Shotguns & Sorcery Kickstarter Launch

Shotguns & Sorcery Kickstarter Launch

Hello folks!

The big day is here!

We’ve been working on this for months and we’re excited to announce the launch of the Kickstarter for the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG!  This is your chance to help us fund the project and publish it, not to mention get your hands on the game itself.

There are a lot of incredible things happening with this – first off, Matt Forbeck, the creator himself, will be handling the majority of the writing chores on this.  And to round out the writing team is amazing game designer Robert Schwalb to help integrate the rules system.  I don’t think we could have possibly found a more amazing team!

We’re also the first third-party publisher to license the Cypher System from Monte Cook Games, which just by itself is pretty amazing.  We’re really excited to be working with MCG and integrating the Cypher System with Matt’s setting.

This is also going to be one of the first books I’m fully illustrating myself!  I can’t wait to dive into the work.

We’re also revealing the full color version of the cover as well – full art by me.  Check it out below –


Here is some information about the project as well –

Outland Entertainment wants to make it possible for others to explore the fantasy noir stories of author Matt Forbeck’s Dragon City through the Cypher System, the game engine behind the Origins and ENnies Award winning games Numenera and The Strange. Whether you are playing as your favorite character or unraveling their mysteries for the first time, this hardcover, 300-page core book with 20 pages of full color artwork includes all the rules for game play, allowing you to explore Dragon City and its outskirts as never before.

Shotguns & Sorcery will be the first third-party standalone game to use the rules system featured in Numenera, The Strange, and the just announced Cypher System rulebook. You don’t need to purchase any other books to play.

In a way, this is full circle for Matt and Monte. They first worked together back in 1990 on one of Monte’s first assignments as the Hero System editor at Iron Crown Enterprises, editing Matt’s Western Hero sourcebook. We’re extremely excited to have them joining forces—even indirectly—again!

We also have acclaimed game designer Robert Schwalb on board to help integrate the Cypher System seamlessly with our setting! Robert came to us highly recommended by both Monte Cook Games and Matt.  In fact, readers may recognize him as a contributor to the Numenera Character Options and Technology Compendium: Sir Arthour’s Guide to the Numenera. He also has years and years of experience working on Dungeons & Dragons, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and his upcoming Shadow of the Demon Lord.  We’re extremely fortunate to be working with such talent!

Let us know what you think about the project and please, help us fund it!


Press Release: New Shotguns & Sorcery RPG to Feature MCG Cypher System

Press Release: New Shotguns & Sorcery RPG to Feature MCG Cypher System

Press Release: New Shotguns & SorceryTM RPG to Feature MCG Cypher SystemTM


SUMMARY: Matt Forbeck’s upcoming Shotguns & SorceryTM roleplaying game will be the first to license the new Cypher SystemTM from Monte Cook Games. The innovative tabletop game will be funded through Kickstarter beginning Tuesday, November 18th.

TOPEKA, KS, NOVEMBER 15, 2014, —  Monte Cook Games, LLC, is pleased to share in the announcement that the new Shotguns & SorceryTM roleplaying game is the first to license the Cypher SystemTM. The Cypher System is best known as the game engine behind Numenera and The Strange. Monte Cook Games developed the new rulebook to be used with unlimited settings. “We’re really excited to share in this announcement and help unveil the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG to the world,” said Charles Ryan, COO of Monte Cook Games. “The team Outland has put together—particularly Matt, Jeremy, and Rob Schwalb, who’s done excellent work for us on Numenera, is going to result in a creative and wonderfully fleshed-out realization of the S&S world, and we’re really proud to see it powered by the Cypher System!”

The Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game is based on the acclaimed fantasy noir series by Matt Forbeck. The award-winning author partnered with Jeremy Mohler of Outland Entertainment to adapt the novels into an RPG setting. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to use the Cypher System for our game,” Mohler said. “MCG is known for the quality of their games, and we’re honored to be one of the first to develop a game using their amazing rules system.

Robert J. Schwalb is the game designer for Shotguns & Sorcery. He is a writer in the roleplaying game industry best known for his work on Dungeons & DragonsA Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Schwalb recently expressed his enthusiasm for the new roleplaying game. “I’m super excited to be working on this project. Not only am I a big fan of Monte Cook’s Cypher System, I also adore the world Matt Forbeck created.”

For more information about the new Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game, see the original announcement, check out the Kickstarter preview to launch on Tuesday, November 18th, or visit and

Shotguns & Sorcery: Cover Preview

Shotguns & Sorcery: Cover Preview

Hey folks!

