Friday, November 16, 2012

Running in the shadows

ALRIGHT! Finally, I get to show these little biddies. I'm working for Catalyst games on an RPG called Shadowrun. This is a futuristic world where dragons, elves, and all other fantasy creatures have been 'awakened' in our world. So you get all the fun, dark, mean future noir stuff alongside the elves and fairies. Think Johnny Mnemonic meets The Lord of the Rings. Okay, just kidding. Think Blade Runner versus Lord of the Rings.

These two sentences are a good example of my work on this project: Do it once, pretend I was joking, and then do it again. See, I'm not a big RPG player. I love film noir and science fiction, but I've never thrown a nine-sided die. So I'm doing double duty here, covering the ground I need to understand the universe it is set in, and then bring the artwork to life. It is something that even now I am struggling with, but it is fun for me, learning all these new things, even though my AD might be pulling his hair out.... :(

For example, I produced this thumbnail for a project about an assassin who is interrupted during an (what else?) assassination.

Easy, right? Except in this world, trolls are freakin' nine feet tall, the assassin looks wimpy and burnt out, and no security team would allow such a ridiculous breach that they would be inside the freaking building fighting each other. It is the future, remember David. So I got spanked and told to do it again.
Ah, now this one gets it. Yeah, I'm showing the assassin's back, but all the other elements are in order: noir city, political rally at sniper rifle range, and big ass troll. I'm sure the AD just looked to the heavens and prayed that I would be more of a nerd (in a good way).

But I had one better for him, this time, because I gave him this:

The file I uploaded is kinda small, but it's big enough that you get the picture. I'm pretty proud of this piece, and I think he finally sighed in relief.

Same goes for my other illustration. Here I was supposed to illustrate the beleaguered residents of a poor district. I mean sleeping in the streets poor. They had just been rounded up to vote by a runner, and he was showing them off to the election official. Think back to the beginning of this month, except with more dirt, a few elves, and less sour grapes with the result. I gave him this.
This has all the hardship and darkness of a Saturday morning cartoon. This is what Blade Runner would be if they just played Benny Hill the entire movie. I got spanked again, and told what we were really after. So I did this.
Much better, came the reply. A few changes were made, and I set about the final.

Look at that sexy leather jacket. I should put leather into, like, every painting. Just because it looks so cool.

So there you have it. These pieces are published! You can buy and download the book and play Shadowrun to your heart's content. Are you excited? I know I am.

These were a blast to do, and I hope you like them. At the end of the day, even when I got it wrong, the guy I was working with was both patient and encouraging. The more experience I get, the less patient he'll have to be! :) But until then, if I can be ignorant and put out some of my best work, I'll take it. After all, I'll always be ignorant of something. Stay tuned, there's plenty more coming!

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