an extract.....

"SEONI was one of the Iconics that received a fair amount of changes. Mostly this was to ensure visual continuity with the Inner Sea region of Golarion.
I depicted Seoni long before her background was written. Since then, the setting of Golarion has been created and expanded to a point where the character didn't really look like she came from the region from her backstory - Varisia. She'd been initially depicted as someone from a culture in a much warmer climate.
The new version corresponds visually with the Varisian cultural designs that I've created. At the same time the depiction of Seoni retains aspects of the original design so that the character remains recognisable, such as her tattoos..."

Fuzzypaws will be delighted to hear that the artwork accompanying this fine article on sorcerers is an older pose. (Her costume remains the same in the new pose)

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Captain Morgan wrote wrote:
I didn't know Alahazra was supposed to be wearing armor... Man, that is silly.

Alhazra isn't wearing armour because the art description at the time didn't mention that she was wearing armour.

It wasn't until years later when I discovered her characters stats included armour.

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Thanks DM & Rysky.
One of the things I wanted to introduce to the non-human creatures in Pathfinder was a distinct non - human quality. This concept was applied to the "demi - human" ancestries also.
In many cases, creatures needed to be more than just a human with a slightly larger teeth or different coloured skin. Their body proportions and skeletal structure needed to be wildly different too in order to better convey that monster - quality.
In the instance of Goblinoid creatures we started to take into account their culture and what their items, weapons and armour would look like if they were made by a monster. If these creatures were making things themselves, how would they differ from human - made, elven - made or even orc - made items?
A lot of the new art will reflect a great diversity of Golarion cultures.

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CorvusMask wrote:

<_< I liked that hobgoblin art. I can't be only one who likes it?

I mean, old art for hobgoblins look like gray colored orcs really.

Thanks CorvusMask. Glad you like the new art for a female Hobgoblin archer. (BTW - Not all archers have huge shoulders and arms. )

The old art for the hobgoblin is a perfectly good piece of art. But when it becomes difficult to distinguish one monster from another, it becomes a problem that needs addressing. That's precisely why the Hobgoblin required changes for the new version of Pathfinder.
The Hobgoblin was never really defined, other than they are a military - minded / more organised goblinoid race.
For the new version of Pathfinder it made sense that if they are a goblinoid race, then they should bear some resemblance to the Pathfinder goblin.
We're creating a visually recognisable world for Pathfinder which will involve some new takes on "classic" monsters.
It's been one of the most exciting projects I've worked on.

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Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

Wayne, I summon thee from thy slumber to pose to you not one, but TWO questions:

First, which artist would you say influenced you the most where the fantasy genre is concerned?

Second, to keep it topic... have you or Paizo considered alternative Iconics? That is, Amirion the Barbarian or Valeria the Fighter?

Zzzzzzz, Whu? Wha?... WHO DARES WAKe.....Oh, right!

I had to give your first question a great deal of consideration, because there are a number of artists who've had a significant impact at different stages of my life and artistic development.
After careful consideration, I'd have to say the artist that had the most influence on me has been Mike Mignola.

If I were to work on the concept of opposite gender versions of the Iconics, I'd have to depict them as if they were from an alternate dimension where they were the opposite gender. Rather than depicting them as if they'd just put on a Girdle of Opposite Gender. The latter would just be a case of depicting the characters as "cross dressed".
Most of the Iconics costumes transfer well to the opposite gender with some like Kyra/Kryan or Ezren/Ezra not needing any modification at all. Most of the other Iconics just require a degree of feminisation/masculinisation to their costumes to suit the change in gender. Such as armour shapes or the style of their robes. Harsk/Harske would be beardless and Lini/Lini would be bearded. The Iconics that would require most change would be Seoni/Seon, Sajan,Sajane and Amiri/Amirion. I'd have to alter Seoni's dress to look more robelike to avoid Seon looking like a dude in a dress. Sajane would require covering up around the chest area. Whilst Amirion could show off his manly pecs more.

Not that I've given the subject much thought........

Nor, I am able to confirm or deny if sketches of opposite gender versions of; Valeros, Seoni, Merisiel, Kyra and Ezren already exist.

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As much as I’m enjoying the discussion about historical weapons and armour. One of the things to bear in mind is that we are discussing weapons and armour in the context of a high fantasy RPG. (It has been pointed out in this thread already.)

It’s not really a valid proposition to omit an armour type or weapon from a high fantasy RPG on the grounds that it didn’t exist in real life. * Elven chainmail, mithril or dragonscale armour doesn’t exist in real life. But they do exist in the game.

