13th Age Nominated!

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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: 13th_Age_page-188 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: Clerics_Pencils_A 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!Clerics_Sketch_A 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…

Preview 13 True Ways

Pelgrane Press offers a Preview of 13 True Ways and it includes this double page spread.  Enjoy!AzerDoublePages

13 True Ways…Incoming!

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/

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Friday the 13th Age

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…Imp_13TW

 

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.”

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.

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13th Age Core Book Preview

The 13th Age Core Book is finally available from Pelgrane Press!  Buy It Here!  The book has been long anticipated by some patient folks (it was originally slated for release in December 2012), but all new to others.  The game has been available as a PDF for months, but the official book release was at Gen Con this past weekend.  It has been rewarding to see numerous snapshots of the cover pop up on the web posted by people who pre-ordered and received the book by mail.  I’ve seen very few pictures of the book’s interior, though, so I thought I’d make use of my blog and post a few shots of what you see inside when you crack that cover.  Much of the polish and beauty of the interior can be attributed to Lee Moyer who meticulously art directed the overall design, created the icon symbols and various tiles, and painted many of my illustrations.  In addition, Chris Huth is responsible for the stunning page layouts.  It’s a $45 dollar book, but at 320 pages and over 60 illustrations, this is a book that even the Archmage would add to his library of mystical tomes.

Here’s a Preview…

13thAge_Core_Pics 02213thAge_Core_Pics 00513thAge_Core_Pics 02113thAge_Core_Pics 01413thAge_Core_Pics 01813thAge_Core_Pics 02013thAge_Core_Pics 00713thAge_Core_Pics 013A13thAge_Core_Pics 02313thAge_Core_Pics 00613thAge_Core_Pics 01713thAge_Core_Pics 00913thAge_Core_Pics 016

Those pictures with my hand may just seem like an opportunity to fulfill my dream to be a hand model, but I’m trying to showcase the Icon Ring that came with my comp.  An outer piece rotates and allows the bearer of the ring to randomly select an icon during key moments of game play.  A few of the illustrations showcase characters who in some way are representing a relationship that they have with one of the Icons.  Buy the book and try to find all the connections…then it’s time to start making up your own!  Game On!

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