The Midgard Campaign Setting is available for pre-order in softcover and hardcover, and when it comes out in October you’re going to see some gorgeous art that brings this dark world of deep magic to life. In the Art of Midgard blog series, the Midgard illustrators share a behind-the-scenes preview of their favorite pieces from the book. Here’s Aaron Miller on the topic of the book’s cover.
When Wolfgang gave me the commission for the Midgard Campaign Setting cover with an option to reinterpret the classic Dürer etching, I couldn’t wait to get started. It was a fantastic subject to tackle and put into the Midgard world. And how could I resist not putting one of my dogs in the painting as well?
I love the research portion of the projects. Wolfgang wanted the knight to have a certain Eastern European look. So, I dug into what knights wore in different eras in the centuries that plate armor came about. Then there are hairstyles to consider. Even though the setting is fantasy, I wanted to be able to capture that flair of style.
After I’ve done a bit of research, I’m ready to start thumbnailing ideas. After that I start working on the drawing, which usually requires some reference photos—in this case photos found on the internet mixed with lit shots of toy horses. I even found I had a skeleton horse miniature from way back when I collected miniatures. I also got my dog to try and act his part: I wanted to show him trotting along his master. I found that through playing catch and fetch with him I was able to capture a few moments that had the look I was going for.
Once I’m fully prepared for my drawing, I dig in. When that’s complete, I have a blast painting. I usually work values first, then color. Before the final version of this piece, we tried going for a dark forest fee—very foreboding. I’m glad we opted to change it up, and I love the contrast with the setting sun. If you look at the Dürer etching you’ll also notice I put in the little skull as well!
Artist Bio: My work revolves around the fantasy genre. I am very passionate about painting, especially the figure. I run a weekly figure drawing session from my studio in Chicago, where I focus on drawing, form, and speed. I am inspired by the great illustrators of today and the masters of our past. Thankfully those same masters shared the same delight in painting fantastic scenes from myths and legends. My tools are not subject to the traditional toolbox; I consider digital tools a must for any illustrator.
You can find Aaron online at: