The most exciting and important part of the working on Frostgrave was producing the cover illustration – it needs to be eye-catching and also explain as much as possible about the game and its setting. Since Frostgrave is a game about wizards fighting in an ancient, frozen city, I thought a duel between two wizards would be perfect. Talking with the game’s author, Joe McCullough, we decided on a battle between a Thaumaturge and an Elementalist in the frozen ruins, with their henchmen fighting around them.
To start, I made a quick sketch in Photoshop, which helped me to visualize the position of the main figures, the perspectives, and the dynamic lines. The Thaumaturge is desperately defending himself from fireballs thrown by the Elementalist floating in the air.
As you can see, it’s a bit of a mess at this stage, and it is difficult to really see what is going on, but it is a crucial step in creating an image. It helps to clarify what is where and gave me an idea of the character poses. After I had this in place, I could begin more accurate line drawing. There are various ways to go about this. For example, I used a 3D program called SketchUp for the background building to create a clear line drawing from the desired point of view.
To make the drawing of the Thaumaturge easier, I decided to take some photos… I didn’t have any wizard robes, so I just used anything I could find in the house to make myself look more like a wizard. Looking cool, right?
Using those pieces, I created the new line drawing that you can see below. It’s still not super accurate, but it was a good launching point for the next step.
That next step is color. I laid down basic colors throughout the image and rendered the main characters.
The introduction of colour really brought the piece to life. I especially wanted the contrast between the blue background of the frozen city and the red dress of the Elementalist, to make the wizard look especially dangerous and aggressive. I rendered the soldiers in battle. The
background stayed almost untouched, I just added a bit of texture to the walls to indicate stone lines.
The background elements and magic were added in the next step:
The magical fight here is on full power. I drew the fire balls of the Elementalist and the shield of the Thaumaturge with Screen and Color Dodge layers. I covered the buildings in the background with snow since the Frostgrave is the Frozen City!
All that was left was to add a few color adjustment layers to unite the image, emphasize the focal points of the composition and make the magic even more shiny.
And image is done. I hope you liked this quick story about its creation. As for me - it was a huge pleasure to draw this illustration. And here are few pieces of it in higher resolution.
Thank you very much!