13th Age Leviathan and Sorcerer Emerald City Comic Con is coming up the end of this month, and the 13th Age crew will be there — Rob Heinsoo and our volunteer GMs will run demos, and I’ll be in the Artist Alley.

I’ve had to turn commission requests down within the past year due to my work schedule, but I’m making the time in the weeks leading up to the convention to do some!

If you’re interested in getting an original drawing of your favorite 13th Age Icon or character, please email me at aranmcconnell(at)hotmail(dot)com with “COMMISSION” in the subject line, to pre-order yours now.

Here’s what I’m offering:

  • A black and white single character sketch, full figure or head (like the icons below), 9″x12″ for $50. 

Anything beyond that, such as a character along with an icon, is going to cost at least $75 and will depend on the complexity of the image.  I think we’ll both be happiest with a straightforward concept that is boiled down to the elegant essence at the core of a character.  The sketches at the bottom of the post were done with that sentiment in mind.

So, if you’re planning to be at ECCC please consider signing up for a demo of 13th Age and pre-ordering a sketch! Pre-ordering is the best way to ensure that you’ll be able to get a sketch.

The last time I attended a convention was PAX in Seattle last year and it was a good time.  At one point, Lee Moyer and I were both at the table drawing collaborative sketches based on suggestions from fans of 13th Age.  The two examples shown at the top of this post are The Leviathan, described to have a “lobster-esque body with the torso and head of a woman, braided beard and eyes without pupils,” and an “11 year old sorcerer boy with ties to the Elf King.”

We were able to work on suggestions like these at PAX because the “commission craze” hasn’t really caught on there like it has at  ECCC.  At the Comic Con word is out that artists are willing to do sketches for money…surprise, surprise.  The pre-order concept has been a popular solution for the artists who want to do more commissions than they can accomplish in a single weekend.

Thank you, and I hope to see you in Seattle!

aamcconnell.com
Diabolist_Sketch_72dpiElfQueen_Sketch_72dpi High Druid_Sketch_72dpiDwarfKing_Sketch_72dpi LichKing_Sketch_72dpiCrusader_Sketch_72dpi

Devil of the Fangs: “When the Blessed Emperor pacified the Midland Sea, most of the terrible giants of the deeps swam out into the Iron Sea. But some of the great krakens moved onto land. They converted their deep magic into river magic and became the river devils, armored squid-like monstrosities capable of heaving themselves from one river to the next, always avoiding their ancient home. The very worst of the river devils made deals with the Diabolist to become devils in truth. The most terrifying river devil of this age is the Devil of the Fangs. The Devil torpedoes through the river networks that give it its name in a squid-like form before heaving itself onto land with tentacles shape-changed into taloned arms.”

General Ironicus, one of the backers of 13 True Ways, was able to generously offer his support at the Diabolist Pledge Level. The illustration above is the preliminary sketch of his monster that has been seamlessly integrated into the 13th Age universe.  These are the final days for the successfully funded 13 True Ways kickstarter and therefore the final opportunity to be directly involved in the creative side of the book.  Imagine the street cred you’ll get when all the kids are playing the hot new game 13th Age, and you can brush your knuckles against your sports jacket and say you personally contributed to the 13th Age universe.  Kickstarter…where dreams become reality.  Wait a minute, I’m proselytizing 13th Age not Kickstarter, but in this case the degrees of separation are minor.  Many thanks to those who helped fund the book, and thanks for your consideration as we attempt to meet our stretch goals.

Here’s the pencil sketch of the Devil of Fangs before I started working on it in Photoshop:

If you want to read more about the conception of this monstrosity go here: Kickstarter Update #12.

