Posted on July 23, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
Boltstrike Pillar is a massive stone column that twists and
turns seven stories into the air. The tower has been a node of
supernatural forces for ages. It may have started as a moreor-
less natural formation, but over the centuries it has been
partially hollowed out and carved into living spaces and magical
workshops. Around the tower is a walled area with a few stone
and timber dwellings and storage structures, a well, etc. Other
features of the living space outside the wall depend on which
icon holds power. -p. 301, 13th Age Core Book
Boltstrike Pillar appears in Chapter 10, the “Blood and Lightning” adventure in the 13th Age core book. Below is the rough draft and a bonus sketch for a different adventure that Rob was toying with at the time.
Filed under: 13th Age | Tagged: 13th Age, Boltstrike Pillar, concept art, RPG Adventure | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 19, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
2014 ENnie Awards Nominees
I have a couple years to go before I can say I’ve been a freelance illustrator for over a decade, but I have been doing it long enough to know that receiving any kind of accolade for a project is an extremely rare occasion. So it was much to my delight to discover that 13th Age has been nominated in three different categories including Best Game in the ENnies, The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards. Cause for celebration IMHO, and especially humbled to be considered among the other nominees.
I couldn’t help waxing nostalgic about how I got involved in this project back in 2012. I had no idea how many hours and how much enthusiasm I would foster for the project between then and now. My very first illustration for 13th Age was a pencil drawing of the Archmage, if I remember correctly. You can see this Announcement Post about that piece back then. I was trying to remember which interior piece I worked on first and I don’t know if it was the absolute first, but the Clerics were definitely one of the earliest. These are the clerics as seen on page 188 of the core book: I hadn’t seen what Lee Moyer did to finish this piece until I saw it printed in the book, 2013. You can image what a treat that was for me. My memory of the piece was the pencil version that I handed over to Lee the previous year as seen here: Below is the rough sketch that I submitted to Rob Heinsoo. I hadn’t figured out how I was going to depict those spirits emanating from the male cleric’s magic item, and apparently it was compromised by the Diabolist because demonic spirits seem to be escaping rather than angelic ones! The clerics in this sketch were a bit light on armor for Rob’s taste, so I think he sent me some snapshots of tabletop miniatures for reference, but I can’t find them! It was all the way back in 2012 after all. Seems like Ages ago…
Filed under: 13th Age | Tagged: 13th Age, 2014, Best Game, Clerics, concept art, ENnies, Gen Con, Lee Moyer, magic items, nomination, process, Rob Heinsoo | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 3, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
Pelgrane Press offers a Preview of 13 True Ways and it includes this double page spread. Enjoy!
Filed under: 13 True Ways, 13th Age | Tagged: 13 True Ways, 13th Age, Azer, Pelgrane Press, Preview | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 26, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
13 True Ways has arrived. The first expansion book for 13th Age is now available to pre-order from the Pelgrane Store. Kickstarter backers will get the PDF before Monday, and pre-order customers will get it June 30. http://www.pelgranepress.com/shop/
Filed under: 13 True Ways, 13th Age | Tagged: 13 True Ways, 13th Age, Aaron McConnell, book cover, Book Release, Jonathan Tweet, Lee Moyer, PDF, Rob Heinsoo, Robin D. Laws | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 14, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
Good thing I check in with the 13th Age twitter regularly. Today, I see they are selling the PDF of the core book for $13. A nice opportunity to get it for a steal! I think it pleases this greedy imp…
Filed under: 13th Age | Tagged: 13th Age, DriveThruRPG.com, Imp, PDF, sale | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 30, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
Pelgrane Press offered a tantalizing preview of the layout from 13 True Ways today. Check it out HERE. (Don’t strain your eyes too hard…I’ll post larger images of those illustrations to my blog soon;-)
Filed under: 13 True Ways, 13th Age | Tagged: 13 True Ways, 13th Age, layout, Pelgrane Press, Preview pages | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 16, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
Today I’m peeling back the process of creating the illustration of the Great Bear Druid found in the upcoming 13 True Ways book. This piece almost got the cut because I think both Rob Heinsoo and myself may be a little overeager when it comes to the druid class. There may have been a concern that the druids were overtaking the book, but evidently enough balance was restored to keep this piece. This drawing came together rather quickly. Below is my sketchbook page of the druid summoning his Spirit Bear and then a smattering of ungainly goblins. The next stage was done in Photoshop. I arranged the various sketch elements into a composition and added some digital paint. Lee Moyer swung his sorcerer’s wand around and brought contrast and clarity to the image. One thing I’ve learned from working with Lee is the importance of creating a composition that can still read when reduced to the size of a postage stamp, a valuable “big picture” skill that he has keenly developed.
Rob wrote about the druid class at his blog. Here’s an excerpt: “As you’ll see, the druid class is a beast. The challenge of embracing elements of traditional druidic roles (wild healer, animal shifter, elemental magician, summoner, warrior of the wild) became huge fun as I took new approaches (talents defining spell lists and abilities, carefully calibrated summoning mechanics, spell lists tied to specific terrain). It’s definitely the biggest of all the class design jobs. I hope it turns out to be as much fun to play as it was to design.”
Filed under: 13 True Ways, 13th Age, Concept Art | Tagged: 13 True Ways, 13th Age, bear, book illustration, concept art, druid, goblins, Lee Moyer, Rob Heinsoo, sketch | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 25, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
Behold, a dwarven commander whose troops carry the flag of the Emperor! Read Rob Heinsoo’s notes on the commander at this post.
I’ll work backward on the process this time around, for some variety. Below is the original image that I sent Lee Moyer. Lee added the Emperor’s flag to the final illustration, as you can see above, not to mention greater contrast and golden light illuminating the scene. (Could that light be reflecting from a guarded treasure trove, perhaps? Or perchance they have encountered the fleeting essence of The Gold Wyrm?!)
The charcoal sketch:
And a preliminary sketchbook drawing of the Commander in repose:
Filed under: 13 True Ways, 13th Age | Tagged: process, sketch, 13th Age, Lee Moyer, Rob Heinsoo, The Emperor, 13 True Ways, concept art, Commander, Dwarf | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 9, 2014 by Aaron McConnell
So, the panel teasers that I was milking in my most recent posts will have to remain a mystery for the time being. That book is still my top priority right now, but the pub date has been pushed back significantly altering the marketing for the book in ways that I’m not fully aware of at the moment. This gives me the opportunity to shift the focus of my blog toward a project from last year that I’ve been sitting on while the pieces fall into place. Namely, 13 True Ways, the expansion book to 13th Age! I’ve developed many new illustrations for the project with the artful direction of Rob Heinsoo and Lee Moyer, and Lee stepped in to give life to many of my rough sketches when the deadline crept up on me and collided with what I thought was the deadline for the graphic novel I was also drawing.
Point being, I’ve watched the stats of this blog slant toward my fantasy illustration as the popularity of 13th Age has grown since its release last year. I appreciate the interest and I’m overdue in rewarding the readers who visit my site in search of inspiration for their 13th Age campaigns. For now I’ll be posting things that have been released online here or there, but slightly reformatted to accentuate crunchy details. Ever the process junkie, please bear with me as I revive some material you may have encountered elsewhere.
Filed under: 13 True Ways, 13th Age | Tagged: 13 True Ways, 13th Age, 2014, Abby Normal, fantasy illustration, Lee Moyer, Mummies, Necromancer, Rob Heinsoo | Leave a comment »