So, things have been quiet the last few weeks in regard to Shotguns & Sorcery.  However, that’s not because we haven’t been working!

I’ve spent the last three or four weeks working on the drawing for the cover of the RPG.  It’s a big image, planned as a wrap-around cover, and measuring around 23″x18.5″.  So, it’s a large, involved image.  I’m currently working on the colors and I expect to have those wrapped up sometime toward the end of this week or over the weekend.

I had a lot of fun with this and I think it shows!  I also hope this shows how much fun I’m going to have illustrating the whole book.  I can’t wait to really dig in!


We’re getting really close to the Kickstarter.  In fact, I expect we’ll be launching sometime mid-week next week – we’ve just been working out some final details and I’m excited about some things happening behind the scenes, which I’ll talk more about closer to the launch of the Kickstarter.

In the meantime, I hope you guys dig the cover!  I’ll be premiering the colors when we launch the Kickstarter!


Novel Cover: Skorch

Novel Cover: Skorch

Here is a cover I completed for Kraig Dafoe’s latest novel, Skorch, earlier this year.

It was a fun piece to do – I don’t often get asked to just do images like this with a single figure and a fairly uncomplicated background.  Though, perhaps that’s partially my own fault for making many images more complicated than they need to be, I dunno.  Anyway, I think the most fun I had with this piece was the background, which admittedly, isn’t that abnormal.  Especially when it comes to drawing nature, which I love.

Part of the fun is doing the research and looking at all these inspiring images of forests – I take a lot of inspiration from nature and I absolutely love doing pieces that have trees, rocks, leaves, etc.

Below are my initial sketches, the drawing, and the final with type.

You can see that this went through a variety of different approaches until we landed on something the client liked.  Personally, I would have loved to do the second background with the twisted up old forest with mossy rocks, but ultimately, it didn’t fit the material as well.  With that said, I do really like how the trees, vines, and leaves in the final turned out.  And over all, I’m pretty darn happy with the colors.

I’m also not a designer myself and I always feel a little nervous about sending something out that I set the type on.  It’s nothing too fancy and the client was happy, so at least there’s that!


Attackosaur: Devil Executioner

Attackosaur: Devil Executioner

It’s been a year or two ago at this point, and I don’t recall exactly how we connected.  Whether it was through an ad I answered online or if he found us, we’ve now worked on several projects with Martin Smith of Attackosaur Comics.

Martin has not only been a pleasure to work with in both instances, he’s also an extremely talented writer and designer.  His stories are pretty fun and tend to be short, self-contained books, which I think is great.  He’s not weighed down with trying to stretch a story out over a long period of time and he can release each book all at once.  I think that’s a great way to self-publish comics and I love the fact that you can pick up the book and get a full story.

If you would like to read more about the project and see more samples of the artwork we completed, please head over here or check it out on our portfolio page!



Professional Practice: Forums & Etiquette

Professional Practice: Forums & Etiquette

So you are looking for some good forums to post your work in to get feedback or critiques?  I might have a few suggestions for you.

However, I first want to talk a little bit about etiquette.

You have to remember, always, that art is subjective.  What looks one way to you might look entirely different to the person next to you.  This is true for both beginners as well as professionals.  It’s a fine line to walk – you’ll find people who are willing to give really constructive, helpful advice.  You’ll also find people who are rude and purposely unkind.  It’s been my experience that the majority of people tend to be constructive, however.  You cannot allow the few who are rude to ruin the whole experience for you.

And typically, those folks that are rude are really just insecure about their own work, or they are going through something personal.  There are really a myriad of reasons why that person was probably rude.  My point is, don’t let it bother you!

This brings us, the long way, back around to etiquette.

The way you conduct yourself in life and especially online is extremely important.  This is exceptionally true of posting on public message boards and forums.  Treat people how you would like to be treated.  When somebody gives you a critique, be appreciative, even if you don’t agree with them.  Don’t get defensive – chances are, you are all on the message board for the same reason!

I don’t care who you are in this industry – there is no such thing as a perfect piece of artwork.  We all need feedback from our peers to improve.

I’ve probably rambled on enough.  Below is a list of forums I’ve found to be helpful to me over the years!  And of course, if you have a suggestion, by all means, post it in the comments below.

Digital Webbing

There are lots of resources for comic artists here.  They have a variety of forums, whether you are looking for industry advice, jobs, feedback on illustration, sequentials, colors, or letters.  I’ve always found this to be a really warm community.

Pencil Jack

Pencil Jack is a lot like Digital Webbing.  There are lots of different boards where you can find information or feedback about comics.

