Seriously, Never Enough Goblins

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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.

Minotaurs! No BS.

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Aug 272013
 

From The Maze…
I wrapped the artwork on Maze of Games a little over a week ago. The project became something much more intense, convoluted and altogether grander than we’d initially conceived. This is all for the good as the book’s author, Mike Selinker, has created a thoroughly fiendish puzzle-book (and novel).

I sat down with Mike for a quick chat about the artwork, and you can read all about it in one of the Kickstarter updates. I’ve posted my favorite piece – a rather gentlemanly minotaur – but if you’d like to see more art, just follow the link above.

Minotaur

…To The Grave
Next up, have you ever heard of Magic: The Gathering‘s graveyard?

No, not the one that’s in the game (or does it go by a different name now? I can’t keep up), but the art graveyard. This is where images that weren’t used on a card are placed in the hope of finding them a new home in another set. Usually these images find themselves without a home because the cards change a lot during development (which occurs at the same time as the art commissioning cycle) and sometimes the card they were created for is so radically changed that it needs entirely new artwork.

The worst fate for a card is to be “graveyarded” in the final set of a block while featuring a visual element that can’t be used outside that block. I have a Nezumi (rat creature) card meant for Saviors of Kamigawa that shared just that fate and will probably never see print.

Still, the biggest graveyard incident I can recall is when Unglued 2 was postponed after most of the art was already commissioned (no, I don’t remember why) and when it finally rose again as Unhinged, a large percentage of the art in the set couldn’t find a new home in the radically re-jiggered card selection. I had three Unglued 2 cards suffer that fate.

Usually, being stuck in the art graveyard means I’ll never be able to share that imagery with you unless it’s printed on a card some time in the future: The contracts are pretty firm on not showing unreleased art. However, something must have changed because recently Wizards ran an article on, coincidentally, minotaurs and they showed one of my unseen Unglued 2 pieces called “Fake I.D.”-

Fake ID

Bit of a surprise, but I’m happy to finally share this with you after… *peers at date on painting* …fourteen years! Good grief.

Oh, and I take full responsibility for the dumb jokes and continuity nods in the details of the “Udder Club” membership card.

Digging Deeper
Well, as you probably know, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering, and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing with you some art that was the next thing I did for M:TG after I wrapped up the combined commissions of Antiquities, Legends and The Dark. These pieces have never been seen on the internet before and frankly very few people have ever seen the art. They’ve also never been in the Magic art graveyard because… well, that’s all part of the story that I’ll share with you in the very near future.

A Tale of Two Kickstarters

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Mar 052013
 

Gatekeeper-thinSo, in an effort to be ridonkulously busy, I’m involved in TWO ongoing (and rather successful) Kickstarter projects!

Now, that’s not to say I’m running two Kickstarter projects simultaneously, they have rules against that…

In the first project – The Maze of Games – I’m the sole illustrator. Apart from handing in artwork I have no direct involvement with the Kickstarter page. That is all in the hands of puzzle-maestro, evil-genius and utter lunatic, Mike Selinker, who is the author of the book and all its fiendish puzzles.

Trust me, I’m not kidding about fiendish. The puzzles start off merely tricky but ramp up to ‘brain-spasm difficulty’ pretty quickly. There’s even a hidden puzzle on the Kickstarter page itself and regular puzzles in the updates. See previous statement about “utter lunatic”.

If you need to take your brain out for a bracing puzzle-filled marathon (with requisuite *headdesking*) be sure to check it out as it only has a few days left in its campaign.

The second Kickstarter launched a week ago today. I’m helping run the Kickstarter page and the Facebook page for it, and I’ve done a painting for it too. It’s a very special project to me as it’s for the 20th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering…

CommemorateThe Gathering is an art book featuring new art by over 30+ of the original Magic artists who’ve contributed a new painting for the book, most of them derived from one of their favorite / popular cards.

It’s especially big news because Wizards has never done an art book with a focus on the artists. Crazy, but true!

We debuted four pieces of art at launch and are periodically revealing more. If you know anyone who used to play Magic back in its earliest days, let them know about this book. Especially let friends know if they used to play Magic but have quit, because they may get a big kick out of this book and most of our current channels are probably not reaching them!

Nothing sadder than someone missing out on a Kickstarter that was something they’ve always wanted.

Okay, I’ll catch you after the craziness! Whenever that is.

The Maze of Games Launch!

