Dragon Fodder

By Jesper Ejsing

Yet another Goblin Painting...

I love painting and drawing them. Mostly because they let you get away with very twisted and abnormal body proportion and features. Actually the more elongated and too much the better, if you ask me. I was going to paint 2 Goblins for magic, both running like crazy dodging bolts of lightning (The lightning comes from dragons, thus, the title of the image)

I am currently in the middle of a period of trying to push my drawings to be more dynamic and the figures to be more in mid motion. So these 2 guys in the sketch came out as almost flying from the ground. I was definitely thinking them as running from their life jumping high and skipping from rocks and cliffs. But my dear art director Dawn Murrin pointed out that the way they were flying and, with almost no ground surface, it looked very much like they were being struck by the lightning bolt, screaming in agony. The very crude astounding expression of the front goblin enhanced the reading that he was being killed by the bolt. She suggested that I added ground, changed the expression and made them more running less flying.

In my search for absolute dynamic, I had missed the clearness of the storytelling. I changed a lot of the smaller things she suggested and then went to redraw the goblin furthers away ( I really liked the front one a lot and only changed his face )

The one in the back got grounded, the bolts shown actually striking the ground and the stone they were running on closer to the feet...but still the back goblin did not look right. I think there was something "Fishy" to him and too little motion. So I drew a thirdv version. One with raised arms. When doing new sketches of figures I have to shuffle them around in the composition to make sure there are no tangents. I want every outline to read clearly, every compositional element to read either in front or behind eachother. Either clear of the outline or cut at the clearest angle.  

I was going to paint this one digitally, and as you can see in the sketches I already started at the colors. But this was begun when I was in-house at Wotc and had to be finished when I got back home. when I returned to Denmark I had been staring at a screen for 12 hours a day for 3 weeks concepting magic and I really really missed having paint on my fingers and brushes in my hands. So I abborded the digital version and transferred it all to paper and did my usual routines of greytoneing it all in line and values and then washes and then thicker paint and so on and so on.  What I had in my mind from digital painting was that I should try to avoid too dark, especially black areas. So I imagined all to have a bouncing light reflecting up from the ground. You can see that in the metal plate on the back goblin and especially in the rock surfaces pointing down. The grey streak of sky colour acts as a neutral contrast to all the warm colours. The grey is good for being like an anchor for the other colours to match up against. I knew the lightning bolt would have to be pink ( cold ) so I went with warm colours for everything else and used the grey as a neutral. Had I instead used a bright blue as sky I am sure it would have seemed too colourful and would definitely had taken away focus from the lightning bolt.  I always try to cut away colours to make choices left seem more powerful. "Limit your palette", is my best advice for anyone who think colors are difficult.