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Artist Spotlight featuring...

Subject: Artist Spotlight featuring...
by Lady Heromorph on 2018/4/8 3:20:07

Heromorph's Artist Spotlight featuring...


Todd Grosser, AKA Obsidian

Occupation: Professional Artist Heromorph Profile: Obsidian

"Hate on me but you can't deny skill." (Ill mind of Hopsin 4) - X - "You can find better and you can find cheaper but not both at the same time." (Todd Grosser)

Lady Heromorph: For this month's artist spotlight, we have the talented and always prolific Obsidian, the winner of the 2017 Heromorph Smackdown!
I thought you did a terrific job, really expanding on the challenges and storylines and illustrating that with some great pages!
Wow, looking at it all together here, you really produced a lot of art and story for that challenge!

Obsidian's Story Pages from 2017 Heromorph Smackdown 1 2
Some of Obsidian's Bonus Images from 2017 Heromorph Smackdown 1 2
Lady Heromorph: I'm always amazed that you're working on so many different projects at once at still manage to produce all these great storylines and images so quickly and often! Could you tell us some of those projects you've got going on? ...and is this a bunch of separate projects or one giant project with a bunch of parts?
Obsidian: Hmm I always have 2 or 3 things on my plate. Everything stems from my RPG (Still incomplete BTW) and is an extension of that.
Obsidian's take on classic DD type characters, Druid, Mage, and Paladin.
The stories I write are all set in that universe and I don't usually like to step outside of it. The images I create are also usually for that universe like the monsters, Species series, or ships and so on.
Lady Heromorph: It makes my head spin just trying to keep up with everything you've got going on!
Well, to keep it simple enough for beginners, let's start at the beginning. So when did you get interested in creating characters and storylines? Tell us a little bit about those early day. (ya know, waay back... like 2D times!!)

Obsidian: OMG That seems like so long ago. I became interested in drawing way back in 1977... (No I'm no spring chicken ).
My favorite comics were Spider-Man, Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), and Nova. But I didn't get into creating my own characters till around 1986, and that first 9 years was just me drawing for fun. I spent the 80's and most of the 90's really honing my 2d talents, and in 1989 I came up with the idea for "Panterra" of course back then he was all in white and was an arctic guy (Courtesy of GI Joe's influence).

Some of Obsidian's images of his original character, Panterra

I thought I wanted to be a comic book artist, I hadn't even begun to see what I could create yet.
In the latter part of that same year I joined the US Army and while in advanced individualized training (AIT For short) I discovered some soldiers who played... Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st edition.
I heard all the same rumors everyone did in the 80's like people who played were crazy and that they were possibly devil worshipers but let me tell you... OMG it was so much fun!
The freedom of choice and the comradery as very addictive and honestly the game was open ended and everything is done on the fly. It beats even the best video game today if you have a good GM.
That's where I scratched the surface of my creative abilities and really started to take off.

Obsidian's version of the TSR logo. TSR is the gaming company which created Dungeons and Dragons.
Lady Heromorph: So are there any particular artists or writers who served as inspiration during those formative years?
Obsidian: Sal Buscema, Stan Lee, Jim Lee, all the 90's Marvel guys and Todd Mcfarlane especially (Not because we have the same name), he has already done what I'm trying to do turn a single character into something that drives a multimillion dollar business...
I really admire him.

john buscema
stan lee
jim lee
todd macfarlane
Lady Heromorph: Yeah, McFarlane and a few of those other guys who started Image Comics really got paid!
So at some point, it seems it became very apparent to you that 3D would be your primary medium. Could you tell a little about how that came about and some of the advantages you feel 3D has over other mediums.

Obsidian: I stumbled on to 3D back in 2011, and I fell in love.
I had a lot of trouble with it at first being a complete stranger to the terminology and not understanding the limits of the technology. The primary advantage now is that I only have to design a character one time and never again if I don't want to.
Once it's saved it's saved, then whenever I need that character in a scene I just build the scene and plop the little bugger right in....
I do have a nasty habit of overloading scenes with superfluous models that most folks won't even see. I love really being able to feel the life in the worlds I create and 2D drawings are just so limited in that respect, at least that's my personal feeling.
The best part is I can view my characters from every conceivable angle and not have crumple the paper and restart if I make a mistake.

Lady Heromorph: Haha, yeah, 3D is definitely much easier on wasting paper.
I certainly understand why you love the 3D stuff. Of course, one of the things that brings a great many of us here is a fondness for those Marvel and DC superheroes.
So who's your favorite Marvel/DC superhero?

