or, How I am Learning to Slay the Mighty Blue Whale
Search This Blog
The Golem of Prague
The Golem of Prague, 12"x 16", Oil on Paper on Masonite, 2013.
in August, at Gen Con Indy, I was approached by a man who was starting a
book called "Lands and Legends". It is a book of illustrations based
on various myths, legends and fantastic places, from all cultures
around the world. I was saying yes to his pitch in no time. There
was already a huge list of amazing illustrators involved and he had a
great financial plan for this book that would involve a Kickstarter
campaign. He had a list of ideas for various subjects that would meet
his criteria, as I glossed over the list, "The Golem of Prague"
jumped out at me and my mind was made up that this was my subject matter. The Golem has been a subject I have
wanted to paint since I came back from Prague four years ago. I went to
a service in the Old New Synagogue (depicted in the background of the painting) with my Wife and Father-In-Law,
knowing full well that what was left of the Golem was still living in
the attic above me.
was a tough challenge, I had to depict this story in a way which would
not come off as Anti-Semitic to the casual viewer. The story is, Rabbi
Loew created this Golem to protect his Jewish community from the
Christians who were accusing and killing them due to a rumor that the
Jews were committing Blood Libel. This was a completely false accusation, but
Christians were killing Jews nonetheless. Eventually, after saving many
people, the Golem stops working properly and it goes on a warpath. The
Rabbi turns the Golem off by rubbing one of the letters off it's
forehead, changing the phrase from "Truth" to "Death". I didn't want to
show Christians as being the victims of an awful monster gone haywire,
so I came up with a more delicate moment, when the Rabbi turns his
creation off, ending his relationship with a being he treated like a
child. I hope this came out looking true to the story, and interesting
as a composition.
Soon after I finished the Warhammer: Invasion pieces, I was asked to contribute to the Valar Dohaeris deck in the Game of Thrones LCG. The AD asked me to do a character card of Shireen Baratheon. She is the daughter of Stannis Baratheon and she has Greyscale on her cheek and neck. The AD wanted an image of her looking up at a giant at The Wall, and he wanted it from the perspective of the giant.
I am pretty obsessed with the Song of Fire and Ice series, so this was a true honor for me. This might be a fairly minor character, but just the idea that George R.R. Martin had to give the final OK on the image just makes me so happy.
So I got married May 13th. It was very fun and everything went really smoothly. I think everyone had a good time. Sarah and I did the wedding ourselves, and did a lot of customization to make the wedding look as cool as possible. It started with this:
This was the Save the Date card we sent back in September. I was highly influenced by a Ukrainian illustrator's, Vladislav Erko, playing cards. The card's edges were rounded so it the edges looked better in print, like they had been worn. I did this all in photoshop with my new tablet, it was a lot of fun to try painting that way again, I hadn't digitally painted since college.
Then we got working on the theme of the wedding, which naturally became based on medieval royalty. Sarah came up with the idea for the invitations. They were based on medieval funerary rubbings:
I made them to look as close to us while still being stylized. We were able to find awesome reference of a Danish king, and since I'm Danish, I…
Finally I am able to release my first piece for Fantasy Flight Games. It's called Boon of Tzeentch and it was done for the newly released Warhammer: Invasion deck called Fragments of Power. I don't always push myself to do demonic, dark work all the time so it was fun to get to do a piece like this.
So it started with the drawing: I like to keep my drawings more linear, I've found in the painting stage that makes the image more clear to me, especially if there is a lot of detail, like this one, of which I need to keep track.
Once the art director accepted the drawing I moved onto the painting stage. It started out where just the eyes were glowing from the power of Tzeentch (and since the character, a chaos sorcerer, had an eye in his hand I thought that would be a nice touch for his hand to glow). But once the art director saw how that looked she wanted the light streaming from the tattoos overcoming his body.