*Even though there are real life archaeological examples of vambraces, greaves, cuisse, pteurges and gauntlets constructed from studded leather and splint armour.

As much as some of us like our historical accuracy, Pathfinder and Golarion isn’t 15th century Europe. If it were, I’d be illustrating things a lot differently.
Consequently there are going to be a heck of a lot of anachronisms when compared to real life history.
We should also consider that the range of weapons and armour that are listed come from a myriad of cultures that span nearly two thousand years of time.

Weapons and armour appear in the equipment lists because there are players who want their characters to wield those cool – looking weapons or wear armour that they’ve seen in a movie, comic, book or museum.
We’ve probably seen enough historically – themed movies to know that movie makers are more interested in entertaining us than educating us.
Whilst a bit of education is never a bad thing, (It took remarkable restraint to delete a bunch of stuff I'd written about correcting some of the incorrect information on this thread ) a game is intended to entertain .
There will be players who might not care about historical accuracy. But they do care if the rules interpretation of a Warhammer is going to help their character crack a dragon’s skull.

I’ve spoken at length with some of the Pathfinder design team about real life weapons and armour. Some of these real life aspects have been introduced to a few of the concept designs I've been working on for the new version of Pathfinder. I base many ideas on real life combined with imagination to transform the items into the realms of fantasy – which is what the game’s about.
Seeing some of the weapons and armour renamed or added in the new version of Pathfinder would certainly scratch my historical itch.
However, the real life elements do need to take into account the high fantasy setting.

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Doktor Weasel wrote:
So big-headed goblins are distinct from the old school ones in culture and feel (definitely seems inspired heavily by Gremlins, which is a positive in my mind).

Glad you like the Pathfinder goblins. :)

The inspiration for their big heads with big mouths actually came from an oval bath sponge!
Inspiration sometimes comes from the most unexpected places...

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Thanks Everyone.

I'm pleased to confirm that I've been working closely with the Paizo design team (Bouncing ideas off each other) for the past couple of years on creating visuals for the second version of Pathfinder.

I can't go into too much specific detail at this point.
However, The sketches that you're seeing are the world-building concept images for the new version of Pathfinder.
One of the visual aspects we wanted to address was to define the in-game ancestries and culture to a point where their appearance and equipment makes them instantly recognisable as a Pathfinder - specific visuals.
For example; The differences between a Pathfinder Halfling and a Pathfinder Gnome.
The viewer should now be able to identify which ancestry the character or item is from at a glance.
There are lots of sketches as we've been going into quite a lot of detail. At some point they may end up being colour pieces.

In addition, I've been working on design notes for each of the Iconics. The design notes will describe the inspirations and creative process behind the visuals of the characters. Including details and origins of their equipment.

I hope the new images will be (mostly) met with approval. It's been the kind of project I've been waiting for a large chunk of my career to work on.

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I noticed the thread on armour and weapons and just couldn't resist joining in.......

A lot of the armour and weapon classifications in RPGs are simplified versions that take into account game balance and statistics. Even though they don't necessarily reflect what they're like IRL. (Bearing in mind we are talking about a game based on an imaginary setting with flying hexapodal lizard-horses and people who can fire ice out of their fingertips.... You get the idea.....)
There are a number of mistakes in the old D&D weapon and armour descriptions. Most players are none the wiser, especially if the system still kinda works.

From a historical point of view....

The term longsword usually referred in the 15th Century to the "Hand and a half" sword. Otherwise known as a Bastard Sword.
Single handed swords were known as Arming Swords.

Brigandines often get mistaken for studded leather.

A Brigandine is comprised of interlocking metal plates riveted behind a covering of felt - Sometimes leather.
The earlier version is known as a "Coat of Plates" The metal plates were larger and fewer in number. The later version became a "Jack of Plates" consisting of much smaller metal sections.
The Persian version is known as a "Coat of 1000 Nails".

Studded leather is just leather with small metal studs either sewn or attached to it. To my knowledge, an archeological example of studded leather jerkin or jack has never been found. Though there are historical examples of smaller sections of studded leather armour. Such as vambraces, greaves, pteurges and gauntlets.

However, studded leather as a classification works quite well for an RPG. It also looks pretty damn cool.