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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

Entering the Maze…

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Jan 252013
 

A quick update today.The first of the Kickstarter projects I’m involved with will be going live on Monday, Jan 28th!

It’s a puzzle book and a novel, or as the book’s author, Mike Selinker, puts it a “solve your own adventure” book.

And it’s called The Maze of Games.

Here’s links to Preview #1 about the book and Preview #2 about the creative team.

And your first full-sized look at the Gatekeeper…

Gatekeeper-Kickstarter

See you Monday!

Jan 172013
 

Looking back at 2012… well, I haven’t been around much on the blog, have I? A technical problem with what I wanted to do with the next blog post led to me putting it aside until I had time to work out what was up. Then I got busier.

Unfortunately two projects I was involved with look to be dead. One was an app which I did some graphic design work for, and the other was a charity art book similar in vein to the Transmetropolitan one I worked on back in 2011. It required copyright clearance from a licensee before we could proceed. We got the clearance and started on gearing up a very cool book only to have the licensee rescind the permission three months later, with zero explanation. One part of me just shrugs and says “them’s the breaks”, but another part thinks the licensee can bite me. Sorry, but it’s not worth the trouble to give specifics.

There was some CCG art for an app. Unfortunately, that’s not out yet so I can’t share that with you either. Sheesh.

Shedu_EPI did a cover for a local metal band called Shedu. Portions of the cover can be seen at the top of their webpage – which you can find right here. Give them a listen.

The image on the right is a quick something I whipped together for their EP. I should mention that the monster is my doing, not the band name treatment which is a friend’s handiwork.

Looking ahead into 2013, a couple of things that have been eating up my time these past few months are almost ready for prime time. Both are Kickstarter projects and both are books…

The first of these is a puzzle book that I’m illustrating. It should be launching on Kickstarter before January is out. More news on that soon.

The second Kickstarter project is an art book celebrating the original artists of Magic: the Gathering and commemorating the 20th anniversary of the game. It includes new art from 30+ of the original artists done especially for the book, along with anecdotes and insights into their art and their experiences with the game. It’ll be on Kickstarter very soon – hopefully February. When the launch is near, you will know. Trust me.

But for now, I’ll just leave you with a couple of links –

There’s now a site dedicated to Magic original art. They interviewed me and you can find that here at the Original Magic Art site.

iO9 ran an article on their favorite Magic art of the last twenty years. Alas, no mention of any of my pieces. Humph. Pitchforks in 3… 2… 1…

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll be back soon with more info about my first Kickstarter project.

Sep 232011
 

Another drought of posts invariably means I’ve gotten busy with work. But hey, work = paying bills = well, you get the picture.

I’ve had only a little time to try out more sculpting with ZBrush. The goblin head got a little more detailed and I’ll share that with you soon.

Some people have asked if I’ve considered using 3D printing to make the goblin head a physical reality. You bet I have! But I’m not going to jump into that until I feel I know what the hell I’m doing so that when I make the sculpture available, it’s worth people’s pennies.

Chances are that when it comes time to make the sculpture, I’ll use Kickstarter to produce it. Seems like the best way to reach people worldwide and ensure the production run isn’t horribly over or under stocked.

Here’s a link to someone who’s managed to really capture people’s attention on Kickstarter with a 3D printed sculpture. It’s a beautifully ornate skull. He started with the hopes of raising $500 and he presently stands at just shy of $34,000 with 30 days left to run!

Just look at the static image for his video, that’s just damn cool and sells the piece before he’s even said a word. Besides the beautiful design, I think the subject matter appeals to a wide audience and that’s fueling this amazingly successful endeavor. I don’t think a fantasy based sculpt could hope to come close to that kind of total.

Though I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Switching gears, but still sticking with Kickstarter, my wife Jillian, better known as the Lady of the Manners from Gothic Charm School is helping out on an indie coming-of-age goth movie called ‘My Summer as a Goth’ and they’re also raising money on Kickstarter to help with initial costs. One of the donation rewards is a part in the movie! Anyway, check it out here.

With that, it’s back to the current assignments. Eventually I’ll be able to share them with you but for now I’ll leave you with these tidbits about this mystery commission;
It’s for a company I’ve never worked with before.
They’re a HUGE company.
The stuff I’m drawing for them is probably one of the last things you’d ever imagine me doing.

…Aaaaaaaand that’s all my NDA will allow at the moment. Okay, back to work!

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?