Archive for video game

Son of Viking Tattoo Mutant Puppy 2: the Puppening

Posted in Defiant Development, Drawings, Hand of Fate, Uncategorized, Video Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2016 by gladlad

Hello again, Internetland.  My name is Jesse, and I’ve been blog-post clean for 3 years.  If blog posts were an addiction for me that would sound like a good thing, but they’re not… so it’s bad.  I have not been holding myself accountable for my art-accountability and, as this blog was created help me stay on track with growing as an artist and not stagnating, it’s high time I hop back on the horse.  So… HOP!

My last post was about being chosen as the card artist for Hand of Fate and, to make a long story short, it did great, sold a ton of copies and now we’re making a sequel!  Woohoozy spazzamatoozy!!  The guys at Defiant have been an incredible group to work with, generously allowing me to stay on the project through some of the hardest years of my entire life, though there were some close calls as I struggled deeply with emotional and mental health; riding tidal waves of enormous life changes (both negative and positive).  I owe them a lot… basically the entirety of any future I have as a commercial illustrator.  No biggie.  Thank you, friends.  (They’re really cool.)

But things are moving along nicely with the sequel!  And if anyone was wondering if it’ll be an improvement on the original, the answer is HOLY CRAP YES.  The design team is pounding out “new” every time I check in: new play concepts, fantastic new engine/graphics features, new storyline, new characters, the works.  It’ll still have the H-o-F feel, but it’s emphatically a sequel.  Check it out for yourself:


They’ve allowed me so much freedom in envisioning the cards it’s unbelievable and makes my role so much fun.  After the initial faux-medieval simplicity of the first game’s deck design, I’ve gone a little more baroque and dense with these cards, and having a good time with it.  And I need to give a huge shout-out to the amazing Nick Smith whose gorgeous concept art I often get to ‘medievalize’.

Enough words- more pictures!   Here’s a bunch of recent cards for HoF2, but I never posted anything else after that first conceptual bunch 3 years ago, so for much, much more please check out my DeviantArt gallery which has separate folders in the sidebar for both games  …..and thanks for checking in!      ❤




Chosen by the Hand of Fate

Posted in Aliens and Monsters, Defiant Development, Drawings, Hand of Fate, Heroes Call, Video Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2013 by gladlad

Woohooooo!  Last year I did some illustrations for Defiant Development, awesome Aussie game development chaps, and they asked me to help out with another project!!!  It’s called “Hand of Fate”, and is kind of a spiritual sequel to Heroes Call (the previous one I worked on) in that it still involves isometric 3D dungeon-crawling RPG stuff.  However, this one is built around the concept of a deck of cards which serve as your map through a randomized dungeon and the monsters and treasures within.  And (drum roll) I get to design all the cards!!!  The super fun thing about it is that they asked me to emulate a kind of medieval woodcut/brushwork feel, which is right up my alley.  Black and white rudimentary-form archaic scrawling FTW!!!  Once again, they devs have been a joy to work with; super patient and helpful with feedback.

Right now the game exists only as a demo with a limited amount of content, but the finished work will start soon and I’ll be designing a lot more cards.  For now, here’s some samples of the work I’ve been doing on it, for your viewing pleasure:HoF_Bordered_1_by_Gladlad

HoF_Bordered_2_by_GladladHoF_Skeletons_Face_by_Gladad HoF_Misc_1_by_GladladHoF_Spiders_by_Gladad HoF_Goblins_by_GladadHoF_Barbarian_by_GladladHoF_Mage_by_GladladHoF_Weapons_by_Gladad   HoF_Misc_2_by_Gladad  HoF_Skeletons_Misc_by_GladadHoF_Skeletons_Mirrored_by_Gladad HoF_Skeletons_Misc_2_by_Gladad  HoF_Food_by_Gladad

Chernobyl Dreaming

Posted in Aliens and Monsters, Drawings, Video Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by gladlad

I really like the Ukrainian “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.” games, and I thought I’d do some fan art from one of them.  Snorks are brain-wiped, feral ex-soldiers and adventurers that roam the wasteland around future-Chernobyl.  So like, super nice guys.  They are playful and like to jump.

Snork Attack (Inks)

Snork Attack

Caution: Gas masks are not effective when worn in that fashion.

BLEEEAAAAARRRGH!!!!! (That’s zombie for “I’m back!”)

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Defiant Development, Drawings, Gormenghast, Heroes Call, Skyrim, Video Games, Welkyn Winwillow with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by gladlad

Hello, Internetland!  I missed you ohsoverymuch!

Hopefully you were busy and having lots of fun while I was away, gettin’ all dolled up and paintin’ the town shades of red not often seen in more run-of-the-mill town-painting hijinks.  As per myself, I have been up to things.  Secret things.  Missteeriusssssss things.  Also boring things and normal things.  But I’ve been drawing!

