Goodman Games: 5th Edition Fantasy

Goodman Games: 5th Edition Fantasy

Mid-year last year, one of my personal long term clients, Goodman Games, approached Outland about doing some work on a new series of adventures they were developing based on the new 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

This was a unique opportunity because we were not only handling the illustration for the book, but we also handled all the cartography, the cover design, and the interior page design. We pretty much handled the whole package with the exception of the cover art and the interior layout.

I like these kind of jobs a lot – I love repeat clients. I know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from me, so there’s generally a lot more trust and things just move a lot more smoothly. Secondly, I love it when we get to do the majority of the work for a book – I feel like the result is more cohesive and unified when there’s a dedicated team to handle the job. It’s not quite so piecemeal.

Anyway, our Director of Design, Edward Lavallee, handled all the design. He wrote up a really interesting blog about the process over here.

Below are some of the illustrations we’ve completed so far for the series (illustrations by Aaron Palsmeier, Shannon Potratz, Tom Floyd, Alan Gallo, and Pedro Figue) –

These were a lot of fun to work on and as ever, Joseph Goodman was awesome to work with.

JM

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Design Mechanism: Monster Island

Design Mechanism: Monster Island

In 2013, I was contacted by Lawrence Whitaker from Design Mechanism to develop some artwork for their role-playing game book, Monster Island.

I love RPG projects, RPG’s are where I came up as an illustrator, so I always endeavor to take these on when they pop up, and this was no exception.  It was a real pleasure to work with Lawrence and the project was a fun one where we got to illustrate all kinds of monsters!  What’s not to like?

I recruited two artists to work on this particular project, Tim Hibbetts, an old friend of mine, and Giovanni Valletta.  I wanted two artists with a strong, dramatic, black and white style for this project, both of which pulled off exquisitely.  I think they did a fantastic job!

Check out some of their work below –

Tim Hibbetts

Giovanni Valletta

The work turned out pretty sharp and this was a really fun job to work on.  We’re currently working on another book for them, which I hope to talk about pretty soon as well.

JM

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Game Salute: Magnum Opus

Game Salute: Magnum Opus

One of the more fun projects that we worked on last year was a game for Game Salute called Magnum Opus.

Here’s a description of the game –

Magnum Opus is a deck-building game in which each player is an Alchemist trying to be the first and only scientist to complete their life’s great work by successfully fabricating the ultimate alchemical substance– the Philosophers’ Stone.

Unlike most victory point-oriented deck-building games, Magnum Opus is goal-oriented and plays more like a traditional card game but with a deck-building twist. Players collect different alchemical ingredients, called reagents, over the course of the game and combine them in a series of experiments in order to discover the mysteries of the Philosophers’ Stone. The Discovery Matrix is where all of these experiments are conducted and the random selection and placement of Research and Discovery cards in the matrix insures that no two games are ever the same.

Earn the gold you need to purchase your reagents, gain experience from your failures and knowledge from your successes, transmute the physical and mystical elements into the Philosopher’s Stone and you will go down in history for your Magnum Opus.

For this game I brought in Alan Gallo to handle the linework and Pedro Figue to handle the colors.  The client wanted the pieces to have an old feel, as though these images were pulled from Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketchbooks and the images were just sketched real quick.  Alan has a really fantastic pen and ink style that applied really well to this project and looked old.  Pedro was able to really knock out the colors and make them feel like water color.

One bit of fun info about this project is that during the end of the project I was recovering from a broken hand and we had to make some quick edits on the busts that had to happen fast.  So this is actually one of the first projects I worked on after I broke my hand last year!

Anyway, the client was very happy with this project and I thought the work turned out great!  I love working on games and I’m really looking forward to seeing it in action.

It should be out July 11th, 2014!

JM

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Fantasy Flight Games: Netrunner

Fantasy Flight Games: Netrunner

At some point last year,

Mike Hamlett was hip-deep in some work for me and he’d gotten notified about Fantasy Flight Games putting out a call for art for their upcoming Netrunner game. He let me know that they were looking for illustrators and it just so happens that, well, I had some illustrators that were available.

I have to admit – I’ve known of FFG for quite a while, even played some of their games, but I’d never had much contact with the company since I’m not a painter and they tend to only use fully painted artwork. But, it happened that the artwork for their new game was being approached with more of a comic style (basically meaning that they were using some lines as opposed to fully rendered paintings without lines).

I immediately contacted them and squared away some illustrations.

Below you can see some of the illustrations that we did for the game. I worked with Mike Hamlett, Pedro Figue, and Cesar Diaz on these.

It was a good experience and I enjoyed working with their AD, Zoe Robinson. I even got to meet her out at Spectrum Live! last year, and she was extremely nice. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to work with them some more!

JM

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RLMG: Old Bent’s Fort

RLMG: Old Bent’s Fort

One of the big, if not the biggest, project that we’ve worked on to date was for Richard Lewis Media Group (RLMG) developing an interactive exhibit for the History Colorado Museum in downtown Denver, Colorado.

