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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Sneak Peeks

Just a quick post to confirm that PAX was a great experience for me.  I witnessed a lot of enthusiasm for 13th Age while I was there.  People coming out of the demos seemed smitten. It is reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who wants the Kickstarter to succeed.  There are many people who already feel passionate about this game.  Lee and I did some collaborative sketching that I hope to share in the near future, but in the meantime there’s a new post by Rob Heinsoo on the Kickstarter, and he was kind enough to include this preview of a 13th Age page:

In addition, I took the display of prints that I had with me at PAX down to Guardian Games in Portland this afternoon.  They are currently on display in the gaming area.  So, on your way to storming the castle maybe you can take a moment’s pause to browse my modest exhibition.

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!

The 13th Age [Pre-order] is Here

The 13th Age is Here.

Behind-the-Illustration: The Priestess of 13th Age

The Priestess hears all the Gods of Light and speaks for those who please her. She is part oracle, part mystic, and part metaphysical engineer, since she created the Cathedral, an ever-expanding temple with rooms or entire wings for each of the faiths she favors.   –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

Lee Moyer really made this piece his own with the digital paints.  I sometimes have a guess about how the light and color will work when I turn the pencils over to him, but this was one of the cases where the final result was a total surprise.  I just gazed in awe for a few minutes when he sent it to me.  We had discussed the architectural design of Hugh Ferriss as an influence for the Priestess’ cathedral, so evidently I was expecting the background to be mostly monochromatic.  I have come to understand that the tastes of the Priestess are much more diverse and spectacular.

Below an extremely crude thumbnail.  (I’m lucky that Lee and Rob can look at something like this and determine whether it’s a direction I should pursue, or not.)

Behind-the-Illustration of The Orc Lord

The Orc Lord is a figure of legend. The last time he walked the land the Lich King fell, in part because of the Orc Lord’s attack. Who will fall before his hordes this time? Who won’t?  –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

The images in this post should give you a pretty clear picture of the way we developed the illustrations of the Icon characters for 13th Age.  The striking Orc Lord that you see before you, again masterfully painted by Lee Moyer, came a long way from my original thumbnail.  Once I was reminded that this wasn’t your typical “Joe Orc,” I quadrupled his body mass and covered him in the finest armor, at least the finest by orc standards.  Lee altered my sketch to improve his proportions.  It is very helpful to have someone who can see the image with fresh eyes and not only describe the revision ideas, but actually present them visually.  I stayed true to Lee’s alterations with the pencils and then he let fly with the digital paints.  Looking at the full color version I can almost smell the smoke and orc sweat lingering heavily in the air.

Email from Lee:  “SO – Interesting discussion with Rob (Heinsoo), and it’s led to THIS version of the Orc Lord.  Rob’s point is that the Orc Lord should never be mistaken for ‘just some Orc’ so the extra beefiness is great!  Basically, he LOVED the width of the figure, so I’ve added some significant width to the torso and arms.”

You’ve come a long way, Joe Orc!

13th Age Announced!

Happy Friday the 13th!  I have a relevant announcement for today.   The numerical synchronicity has me giddy, but furthermore, I’ve been keeping my mouth shut about this project for months now and I’m thrilled to be able to share the news.   I’ve been drawing character designs for a new game by two very influencial game developers, Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet.  You can read about the game here and in the press release. Both links have preview art. I’m also working with an admired colleague, Lee Moyer. Aside from designing the book, Lee is creating symbols, maps and turning my crunchy pencil drawings into refined full color paintings. Feast your eyes on the Archmage, the first character image we developed for the 13th Age. (I’ve included my pencil drawing below so you can fully appreciate how Mr. Moyer brought the image to life.)  I’m thrilled to be a part of this project and I look forward to sharing more as it progresses.