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For a long time now I have wanted to write a tutorial about buying art commissions from artists on the internet.

The images here are from an upcoming game about Special Forces and Monsters!

Eventually I began working with an Artist on the Ghost Guns RPG project.

Sketches and Artist's renderings by Enmanuel Martinez, I asked Enmanuel if I could show some of the Work In Progress stuff to give people a behind the scenes view of the process and he agreed.

Originally we started with some Monsters, but I want to walk through the soldiers first, I spent some time collecting Special Forces images on my Pinterest board and a weird thing happened. All of the NATO nations pictures were very static pictures of guys with their standard loadout, typical gear porn. Guys with AKs were always running somewhere or shooting from behind something. Posing as part of the image composition is just as important as getting the rest of the details right.

So our first Soldier was a Close Quarters Combat specialist, I sent two reference photos to Enmanuel, one guy with an HK MP-5 and another with an M-4, both were in the same pose and all other details were identical. One was a guy on deployment the other an ad for a shooting competition or gear. Together Enmanuel came back with this.

CQB Sketches 01

From left to right Sketch 1 was very close to the reference material, but looked too straightforward, in both references the weapon was aimed down slightly creating more tension in the frame. Sketch 2 in the middle was a little more action-y, but not what I was looking for. Sketch 3 wasn't what I wanted for this piece, Enmanuel was trying something different and I wanted to keep it in mind for later.

CQB Sketches 02

The new version of Sketch 1 was what I wanted, I approved it and Enmanuel went back to finish the details.

CQB Final

The CQB Specialist was the first of the soldiers,

SAW Sketch 01

There aren't a lot of references for SAW Gunners, Sketch 1 on the left didn't have any drama or tension and Sketch 2 hid all of the interesting details away from the viewer. So I asked Enmanuel to flip Sketch 2 and give me back the detail. We also tried increasing the angle on the weapon in Sketch 1.

SAW Sketch 02

Better, I liked the angle more, I think ideally we'd have changed the hand positions and brought the weapon to the forefront of the frame, but I liked what we had now more than what we started with. Maybe we have the only left handed machinegunner on the planet.

SAW Final

Final Light Machinegunner and onto the Rifleman art.

Rifleman Sketch 01

Sketch 01 legs,

Rifleman final

Rifleman Final, and onto the Riflewoman, I send over some References of a Woman with an M-16 and underbarrel 203 Grenade Launcher, in a black outfit and neckerchief. Up until now I had been using guys in body armor and so all of these sketches get body armor because Enmanuel thought that was the theme. This is clearly my fault, you have to be specific. So Sketch 1 isn't what I'm going for and I'm not happy with the legs. Sketch 2 could be a nice insert somewhere, but not one of the pieces I want right now. Sketch 3 had the most going for it. Now I wanted to add a woman to the book, but if you can't tell from the art that she is in fact a woman then did I accomplish my goal? So I asked for something like Sketch 3 without the armor and more like the original references.

Riflewoman sketch 01

Sketch 1 gets better, Sketch 2 gets better, but Sketch 3 is what we go with. No armor, no helmet, but I kind of intended this supplement to cover lots of military options and not just guys in full body armor.

Riflewoman Sketch 02

So our final Riflewoman is much better, she aims down her sights, her stance isn't too wide. I also have somebody pointing to the left in case we want to do a collage of characters on the cover.

Riflewoman Final

-All of the images were done in grayscale, none of these are done in color or rely on color, a lot of the equipment stuff is going to be in Black and White, likewise Guns don't always need color to show all of their details. The Black and White motif will also accommodate some of the horror aspect of the monsters.

I hope this helps some of you out there looking to buy pieces for yourself or for your own RPG projects.


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