This has been one of the most involved and most rewarding projects that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. For one, I’ve always been interested in the American West and the whole culture that grew up around trapping and mountain men. Bent’s Fort was a situated in western Colorado and served as a meeting place for trappers, the US Military, Native Americans, traders, and various folks passing through on their way to the west. The men trapping in the Rockies used the fort as a place to trade and sell their catches and the US Military used the fort as a staging ground for exploration into the west. The fort was active from 1833-49.

Layouts by Jeremy Mohler. Lines by Scott Godlewski. Colors by Jeremy Mohler.

What we developed for the exhibit is an interactive, animated game (though we didn’t do the actual animation, we generated all the artwork). There are three stations with large touch screen monitors that folks can sit at and play through the game. The player has a choice of three characters which they can choose to play and then there are multiple locations within the fort that they can visit and interact with different residents of the fort, all based on people that actually lived and worked at the fort. All the artwork is animated and included voice acting, so it really plays out like an animated, 2D movie that you can interact with. There are also a number of interactive games of choice the player will have to do to get through the game. All said, it takes about 10 minutes to fully go through the game and I have to say, having seen this in action, it’s a really gorgeous and well thought out game.

Layouts by Jeremy Mohler. Lines by Ben Hunter. Colors by Jeremy Mohler.

Anyway, as I said, this has been a really involved job and it’s involved a good number of artists. Luckily, Outland managed the entire project and I had the pleasure to work with a variety of artists, Ben Hunter, Scott Godlewski, Chris Meeks, Mike Hamlett, and Erick Marquez. These guys really helped bring the project together. I also contributed a great deal to the project, doing all the layouts for all the artwork, many edits and various tweaks to the artwork, all the color work, as well as some illustration as well.

Layouts by Jeremy Mohler. Lines by Chris Meeks. Colors by Jeremy Mohler.

In fact, one of the real pleasures of this project was seeing some of my own work on display. I did around twelve different busts of actual people that lived and worked at the fort, which were then taken and blown up to slightly larger than life and printed for display at the exhibit. It was actually some of the very best printing of my work I’ve seen to date!

Lines and colors by Jeremy Mohler.

As it stands, we’re putting the final touches on the third and final player character. We’re just waiting on the final approval from the History Colorado folks and then that material will be wrapped up and available for viewing and the project will be a wrap.

When I get a chance, I’ll also put up some examples of the final animations as well.

I really love projects like this – for one, I love the research that goes into projects that have to be historically accurate. I enjoy learning new things about our past and there is something to be said for working on projects revolving around real people. Don’t get me wrong, I love fiction too, but there is a special place in my heart for historical illustration.

Below are some images from the actual exhibit!

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ZWEIHÄNDER RPG

ZWEIHÄNDER RPG

One of the many projects we’ve been working on for the past few months is a bunch of character illustration for an RPG book called ZWEIHÄNDER, by Daniel Fox. The book is a bit dark, in nature, and seems reminiscent of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Below is a little write up about the book –

ZWEIHÄNDER Grim and Perilous is a dark fantasy role-playing game, designed with retroclone elements from the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay tabletop system. Set for release in autumn of 2012, ZWEIHÄNDER embraces the dark and gritty nature of old school RPGs of yore while simultaneously providing many modern advances found in today’s roleplaying game industry. The finished product will be “world-agnostic”, universally adaptable for any low or dark fantasy campaign with similar application principles as GURPS. ZWEIHÄNDER will be made available as a print-on-demand product, physical book availability on Amazon and incorporate a digital initiative/living ruleset called “Grim & Perilous”.

Major influences include Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (all three editions), H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher novels, George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the original AD&D Dungeon’s Master Guide, Small But Viscous Dog and a host of other kitbashed and/or supplements created by Liber Fanatica and the Strike to Stun crew!

Daniel hired us to manage and develop over 60 different class types for the book, along with almost twenty half-page illustrations. He was looking for a dark, gritty feel to the work, so we pulled in Ger Curti to work on it.

I’ve known Ger for some time and worked with him on several projects. Ger never fails to impress me with his mastery of pen and ink work, spotted blacks, and interesting characters. There is always a nice energy to his work as well, which really shows through in his pencils.

Below you can see some of the finals.

 

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New Fire RPG

New Fire RPG

For anybody that has been following Outland Creative over the last year, you know that we were involved a rather ambitious role-playing-game project called New Fire from Jason Caminsky.

New Fire is a pencil-and-paper RPG set in a fictional world based on the myths, cultures, and geography of Precolumbian Mesoamerica.

New Fire began as a Kickstarter project that we helped generate some artwork for. Fortunately, it was extremely successful and we had the opportunity to not only generate full color artwork for the entire book, but also handle a lot of the editing for the book as well.

