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…

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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!

Process: 13 True Ways

I met with Rob Heinsoo and Lee Moyer the other night.  After enjoying  a bowl of Lee’s chicken hominy soup we went through the “Art Order’ for 13 True Ways to see where we stand in the process.  There’s a lot of artwork in this book, but a good amount of progress has been made and I will continue illustrating finished pieces this upcoming month.  This weekend at Stumptown Comic Fest I’ll bring prints from the first book including many of the Icons and some interior illustrations of gnomes, elves and other high fantasy adventurers.  Here’s an illustration that will be included in 13 True Ways:

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And the thumbnail sketch:Mantis_ThumbA

First Image Reveal of 13 True Ways

Earlier today Rob Heinsoo leaked the first image from the yet-to-be-released supplement book 13 True Ways.  You can read some details about the image at Rob’s Blog.  This is a piece I drew only a couple weeks ago and even more recently Lee Moyer applied his masterful paints to finalize the image.    I’m expecting to have a banner of this image near my table at Emerald City Comicon in one short week, so please take a moment and let it sink into your visual memory;-)

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PAX, Prints, and more!

Starting today, Friday August 31, I am attending PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington to assist the Fire Opal Media folks promote 13th Age and the expansion book 13 True Ways currently kickstarting.  What is PAX Prime?  Your Answer.

I’ve brought 40 prints with me for sale at the Gamma Ray Games booth.  There are ten 11″ x 14″ prints each of the 4  images I’ve shown here, and Lee Moyer and I will be available to sign them from 2-4pm on Friday and Saturday.

And there’s a rumor that I’ll be Icon Sketching as time allows.  We’ll see how it goes.  I hope to see you there!

Behind-the-Illustration: The Prince of Shadows

The Prince of Shadows is part thief, part trickster, and part assassin. To some he is a hero; to others a villain. He has squandered the riches of the dwarves, murdered the hopes of a dragon, and plundered the dreams of a god. His exploits have changed the world, but none can tell you his ultimate goals or motives.–From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

The Prince of Shadows, our final icon.  Who doesn’t love an international man of mystery?  I do, and I certainly love how Lee Moyer painted this piece.  I’m hesitant to post my pencils, because it makes me look like a slacker, but there’s a lot to be said for the less-is-more philosophy when it comes to evocative illustration.  As I see it, RPG art is meant to stimulate the imaginations of those playing the game, and shadows can be useful in that endeavor.  Speaking of RPG art, I’m delighted to announce that select pieces of interior art from 13th Age will be included in a show at Krab Jab Studio in Seattle.  I plan to attend the reception on August 30th as it coincides with the weekend of PAX, but the show goes up August 11th.  Here are the details.  And here’s the promotional flyer:

Here are my comparatively uneventful pencils for the Prince of Shadows.  (I’m glad Lee used his imagination!)

Here are some early thumbnails before we decided the Prince should go play outside.

And now a little teaser of things to come!  Amidst this sea of thumbnails for the interior art of 13th Age (reduced to maddeningly illegible sizes) you’ll find the thumbnail for an illustration that relates to the Prince of Shadows.  Check back for more excitement in the coming weeks as we rev up for the official release of 13th Age.

Behind-the-Illustration: The Elf Queen

The Elf Queen rules the Court of Stars, the one place where wood elves, dark elves, and high elves come together as peers and allies instead of as rivals or enemies. Honed by centuries of experience, the Queen’s innate magic at least equals the Archmage’s spells.–From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

I am left with the final two Icons for my behind-the-illustration posts, and evidently I’ve been reluctant to finish them off (astute readers may have noticed that postings were delayed for over two weeks).  But there are so many 13th Age illustrations yet to be revealed that I need not hesitate.  The show is just beginning, in fact!  The Elf Queen is Lee Moyer’s favorite icon, and I think that passion is easily recognized in his digital painting.    She’s a wonder to behold, and if Lee hadn’t already claimed her she would probably be my favorite illustration, but I’m going to be a tease and say that next week’s icon is my favorite.  The Elf Queen was another icon that took some “ratcheting up” on my end.  The progression of thumbnail to final pencils ends up looking  like a narrative of the elf queen from adolescence to queen.  Lee and I had a chuckle over the thumbnail of the “schoolgirl” elf queen that I knew wasn’t going to work, but submitted because she was just so darn cute!  Take a look at the thumbnail and try to tell me she’s not about to burst into song.  She’s the Snow White of elfdom in that stage, but as you can see her true form is much closer to The Queen, minus several degrees of vanity, one would hope.

Behind-the-Illustration: The Gold Wyrm

The Great Gold Wyrm is the world’s protector and the inspiration for holy orders of paladins and independent heroes. Although the Gold Wyrm’s physical form seals the gap that prevents the Abyss from erupting into the world, its dreams and the agents it employs still move through the world, helping those who will fight and even die for what’s right.  –From the 13th Age icon teaser description

The Great Gold Wyrm brought to life by Lee Moyer’s mastery of digital painting.  This was another one that floored me when I first saw it.   You’ll notice that the painting really goes beyond my  pencil drawing (below).  It’s not just thousands of scales for vanity’s sake, though.  I’m sure  in the modern world of dragons there are those who have their scales multiplied to fulfill some concept of beauty, but the reason the Gold Wyrm has this many scales is simply because he’s a dragon of gigantic proportions.  A little gnome could probably strap a saddle on one of those scales for riding…or rather he could try.

*Here’s a bonus sketch for everyone who has been tolerating my corny commentary in these posts.  Thank you for not breathing fire on me:P

Behind-the-Illustration: The Crusader

The Crusader is the armored fist of the Dark Gods. So long as followers of the gods of light stay the hell out of his way, the Crusader turns his wrath against the demons that would destroy the world his own gods want to rule. Follow the Crusader if you must win at any cost.   –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

The Crusader digitally painted by Lee Moyer.  I’m going to let the images do the talking this week because Lee and I are busting our humps* to finish the interior art for 13th Age, now available for Pre-Order.

*Oh, you didn’t know I have a hunchback?  It’s common among illustrators.  And that structure behind the Crusader…that’s my studio.

My pencil drawing:

My thumbnail sketch: