Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Recent Drawings

Some Tolkien inspired drawings I've done over the last few months that I don't think I've shown here yet. 

Bard the Bowman
18" x 24" , red and white pencil on toned paper

Bard the Bowman II
18" x 24" , red and white pencil on toned paper

Beneath the Dragon
11"x 14", red and white pencil on toned paper

In Moria
11"x 14", red pencil on toned paper

Ring a dong dillo
11"x 14", red pencil on paper

11"x 14", red pencil on paper

Friday, January 16, 2015

Abzan Skycaptain

Abzan Skycaptain
oil on paper mounted to mdf, 12" x 16"
available for purchase for $1,250
©Wizards of the Coast
 Abzan Skycaptain was done for the Fate Reforged expansion set for Magic: the Gathering.  I've painted these anthropomorphic birds for Magic in the past, basing my designs on golden eagles or snow owls. The supplied concept image for the aven design in this set looked like a vulture. So I based the Skycaptain on a griffon vulture, which is native to the near east and central Asia. The Abzan clan takes its inspiration from the medieval empires of this region, so it seemed only appropriate. Also, maintaining the feeling that the creature is flying while it holds its weapons with its wings was surprisingly tricky, but I think I'm happy with the results.

Abzan Skycaptain preliminary sketch
graphite on paper, 8 1/2" x 11"
available for purchase for $225
©Wizards of the Coast

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ivorytusk Fortress

Ivorytusk Fortress
14" x 18", oils on mdf
©Wizards of the Coast
Here's a bit on the process that Ivorytusk Fortress went through from thumbnail to final.  For some pieces I know right away what I'd like to do. For others, which is most of the time, the image must go through many incarnations before I'm happy with it. 
Small thumbnail sketches, sometimes pages of them, are done. Promising ones are imported into photoshop for further development. I like to think about value and color as early as possible, and photoshop allows me to do that rather easily. 

A page from my sketchbook. Not pretty. 
Various thumbnails, developed further and with values and color added

When I arrive at a rough I like, I usually go back to pencil and paper to really nail the composition down, adding information from reference, and working on the details. With everything worked out, the painting of the final image goes a lot smoother. 

The final drawing

The image as it appears on the card, in foil. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In the Forest Under Night

In the Forest Under Night
oil on panel, 30"x48"
©Matthew Stewart
 "A wandering Elf, a thrall escaped, whom Beleg met and comforted,' said Gwindor. 'Yet once I was Gwindor son of Guilin, a lord of Nargothrond, until I went to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and was enslaved in Angband.'"
J.R.R. Tolkien
Of Turin Turambar, The Silmarillion

In the Forest Under Night is a scene from the tale by J.R.R. Tolkien that appears in both The Silmarillion and in a longer form in The Children of Hurin. Gwindor is a Noldor Elf lord captured in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, also known as "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears". At this catastrophic defeat, the kingdoms of the Noldor elves were smashed by Morgoth. As one of the Noldor, skilled in mining and smithing, Gwindor was kept alive as a slave. He escaped, however, into the forest Taur-nu-Fuin, which in the elvish language means "great forest under night". He has lost a hand in his escape, and carries with him a Feanorian lamp in the other. It is light of this lamp that Beleg, in pursuit of the captured Turin, sees and finds Gwindor. You can read the story and decide for yourself if Gwindor would have been better off left alone.

I'll have both this painting and the drawing seen below, along with many other pieces on display next week at Illuxcon 7 at the Allentown Art Museum. The show runs from Wednesday, Sept 17 to Sunday, Septemebr 21st.

In the Forest under Night
preliminary drawing for the painting
red pencil on paper,  21" x 33"
©Matthew Stewart

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Master of Predicaments

 Master of Predicaments
12" x16" , oil , Photoshop.
©Wizards of the Coast

Master of Predicaments was done for the new M15 core set for Magic the Gathering. The art description called for a cruel looking sphinx, who enjoys forcing those unfortunate to come across him to choose their doom behind the doors. Originally I was asked to paint three doors, but changes in the card design while I was painting the illustration made only two doors necessary.  I try to make the changes in oils when I can, but with schedule constraints, along with the fact that the changes were architectural (lots of straight, evenly spaced edges, along with a shiny floor that would also have to be repainted too), doing the changes digitally made a lot more sense. 

Master of Predicaments (preliminary drawing)
8.5" x 11", pencil on paper
©Wizards of the Coast

I liked the slender doors with the vertical orb windows in the sketch.  I was afraid, however, that they would get lost when the image is reduced to card size. Though its a creature card, the background doors had to be very clear for the illustration to work. 
 Master of Predicaments
12" x16" , oil on paper mounted to board
©Wizards of the Coast

Friday, May 23, 2014

Power Play

Marchesa Enthroned aka. Power Play
oil on board, 16" x 24"
©Wizards of the Coast

Here's the second painting of Marchesa, The Black Rose I created for Magic's new Conspiracy set.  I really enjoy painting these vertical full format cards. It's a nice change from the usual horizontal format, and being that the text box is covering the bottom half, it allowed me to indulge myself in painting all the the marble throne details without having to put anything too important in the area.

Preliminary drawing for Marchesa Enthroned
Red Brown pencil and white chalk on toned Canson paper, 14.75" x 22 image area
©Wizards of the Coast

Monday, May 19, 2014

Marchesa, The Black Rose

Marchesa, the Black Rose
Oil on paper mounted to board, 12" x 16"
©Wizards of the Coast

 Marchesa, The Black Rose, for the new Conspiracy set for Magic. Our femme fatale has just eliminated a mark through the use of a poisonous pin hidden in one of her rings. She also carries deadly needles in her hair. I enjoyed painting all the lush costume details and Italian renaissance/baroque feel that characterizes this set. 

I got to paint this character twice, the other piece being on the card Power Play, which was just spoiled last night, but I'll get into that one in an upcoming post. 

Preliminary drawing for Marchesa, The Black Rose
graphite and white chalk on toned paper, image area 9.5" x13"
©Wizards of the Coast