Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shaintar: Legends Arise players guide

Way back in 1998, I was still working at a company that did most of its business with websites and marketing. So it was an exciting time for me, because I was getting my career off the ground. But the problem was, it was the wrong career. I never really wanted to do graphic design, though it was fun, it never really got my juices flowing the way fantasy art did. Or does.
Anyway, lucky for me, this company was made up of other people who had a great love for games and the game publishing business, so we decided to split our efforts between the websites and corporate work, I.E. "stuff that actually pays a paycheck", and creating roleplaying game books.
So we devoted as much time as we could justify to the creation of our first game book, hired a full time game writer named Sean Patrick Fannon, and a year later, we published our first book to great industry acclaim.
But eventually the reality of the business caught up with us, and the costs of publishing in such a niche business, and we sold the game publishing side of our company, and moved on. I went into freelance, others found jobs with other marketing companies.
Sean Fannon however, has stayed very much a part of the gaming business ever since, and the world he had created and shaped for many years is something he has continued to pour his heart and soul into for all the years since that time.
He has finally managed to craft a definitive version of his world using the Savage Worlds rules system, and will soon be launching a kickstarter campaign to help fund the main world book.
When I heard he was finally taking his project back to market, I knew I wanted to help as much as possible. So I contributed as much art as I could to the initial product, the Players Guide, which will serve as an introduction to his world, and a sampling of the much bigger project still to come. It's free, so go grab a copy.
Anyway, on to the art.
When I get a chance to work on passion projects, which is a true rarity these days, it is something I tend to relish quite a bit. I try to use it as an opportunity to try new things, and experiment with ideas and styles I've not used before, but always wanted to try.
For this project, I knew Sean had a lot of basic, fantasy style character art. Which has been a very popular way to illustrate fantasy RPG's for the last few years. But that meant he had almost no scenes from the world itself, something that is really a necessary part of any good setting book. So I used it as an opportunity to brush up on my landscape skills, which I don't get many chances to use these days.
And in order to create a look that fit with the other work in the book, they had to be done in pencil, which made it an even more unusual project. In the end, I did kind of cheat by adding a lot of texture, shading and detail onto the sketches digitally, but I think it still fits into the pencil style pretty well.