This blog represents the work and thoughts of Howard Lyon, Artist and Illustrator

Thank you Caravaggio

I don't always have the time to do the kind of art study that I would like.  So sometimes I have to incorporate that study into my work.  Caravaggio is one of my favorite artists, so for this painting of The Fell Court I decided to base my composition on Caravaggio's painting of Supper at Emmaus.

Why you ask?  I wanted to spend some real time looking at what makes this composition work.  The powerful lights and darks along with the limited palette.  The masterful foreshortening of the character on the right and look at how the character on the left looks like he is just about to move, to breath and speak.  Wonderful.  I have only done this a few times over the years, but I always find it to be a very useful experience.

So thank you Caravaggio for helping lift at least this image for Dungeons and Dragons a little higher. :)

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Dungeon Cover - Venca

Here is a cover I did a while back that I haven't put on my site yet.  It was for Dungeon Magazine.  When painting something that doesn't exist, it helps to construct something that you can light and use as reference to at least have a basis in reality.  So, below the image of the cover is a shot of a little maquette that I made along with some rough steps I put in to give me a better place to start the painting.  James Gurney is a wonderful source of inspiration for such things, I hight recommend his book Imaginative Realism.

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and here is the shot of the maquette:

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Dragon Cover - Venca

Cover painting for Dragon Magazine.  Always fun to paint the big bad guys.  I followed the methodology outlined in Imaginative Realism by James Guney, building a little clay model for the red demon, and I used little wood blocks to build out a quick model of the background.  It helped to get some shadow and structure information that would have been hard to create otherwise.  It is a fun process and the time that it takes to build the models is offset by a faster painting time.

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Heroes of the Fallen Lands - part 2

Yesterday I posted a portrait of Lyriel.  Today, we see her battling her way past some wizard who I am sure was up to no good.  I bet he was putting MSG in the beef pasties in the local village making them deliciously addictive and irresistible.  Either that or by the looks of the stuff on the ground, he was making some killer smokin' smoothies out of berries and twigs and skulls. It was right that he met his doom this day.

Side note: I posed for the wizard.  I don't have that great long silver hair or beard, and his 'Biff' staff is made up, but I totally captured the lightning I can shoot out of my hands.

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Update: Tyler Walpole asked if I used 3D for any of the background, and I did.  I built a quick model of what I had in mind and then put some quick texture over it in Corel Painter and then started painting.  What you see here is the model with some texture overlay and little bit of painting started on one of the skulls.  I keep the model pretty simple, as you can see in the skulls (basically spheres with cylinders poking out of them).

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Heroes of the Fallen Lands - part 1

Here is the first my images from the Heroes of the Fallen Lands book release by Wizards.  For Lyriel, I used the daughter of a friend of mine that I grew up with.  She is also the model for my Joan of Arc painting from the Illustration Master Class.  She did a great job, I am sure she will show up again!  I have three more images that I will post of the course of the week, so check back in.

Monster Manual III

Thanks to Mari Kolkowsky for the wonderful commission on the just released, Monster Manual III, for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.  These were a blast to do!  Click the image for a larger size.

Spring and Autumn Dryads:

Winter and Summer Dryads:

Details of their heads:

A Fire Giant:

The Umber Hulk:

And last but not least, the creepy Banderhobb, who is about to feast on Zack, my oldest son: