An Update Filled with Victorian Elegance

 Comments Off on An Update Filled with Victorian Elegance
Jul 032014
 

I’ve been quiet for awhile, dealing with real life, working on projects or proto-projects I can’t discuss.

However, in the last 24 hours two things that I’ve known about for much of 2014 have finally been announced –

The Maze of Games … and Audiobook

The Maze of Games Puzzle novel which was funded on Kickstarter last year is finally shipping to people. The book is quite something to behold as it’s a quality book – bigger, heftier and more decorous than I expected – filled with some seriously tough puzzles. I admire anyone who can get through to the last quarter of this book without their brain exploding.

Gatekeeper

I don’t have a copy to show right now but I can offer you this brutally quick flip-through by the book’s author, Mike Selinker.

Next week people who are in the Greater Seattle area can actually pick up their books from one of three events listed in this Kickstarter update. Now, if you backed the Kickstarter campaign you probably already know this. However those of you that haven’t but still want the book should know they’re all public events and there will be some additional copies for sale.

But the big Maze of Games news for the week is that there’s going to be an accompanying audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton who apparently really threw himself into the 40+ character voices. The audiobook will be the focus of a new Kickstarter campaign that’ll be starting soon. I’ll be sure to announce it on various social media right after Mike does.

The Curious Case

The other bit of news is that Gail Carriger, author of the wonderful Parasol Protectorate series, just released a short story ebook set in that same world. I’m mentioning it here because I did the cover –

Alessandro-CuriousCase

The book announcement and links to where to get it are in this blog entry on Gail’s site.

This is actually only a portion of the image. There’ll be more about the cover posted here and on Gail’s site in the very near future.

Seriously, Never Enough Goblins

 Comments Off on Seriously, Never Enough Goblins
Mar 072014
 

Here’s the line work to four more of my “Goblins Through the Ages” cards for the Pairs Kickstarter.

Gob3+5
#3 is the modern day card who’s kind of a conglomeration of a bunch of the world’s ills these days, but I just think of him as the “Bond villain”.
#5 is a Victorian Occultist or is that starting to get redundant?!

Gob7+10
#7 is some Robin-Hood style goblin.
#10 is the lowly prehistoric Cave-Gobbo.

The Pairs Kickstarter. has a week left to run. If you want one of these decks you better jump onboard as they won’t be available afterwards.

Feb 262014
 

Kickstarter has been a big part of my life this last year.

Exactly a year ago today, The Gathering launched on Kickstarter. The book was greeted enthusiastically and has gotten some glowing reports from the backers who’ve gotten ahold of it. But it’s still not done as the limited edition book and the card set are still wrapping up. Yeah, working on it a year later really wasn’t part of the plan. Them’s the knocks.

At the same time in Feb 2013, The Maze of Games Kickstarter was in full swing. For that book my primary involvement was producing the artwork. The 40+ illustrations created are why Summer 2013 was something I heard about but didn’t really experience. That book should be printed by now and wending its way to the US from overseas.

Well, apparently I just can’t get enough of Kickstarter because I’m currently involved with James Ernest’s new “pub game” Pairs. It’s called a “pub game” because it’s something you can learn in 3 minutes and can join or leave at any time. It’s the ultimate in casual gaming. What impresses me most is its elegance; simplicity without sacrificing strategy. Props to James and his co-designer Paul Peterson.

So, what does this have to do with goblins? Well, the Pairs Kickstarter is adding stretch goals for decks with different artwork, and mine is a goblin deck! Kind of “Goblins through the Ages”! Here’s the Musketeer Goblin and the proposed card-back I designed –

GoblinCards

The Kickstarter reward tiers are for numbers of decks, but not specific ones. A little while after the Kickstarter wraps, backers will receive a survey where they can pick which ones they want from those unlocked by the stretch goals. Mine’s not unlocked yet, so please help back the project reach (at least) $100K and ensure this goblin deck gets made!

Finally, here’s a few sketches of other potential goblin cards – the prehistoric goblin and the cyberpunk goblin!

GoblinSketches

Yeah, could be lots of fun.

Oct 022013
 

In 1994 I created a set of promo pieces timed for Magic: The Gathering’s first anniversary.

Unless you’re one of about a dozen people, these are all completely new to you. To find out why, check out the prologue to this series.

And so, this unveiling rolls around to its conclusion with probably my favorite color in Magic. It’s time for Black!

5Color-Black

This also happens to be my favorite of the six promo pieces. I think one of the biggest reasons is that the figures are more dynamic than in most of the other images. That’s a little down to my card choices but given that Black is at home in the shadows or under a night sky but is populated by a legion of often pale, sometimes bloody and vivid creatures, the image’s strong contrast was never going to be hard to achieve.

I hope the tour through these images has been fun for you. I’m really glad I finally got to share them. My time working for Magic may have passed but I loved the game, helped build the world (somewhat literally as I designed the globe of Dominaria), and I’ll always be grateful to Magic’s first art director, Jesper Myrfors, for giving me a shot and helping bring my artwork to a worldwide audience.

Thank you all for the comments and compliments. It’s been a blast.

Next time: …who knows? Maybe something created more recently than 19 years ago!

The answers to the cards used in this piece are below, followed by a quick FAQ.

Peer into the abyss of Black answers. Oh, and the FAQ.

The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – Blue (1994)

 Comments Off on The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – Blue (1994)
Sep 282013
 

Here’s the fifth in a series of promo pieces I did for Magic, waaaay back in 1994. They’ve never been seen in public before but it being M:TG’s 20th anniversary it seemed like a good time to share them with you.

If you’re curious why these were never printed, the full story can be found in this prologue post.

Today, the color circle arrives at Blue –

5Color-Blue

Blue magic in 1994 featured a lot of air and water themed spells. In addition it’s the color of pure arcane knowledge, illusions, counterspells, and control (of creatures and time itself). It also felt like Blue Magic would be the color most used in the creation of artifacts, a position enhanced by the fact that Blue sits opposite the natural fecundity of Green.

It’s seems like a wildly random set of spheres of influence. Perhaps the catch-all for ideas that didn’t fit elsewhere. Or perhaps that’s my prejudices showing as Blue was my least favorite color to paint cards for.

Take a shot at guessing all the cards tucked away in this piece. As usual, the answers are below.

All of Blue’s esoteric knowledge lies within.

The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – White (1994)

 Comments Off on The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – White (1994)
Sep 242013
 

Here’s the fourth in a series of promo pieces I did for Magic, waaaay back in 1994. They’ve never been seen in public before but I figured now was a great time – being M:TG’s 20th anniversary – to share them with you.

If you’re curious why these were never printed, the full story can be found in this prologue post.

Today, the color circle turns towards White –

5Color-White

Nowadays, White has a broader concept but White in Alpha was very euro-centric with its knights, paladins, medieval castles, the clergy, and the occasional angelic warrior. That’s very much reflected in this piece.

The great big glowing guy in the front wasn’t really the best choice for front and center but he was a powerhouse White card of early Magic and so he had to be given a significant spot. Still, he looks kinda goofy. His cheery countenance is offset by possibly the surliest lion alive; look at that scowl! I think he even has a 5 o’clock shadow. Maybe he’s hung over. All joking aside, I did overdo the lion’s lower jaw. This is a good reminder of how amazingly useful Google image search is for artist reference. It’s easy to forget how sometimes hunting for reference through magazines and books could really derail a tight deadline back in the day.

So, take a shot at identifying all the cards in the image. Remember, there are no cards from sets later than The Dark. The answers are below.

Did divine inspiration strike? Here’s the answers to White.

The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – Green (1994)

 Comments Off on The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – Green (1994)
Sep 202013
 

The story so far: In 1994 I created a series of promo images for Magic: The Gathering. These pieces were meant for flyers timed for the ’94 con season, and the game’s first anniversary.

Unless you’re one of about a dozen people, you’ve never seen them before. To find out why, check out the prologue to this series.

The project was to be six images, one for artifacts, and one for each color of mana.

Today it’s Green.

5Color-Green

Green, being nature, doesn’t struggle with right and wrong. Much like its opposite number – Blue – its essentially amoral. And while Green is life and its other opposite on the color wheel – Black – is death, Green recognizes that death is part of the cycle of life and Black has a little life in it due to various unpleasant biological systems involved in putrefaction. Yum.

Anyway, the planeswalker here shows a little of Green’s Tranquility while the main image focuses on the amoral side.

Have fun locating all of the cards in the image. The answers are posted below.

Next time, we’re onto White.

Click through for all the answers to your thorny questions.

Sep 122013
 

In 1994 I created a series of promotional images for Magic: The Gathering. These pieces were meant for flyers timed for the ’94 con season, and the game’s first anniversary.

Unless you’re one of about a dozen people, you’ve never seen them before. To find out why, check out the prologue to this series.

The project was to be six images, one for each color of mana (the cornerstone of power and flavor in M:TG) and one extra for today’s subject – Artifacts.

5Color-Artifice

This is the general layout of all the pieces in the series; a color-themed planeswalker centrally framed and playing Magic cards, surrounded by creatures (and occasionally spells) of the appropriate mana color (or colorless in the case of Artifacts).

In addition to being given carte blanche with what to include in each image, I was also allowed free rein to extrapolate these creatures beyond what we’d seen previously in the confines of the card image window. Knowing that, don’t think of these as official versions of the creatures, just my take on them. Especially since I added a curved abdomen to the Dragon Engine in the hope of mirroring the curve of its neck but ended up just making it look pot-bellied! Win some, lose some…

An interesting wrinkle to all of this was that in ’94 all of the Magic artists still retained the copyright to their images. I think the working logic for this project was that they were free handouts and so didn’t require any special agreements, but if they’d been on retail products, then they’d have had to pay all the applicable artists a royalty. I think. Hey, it’s 19 years ago! I just know that Jesper would have done right by the artists like he always did.

Anyway, have fun trying to spot all of the cards referenced in this project. All six pieces pulled from cards from Alpha through The Dark. Feel free to post guesses here, on Facebook, Twitter or whatever Magic forum led you here. I’ll be curious to see if I’m able to sneak any by you.

Were you able to name all the cards in the artwork? The answers are below.

The next piece I’ll be debuting will be Red. Those of you that’ve read any interviews I’ve given, probably know that Red and Black are my favorite colors in Magic. So, we’re going to start at Red and work our way around the color wheel until we finish up at Black!

Click here to discover all the cards hidden in the image and a Quick FAQ

The Maze of Games Launch!

 Comments Off on The Maze of Games Launch!
Jan 282013
 

The Maze of Games – an interactive puzzle novel written by Mike Selinker and illustrated by me – has just launched on Kickstarter!

Click the image below to head to the Kickstarter page!

Gatekeeper-Banner

Aug 012011
 

Question: If I was to use Kickstarter to fund creating an original fantasy painting, available as a print ranging from standard US letter size (8.5″ by 11″) all the way up to 2′ by 3′, would you be interested in supporting it?

What size print would you want?

It couldn’t be Magic the Gathering related (copyright issues), but what fantasy thing would you like to see?

Guesstimate prices would range from $15 to probably $120. With some super rare stuff in the $300 category.

So what d’ya think?