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
13th Age products are going on sale for 20 days at bundleofholding.com, and for the occasion I’m posting 20 pieces daily that were drawn mainly for the core book or 13 True Ways. Most will include the original pencil or charcoal art, but I plan to sneak in some other unpublished drawings along the way. The sale started yesterday, so here’s No. 20 (a victorious half-orc gladiator) and No. 19 (a levitating, meditating monk), both from the core book.
I’ll be tabling with Periscope Studio at the Rose City Comic Con this Saturday and Sunday. I’m currently stocked with copies of the freshly printed 13 True Ways that I will have available among my other books, prints and original art. I hope to see you there!
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…
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!
News! I will be drawing Part 2 and 3 of a 3 part story adaptation of Robert E Howard’s Dark Agnes published in the Dark Horse anthology Savage Sword #6. I stopped by a comic shop yesterday and had to look in the back issues for Savage Sword #5 released in August 2012. Here’s a preview of 5 that includes a couple pages from Dark Agnes Part One drawn by Francesco Francavilla. I’ve been a fan of Francavilla’s pulpy artwork and couldn’t be happier to fill in for him on this adaptation. In addition, the adaptation is written by Periscope Studiomate Paul Tobin! Paul and I went to a Portland dive and smashed flagons of ale over each other’s morions to get in the right frame of mind for this tale. (Maybe I only imagined we did that, because in actuality the book was late to press and I started working on the pages immediately after I got the script. It’s all a blur whether the ale is to blame or not.) I’ve been approved to post preliminary drawings for the story here on my blog, so I’ll get that rolling with a character sketch of Agnes in the forest!
More News!! The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation will be released next week! Here’s a link to the listing on the HarperCollins website. There are already some favorable reviews that will become public very soon, but in the meantime may I remind you of the excellent website with videos, annotations and more available at graphicgettysburg.com Below is another process image from the book: Inks to final colors. But I don’t have my comps yet, and if you pre-ordered a book there’s a possibility you’ll get your copy before I do…(I’m making this up, just tryin’ to keep things exciting here at aamcconnell.com…truthfully I know nothing about the distribution process.)
And speaking of printing, I’ve been enjoying these delightful teaser images of 13th Age going to print courtesy of Pelgrane Press. One day I’d like to actually visit a print shop when one of my books is being printed, but I have a feeling printing people like to keep illustrators removed from that process to avoid any unreasonable demands or unnecessary interruptions. These pics, though, are giving me an appreciation of the process from afar. Also, there’s a new review of 13th Age at RPG.net. Spoiler…they like it.
And finally, here’s an illustration I did for a start up gaming company Unrestrained Games. “Orc of the Spires” (aka “Lord of the Flies” since orcs are basically teenage hulks). Thanks for following my blog!
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:
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:
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.