Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy holidays!

Christmas elves - bah, the truth is that those tiny guys aren't nearly strong enough to haul all the sacks and packs. But we know the truth.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rusty Reach

One of my first illustrations for Fantasy Flight Games, for their Star Wars RPG Edge of the Empire. This is a pirate compound, atmospherically built into a scrapyard. It appeared in the Mask of the Pirate Queen adventure module.

(c)2015 Fantasy Flight Games

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Infinite Adventures Heroes

The cast of the upcoming card-based RPG Infinite Adventures by Inspiring Games, and the box lid image (and some more pieces for the promo video). It's a low fantasy setting with lots of ancient folklore.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Portrait of Benny

A family dog's portrait. For a long time my first full painting in traditional media; acrylics, gouache, and coloured pencils on illustration board, 60×80cm. I immediately got hooked again and have several more paintings in the works.
I may have to work out a better way of photographing my works, though, the colours seem off.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

RPG Maker background pack

RPG maker is a site for resources to start games with - characters, tiles, items, music, whatever you need. I recently created a background pack for sidescrollers, and now it's up for sale:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Evolution of the Rhoenoak logo

I've been illustrating the world of Rhoenoak for the upcoming novel series. Among my work was the IP's logo. The name for the scifi/fantasy setting had been changed from Primordial to Rhoenoak, and author John Enitsu wanted to include the supernatural fire the main protagonist achieves mastery of during the story.

First I picked some fonts for the name to see what might work - a pure scifi setting would be easy, a pure fantasy setting too, but which to choose for a mixed setting.
I get all my fonts from, which offers a whole lot of free to use fonts of great quality.

After picking some promising candidates, I continued to prettying them up into something more lively than a mere typed name. Particularly the Os looked great for include the fire. I had been working on the first novel's cover on parallel, and included the name into the typography; John found the Os looked like eyes and wanted them to stand out.

From these I picked again - there's a great deal of throwing away in design - and presented my choices to John.

We liked several, but eventually had to choose and did another round of possible changes to those we liked best, with the desired fire effects. Some of the flame abilities are described as looking similiar to solar mass ejections, which are really cool, but wispy, and gave me some headache how to make them solid enough to not disappear and still keep their lightness.

Among these we found a candidate for the final. On a last round, I tried two versions of fire just to see how much there could be. It's based on the Charlemagne Std font by Carol Twombly.

We decided on a little less fire, and I gave the current choice the colour treatment. Fire colours were the obvious choice, and there was much room for cool light effects.

A final choice was frankensteined from several colour and light effects and polished into the final version.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Splittermond creatures

Creatures illustrated for the creatures book of Uhrwerk's new roleplaying game Splittermond: Mottenmaki (moth maki), Sandwächter (sand guard), and Waldtroll (forest troll).

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Far Reaches

I've been working on Voyager Games' The Far Reaches since its early days, and we're closing in on things being showable. has been revamped, and I can finally post the first images for the game:

Far Reaches will be an exploration and expedition simulation, with an astounding amount of detail. Visit the website for more:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Threadless: A well-dressed man

My newest t-shirt design, now up for voting on
I love these two-colour images, but rarely find a reason to do them. They're a good exercise to decide how much is needed to get the point across, and the answer is usually, less than expected.

[please vote on Threadless]

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ranarh's Tiny Tips: Tangents

#26 from my Tiny Tips series, to provide absolute beginners with some helpful thoughts what to pay attention to.
Tangents - when edges collide and confuse the viewer - are a compositional issue that many seasoned artists avoid without thinking. It's easily solved even in progressed states of the painting, but especially in very busy artworks one should look out for them.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Boss's secretary

An older character design I finally finished. I was inspired by Deus Ex 3 and Mirror's Edge concept art then.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Threadless: Couch potato

Some folks aren't known for being inspiring.

[please vote on Threadless]

My latest design on Threadless, the t-shirt (and other clothes) printing company's community. Check it out, and if you feel like it, vote:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Errors about... Custom brushes

Some topics in art are prone to mistaken thoughts, and hard to get rid of - like, using reference is cheating (hint: it's not). In the spirit of "Ranarh's Tiny Tips", here is some compacted advice for the beginning artist on Custom Brushes.

