I just love robots. Big, little, advanced, retro, shiny, dinged, menacing, friendly or simply wacky, ‘bots leave lots of room for artists to play with forms, textures and wild ideas.
Brian Despain paints great bots. His are of the dingy and dinged variety, and he excels at giving his metallic surfaces that battered and oxidized look that lets you know his bots have been around. He also paints highly rendered, whimsical and sometimes dark illustrations of other subjects, but it’s the robots that shine (or not, depending on how dingy he has rendered their aging metal).
Despain is a concept artist and illustrator who has done work for a number of companies in the gaming card realm, including Wizards of the Coast and TSR. He is currently working as a concept artist, designer, modeler and illustrator for the gaming company Snowblind Studios.
Unfortunately, his site doesn’t seem to have been updated for some time, but he occasionally shows up on some of the GC art sites, which makes me assume that he works primarily digitally. His site doesn’t include much about technique.
You can find Despain’s work in some of the Spectrum collections of contemporary fantastic art (including Spectrum 11 and Spectrum 12) as well as collections for gaming enthusiasts like Monstrous Compendium Annual, Vol. 4 (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Accessory, No. 2173) and Book of the Righteous (d20 System) (Arcana).
Addendum: Brian has written to say that there may be a major site overhaul in the works in the near future, so stay tuned! He was also kind enough to supply me with a higher-res image from which I’ve pulled some larger details of his rendering of the aged metallic surfaces.