The historical definition of a falchion is a blade with a flat edge and a sharp edge which came to a asymmetrical curve at the tip. However, that definition is fairly loose and you get a whole bunch of variations on the theme - All categorised as a "Falchion". (Not to be confused with cutlass or katana)

Most of the classification we see in RPGs has been based upon 19th Century scholarly attempts to categorise the wide variety of medieval weaponry found in museums.
Pole arms were the main reason. In the middle ages, anything (That wasn't a spear) with a metal bit on the end of a big stick was referred to as a "pole arm". However a pole arm could consist of an axe head with a spike (Halberd) or a single curved cutting edge edge with a hook (Guisarme) Referring to them all as Pole arms confused the heck out of the scholars , hence the names and classifications we see now.
Though for some reason they didn't seem to categorise falchions.

Those scholars have a lot to answer for....

Maille became known as "Chainmail". Which is a tautology. Maille being the old French word for "Chain". Mail is now used to describe armour made from separate links.
Scale mail was just referred to as Scale. Ring mail, banded mail and splint mail are all RPG terminologies.

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bixnoodles wrote:
What was your favorite animal companion/familiar to draw?

Gimcrak the Quasit. The familiar of Areelu Vorlesh (From City of Locusts - Wrath of the Righteous Part 6, AP #78)

A demon - imp with a cut-throat razor. What's not to like? ;)

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Daniel Yeatman wrote:
It was great seeing you at Lucca today, I’m still a bit star struck! My question is, with the iconics, were there some that were easier to come up with than others? If so, is there a specific type of character that comes to you more naturally, or a conceptual genre that you feel more at ease with?

Thanks for visiting my booth at Lucca. It was a pleasure to meet you. Hope you had a great weekend.

I have more of an affinity with combat - orientated designs than magic - based character designs.
Probably because I have more of a mental library to draw upon in that aspect.

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Kryzbyn wrote:
Zova seems to have an aztec feel to her. Was that intentional?

Should have a write up for Zova later this month.

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ulgulanoth wrote:
Wayne given how prolific you've been on multiple game and fantasy settings, how do you keep different settings from merging in artistic feel? So that each has its own unique style and flare? Have you ever had to redo an art piece because you feel it "fits" better in a different setting than the one it was done for?

Fortunately, the IPs I mostly work on at the moment are all fairly distinctive from each other. (Pathfinder, Magic & Hearthstone) In my head the settings are visually separated, so I don't deliberately take aspects from one and use it in the other. I've usually got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to illustrate, or the type of visual aspect I'm going to use for a specific setting. Some of the IPs have comprehensive style guides which help to define the look or visual requirements for the IP.

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Potato disciple wrote:


Is our friend socothbenoth getting artwork(/stats?) in the near future?

Apologies, I'm not at liberty to discuss the details or subject matter of upcoming projects due to Client NDAs.

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The Raven Black wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
I'm not sure why folks are picking up that Nocticula is checking out Dispater... she doesn't have pupils, so you can't really tell where she's looking. She COULD be checking out Charon, for all we know!

When you look at the full size image, it is pretty obvious that she is looking at the viewer, just like the other demigods do.

But when it is reduced to screen size, the eye on the left appears whiter (because she has dark hair in front of the iris of the eye on the right) and thus focuses the attention to the left and makes it appear as if she was looking at Dispater (because her eyes form an oblique line that goes in this direction).

It is merely an optical illusion, a trick of the light ;-)

I depicted Nocticula looking directly at the viewer. Sometimes my subtle shading doesn't get picked up in reduced - sized versions

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James, Working with you has been a pleasure. Thanks for your significant contributions to both Pathfinder and throughout the RPG community.
Very best of luck my friend on your new ventures. I know you'll continue to create something amazing.

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Reduxist wrote:
Were there ever any specific characters or setting within Pathfinder that you wanted to personally design? Have you ever expressed that desire with your employers?

The Pathfinder campaign setting is so varied and exciting that there have been lots of aspects I would love a chance to illustrate.

As a freelance illustrator, I very rarely get to choose the subject matter I depict. These things are largely dictated by the products the client is creating. Fortunately, the titles I get to work on have afforded me the opportunity to explore new aspects of the campaign setting. These designs have then often been incorporated elsewhere.
If I had to narrow it down to what I'd like to do then it'd probably something along the lines of "culture - building". I'd like to create more in-depth designs on some of the races and various Golorian cultures.
Things like archetypes, costume, armour, weapons, equipment, etc.
It's real "rabbit hole" stuff that an artist could get completely lost in.
Whether I actually find the time to do that is another matter. :)

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Pope Uncommon the Dainty wrote:

Having done so much art for Pathfinder (and being the, ahem, iconic artist for the game), have you started to develop an understanding of the history of fashion in Golarion? Do you ever build in cultural connections among the characters you draw (like, connecting them because of culture rather than for any of the strictly artistic reasons you might repeat a visual theme)? If so, what's the most surprising, in your opinion?

