Exalted: Ursa Massacre

The next in the series of Exalted RPG interior illustrations isn’t all quiet, unassuming and expecting you to take a seat, settle down and take in all the detail, instead it SUDDENLY THROWS LOADS OF HOT BEAR VISCERA RIGHT IN YOUR STUPID FACE:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Hoo boy! Apologies, bear fans, nature-lovers, and er, just about everybody. The creative director and the art editor made me do it! Okay, crap excuse. Anyway, this is an image of a ‘Lunar‘(feral, tribal) ‘Exalted‘(person with rare, special powers) having to defend herself from some wildlife while she’s on a nice hike in the mountains.

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

These are the first series of rough thumbnail scribbles I scribbled in ma travellin’ sketchbok. The image is of a woman ripping a rampaging bear in half with her mad powers. I knew the bear would be suspended in the air, so I was wondering wether to show it hanging above or being looked down on.

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Here was what I came up with for a rough to show the creative director and art editor. In amongst the bears with the unfortunate bear in the air (hey that rhymes) towering over the viewer. Next, I coloured it:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

The scene is set in the mountains in the snow, but I didn’t want to just rely on a white and light-blue colour scheme like so many wintery images seem to have by default… It’s far too clean and plastic-looking. Instead I deliberately went for saturated purple and red colours. The thing that looks like a ghost crocodile is the woman’s ‘Anima Banner‘, a lightshow aura that surrounds her while she’s activating her special powers. (And providing a bit of comment on the situation too, by the looks.)
Here’s the very restrained linework I drew for the final piece with a mechanical pencil. (The pencil gives a fine line with just enough variation and weight to keep it a little bit interesting:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

…but talking about line qaulity is a bit academic because the eventual goal is to cover it up with digital paint! Here are ‘the flats’ for the image:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

…placeholders for putting particular colours in particular parts of the image. Once I got the shapes I down, I then straight away changed the colours to these:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

You can see some of the stone and rock textures I dropped in too. Next I worked into the lowlights and shades:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

I threw some blood on it too… Next up, the highlights went on and the background were worked into:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Here’s a quick screencap of me working into the lady’s face. It was much more squished at this point and I had to fix that. Also, the eyes being at different levels. Oy:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

While we’re doing cutways, here’s on of some of the textures and whatnot without anything else in the way:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Then working into it all some more…

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

More importantly the crocodile anima banner went in. The title for this image in the art notes is ‘Grusome Triumph’. Yup. There was some head-scratching about how transparent(?), translucent(?) or semi-opaque(???) it should be overall and in particular bits, but we got there in the end:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Then a bunch of fixes and overpaints, working into it all the while, doing the odd lighting trick:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Then we were getting more into details and plugging away at all the brushstrokes needed to make the furry bits look furry:

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Fozzy bears duly fozzied, I was pulling the dark bits forward and making the light bits stand out, trying to get as much depth as I could out of the piece. (Which is a challenge because there’s only so much depth in the composition before we hit the sky…

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

And we were done! I even signed it and everything. The piece was cropped, the idea being it’s a tall, thin illustration to take up one half of a page of the book running from top to bottom, leaving the other half free for text. (Apologies if these are a bit hard to view in the blog and need lots of scrolling, I’m sure they’ll look good in the book thanks to the lovely Oynx Path folks!

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Here are some close-ups of interesting bits of the piece, in case you were tired of squinting…

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

Because I took the time to put all of these brushstrokes into the bear’s fur, you’re getting a close-up of it…

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

This bear is concerned. I’m sure you would be too. (Also, check out the textures and whatnot on the mountains in the background!)

Exalted Third Edition RPG illustration workings

 Next time: Super-powered people struggle with everyday things too, you know!

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