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Pallet Magazine

The latest issue of Pallet, a journal for people who like to think and drink, is available now.  I’m very impressed with the quality of this magazine, and it features articles about everything from science to art to beer..well, mostly beer!  And no surprise that’s where I come in.  I was invited to contribute a beer label for this issue’s themed feature “Shakesbeer.”  To quote the magazine:

He’s the greatest writer in the English language, but one honor yet to be bestowed upon William Shakespeare was for us to invite four breweries and artists from around the world to create an original recipe and label artwork inspired by one of his plays.

I was paired with Ommegang Brewery, but I’ll let the label tell you the rest…Cheers!

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13th Age Game Master’s Screen+

I found some enticing images at 13thAge.com of the new GM Screen that I developed with Lee Moyer, along with the accompanying Resource Book that includes a couple of my new interior illustrations.  I enjoy these behind-the-screens shots of the printing process.  I’ve seen a fair amount of my work in print now, but have never had the opportunity to visit the printer as it comes off the press, so these snapshots are satisfying.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering you can do so HERE.

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Discovering Special Edition NYC

BeerGalleysTomorrow I’ll be heading to New York to enjoy the city and attend Special Edition NYC June 6th and 7th.  I’ll have books, original art, and prints, as well as a galley of The Comic Book Story of Beer!  I’m hoping to meet many a beer enthusiast and perhaps gather some preorders for the book.  If you want some additional info on the book, please check out the website thecomicbookstoryofbeer.com.

Below is an image of “The Crustacean Agent” that I created specifically for Special Edition NY to be used as badge art:SENY_Badge_CROP_AHere’s a Robot 6 article with a couple other images for badges created by folks from Periscope Studio.

The Crustacean Agent originally appeared in the Monsters & Dames 2015 Art Book (see below).  The ECCC exclusive is currently sold out, but I’ll have a few prints available in NY.  Hope to see you there!MnD2014_McConnell_72dpi_B_Signed

The Elder Scrolls: Tales of Tamriel

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel Book I: The Land is currently available and I spotted a copy or two at Powell’s on Burnside the other day.  I have a number of illustrations included and it’s a handsomely designed hardcover from Titan Books.  This book is sure to be appealing to anyone gearing up for the release of the video game Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited available June 9th.  Book II: The Lore will be out in September of this year and I’ll post more of my illustrations when that book is released.

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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 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

Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6

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Featuring Dark Agnes: Part 2 adapted by the profoundly prolific writer Paul Tobin with art by me.  The extraordinarily prolific artist Francesco Francavilla was at the helm for the art on Dark Agnes: Part 1 in Savage Sword #5, so Aaron McWhothehell?! might be an unpleasant surprise to some.  However, I did make an effort to retain consistency with Francavilla’s first part, and  one advantage in my favor was that this 3 part tale is the origin story of Dark Agnes.  She abandons her oppressive past in Part 1, discovers her “darkness” in Part 2 and …well, I’m not giving away Part 3.  Point being, I think the transitions in the 3 parts can handle a little stylistic deviation.  But, by all means, judge for yourself.  The issue came out a week or two ago, so please pick it up if you like this type of adventure comic.  What do I mean by that, exactly?  Well, the type that gets a little bloody.  But there’s humor here, too, and if it doesn’t immediately come across, I suggest reading it aloud.  Agnes has a voice that is distinct from the run-of-the-mill strong woman role, IMHO.

Here are the preview pages from the Dark Horse website:

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And here’s another page in appreciation of my blog readers.  (Sorry, no text, though.):

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Dark Horse gave the blessing for me to show some preliminary sketches, as well:

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Finally, the link to the full preview of Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6.

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