And not only have I been drawing, but April brought a couple of REALLY cool things:

– my kids’ birthdays, who are now 6 and 8 (obligatory parental age awareness shockwave), with attached first-time trip to Underwater World at the Mall of America (I refuse to use its newer, boring-er moniker).  This younger guy who worked there developed a man-crush on me as we went through the underwater observation tube after he caught me excitedly telling my kids nerd-facts about all the various sea-creatures we were watching, and proceeded to follow me all through the exhibit telling me I should get a job there and making sure I witnessed the (admittedly incredible) 9-foot, elderly alligator gar.  He came right out at one point and confessed “I’m gonna follow you on into the rainforest exhibit… because I really like talking to you!”  He was actually really nice.  But a little uncomfortable.  Whoever you are, you ROCK, my fishy friend.

– As if to offset the shock of how old I’m getting, I super-surprise landed a job drawing pictures for a *REAL* *LIVE* VIDEO GAME!!!  Holy freaking crap!!!!!!!  And it’s all thanks to this very WordPress blog!  Thank you WordPress!  Some guys from Defiant Development in Australia were Googling images to fit their new dungeon-crawler for iOS called “Heroes Call”, and stumbled on my old sketch of Gormenghast.  They asked if they could use it for a loading screen image, and then asked if I’d be willing to draw any more!  Of course, I told them that their petty, handheld game held no interest for a pro-league craftsman like myself– actually, I pretty much just rolled around on the floor and begged them to let me do anything they asked.  It’s a good think we weren’t Skyping…  Here are the images we ended up with:

It was extra awesome because they wanted all of them to be really raw and sketchy, like the Gormenghast image, so I got to hone my brush skills a little!  Man, brush pens are FUN.  If you like drawing, you should get the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  *NOW.*  It’s the handy-dandiest thing EVER.  Anywho, I just finished those up and will see how they look ingame soon.  I think I’ll be able to post a video of it in action in a little bit!  Until then, you can see more drawings from my creation process with those over at my *b-r-a-n-d* *n-e-w*……..

DeviantArt gallery!  Yep, I finally got the motivationalness to throw a whole bunch of crap into one gallery space, and DeviantArt is a good place to do it.  I have been SO inspired by SO many awesome artists there that I took a long time to feel brave enough to post anything along the likes of some of those picture-masters.  But I did it, and it rocks.  Head on over and take a look!

– I got Skyrim a few months ago, and got REALLY really really excited about it for a while.  I mean, I still am, but holy buckets was I ever liking playing that game.  It’s really great.  I liked it so much, in fact, that I started a whole new blog just to write a journal based on my character’s adventures.  It didn’t last very long but writing from that goofy POV and taking screenshots for it was really fun, and I might pick it back up again at some point just for the joy of creative writing.  If you really want to see just how nerdy I can get, take a gander at the mishaps and mayhem of the incredible WELKYN WINWILLOW!

I really do want to keep this blog updated better, so here’s hoping.  I actually have a couple more recent drawings to post, so I’ll do that soon.  Until then, choose a nice shade of red for me!

So I saw Tron: Legacy…

Posted in Daft Punk, Movies, Music, robotic go-go dancers, Tron, Video Games with tags , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by gladlad

If you ask my wife if I like the original “Tron” movie, she’ll look up into the air for a second, take a deep breath, then gaze briefly at her wedding ring and reply, “…Yep.”  Because, you see, I reeeeeeealy like the original Tron movie.  She, like most other folk, thinks it’s pretty dang boring.  I will readily admit that yes, it IS boring.  But then you need to get ready to hear my long list of the things that make it SWEET.  But I ain’t talking ’bout the original in this here post, I’m talkin’ ’bout this newfangled Tron sequel hoo-haw.

And the only reason I’m bothering to discuss it here in blogdom is because Tron played a very key role in developing my early taste for the fantastic, the technological, and the glow-y.  I have been awaiting this sequel for years.  When cinemaphiles’ dreams come true and people actually do put a lot of effort into continuing long-forgotten-but-magically-unique movies, I sweat a little, both in giddy optimism and pessimistic apprehension.  Man, you don’t even wanna know how I feel regarding the Dark Crystal sequel.  Waiting for it makes my head want to explode.

Okay– so Tron: Legacy.  I’m gonna throw out the pros and cons: the things that either fired up or doused my excitement about it.  Like ta hea-hea go:


  • -Absolutely beautiful CG animation.  A lot of the vehicle scenes were like visual poetry.  I could have happily sat through two hours of the cycles leaping and crashing and the planes twisting and trailing, especially if all their drivers were constantly shattering into little neon ice cubes.  Also, they managed to get a great density into the CG sets and objects; the Recognisers felt clunky and heavy.
  • – I loved the decision to clone 80’s Jeff Bridges.  It doesn’t matter how well they pulled it off; it was a cool plot element and tech gimmic.  I hadn’t watched many previews (on purpose), so I had no CLU (tee hee) he’d be the main antagonist.  I combatted the urge to wince at the facial animations by deciding that he was only CLU, not a real person, and hence any roboticness actually made sense.
  • – The female lead wasn’t half-naked, and was light on the cup size.  I cringed a little when she first showed up and started giggling (her, not me), but she worked out.  She’s no Carrie Ann Moss, but what can you expect from Disney?
  • – Jeff Bridges was in it.  Can you imagine what it would’ve been like without him?  A heckuva lot less Jeff-Bridges-y, that’s what.  “You’re messin’ with my Zen thing, man!”
  • – They threw in a lot of original-Tron easter eggs, especially in the ‘Flynn’s arcade’ scenes.  Even the title is a reference to something from the Tron 2.0 video game.  I nerd-grinned a lot.
  • Daft Punk.  In fact, this is like Pro #1.  Man, their music MADE this movie.  As my friend Cody succinctly said, it was like the helix that the rest of the movie’s DNA hung on.  With different music, the entire experience would have been much, much less powerful.  On the flipside, the music alone doesn’t have the power it did in the film.  It matched the visuals better than anything I’ve seen in a long time.  Soooooooo good.  (Be careful listening to it in the car.  It makes you want to drive really fast and disintegrate people with your weaving laser-trail.)

Um…  I think that’s it.  Now for the (pedantic)…


  • Okay, so this is the future of ComputerLand, right?  It’s seen the rise of the Internet and all the fantastic chaos therewithfore.  Everything’s a zillion times more advanced and complex, right?  So why do the Recognisers (the big pi-shaped ships) need COMBUSTION-DRIVEN PROPULSION???  Why don’t the light-cycles take 90-degree turns at a million miles an hour anymore?  Why do the planes seem like they need to conform to air dynamics?  Why do they fire bullets that shatter small pieces of things instead of de-rezzing them outright like a little data disc would?  Basically, why are there real-world physics?  The answer to all of the above is: because it looks cool.  Meh.  You’re in a freakin’ computer, guys.  Do something weird.

EDIT: (My friend Alex pointed out this Penny Arcade which dots that ‘i’.)

  • On that note, I was really disappointed with just how unoriginal the whole design of ComputerLand was.  It had dumptruckfulls of pretty sparkliness, but it was VERY dry in the uniqueness department.  In fact, if everything was in daylight, it’d just be Mass Effect:

  • On the same note, the original’s nerdily iconic circuitry-suits from the original devolved into glow-strip motocross outfits!  Geez you guys!  For the sake of funky-design-lovin’ folk all over the world, I want to give much-deserved screen space to the suit upgrade I much prefer– the models from the video game ‘Tron 2.0’.  Some shots for comparison:


TRON 2.0:


  • I was pretty annoyed that the first things you see in Computerland (after young Flynn gets nabbed by a Recogniser) are robotic Go-go dancers who cut our protagonist’s clothes off and fondle him into some slick armor.  CLU is going for a perfected Computerland environment, right?  CLU wasn’t a hedonistic Genghis Khan, he was just super committed to digital perfection.  The supermodel intro just didn’t make any sense.  Like the CG, they were just to look good.  Bleh.  To wax pedantic about the original again, I always appreciated the general lustlessness of the characters which seemed to convey a digital DNA.  Plus, scenes like that make my wife unable to enjoy otherwise fun flicks, and make me hesitant to want to show it to my daughter.  C’mon, Disney!  Amp up your cool, smart, normal-girl role-modeling already!  Oh, sorry.  I guess you’d make less money.
  • Michael Sheen.  Yeesh.  Who the heck made that character decision?  I love the actor, but gee willikers, man.
  • The “ISO”s are all dead.  The best possible plot development disappears as soon as it’s introduced.  I would have loved a big epic movie about someone OTHER than Prettyboy McDopeypants doing something, and here you have a race of potential ROCKSTARS!  Self-evolved, fully sentient yet innocent programs on the brink of genocide by CLU…  It could have been a digital fem-strong Braveheart, with a Neo-like dad-and-son Flynn duo on the frontlines!  But no, instead we get a Bambi-eyed hottie for Mr. McDopeypants to ride off into the sunset with.  Play ’em off, Keyboard Cat
  • Daft Punk never got to blow anyone up with rainbow lasers.  What’s up with that?