Insider 04-27-2017

For this week’s Insider, I’ll be discussing the development of Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven. As this is Goreshade’s fourth incarnation—and the first time we’re seeing him in his living incarnation—there was quite a bit of discussion about what we wanted to see. The concept artist (Johan Grenier) did a fantastic job, and he was incredibly patient with us throughout the process. As per the normal pipeline for concept art, we always start off with a written description…

This is the fourth incarnation of Goreshade. This version sees him restored to life, forgiven by his goddess, and reunited with his people and his house.

The key here is to create a model that still feels like Goreshade but is no longer undead and that fits into the Retribution army rather than the Cryx army. Physically, Goreshade is a big guy. In his undead form, he is incredibly lanky and may be slightly less so now that he is alive again. Despite being returned to life, Goreshade still looks ancient, withered, and emaciated. We still want it to be clear this is the same character.

Each version of Goreshade has featured long, black hair, and we would like to retain that. He should also get a nose. Goreshade’s look needs to be somewhat reworked with Iosan details and textures, but we would like to retain his original silhouette as much as possible. Rather than the creepy, cemetery gate fixed to his back look, he needs something more in keeping with the Retribution aesthetic. He should now be wearing the white armor of Ios with lines of power running through it. For the sake of comparison, Lord Arcanist Ossyan (see WARMACHINE: Wrath, p. 107) is a member of Goreshade’s house.

Goreshade is still armed with Voass, the sword of the god of winter. However, with his life restored, Goreshade can better control the power of the sword, and it should no longer appear to be freezing in his hand (see FoW: Cryx, p. 49).

In the first round of sketches (below), I first pulled up other Retribution warcasters’ concept art for a side-by-side comparison. Then I conducted a quick anatomy check. Johan’s sketch is on the right, and my adjusted sketch is on the left. The list of adjustments I made were as follows:

- Brought the shoulders closer together so he didn’t have an ultra wide torso
- Brought in the hips so they were more realistically spaced
- To match the shoulder and hip adjustments, brought in the size of the chest so it was a more vertically balanced instead of horizontally balanced barrel shape
- Increased the size of his head a smidge
- Made his face more Iosan and less undead by giving him a nose and eliminating the orc teeth

Overall, I didn’t think the first sketch was too far off, as Johan did a great job translating Goreshade directly from Cryx to Retribution armor and balancing the shapes. The one change I hadn’t noted that I wanted to see was changing his face to look thirty years older by adding in wrinkles and slightly more sunken features.

The group agreed with my feedback, and Matt Wilson added, “I feel like we want to see a bit more Gandalf in his attitude and look. Like, he’s older and wiser now. Maybe that’s mostly achieved in his pose by doing something more ‘heroic posed’ instead of aggressive action. And can we elaborate on the robes and skirting to get a bit of that wizardly feel?”

Combining Matt’s notes with mine, I sent off my sketch and notes. Johan got back to work and then sent me the following…

Goreshade looks a bit more Gandalf like here for certain. I like what Johan did with the face, the loincloth, and the cape in the middle version, but I like everything else about the armor on the left. I had ideas for a pose, but we could address that next. Will Shick liked the current pose with the weapon down, and that helped steer the direction toward a more vertical pose to help make him look more regal and so his sword tip wouldn’t be planted in the ground. Next, Goreshade has a spoiler, and once you see it, you can’t ignore it. So, we needed to remove the spoiler portion of the backpack at this point.

Johan did, indeed, remove the spoiler, and he sent me the adjustment above. The area I knew that needed to be changed was with his anatomy so I did the following:

- Pinched the waist, hips, legs, and arms
- Gave him sunken cheeks and eyes
- Adjusted his jaw line

At this point, I was drawing blanks creatively with regards to the back piece, as I liked the angled pipes in the last incarnation (sans the spoiler connecting them). What wasn’t working for me with the disk were the visual similarities to Zaal. The group agreed with my assessment and requested the fins come back and the back piece be removed.

I then did a quick sketch (below) to give Johan direction.

Matt Wilson requested removing the panel lines from the fins, and Johan sent me back this. At this stage, we were ready to proceed to pose. Johan did one sketch with him striding forward, but it was determined that the old Gandalf feel of him had been lost. The pose Johan drew his final line art in was ultimately chosen as the winner.

At this point, all that was left was to do a quick color pass for paint and illustration reference, and he was wrapped up.

This has been another peek behind the curtain into the concept process. I hope you’ve enjoyed the insight. Stay tuned for more concept art Insiders coming up soon!