The following is a repost from Pelgrane Press Announcements as described by my art director Rob Heinsoo:
A funny thing happened on the way to the Crown of Axis arena. Wade’s request for a cover image featuring two powerful female gladiators had been executed in style by Aaron McConnell:original sketch
For a change, Aaron decided to hand-paint the piece, old school instead of digital. That turned out to create a delivery problem. At first, the paints wouldn’t dry. Well, they dried a bit, but the yellow was taking a loooooong time. Then Aaron’s scanner tech couldn’t pick up the colors he’d painted with properly. Neither could Aaron’s photos.
drying on the easel
So Aaron went over to Lee Moyer’s house, since they were working together on a different project and Lee has a Serious Scanner. And if you know Lee, you know Lee’s super-power—he had suggestions. They got the piece scanned and then worked together on the paints, turning a high-noon situation into an evening showdown. Aaron held onto the piece for another couple weeks, but he has overcome separation anxiety and is calling it done!
Crown of Axis cover by Aaron McConnell, with paints assist by Lee Moyer
Axis, City of Swords…capital of the Dragon Empire, one of the 7 Cities. Axis is a city of wonders, military power, and martial competition. Gladiatorial games, skirmishes between noble houses, and staged holy wars hone the fighting spirit of an empire built on conquest. –Text from the 13th Age Playtest
I think the comparison between gladiatorial games and Kickstarter is appropriate. “All or nothing” in both cases. The creative team behind 13th Age, myself included, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for an expansion book, 13 True Ways. Even though the 13th Age core book is in the post-production stage and won’t be available until after the Kickstarter for 13 True Ways is finished, despite the outcome, the core book is guaranteed to be an object of desire. So, please consider assisting the creative team in their pursuit to expand the 13th Age universe. 13th Age has been a a labor of love for all 4 collaborators, but we’re at a crossroads and need the financial support to keep it going. Thanks for your consideration. I hope you can join me in exclamation, “I am Spartacus!”
In keeping with my previous “Behind-the-Illustration” posts, here’s an early sketch of the Half-Orc Gladiator at Axis: