Painting “The Iron Wolf Barbarians”

The Iron Wolf Barbarians by Noah Bradley

Sketches for The Iron Wolf Barbarians by Noah Bradley

This is my latest piece that I did for Jon Schindehette to be published. I did my usual three different sketches for him. He picked the second sketch, but I must confess I was kinda hoping for the first one to get picked. It was a very different mood than the other, which I’m guessing is part of the reason it wasn’t chosen. I’m trying to stick characters into my pieces more and more—the reason being that I would love to branch out into cover art more, and purely environmental pieces are rarely used for that.

But back on topic: I had a great time painting this one. Anytime you get a chance to paint a snowy scene you’re probably in for a good time. The values tend to be very crisp and contrasty, so it leaves plenty of opportunities to play with the arrangement. Oftentimes you can get a nice variety of color in the snow (yellows, blues, purples and such are usually seen), but here I actually tried not to. I wanted to aim for a more muted piece. I was looking at my work and thought it got a little… candy-coated at times. Too many saturated colors for my own good.

It’s a good habit for artists to critique their own work. Sure, getting input from other professionals is invaluable, but those people won’t always be around when you’re working—nor do they know exactly the sort of painting you want to do. So step back not just from the painting you’re working on, but step back from all of your work. Look at it all together and try to analyze what is working and what isn’t. Find ways to improve or eliminate the failures, and find ways to accentuate the successes. I try to do regular self-critiques on my portfolio so I have a good idea of the sort of work it needs.

Copyright 2011 Wizards of the Coast