Category Archives: Artwork

Krark’s Other Thumb Process Shots

Krark's Other Thumb final painting

Below are process photos showing the creation of the acrylic painting I made for “Krark’s Other Thumb” from Magic: the Gathering’s Unstable set. This painting was so simple it was created in one working day (about 8- 10 hours).

After thinking of the idea for my painting, I take a few reference photos of my own thumb.
After thinking of the idea for my painting, I take a few reference photos of my own thumb.
Using the reference photos of my thumb, I create a sketch. But I also "goblinize" the thumb by adding a longer nail, warts and other blemishes on the skin, plus the keychain attached to the severed end of the thumb. The client wanted this to be like a "lucky rabbit's foot keychain", but a goblin thumb instead.
Using the reference photos of my thumb, I create a sketch. But I also “goblinize” the thumb by adding a longer nail, warts and other blemishes on the skin, plus the keychain attached to the severed end of the thumb. The client wanted this to be like a “lucky rabbit’s foot keychain”, but a goblin thumb instead.
I then create a digital color comp just to give myself a rough idea of where the color will be headed.
I then create a digital color comp just to give myself a rough idea of where the color will be headed.
Transferring my image to the painting surface.
Transferring my image to the painting surface.
Once the image is transferred, I reach for my Art Masking Fluid.
Once the image is transferred, I reach for my Art Masking Fluid.
I use a brush to apply the Art Masking Fluid to those areas I don't want paint to get on yet.
I use a brush to apply the Art Masking Fluid to those areas I don’t want paint to get on yet.
Once the Art Masking Fluid is applied it needs to dry, which only takes about 10 minutes.
Once the Art Masking Fluid is applied it needs to dry, which only takes about 10 minutes.
I start painting the background by laying in a base of Cadmium Yellow. I want this painting to be vibrant with "cartoony" colors.
I start painting the background by laying in a base of Cadmium Yellow. I want this painting to be vibrant with “cartoony” colors.
I then use Cadmium Orange to create the negative shapes, defining the edges of the explosion.
I then use Cadmium Orange to create the negative shapes, defining the edges of the explosion.
A few dabs of Cadmium Orange here and there adds variation and interest.
A few dabs of Cadmium Orange here and there adds variation and interest.
I use Cadmium Red to darken the background and define the edges of the explosion.
I use Cadmium Red to darken the background and define the edges of the explosion.
In any painting, I am slowing building up the color. As I darken the background with Cadmium Red, I am also making sure to leave some areas of Cadmium Orange showing through. It helps to add depth to the painting.
In any painting, I am slowing building up the color. As I darken the background with Cadmium Red, I am also making sure to leave some areas of Cadmium Orange showing through. It helps to add depth to the painting.
I use Titanium White to create more variation and also build up the painting surface. I prefer to paint on a surface that is made up of many layers of paint rather than create one layer of paint on the painting surface.
I use Titanium White to create more variation and also build up the painting surface. I prefer to paint on a surface that is made up of many layers of paint rather than create one layer of paint on the painting surface.
Once the Titanium White is dry, I brush a thin layer of Cadmium Yellow over the entire painting.
Once the Titanium White is dry, I brush a thin layer of Cadmium Yellow over the entire painting.
The thin layer (glaze) of Cadmium Yellow homogenizes all the color. It is very intense when first brushed on, but will settle down a bit as it dries.
The thin layer (glaze) of Cadmium Yellow homogenizes all the color. It is very intense when first brushed on, but will settle down a bit as it dries.
I use dark red paint to make the background even darker, which starts to make the explosion really "pop" out of the illustration.
I use dark red paint to make the background even darker, which starts to make the explosion really “pop” out of the illustration.
As I did earlier, I make sure that the dark red I put down does not completely cover the Cadmium Red I put down earlier. I want to see lots of variation in color with the explosion.
As I did earlier, I make sure that the dark red I put down does not completely cover the Cadmium Red I put down earlier. I want to see lots of variation in color with the explosion.
Using a fine brush, I start to pick out lots of details in the explosion using Titanium White mixed with a tiny bit of Cadmium Yellow.
Using a fine brush, I start to pick out lots of details in the explosion using Titanium White mixed with a tiny bit of Cadmium Yellow.
All that detail work starts to give the explosion more dimension.
All that detail work starts to give the explosion more dimension.
I brush another thin layer of Cadmium Yellow over the entire painting.
I brush another thin layer of Cadmium Yellow over the entire painting.
It's time to remove the Art Masking Fluid. I start this by using a rubber cement pickup.
It’s time to remove the Art Masking Fluid. I start this by using a rubber cement pickup.
Once enough of the Art Masking Fluid is removed, I can remove the rest of it using my fingers.
Once enough of the Art Masking Fluid is removed, I can remove the rest of it using my fingers.
I use an old toothbrush to create tiny splatters and dots within the explosion. Oops, I should have done this step BEFORE I removed the Art Masking Fluid over the thumb.
I use an old toothbrush to create tiny splatters and dots within the explosion. Oops, I should have done this step BEFORE I removed the Art Masking Fluid over the thumb.
Those tiny yellow splatter dots on the thumb are no big deal. While they are wet, they are easily removed with a paper towel.
Those tiny yellow splatter dots on the thumb are no big deal. While they are wet, they are easily removed with a paper towel.
Now I begin to paint in all the local color for the thumb.
Now I begin to paint in all the local color for the thumb.
Adding Titanium White to my colors allows me to get more opaque with my paints and give the thumb more substance and surface quality.
Adding Titanium White to my colors allows me to get more opaque with my paints and give the thumb more substance and surface quality.
Slowly but surely I build up my paints, getting more and more detailed as I go along.
Slowly but surely I build up my paints, getting more and more detailed as I go along.
More detail work.
More detail work.
More detail work.
More detail work.
Nearly done.
Nearly done.
Krark's Other Thumb final painting
Krark’s Other Thumb final painting