“Axis, City of Swords…capital of the Dragon Empire, one of the 7 Cities.  Axis is a city of wonders, military power, and martial competition. Gladiatorial games, skirmishes between noble houses, and staged holy wars hone the fighting spirit of an empire built on conquest.”  –Text from the 13th Age Playtest

I think the comparison between gladiatorial games and Kickstarter is appropriate.  “All or nothing” in both cases.  The creative team behind 13th Age, myself included, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for an expansion book, 13 True Ways.  Even though the 13th Age core book  is in the post-production stage and won’t be available until after the Kickstarter for 13 True Ways is finished, despite the outcome, the core book is guaranteed to be an object of desire.  So, please consider assisting the creative team in our pursuit to expand the 13th Age universe. 13th Age has been a a labor of love for all 4 collaborators, but we’re at a crossroads and need the financial support to keep it going.  Thanks for your consideration.  I hope you can join me in exclamation, “I am Spartacus!”

Sincerely,

In keeping with my previous “Behind-the-Illustration” posts, here’s an early sketch of the Half-Orc Gladiator at Axis:

The Prince of Shadows is part thief, part trickster, and part assassin. To some he is a hero; to others a villain. He has squandered the riches of the dwarves, murdered the hopes of a dragon, and plundered the dreams of a god. His exploits have changed the world, but none can tell you his ultimate goals or motives.   –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

The Prince of Shadows, our final icon.  Who doesn’t love an international man of mystery?  I do, and I certainly love how Lee Moyer painted this piece.  I’m hesitant to post my pencils, because it makes me look like a slacker, but there’s a lot to be said for the less-is-more philosophy when it comes to evocative illustration.  As I see it, RPG art is meant to stimulate the imaginations of those playing the game, and shadows can be useful in that endeavor.  Speaking of RPG art, I’m delighted to announce that select pieces of interior art from 13th Age will be included in a show at Krab Jab Studio in Seattle.  I plan to attend the reception on August 30th as it coincides with the weekend of PAX, but the show goes up August 11th.  Here are the details.  And here’s the promotional flyer:

Here are my comparatively uneventful pencils for the Prince of Shadows.  (I’m glad Lee used his imagination!)

Here are some early thumbnails before we decided the Prince should go play outside.

And now a little teaser of things to come!  Amidst this sea of thumbnails for the interior art of 13th Age (reduced to maddeningly illegible sizes) you’ll find the thumbnail for an illustration that relates to the Prince of Shadows.  Check back for more excitement in the coming weeks as we rev up for the official release of 13th Age.

“The Elf Queen rules the Court of Stars, the one place where wood elves, dark elves, and high elves come together as peers and allies instead of as rivals or enemies. Honed by centuries of experience, the Queen’s innate magic at least equals the Archmage’s spells.”–From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

I am left with the final two Icons for my behind-the-illustration posts, and evidently I’ve been reluctant to finish them off (astute readers may have noticed that postings were delayed for two weeks).  But there are so many 13th Age illustrations yet to be revealed that I need not hesitate.  The show is just beginning, in fact!

The Elf Queen is Lee Moyer’s favorite icon, and I think that passion is easily recognized in his digital painting.  She’s a wonder to behold, and if Lee hadn’t already claimed her she would probably be my favorite illustration — but I’m going to be a tease and say that next week’s icon is my favorite.

The Elf Queen was another icon that took some “ratcheting up” on my end.  The progression of thumbnail to final pencils ends up looking  like a narrative of the elf queen from adolescence to queen.  Lee and I had a chuckle over the thumbnail of the “schoolgirl” elf queen that I knew wasn’t going to work, but submitted because she was just so darn cute!  Take a look at the thumbnail and try to tell me she’s not about to burst into song.  She’s the Snow White of elfdom in that stage, but as you can see her true form is much closer to The Queen, minus several degrees of vanity, one would hope.