Have you noticed any intentional or unintentional worldbuilding across your pictures? Or, maybe, have you noticed any later elements of Golarion's worldbuilding that might be traced back to a detail in one of your pieces?

Since the introduction of Golorian as a dedicated campaign setting, I've tried to consistently introduce visual elements which recognisably belong to a specific culture, species or region. Creating the Iconic characters and working on the Adventure Path covers has greatly assisted my exploration into the creation of cultural themes. Over the years I've been able to develop specific looks that have become associated with a particular aspect from the world setting. So at a glance the viewer can immediately tell what region a character comes from or what culture they belong to. Even what deity they worship. (But still at the same time allowing individual artists to express ideas from their imagination within the theme)

It's an important part of world-building and is an on-going project considering the enormous diversity within the Inner Sea.
And it's lots of fun.

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Wes, Thanks for your significant contributions to both Pathfinder and throughout the RPG community.
You have been a pleasure to work with.
I know you will excel in your new endeavors.
Very best of luck my friend.

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golfdeltafoxtrot wrote:

How many drafts of an iconic does it normally take you to finalise a concept or come up with a final depiction? Your designs seem incredibly detailed to my untrained eye, and I wondered whether you layered your designs as you progressed - say starting with a basic body then adding clothes then accessories - or does it come together in some other way?

As an aside, will you be at UK Games Expo this year? I regretted not buying a print of my favourite iconic, Quinn, two years ago and had resolved to buy one last year but it seems you weren't attending. Might I have the chance this year?

I usually include all of a character's equipment in the first draft. I have a fairly good idea about what they might carry once I receive the art description.

There are a few things I usually include as standard for a medieval character;

At least one pouch; Medieval people didn't have pockets. If you had any belongings, they were normally carried in a pouch, purse or satchel.

A knife or dagger; Pretty much everyone (Apart from slaves) carried a knife of some sort. Knives were considered to be a versatile tool.

Weapons; An RPG character usually has at least one melee weapon. (Some have more than one, depending upon the character class)
An RPG character often has some sort of missile weapon (but not always)
Taking these basic aspects into account, I can start to build around the figure - depending on their armour, character class, character race.
I can explore different ways of storing and suspension of each item - depending upon the item.
For example; I know of a few methods to storing a bow - (Again, depending upon the type of bow) Scabbards have numerous ways of hanging and suspending.

These aspects are all worked out at the beginning so I know where they all go on the body. Sometimes I might have to shift things around but it usually takes place at thumbnail stage.

Thanks for visiting me at UK Games Expo 2015. I hope you had a great weekend. Sorry, I won't be attending UK Games Expo 2017. I have a history - thing going on that weekend instead.

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Kileanna wrote:

When I design and draw my own characters I'm always excited and scared at the same time when they are portrayed by a different person. Excited because I like to see how other people sees them, scared because they could not get it done right.

Has it happened to you anytime? Thought «this view of the character doesn't match mine at all» or «this isn't accurate at all»? Also, what is your favorite portrait of any of the iconics made from another artist?

One of the things I learnt a long time ago when I became a commercial artist was; The product that an artist contributes to is always more important than the artist.

Consequently, it never matters to me that a fellow artist will depict one of my character designs slightly differently within that product. A degree of consistency is required when illustration a brand or an IP. (Depicting copyrighted designs outside of a product is a different matter) However, it's always good when an art director allows artistic freedom of interpretation within given parameters.
Lots of artists frequently deviate from my original character designs within the pages of Pathfinder products. And I notice any discrepancy straight away. But that doesn't mean it's bad art.
There are a lot of very talented artists contributing artwork to Pathfinder.
Perhaps in this instance, there are too many to choose from to be able to narrow it down to a favourite. In a lot of cases the name of the artist is not apparent.

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captain yesterday wrote:

I switched to pathfinder because of the iconic artwork. :-)

And for a blast to the past question.

What was your favorite Eberron cover to do, or which one turned out better than you expected. :-)

Thanks very much;

Favourite Eberron cover is probably Secrets of Xen'Drik.... Or maybe Forge of War. I really enjoyed illustrating warforged characters.

Favourite AP cover by another artist... That's a tricky choice as there are so many good ones; The Armageddon Echo by Steve Prescott.... Or The Hill Giant's Pledge by Jesper Ejsing.

