Kobold Press

Art of Midgard: Knight, Death, and Devil

Knight Death and DevilThe 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:





6 Replies to "Art of Midgard: Knight, Death, and Devil"


September 20, 2012 at 3:07am

Love Dürer and love this!

Morgan Boehringer

September 20, 2012 at 3:58am

I too am a big Durer fan. I didn’t notice the nod to the original, but AD would have approved I’m sure…
Nice work Aaron, I love the attendant bony musician and horse and the play of light and dark does indeed give this piece some life and hope. Lovely artwork.

P.S. Give your dog an extra bone for being Midgard famous!!!


September 20, 2012 at 5:45pm

Love it! Well done, a great reinterpretation!

James Thomas

September 20, 2012 at 8:34pm

I studied Dürer in college and have loved his work ever since. I really enjoyed your tribute! Glad you’re on the team!


September 23, 2012 at 1:12pm

Art of Midgard! More of this, please. Learning about the process and influences is always interesting.

Charles Lee Carrier

September 25, 2012 at 7:14am

Such beautiful work! I too think Dürer would be please by this excellent homage to his work.

I was introduced to Dürer back in the 20th century when my wife was taking art classes, but I had forgotten about him over the years. Thank you for bringing him back to me.