Blurry Beeble Original Art vs. Printed Art

Occasionally the art an illustrator creates for a project doesn’t look the same as the art that gets printed on the final product. Such is the case with my Blurry Beeble painting for Magic: the Gathering’s Unstable set.

Blurry Beeble

In this instance, the art description called for the background to be blurred. However, I didn’t want to spend the immense amount of time it would have taken to paint a blurred background by hand. So I knew I would be blurring the background of the painting in post-production using Photoshop. But I also created my painting with a greenish background. This wasn’t quite on point with the world this Beeble was supposed to live in, so I had to correct the background color to make it more blue and white. Again, this was achieved in post-production using Photoshop.

So while all of my fantasy art is still traditionally made, this is a great case for the fact that even traditional artists need to have good digital art skills in today’s marketplace because at the very least you will have to make digital tweaks to your painting.

If you’d like to see the original painting in person, it is currently being auctioned off on eBay :-)

View the painting on eBay here:https://www.ebay.com/itm/Magic-the-Gathering-ORIGINAL-PAINTING-Blurry-Beeble-by-Jeff-Miracola-Unstable/132429834306

Sincerely,
Jeff

Gaming Playmats with Vertical Art. What’s your opinion?

Most gaming playmats have artwork that is horizontal, or landscape orientation. I have seen a few playmats that have vertical artwork or portrait orientation and am wondering what your option is of the vertical format. Would you buy a playmat with vertical artwork on it?

See some examples below of vertical and horizontal layouts with my artwork.

Although your opinions of my art are very welcome, I’m mostly looking for opinions on whether you would purchase a vertical playmat or if you would prefer to stick with the normal horizontal playmats.

Thanks,
Jeff

playmat_layouts

Muddy Colors Art Tip of the Month with Jeff Miracola

mc_atotm_restoring_paintbrushes_thumbnail

I am happy to announce that I am now a contributor to the prestigious Muddy Colors blog run by fellow illustrator, Dan Dos Santos. I will be contributing a video Art Tip of the Month on an ongoing basis each month.

My art tip this month is:
How to restore paint-hardened brushes

We artists are a distracted bunch. It’s easy for us to forget to clean our brushes, sometimes leaving paint sit for days at a time until the paint has become so hard that we’ve destroyed the brush. But Is that brush truly ruined? In this video I’ll show you how to restore your brush to useable condition.

Visit the Muddy Colors blog to see this month’s Art Tip video.

Thanks,
Jeff