“The Great Gold Wyrm is the world’s protector and the inspiration for holy orders of paladins and independent heroes. Although the Gold Wyrm’s physical form seals the gap that prevents the Abyss from erupting into the world, its dreams and the agents it employs still move through the world, helping those who will fight and even die for what’s right.”  –From the 13th Age icon teaser description

The Great Gold Wyrm brought to life by Lee Moyer’s mastery of digital painting.  This was another one that floored me when I first saw it.   You’ll notice that the painting really goes beyond my  pencil drawing (below).  It’s not just thousands of scales for vanity’s sake, though.  I’m sure  in the modern world of dragons there are those who have their scales multiplied to fulfill some concept of beauty, but the reason the Gold Wyrm has this many scales is simply because he’s a dragon of gigantic proportions.  A little gnome could probably strap a saddle on one of those scales for riding…or rather he could try.

*Here’s a bonus sketch for everyone who has been tolerating my corny commentary in these posts.  Thank you for not breathing fire on me:P

“The Crusader is the armored fist of the Dark Gods. So long as followers of the gods of light stay the hell out of his way, the Crusader turns his wrath against the demons that would destroy the world his own gods want to rule. Follow the Crusader if you must win at any cost.”   –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

The Crusader digitally painted by Lee Moyer.  I’m going to let the images do the talking this week because Lee and I are busting our humps* to finish the interior art for 13th Age, now available for Pre-Order.

*Oh, you didn’t know I have a hunchback?  It’s common among illustrators.  And that structure behind the Crusader…that’s my studio.

My pencil drawing:

My thumbnail sketch:

“The Three were among the first dragons to walk the world. The Red is a living engine of destruction. The Blue is a sorceress, perhaps even the original mother of all sorcery. The Black is queen of shadows and assassins. Unlike the Great Gold Wyrm, who must fight alone, the Three have learned to join forces.”          –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

Behold The Three digitally painted by Lee Moyer.  Not only are these mamas ancient, they are also enormous.  Look for the Where’s Waldo Priests for a sense of…”scale” (sorry).  This behind-the-illustration post gives you a much closer view of those guys, but they are ultimately inconsequential in comparison to the awesome majesty of The Three!

My pencil drawing (after receiving Lee’s request for plenty of “crunchy pencil detail.”)  You’ll notice that my choice of color for the dragons was different than the final.  Decisions, decisions – all part of the process!

And here’s the promised closeup of our dark priests, Larry, Curly and Moe:

As an extra bonus here’s an early thumbnail where I happened to accidentally not draw most of the dragons’ anatomy.  Hmm…you’d think I was hesitant to draw thousands of scales or something.  I haven’t confirmed this with Lee, but looking at this image and the final, it’s my guess that he may have appropriated this version of the Blue sorceress dragon in the final.  Ah, Process, you are the Black dragon cloaked in vague shadows until you strike as quickly and decisively as a deadly assassin!

“The Diabolist controls fiends and tampers with forces even the Archmage avoids. She likes her victims screaming and her chaos pure while claiming that the demons she summons would otherwise overwhelm the Great Gold Wyrm who seals the Abyss. There are two differences between her and her demons: First, she likes keeping destruction personal rather than universal. Second, she’s capable of kindness, so long as it comes as a great surprise.” –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

Lee Moyer’s deliciously diabolical digital painting of The Diabolist (in a sense 3D;)

My pencil drawing:

Early thumbnails included demons in the shadows of the Diabolist before we decided on a graphic background suitable for a most notorious Icon.

“The Emperor rules the world’s greatest human kingdom, known as the Dragon Empire for the mounts of its mightiest warriors. All the signs suggest that the age is turning, but will the Empire fall or shift to a new balance?”  –From the 13th Age icon teaser description.

The final illustration of the Emperor digitally painted by Lee Moyer:

My pencil drawing:

An earlier sketch that had the key ingredients, but didn’t have the necessary amount of refinement that the Emperor demands:

Earlier thumbnails included the Emperor with a tamed dragon.  Think Ernst Stavro Blofeld (of James Bond fame) and his cat.  That approach was too ripe for parody.  We’re not going for Dr. Evil here.  Whether the  Emperor is a corrupt ruler or not has yet to be determined.

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