Just released today is the new set for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. Behold...Warmaster Blackhorn riding on his big dragon, for a card I illustrated a few months ago.
The Art director on this card was swell enough to give me an important image for this set; mentioning that he didn't see any big dragons in my portfolio and thought I might like one. I really appreciate such great art direction and care for my career, and this tough industry of fantasy illustration functions best when the clients and artists work symbiotically for mutual long term health.
This particular card presented issues of how to deal with both the large scale difference of characters and the complexity of the rider's armor being readable at a tiny card-size. To keep the Warmaster the correct proportion to his dragon, I needed to crop the image close enough that we could see some detail on him but also far enough that the dragon was fully described. It would have been odd to create finished art cropped like the card, so I also chose to zoom out and render the scene more fully for prints and portfolio.
Instead of simplifying the rider I went with fully detailing him as he was the protagonist and I also believed the details would hold up in the printing and be needed for larger uses.