Thursday, August 30, 2012

Morels: Lawyer's Wig

The Lawyer's Wig was the 8th card I illustrated for Morels. It was a chance to draw people (a rarity in this card set), and an opportunity to do some historical research and practice some architectural illustration (ugh). But most of all it was a puzzle to figure out how to fit a giant building with important details onto a 3-inch card. Listen, my children, and you shall hear how I used forced perspective to make far things seem near...

First I warped a photo of the Old North Church to see if I could stuff it inside the card borders and still allow for some close-up foreground work. Maybe. But clearly the mushrooms looked like something out of Day of the Triffids so that had to be modified. I also went back and forth with game designer, Brent Povis, on historical accuracies: Did the original church have two louvered windows up top or a giant clock? Would that fire escape structure on the right building have been there in 1775? Brent did days worth of research to come up with the answers.

This was the final approval sketch for the Lawyer's Wig. As you can see, reality was bent slightly in order to get everything to fit (and be visible). In the end, the smaller mushrooms and the subtle lantern lights turn out to be nice "a-ha" elements in the composition. And the forced fisheye effect works well with my slightly cartoony style.

All that's left is layering on the color with various brushes, trying to represent the different textures in the illustration. You can follow through my steps here and watch the card come together in virtually the same sequence I did.

As I said, the trick was fitting everything in so that the composition allowed for a fairly close shot of the mushrooms, and a full image of the Old North Church Tower large enough and close enough so that the two lanterns would be visible on the night version of the card.

The night-time version of the card is all adding shadows and color shifting toward blue. Once everything's a deep, dim blue it makes it much easier to spot the two lanterns in the church tower. Not only are the lights a nod to the name of the company who puts out Morels, but if you know anything about Colonial America, they're a clue to the important historical event the image on the card alludes to. A-ha!

If you'd like to read some reviews and session reports about Morels, check out Board Game Geek.
And if you'd like to order yourself a copy, just go to the Two Lanterns Games website. Thanks. -v

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