Concept Art

If you are into doing concept art for video games, movies, or digital painting, this is the place to be.  There is a massive community of concept artists here.


This board is run by none other than Dave McCaig – one of the best colorists in comics.  The board is dedicated to the art of coloring comics – a lot of pros frequent these boards, or at least they used too.  Either way, I expect you’ll find this a place where you can get good feedback on the work you post.

If you are into roleplaying games and making art for roleplaying games, there are a variety of boards here.  Whether you want to design a game, create art for games, or just get feedback, the community here is great!

Deviant Art

Deviant Art is more of a portfolio site, but it is a massive community with a lot of users.  You can expect to get some feedback on your art here.  A lot of art directors also watch Deviant Art for up-and-coming artists.

Now go out and post your work!


Shotguns & Sorcery: Moira

Shotguns & Sorcery: Moira

The next character in the series is Moira, the halfling.

Moira, like all the characters Matt writes, has a lot of personality.  And I had a lot of fun with this character – in particular, I felt that the way her hair is tied up turned out really well.  I sort of stumbled on that, which is part of the fun of art in general – the happy mistakes.  The various pouches and belts are always a lot of fun as well.

Below are two versions – the initial sketch and then the final.  As you can see, there wasn’t a great deal of edits.  I believe in the final version, we wanted to make her seem a little more worn out and tired from the drug use she goes through in the series.

More art to come in the next weeks!


Shotguns & Sorcery: Assassin of the Black Hand

Shotguns & Sorcery: Assassin of the Black Hand

So the next in the line of art generated for the Shotguns & Sorcery project is one of the assassin’s of the Black Hand.  I had fun designing this fellow.

These guys are supposed to be some of the most deadly and dangerous groups in the series.  I loved designing the ninja gear and the slightly different weapon designs – I picture everything a dark grey or black, including the weapons and gloves.  The tattoo on his arm was also fun to create – I wanted to try to generate a sort of refined roughness to them.  That sense of implied danger.  I’m not entirely sure I managed to pull it off, but I tried!

You’ll see that we went through several revisions.  My initial impulse was to make it clear that these were orcs.  Hard to do that when you cover the face.  But, leaving the face uncovered sort of went counter to the essence of these characters and ultimately, Matt suggested that we cover there faces.  He was right – I think he seems more dangerous with the cover over his face.  Of course, I liked the orc face I drew!  It was hard to erase it!

When I get to the colors, I think I’ll make the orcs have yellow eyes – the yellow against the black could look pretty good, I think.

Hope you like it!  There will be more characters and artwork forthcoming!


Shotguns & Sorcery: Max & Belle

Shotguns & Sorcery: Max & Belle

When we were initially putting the Shotguns & Sorcery project together as an enhanced ebook through Noble Beast (and before I broke my hand), I worked closely with Matt Forbeck to put together a variety of the major players in the novels.  These were a lot of fun!  There is a lot of character in the different…characters.  And being able to blend some interesting noir elements with fantasy elements made things interesting.

First up is the main character, Max –

These went through several revisions, as you can see above.  My initial design didn’t have a fedora, which I think adds a lot to the design.  He also had a tattoo on one arm, which we ultimately dropped.  I also think one of my favorite elements is the holster for his wand!  Fun details.

Next is Belle –

Belle went through a more drastic change.  We decided that the first design didn’t quite have the right look or attitude.  She wasn’t elegant or confident enough, which I definitely think I managed to work out in the subsequent character drawings.

I’m definitely looking forward to drawing these characters more!

More characters next week!


Th3rd World Studios: Finding Gossamyr Cover

Th3rd World Studios: Finding Gossamyr Cover

2013 saw a lot of work for Th3rd World Studios, from the Orange Man + Orange Woman material, to The Mortal Instruments, and the Aegisteel project.  Another project I did for them was an alternate cover for their book, Finding Gossamyr.

I love doing covers, but traditionally, I get asked to do work that is pretty involved with landscapes and complicated backgrounds.  And don’t get me wrong, I really love doing that kind of work, but I rarely get a chance to just do an action piece.  So, when Mike Devito approached me about doing an alternate cover for one of their books, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do something a little different!

Below you can see the process – the initial layout, the finished pencils, and the final color work.

Not only did I have a lot of fun with the action in this piece, but I also enjoyed drawing the creatures.  I don’t believe I’d ever actually drawn a rhinoceros before, so researching those and trying to convert them into these rock-like creatures was a blast.  I absolutely fell in love with how craggy and wrinkled a rhino is.

Anyway, it was a fun project to be involved in!  The book is a lot of fun too, so be sure to check it out!