Ralph Horsley’s Dungeon Saga Artwork

We were lucky enough to snag Ralph Horsley himself to do the cover art for Dungeon Saga. We’ve worked with his paintings before, though indirectly – he painted some cards for Mars Attacks: Invasion.

Ralph’s challenge was to get over the essence of the game at a glance. The piece had to be be set in a claustrophobic environment, but have a big scope. It had to be underground but vibrantly lit. It had to show enough undead to be a threat, but not as many as you’d think you’re looking at Kings of War. And Ralph, being the sterling Yorkshire lad he is, delivered all of this.

dungeon-saga-cover-sketch
Ralph’s pencil work on the composition
dungeon-saga-cover-colour
The finished painting

Wraparound Art

The Dungeon Saga packaging takes the form of an over-sized leather book in a slipcase. Shopkeepers will display it in one of two ways – front or side on. Both sides have got to impress on the shelf. But rather than slim down the cover art and repeat it on the spine we’ve created a piece of wraparound artwork. On the front cover our valiant heroes hack their way through a legion of undead, while on the side Mortibris commands them with his necromantic powers.

Dungeon Saga Layout
Necromancer on the spine … book spine, skeleton spine … some sort of joke there.

God help me if any shopkeeper displays it backwards or face down.

It’s a similar idea to the Ed Repka Martian we had peeking round the spine on our Mars Attacks packaging. But with a specially commissioned piece.

Ed Repka Martian

 

Bad Guy Hierarchy

There are eight named characters in the basic Dungeon Saga boxed game. One more and you’d have a fellowship. We asked Ralph to focus on the four heroes, with Mortibris opposing them. The three minor villains (Hoggar, Grund and Elshara) were supplied as reference material, but we didn’t expect they’d work as part of the composition. However, Ralph got them all into the composition without pulling focus away from the major characters. Hoggar doesn’t lurch out of the picture at first glance, but lurks alongside the more vanilla undead.

"Hoggar Hoggarar Hoggar, Hoggar?"
“Hoggar Hoggar Hoggar, Hoggar?”

 

 

It’s a Oil Painting

This is the first piece of cover art we’ve published that’s traditional painterly painting. It’s a joy watching Ralph build up the physical layers of paint.

 

Little Touches

There’s a lot of nice touches in the piece: a skeleton archer takes aim in the distance; undead reinforcements pour down the dungeon stairs;; Madriga’s arrow smashing through the back of a skeleton’s brainpan. It’s a lot of fun to keep looking at.

Dungeon Saga artwork details
The way I’ve cropped Mortibris’ arm there makes it look like some sort of glowing cress-daemon.  Look at it!  Look at the sleeve face!

We’re so impressed with this quality of this piece, we’ve got Ralph working on another. Watch this space…

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