Custom brushes are hard to make
Not at all. It rarely takes more than just a few steps to make them. There are plenty of easy tutorials on creating your own brushes from scratch, and many brush packs to download. Magazines often feature them, too.

I can't paint without custom brushes
You could of course paint an entire photorealistic painting with only one brush. But it's more difficult or will take longer than also using custom brushes. Understanding what you are painting is more important than the brush.

Custom brushes are cheating
Traditional media features many different brush types, and painters use all kinds of things to apply paint to a canvas: toothbrushes, sponges, buckets, their fingers, crumpled paper, chimpanzees... Don't make your life harder by dismissing custom brushes as unartistic. When creating an artwork, the result counts most; and if a downloaded custom brush gives you exactly what you need, use it.
In any case, your body of art will improve if you know what work you are saving yourself. Make studies using a single brush - then you understand the structure better and can do better with the custom brush, too.

Custom brushes do my work for me
For all their benefits, custom brushes are still crutches. Using a leaves brush makes painting trees easier, but you still need some handpaint or it'll look pasted. In graphic works however, it might be what you are looking for.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Threadless: Kung Fu Panda!

My contribution to the Threadless challenge about Kung Fu Panda.

[please vote on Threadless]
I really love the films and series and included a whole lot of enemies Po meets in the series (although compromises had to be amde so everyone would fit in; some of my personal favourites, like Temutai, warrior king of the Qidan, or the evil genius Taotie, are missing).
I'd be happy about your support on Threadless:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Threadless: Gory, gory, halleluja!

Threadless is a printing company/community where proposed designs for t-shirts, hoodies, or phone cases, among other products, are rated. Best rated makes it into print and will be available for purchase.
This is my latest design submitted to Threadless. I'd be happy about your vote - and Threadless is worth checking out in any case!
Find my design on Threadless here:

Monday, September 7, 2015

Rhoenoak: Karoth and Acruma

Two more illustrations from my ongoing collaboration with John Armamentos on his book series, Rhoenoak. The artworks posted before are here:
These are the acruma (the big guy, has gravity-influencing powers) and the karoth (bad guys and dragon worshippers - it's not good). John proved to be an angel, when after well into the acruma painting I thought it was horrible and started over from scratch, and he just agreed and went with it.
Learn more about the book series on its facebook page:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Threadless: Jellyzilla

Threadless is a printing company/community where proposed designs for t-shirts, hoodies, or phone cases, among other products, are rated. Best rated makes it into print and will be available for purchase.
This is my latest design submitted to Threadless. I'd be happy about your vote - and Threadless is worth checking out in any case!
Find my design on Threadless here:

Monday, August 24, 2015

The new signature

I had been working on creating a new signature for my work for a while. Simply writing my name on a piece of artwork was too simple, and a well-designed signature is useful for sooo many things - signature, business cards, stamps, logos, who knows what sorts of project I will come up with.
The needs I had were: that it should fit the touch and feel of my body of work, and be easy to write by hand. For the latter, elaborate writings or curves, exact proportions, let alone any actual graphics, forbid themselves. Additionally, while I would have been happy with a proper monogram (like Albrecht Dürer), the asymmetrical J is devlishly tricky to use that way.
Finally, after much picking, throwing out, rethinking, and refining, I proudly present my new signature. May it last long.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The King's Demise

Rather random piece of space art, done after work to relax. Nebulae come in different flavours; this is a supernova remnant nebula. And amino acids have been found in space nebulae - quite complex molecules that are just a few steps down from DNA. Maybe space monsters are real after all.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rhoenoak book illustrations

For the book series Rhoenoak by John Armamentos, I have started illustrating some of the content for the author. What you see here are the maruga - an enemy class - and two of the main protagonists, Mylah and Pat. More to come - and take a look at the facebook page

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dynastryfe card art

Artworks I created for the card game Dynastryfe that's still in the making. Check it out on their website,

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Iceraven Games and KaraokeGlee logos

Logos I did for Iceraven Games: the company logo, and their first game. It will be a music-centered card game soon to be announced on Kickstarter - I'll keep you in the loop. All artworks for the game were done by me.