Obsidian: The Spider and the Bat respectively. I love Spider-Man ever since that first campy cartoon in the 70's I loved his power set and his struggles...
and later I related to how he worried about things I worried about.
A few of Obsidian's Spiderman images

Batman though... I hated the Adam West Batman a was just soooooooo corny and my tastes even as a child were way too mature for that.
The comics Batman though...that guy was tough, a real hard ass, and smart...soooo smart. I really admired the way they put brawn and brains in the same package.
No powers sure but he can put the whole Justice League down if needed.

That last Batman image I did really made me happy, the cowl was a static mesh I converted (I can do stuff like that now) and worked way better than the ones by my friends Hal001, and Isikol. I could go for days about my other favorites but those two always stand out for me.
Lady Heromorph: Now you've done your fair share of Marvel/DC superheroes yourself.
Tell us about a few of your own favorite images of them among your work. In addition to THEIR characters, you've done plenty of YOUR own original supers too!
Could you point out to us a few of your favorites and maybe tell us why?

Obsidian: I love all of my Spider-Man images and I was stoked when I learned he was gonna be featured in the Smackdown that was so much fun.
A couple of Obsidian's bonus smackdown images featuring Drunken Spiderman.

The Family El is one of my favorite fanboy pieces featuring Superman and his 2 cousins.
Interesting side note: I found out why Powergirl's boobs are so big, the artist at the time felt like he was being ignored by the company so he kept drawing her chest bigger and bigger until someone spoke up. I guess he was right.

I have a fondness for Superman, and the image of him vs Black Adam was pretty epic for me.
What I really enjoy in my IP characters is accuracy...
The Doctor Strange image I created was a real challenge and required some extra work but was pretty spot on in his design.

Lady Heromorph: Yours is one of the most expansive cosmos full of characters I've ever seen.
Magic and science blend easily in your worlds populated by mythical beasts and people, epic heroes, gods, angels, demons, aliens, superheroes and villains and influenced by alternate dimensions, quantum events, time travel (OK, possibly a quantum event but I thought worthy of separate mention), and unimaginable twists.
Jeez, where to start??!!
As a creator of worlds, which images represent your favorite environments?

Obsidian: Oh wow...That universe actually has it's own folder separate from all of my other art.
There is an Image called "The Island of California" and it represents Earth, as a peaceful utopia or at least close enough.
Heigara 5 is another good representation but this universe has many worlds at many different stages of technological development so there is no real One defining image.
I would however, like fans to know this universe is set far into our future.

A few of Obsidian's other worlds.

Lady Heromorph: Creatures! You've created your share of those too! Which do you like best?
Obsidian: Dude are you serious?! OMG what a hard question to answer...
Dragons! I'd have to say I love dragons, and predictably Elves, they're the very definition of Fantasy in an otherwise Sci-Fi world.

Some of Obsidian's Dragons...

I love the concept of dragons and how much can be done with them. As for any others...
I love anything that's challenging.

Lady Heromorph: How about aliens? A brief description of which and why.
Obsidian: The Namae are my favorite, an analog of Anime characters/people and like any good anime come from all kinds of different concepts/worlds.

I love the Lunari, so much so that I put one on Obsidian's ship Shadawar (aka Shadow), is based on my long passed German Shepard Shadow... I miss him.

Each of my aliens and monsters have to fit logically into the worlds they inhabit and I draw on a lot of different sources and inspirations to create them and to keep them as original as possible in a world where originality is all but gone.

Lady Heromorph: I understand you're available for commissions as well.
Could you give us some info about that? Could you show us a couple of commission pieces so folks can see the treat they're in for?

Obsidian: I create commission pieces for folks who write, role-play, or sometimes for commercial pieces.
I love those kinds of pieces because they usually force me to think outside the box. Often they are very challenging and really make me get creative.
I'll have to attach a couple of pieces as I usually don't keep a bunch of them handy but you'll have to display them at a much lower resolution.

A small sampling of Obsidian's commercial work...

Keep in mind I have several clients who require permission for me to share their images but I have a few I can share.
There's also a ton of individual pieces I've done for friends.
I don't charge a lot for my images... I start at $50.00, and the more complex the image the pricier it gets.
My biggest payday was a series of images for a private card game designer, who paid $1500.00, and it took 6 months. It took that long because of communication issues and unavoidable life drama on both ends.

Lady Heromorph: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and work, Obsidian.

Be sure to tune in next time, folks, and I will have a new Spotlight on another talented Artist. See ya'll then!