Thursday, February 24, 2011

Suggestions for Artwork?

Another all call for help today from the reader brain trust. 

Inspired by The Drune's recent efforts on his Humanspace Tekumel project, I started putting together this morning (before real-life work) all the random charts, notes, maps, play examples, sketches, and draft guidelines for the Domain Game into a semblance of a skeleton for the proposed domain-play source books.

One thing I would like to start early with is working with artists for a better integrated finished product. As a readerI love products that have a strong, united aesthetic vision. Experience working with photographers, graphic designers, graph-makers, I have in droves from years as a managing editor, but frankly zippo when it comes to gaming material and fantasy art.

Let me back up a little and give you an idea of what I see as the cover and interior work. In my mind's eye I would like to see a full color cover with a heavy touch of Ivan Bilibin, the Art Noveau Russian folk artist whose work appears above and here, here, and here on the blog). 

The interior will be pretty text heavy, but with woodcut-looking borders and old public-domain clip art (like this pictured below). 

I would love to see the interior artwork be page or half-paged sized bold black and white woodcut looking things something like the work of these Chinese artists.

Any suggestions on how best to achieves these goals—and for particular artists to approach--are greatly appreciated as always. Alternative visions for what look you would fit better for this project are welcome too. I am an open-minded sort after all. 

(I should mention since I haven't on the blog to date that the sourcebooks are intended to be sold, printed products—but strictly not-for-profit. All profits after production costs—which includes paying artists a fair amount—will be donated to the nascent Pulp Fantasy Society.)


  1. Your source material is really great looking. I'd love to be involved if you think I can cut the mustard. Some works can be seen at

  2. ckutalik - love the vision you have. I'd also like to offer my services if you'd be interested. Here's a link to my gallery:

  3. @Stefan and Johnathan,
    I forgot to say that I had a strong preference for keeping it in "the family", so glad that you both stepped forward. Actually doubly glad as I have enjoyed both your work.

    Drop me a line at kutalik at gmail dot com and let's talk details.

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  5. That's one up on the old solution adopted by Ragnorak (Ysgarth, etc.) and myself of "dead German artists" (not just Dürer ;) ); or "dead Russian artists" as the case may be.

    Sweet offers, those. :)

  6. You won't find me knocking Dürer, especially his watercolors (like the one in my masthead and in other posts) which have a wonderful, dark-fantasy tale melancholy to them.

    I am partial to a lot of dead Europeans of the Art Noveau type apparently. Carl Larsson's Midvinterblot and the Slavic pagan works of Alphons Mucha. Great stuff.

    What other Germans?

  7. > (like the one in my masthead

    *nods* had said before you'd picked one of my favorites there. ;)

    (And straight out of Tolkien, eh? )

    > What other Germans?

    Well, "German" in the broadest sense, historically, and beyond: that particular phrasing was Ragnarok's own.

    Digging out the older woodcuts was certainly an "easy" (and cheap) option for providing "atmosphere" even if the range of topics available could not, perhaps, cover the full scope of one's fantasy world. (Need to head further south for those multiracial adventuring parties? *jk*)

    It helped to have a good university library ( ?) with a large number of books collecting together such material, admittedly...

    > I am partial to a lot of dead Europeans of the Art Noveau type apparently. Carl Larsson's Midvinterblot and the Slavic pagan works of Alphons Mucha. Great stuff.

    Good calls. :)
    Heading further east, I was thinking towards Ivan Bilibin (*points to blog entry header*) and Viktor Vasnetsov, say (a better Paladin than I'd guess might be found in recent D&D manuals?).

    Need to keep an eye on (c) dates, of course, but personally the high contrast of woodcuts often works more readily than full color illos - for myself, anyhow - unless those conjure a /very/ coherent "world"; and thus likely to be commissioned at non-trivial cost (q.v. Arthur Rackham? *g*)

    My 02c, anyhow, and best wishes as you go ahead (or seven? ^^) with the project.


  8. @Irbyz
    The wire-drawing mill piece is incredible. I am always amazed by how fresh Dürer's work is even after 500 years.

    re: the DF post. Merlinus Coccaius himself. Wonderful work that I haven't used yet on the blog. I could really use access to a university library again myself...(sudden pine for the ease of grad school life again).

    Speaking of Bilibin and Vasnetsov, Jim Pacek did a great job integrating their work into his Wilderness Alphabet.

  9. Carl Otto Czeschka's Die Nibelungen (1909) has some nice art nouveau illustrations that are public domain and perhaps not as familiar as Bilbin's work.

    Noel Nisbet's illustrations in Cossack Fairy Tales and Folk Tales (1916) are really amazing and weird and I don't feel that they are widely seen.

    Te Tohunga by Wilhelm Dittmer (1907) is interesting. The book was about Maori legends so it might be good for representing non-western fantasy cultures... masks, tattoos, tiki statues. volcanoes, etc.

  10. Oh yeah...only look at the 1916 edition of the Nisbet book. the art in the earlier editions is different and much inferior...

  11. Great finds all from my quick gander on Google.

    I seem to remember confusing Czeschka with Klimt sometime ago. The Die Nibelungen work is just incredible.

    It looks like Gutenberg has the 1916 Nisbet book--illustrated to boot.

  12. You might like the work of Eric Hotz, who does some great fantasy woodcut-style art (among other things). He's done art for Steve Jackson Games (their edition of Authentic Thaumaturgy, notably), ICE, Columbia Games (Hârn), and even has published his own rule set (High Colonies, which he also illustrated).