Thursday, March 27, 2014

Moving towards a working draft - An Art discovery!

I get closer and closer all the time to a working draft of the core rules, and I'm chomping at the bit to get this released. I think this will give people who are on the fence for the Kickstarter a better idea of exactly what it is that they are investing in.

As I've worked, I've finally succumbed to an inevitable fate - I am making something new here. Yes, it's the game we all love at heart, but it's moving in directions I didn't expect. My plan was to stick much closer to the B/X rules than I'm going right now, but your collective feedback has encouraged me to investigate other avenues, and I've made cool discoveries along the way.

The trick here is making sure that the whole remains unified. I've been trying to think of how I want to go about unifying the concept. And then I stumbled upon this image on Google +..

Mignola Atlantis Design

Mike. Flippin. Mignola.

The man is an incredible artist. I have no shame in saying that I plan to cop his style and use his artwork to guide the visual direction I want to take Saga of the Splintered Realm in. As I've been thinking of how to best use the resources available (which is just over $500 in the art budget as of today), I've finally found some clarity on it - I want to hire some up and coming artists who are willing to (or already do) emulate Mike's style. This is the visual direction I want to go, and I'd rather have five guys each make $100 doing a handful of illustrations and getting a publishing credit under their belts than paying one artist who I deeply respect $500 for a single illustration.

But we'll all be learning from Mr. Mignola.

I have a con story about him that I will share... I had just come out with my first ash can of Army Ants (this was maybe 1995) and Mike was the guest of honor at the con (maybe Pittsburgh? I can't remember for sure) I had purchased a table at. I decided, because people had been really kind about Army Ants and had said nice things about it, that I wanted to get an artist jam page together with army ant drawings. I took out a piece of bristol board and took it from table to table, asking people to draw their version of an army ant. I got cool ants crawling through fields, or driving tanks, or running with guns, or whatever. I left a spot near the middle of the page for Mike, and I waited until the line had died down at his table (which was a while - he was already a popular artist) and approached the table (shaking a little). I explained who I was, and what the jam page was, and showed it to him. He sort of looked at me like I smelled funny. I tried to clarify...

Me: It's my book. It's about army ants. So I was hoping you'd maybe... I don't know... sketch an ant.
Mike: You want me to draw an ant?
Me: Yeah. Any ant. It doesn't have to be an army ant...
Mike: But I don't draw ants...
Me: Oh. Well. Yeah. Um. It doesn't have to be good or anything. Just an ant.
Mike: Hrm (and against his better judgement) Okay.
Me: Thanks!

He quickly drew three circles on top of each other, popped two lines on top for antennae, and drew six lines off the side for legs. He wrote the word 'ant' and drew an arrow back to the 10-second sketch he had done. He handed it back to me... I don't think he signed it.

I love Mike Mignola's art. He's a fantastic storyteller.

But man, that was one crappy ant.