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End of the Expedition

Khalkhikus is a dragon mentioned in the most recent HarnQuest release. I tried to keep one of the fabled Harnic creatures named in the article in mind when I was illustrating each of the the beasts in this HQ.

For the page one image I wanted a dragon shown proud on high mountain ledge having just exited it’s lair. An unfortunate party of  soon to cooked adventurers is easing along a narrow shelf to “ambush” the creature.

End of the Expedition, (pen and Ink, Oil and Digital) Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I started by just doing a pen and ink image.

End of the Expedition, pen and ink, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I printed this image on heavy water color paper, seal it with a clear fixative and then did a quick paint over in broad shapes in oil paint.

End of the Expedition, oil on paper, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

It did not scan as well as I had hoped, but it got me started and gave a nice texture with which to play off of. I placed the scanned oil painting in photoshop under the scanned  ink image and set it to multiply- meaning the two images immediately above add up to equal the final image in the article. It did take some work to get the two images to line up. A few more layers were created under the ink and above the color layer. On these layers I painted digitally. These were also set to multiply so the texture of the scanned oil image would show through. The lines in the sky were distracting so those were erased. A few contrast adjustments, drawing refinements and the image was ready. The layers are flattened into one layer- the final image.

 

A brief word about the story, here. I chose this dragon which is rumored dwell somewhere among the southern Rayesha Mountains, in an abandoned salt mine near Rethem. I know the setting does not exactly scream salt mine, but really wanted the mountain top view. Is this is the entrance to a tunnel that eventually leads down to a salt mine? I would say that if you were running a salt mine and you tunneled into an opening that lead to a dragon lair….well, that would explain why it was abandoned. Is this lair located just above the salt mine? What a great thing for your players to find out.

The articles says “Both the Red Shadows of Herpa, an Agrikan fighting order, and the commander of the Imrium Cohort have offered a reward to any who can bring them proof of the dragon’s demise.”

 

The group of men about to die, have obviously found the answer to that question. It’s still alive.

The knight leading this quest has called a halt to the party….as if that will help. You can almost imagine hims saying,”Shhhhh.” He is leading a few members of  the mercenary group, the Warriors of the Bloody Mace. Among them a Kuboran warrior is shown, spear ready. He was probably captured by the Agrikans and forced into service for this disastrous expedition.

I wanted the dragon to have the appearance that one could almost wonder if the dragon even sees the expedition below on the side of the mountain, but I will let you in on a secret- It totally sees them.

 

Please let me know what you think of the updated article. Feel free to offer comments or let me know if you have any questions about this image.

 

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