Thursday, February 14, 2013

Evolution of a Trolllkin

Hey all,

I thought that for this post, I'd share some insight into the development process I went through with the good folks over at Kobold Press while working on their new character race the Trollkin.

I'm a longtime D&D gamer and in fact I cut my teeth on 2nd Edition and Dragon Lance modules and I'm always "game" to work on fantasy ip's.  So when the team at Kobold quarterly approached me to help them develop this new race for their setting, I was pretty stoked at the opportunity to create something relatively "New" to the fantasy world.  No Pressure right?..

So, the initial brief was for a playable race that is half human, half bad guy called a Trollkin. Trollkin are the product of interbreeding between a monster race like a Troll / Ogre and a human. Genetically, they are very diverse and it was very difficult to nail down a "look" for these guys. Well, it's pretty tough to nail these things on the first pass so I whipped up some really rough sketches to show my Art Director a couple of options for the Trollkin's look to help us hone in something that works. This first image is simply a series of heads to indicate some character and a sketch of a humanoid creature with a spear.
After this stage, the AD was able to have some visuals and was able to identify what he didn't like and provide me some direction moving forward. Next we have another image which is again pretty rough but it contained enough information for the AD to see that we were on the same page.

Ok, so now we are getting somewhere. Next I moved on to a tight drawing that incorporates all of the accumulated information thus far.

 Once again, I sent off another email to my AD to show him this image and get some final feedback and approval to move onto the finished image.

Finally, we arrived at the completed image that everybody is happy with. You'll notice the differences in this last image are rather subtle but do give the image just enough extra " Umph". Some things we changed were the addition of a shield, more pronounced claws, bigger spines on his back, more and "bushier" hair etc.

All of these images were completed digitally in Photoshop and that is the primary software that I use for illustration. I hope that you found this article informative and please drop me a line if you have any questions.


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