book projects

Star Treatment

Thanks to a nice guy named

Rob

who I met in

Roanoke

recently, I was made aware of

Nov.2007 Previews

--Diamond Comics Distributors' giant catalog for comics and games stores. During the summer, my sketchbook

Dreaming in Black and White

was picked up by the fabulous bookseller

Bud Plant

and was sold at San Diego Comic Con prominently placed among a select few books chosen as "Bud's Picks" for the show. I was thrilled at this as I had no idea it was going to be done.

My book's listing in Previews also got the deluxe treatment. Again, I had no idea. I've been flattered and proud to see my sketchbook get a little recognition by people who deal in books of this sort on a daily basis. Demand that your local game or comic shop stock it!

Sorry, Peter Max

Sorry, Peter Max

There is a lot of cheesecake on that page too, I definitely would've guessed something of that sort would make a spotlight due to its natural marketability. Be assured, parents, that my book is child-safe! Well, as long as your child is ok with an occasional frightening beastie or skeleton!

When's the book? pt.3

Last summer it occurred to me that in this whole make-a-book thing, it might be best to get some experience and start a bit less ambitious than a full-color book that might get buried without distribution and just not be something I’d be proud of. The paintings that will eventually be in it will probably never be printed in another book like it again in my lifetime, so it seemed worth it to get it right. However, the book idea is still going full-bore. What I’m working on for release early summer (fingers crossed) is a book of drawings and sketches. It will require a lot of the things a color book would need, and would be more ideally suited to a smaller print-run.

Starting about the end of 2003, I began focusing on tighter preliminary drawings, and almost every painting now has a fairly tight drawing accompanying it, if not more than one. These vary from tight indications of central figures with no background to very rendered full-image drawings. I’ve taken these around to conventions and have sold them well the past few years. Going earlier than that there are a few sketches here and there that might qualify, but in many cases the drawings were done on the board itself and painted over. Only in a few cases did I have the presence of mind to scan the drawing before covering it in paint. If you’ve seen some of these prior posts you’ll get an idea for what these drawings I’m talking about look like. I think all the ones in those posts are in the “in” pile, many will be reproduced at or near original size.

So the plan is to have this ready for summer conventions which typically start for me in July for San Diego Comic-Con. I’d like to have it available on my website maybe a month or so earlier still if possible.

So a lot of work has been done on this front now—a raft of scanned drawings have been pulled out and are being cleaned up digitally so the whites are nice and white and the details crisp (I’m not altering the drawings digitally). They’re being proofed and the final selection chosen. I’m checking with clients to see what drawings will be moved to a potential future volume: for instance, my work in Magic’s Core 10th Edition set won’t release til the week before Comic-Con or thereabouts. So, if I want the book to release any earlier than that, I have to not have those drawings in the book (they’ve been moved to a folder called “Potential vol.2”). There are a couple other projects this might be an issue for as well.

After finalizing the list of drawings I’m now doing some final cleanup, then will begin laying it out. All sorts of considerations are involved: bar coding, ISBN, deciding or producing a cover image, having a small initial run made then soliciting distribution. Should I produce a limited-edition hardcover version? It’s going to be a thinner book, 64 pages, somewhere around 100 drawings. What should I call it?

In the meantime, I continue painting anyway and improving the content of the postponed color book.

When's the Book? pt.2

Since the first time I brought up my someday coming book not much has changed, as I predicted. Yet that’s not entirely true, since I’m adding content to it every month. I mentioned that I already had a collection of images that would be in the book if produced today. These are broken down into 2 formats: horizontal art like card art and vertical art, usually larger.

So as I complete artwork I go through and pick—once again—the weakest link and toss it out in favor of better works. Some of the pieces I am already assuming will get discarded, so in a sense I don’t really want to publish them. But seeing the whole collection there in the meanwhile makes the whole thing seem actually possible.

So here are a couple of pieces tossed out since the last entry. I can hereby assure you that you will not be seeing the following artworks in my first book (and so, likely not in any subsequent collections either!):

"Way of the Lion" 11x14" acrylic on illustration board

"Way of the Lion" 11x14" acrylic on illustration board

“Way of the Lion” was an 11x14” Acrylic painting done for a Legend of the Five Rings role-playing game book cover. This one goes back to 1998 and was painted while I lived for a short stint in Fremont, CA. I did a bunch of interiors as well, which were done in charcoal—the last time I’ve done any charcoal work for publication. It’s actually the second attempt at the cover. I started out with a much larger painting that I subsequently abandoned because I just sort of didn’t like it. Hmm, if I can find the source materials it might make a nice blog entry of its own…. I abandoned the first cover after painting the background (rocks and sky also). I later cut the painting into two and turned it into two completely unrelated finished paintings!

"Old Hermit's Gambit" acrylic on illustration board

"Old Hermit's Gambit" acrylic on illustration board

”Old Hermit’s Gambit” was painted even earlier. 1997 I think, also Acrylic 8x12”. One of my earlier paintings of the sort done much larger than would be used in the end. There’s some decent painting here but it’s entirely too dark. This one was for the Shadowfist card game—a debacle I’d just as soon forget! Daedalus Entertainment went bankrupt and out of business and so stiffed me and a lot of artists on payment for this piece and just about every other one I did for them back at the time. I wish I could say it was an isolated incident but sadly there have been a few occasions where this has happened. I had the benefit of living with my folks and having some better and more consistently paying clients at the time. I don’t know what kind of situation you live in but in my world having a couple months work go completely unpaid is extremely painful. That sort of thing can put you on the street if you live on the line and yet it’s something that illustrators (particularly in this field) have to be constantly wary of. Be warned, all ye who enter here!

Had either of these pieces made the book I might’ve included the above information along with each, perhaps expanded but certainly better worded. Some people don’t like text in art books but I really love learning the background to various paintings. Every artwork has a story.

So until the next update, when I hope to have some different news, just know that each month my book doesn’t come out means the quality of the art that will be in it will be ever-greater.