First Look

13TrueWays01Pelgrane 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;-)

Great Bear Druid

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.
GreatBearDruid_ScanA GreatBearDruid_ThumbAGreatBearDruidRob 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.”

FREE Comics Guaranteed!

comicbookdayIt’s that time of year!  Comic creators crawl out from under their rocks to promote comic book literacy at comic shops, bookstores, and libraries!  I make a grand event out of the day by shaving most of the fuzz off my face.  Tomorrow I can be found at the West Linn Public Library.  That’s 1595 Burns Street, West Linn, OR 97068 from 12-5pm.  I will have a few freebies and might do some sketching, but when I say sketching I don’t really intend to draw something like this:Sketch_Spidey

I think Steve Ditko might be having a laugh this weekend as Spiderman 2 opens in theaters and all the kids rush to Free Comic Day hoping to get a quick sketch of Spiderman from a hunched over comic illustrator.   I don’t think Ditko had the word “quick” in mind when he designed that web pattern on Spidey’s uniform.  I hope the kid’s aren’t too disappointed when they get sketches from me that look more like this: QuickSketch_0102There is a  possibility they could have a mind altering experience with the likes of this: QuickSketch_0101If things really get out of hand, West Linn Security may be dragging me out of the library once they’ve discovered I’m handing out drawings like this: QuickSketch_0103But, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.  Personally, I look forward to leaving the house and hope to make the most of it.  Free Comics at the library!  That’s a guarantee, because even  if they run out of the free floppies, you can still check something out with your library card!  Win Win!

13 True Ways Commander

Behold, a dwarven commander whose troops carry the flag of the Emperor!  Read Rob Heinsoo’s notes on the commander at this post.BattleCaptDwarf

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?!)BattleCaptDwarf_ThumbA

The charcoal sketch:BattleCaptDwarf_Pencils

And a preliminary sketchbook drawing of the Commander in repose:BattleCaptDwarf_Sketch

13 True Ways Necromancer

It’s a process post for 13 True Ways!  I had fun doing these posts for some of the 13th Age core book art about 2 years ago that I called “Behind-the-Illustration”.  The first image below is a preliminary pencil sketch in blue and red col-erase pencils.  You can see a little thumbnail scribble in blue, top left:  NecromancerDead_PencilSketchI added some color and Lich King symbols fused with Archmage emerging from the volcanic rock below her feet before turning it over to Lee Moyer: NecromancerDead_ThumbAAnd Lee gave the image an ethereal quality as if the adventurers witnessing the scene can’t be sure if their eyes are playing tricks on them or not: NecromancerDead3  Rob Heinsoo wrote a fun mechanic for the necromancer that you can read here.

Also, I’d like to invite anyone interested in 13th Age to consider contributing something to the first issue of a 13th Age Fanzine called ICON that is currently accepting submissions (deadline for the May issue is April 24th).  Click the banner below for details: blog-header-icon

13 True Ways Reanimated

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.

13TW_NecroPoint 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.

abby-normal

New BoingBoing Review

LincolnEyes_BW

The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation sat in my pile for too long, and it shouldn’t have. I loved The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation, the previous effort by Jonathan Hennessey and Aaron McConnell, so I should have anticipated how good this new one would be.”

Some folks are just getting around to reading The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation, like author/critic Cory Doctorow.  Here’s his thoughtful review of the book: http://boingboing.net/2014/04/04/the-gettysburg-address-a-grap.html#more-295886

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