Sunday, July 1, 2012

Morels: Shiitake

The Shiitake card is the first card in the Morels game where, during the creation process, I got to work from a "dossier" that game designer Brent Povis put together. These dossiers were info on each mushroom, a profile of where and how the species grows, with a few different pictures and any other pertinent information. It was a good way to work and it cut down on the time-consuming research on my end.

Brent wanted a lot in this card illustration: A Japanese garden, a tree with shiitake growing on it, garden lanterns, a koi pond (with koi), a Japanese gate and a pagoda. All on a 3-inch card. I talked him out of the Godzilla. Here's a very rough thumbnail of the card that I used to place all the elements, followed by the sketches I did in preparation for the finished artwork.

I gather up all of my sketches, composite the parts I like on a lightbox, then draw a final draft that I scan into Photoshop where I can start laying down color. I don't bother coloring parts that'll be hidden by the card borders, and keep certain elements on different layers knowing I'll have to tweak them later for the night-time version of the card.

Some of the elements (like the lanterns on the far bank) are getting a little lost in the image, so I paint in some shadows around them to help them pop. And while the pond in the first image looks pretty good (I smeared the reflection a bit to make it look like water) it might look a little flat, almost frozen. To give the sense of small ripples, I paint in some random light reflection and it's ready for the card border. Now, the night-time version…

First thing I do in the night card is replace the blue sky with a star field. But the rest of the objects in the composition are still lit for daylight, so I adjust the colors to bring out more blues and decrease the yellows. I also paint in a few shadows. The last thing I do is light the lanterns, and then paint in the light reflections in the water and the cast light falling on the trees, bushes and shiitake.

That's it for this card. I'll deconstruct another card next time. Don't forget, to see these cards in person, just go to the Two Lanterns Games website and order your own copy of Morels. -v

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