Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Abzan Falconer

Painted at the same time as Armament Corps, Abzan Falconer proved to be far less fraught with issues. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't free of revisions or anything, but it was not nearly as difficult a process.

Here's the art order:
ART ID: 156996    title: [Abzan Falconer]
Setting: KHANAR
Clan: Abzan
Color: White creature
Location: Tower or aerie of an Abzan citadel
Action: Show a male human soldier of the Abzan who trains giant desert birds of prey. He squints bravely into the sun as behind him, a brown-feathered, sharp-beaked eagle or hawk perches on a stone perch (maybe with a falconry hood over its eyes). The bird looks almost big enough to pick up the falconer himself.
Focus: The Abzan falconer
Mood: A watchful expert

Pretty simple and straightforward, honestly. I sketched it up and sent it in. However, the intitial version I sent in, I'm afraid, seems to have been lost. I sketched it digitally and I seem to have either saved over the old file or deleted layers. Either way, it was different than the one below. The falconer himself is virtually identical, but the scale and positioning of the falcon itself was altered a couple times.

©Wizards of the Coast
For the most part, the tweaks required me to make the falcon larger. There was also a concern that the falcon was too important within the composition (a concern that remained even with the version of the sketch that was ultimately approved). I suspect that the fear was about the fact that mechanically speaking the Abzan Falconer is not a flying creature, and so there was some worry that a composition that featured the falcon too prominently would insinuate otherwise. In the end, I ended up offering up a crop of the image that downplayed the falcon and promised that with lighting and color I'd ensure that the falconer was clearly the more important of the two elements.

Once that was agreed upon, I was given the go ahead to complete the piece.

©Wizards of the Coast
The painting is oil on paper on hardboard and measures sixteen inches wide by twelve inches tall.

While talking with Chris Rahn, about this piece and the minor difficulties during it's creation, he volunteered that his solution would have been a bit different. He suggested that he'd have zoomed in even tighter on the falconer and depicted just the feet and legs of the falcon behind him. That might have made for a better piece. It also might have made for an instant approval rather than several back and forth emails and a few sketch rehashes.

Why I didn't think of this alternate solution is beyond me. Truth be told, I was having such difficulty with Armament Corps that I just wanted something to go right, and so I sketched something I was happy with and hoped for the best. It worked out, but now I kind of wonder if this really was the best option.

Still, I'm not unhappy with the piece. I like the color and the mood and the lighting. So there's that.

As I suggested, they cropped in on the piece when they printed it. It's really a fairly subtle crop, but it does help the focus for the purposes of the card.

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