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Steelfiredragon wrote:
.....I've been dreading ro ask, but one of the damphir is the blood of the night book. I think it was the nosferatu blooded one. but why does he remind me of Adolf Himmler?( yes the jerk from ww2, and jerk is being nice)

Not my artwork.

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DM Livgin wrote:
Hey, I just saw you at the Just Ridiculous thread and it occurred to me that I could actually come tell you how much I enjoy your art. Thank you for creating such wonderful art. Many years ago I picked up the Core Rulebook, looked at the cover, and thought to myself: Yes, this looks like the kind of RPG that I want to play...

Thanks very much for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it. I'm really pleased that you enjoy playing Pathfinder and the artwork contained within. It's a fun game to illustrate. :)

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Quentin Coldwater wrote:

Your argument isn't helped by the fact that Wayne Reynolds is the default artist for the iconics, who is famous for overdesigning his characters until they look like they're wearing a Velcro suit and were rolled through a random equipment drawer. Seriously, if you tried to faithfully cosplay most of these characters, you'd collapse. What is Mavaro carrying with him, for example? And Valeros is carrying so many straps and buckles at least half his weight must be leather alone. And I count at least 11 daggers on Merisiel's body. And how many layers of fur is Aowyn wearing, anyway?

Sorry, came into this thread a bit late..

But it seems there is a misconception here about how much items weigh in real life.
(Given that we are talking about a game based on imagination, set in an imaginary world with hexapodal flying lizards that breathes fire and people that can shoot ice out of their fingertips)

IRL A 15th century knight wearing a full harness of steel plate armour weighs about 90lbs. This includes maille voiders, skirt, buckles, straps, gambeson/arming jacket, arming sword, longsword/pollaxe, girdle, livery chain, surcoat, belt, pouch, daggers and scabbard.
I can attest firsthand that it’s possible to wear this amount and weight of gear and still fight. I can also run, ride and do push ups in my replica 15th century plate armour.

Bear in mind that a modern soldier often carries more that 100lbs of equipment and still considered combat – effective.

A 15th century full harness contains more buckles and leather straps than what we see Valeros wearing. In comparison, Valeros’s equipment would weigh considerably less than a real – life 15th century knight completely encased in steel. Even if we take into account his over-sized fantasy longsword.
Merisiel’s 11 daggers are a mere fraction of that weight.
The heaviest item Marvelo possesses is probably his sword.
His scroll case, javelins, jewellery, pouches and belts don’t actually have a high combined weight. It just “looks” like he’s encumbered. (Sorta the idea behind the character)

The equipment shown on the Iconic characters has always been a visual pun on the amount of gear that gets recorded on an RPG character sheet. (Where does your character store 50ft of rope, 10 potions, Iron rations and that 10” pole?)
So I worked it all out. I know where every strap and every pouch I depicted on an iconic goes and what it’s attached to.

This is a game based on imagination afterall. I’d illustrate things a lot differently if this were a game based on historically accurate 15th century Europe.
But it isn’t.
Pathfinder is a lot more fun than that.

6 greatswords?
Ridiculous maybe... But fun to illustrate!

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The Gold Sovereign wrote:

I just noticed that Charon is carrying that book again, just as he did in the Book of the Damned cover. I was under the impression that the book was just a cosmetic addition, but it seems it can be of some importance (maybe it's his death note). And he also has the same rowing/staff from BotD cover.

I really miss his hat...

I felt that Charon needed a drastic visual change from the previous depiction from Horseman of the Apocalypse. Kieran’s artwork for the cover is spectacular. However, I felt the rendition of Charon didn’t quite fit with this particular cover image. After a discussion with Sarah, I got the go-ahead to do a spot of redesigning.

Firstly, depicting Charon as a skeleton in a long black robe had too many similarities to the Grim Reaper from the cover of B5. To make the content of the images different, it was vital that I move away from that visual.

Being something of a historical purist, I looked at the original renditions of Charon from ancient Greek mythology. He’s described as an emaciated old man with a long beard, wearing a ragged kyton. His eyes glow like coals in a fire.
I used that as my basis for the redesign.
For continuity, I kept the staff and book. (Which may be made into relics of importance by the design team) However, the brimmed hat really didn’t work. It looked way too modern and completely out of context for the setting portrayed - Both in terms of the environment and the classical Greek theme of the redesign.In addition, the hat didn’t quite look right at the viewpoint angle I was using to depict Charon.
It took a number of renditions before I worked out the problems that the hat was causing.
I grew to hate the hat.
I’m glad I took it out.
Sorry Kieran.
(Not sorry)

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