Lines by Andrew Krahnke. Colors by Ryan Lord.

This was one of those projects that was a real joy to work on – Jason was extremely communicative as well as extremely good at providing very precise reference. For a project like this that has to be historically accurate, there is always a good amount of research that has to be done to make sure everything looks accurate and is accurate. Fortunately, Jason knows his stuff and he had a good head for knowing what kind of reference material we would need to do the job. And probably saved me and the artists a great deal of time digging for hard to find reference material.

Lines by Chris Meeks. Colors by Emily Hall and Jeremy Mohler.

Speaking of artists, we had a solid group of guys on this particular job. Alan Gallo, Chris Meeks, Andrew Krahnke, and Scott Godlewski handled all of the black and white illustration. Ryan Lord handled the colors for all the realistic images while Emily Hall and myself (Jeremy Mohler) handled the colors for the codex imagery.

I’ve worked with these artists for years and I feel so very fortunate to know these talented folks. The work they do just keeps getting better through the years and this project is no exception. I think they did an amazing job on New Fire, especially working on some of the codex artwork and emulating the look and feel of some of the ancient Aztec artwork.

Lines by Alan Gallo. Colors by Ryan Lord.
Anyway, it was a real pleasure to work with Jason and the artists on this project and to be responsible for the visual look and feel of the artwork for the entire book, not to mention a good chunk of the editing. When it was all said and done, we created around 78 pieces of original, full color artwork for this project, including the cover and various page design elements. I couldn’t be more proud to have been involved in this project!

You can find out more about New Fire and get regular updates here.

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Shotgun

Shotgun

I’ve been meaning to update the Creative side with new work and I’ve just not had a whole lot of time for updating. I know it seems like we’re not active, but I assure you, we’re busy. We’ve got a lot of projects we’re involved hip deep in and I’m hoping to start updating a bit more often to show just what we’re up too.

So a little while back, a good friend of mine, Shotgun (now released). Scott has been working with me for years on the Baeg Tobar project and so I, of course, jumped at it.

Here’s the novel description –

“Shotgun” has it all. Do you like mystery and intrigue and political machinations and worldwide conspiracies? It’s got all that. Elves and demons and trolls and an amnesiac pyromancer with antlers? Check, check, check, check, check. Slightly heavy-handed commentary on the evils of Corporate America? You can’t possibly miss it. Magic shotguns, semi-sentient poundcakes, talking trees, and shapeshifters? Oh hell yeah. Are you an English teacher in need of content to stir a rousing debate involving fate and free will, and whether the heroes actually accomplished something or just did what the villain expected of them? Here you go!

Roger Brooks, a mild-mannered family man, is dropped head first into this world when he accidentally takes possession of the ancient magic the evil Witch hid in his silverware drawer. As he grows into his new role of plucky hero in a city of sorcery, Roger will have to determine which of the motley cast of characters he can trust to help him unravel the Witch’s dastardly plot. Can Roger stop her from changing the world forever?

“Shotgun” is an urban fantasy magnum opus, the first step in the skyrocketing career of an exciting new voice in the genre. And even if it’s not, it’s pretty cheap.

To begin with, I loved his idea. It wasn’t a specific scene from the book, rather, our heroes fighting a horde of suited demons. It actually made me think of something Frazetta inspired. I’m a huge Frazetta fan and I have always found his work to be inspiring. So I thought this might be a good chance to do a sort of homage to the master.

This was also my very first opportunity to do a complete piece of art using my Cintiq 21UX. It allowed me to approach this with a more traditional inked approach, rather than my more normal fine pencil line art. It was a lot of fun and this piece was completed entirely on the Cintiq. I enjoyed being able to spot some blacks for a change and the ability to get a little more variety in my line work. It was a fun experiment and I think it turned out pretty good, so I expect to be doing more work like this in the future.

Since I completed this in full on the Cintiq, I was able to simply take this piece and blow it up. It worked as my under drawing for the piece. I tightened things up a bit as I went but mostly I went straight to inks. Another thing that I did on this piece was work in multiple layers. So just about all the demons were worked out on separate layers so I could draw them in full and get the best possible poses. It was definitely a different approach than I normally take and I enjoyed it. I think I’ll be able to streamline it as I work more and more on the Cintiq.

Be sure to take a minute to go and check the book out! Scott is a great writer and this was a fantastic opportunity to work with him. I enjoyed it a lot and I’m rather pleased with how the final turned out.

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Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3

The last year has proved to be incredibly busy.

And as a result, this site hasn’t been updated in months. Please don’t take that as a sign of inaction – we’ve been working on a lot of very involved projects, both for clients and for Outland Entertainment itself. Many of these will begin seeing the light of day in the not-so-distant future. But in the meantime, many of our projects are still under NDA.

I’m looking forward to being able to announce some of the stuff we’re working on though! And damn, we’ve been busy!

Anyway, one of the things that happened over the last few months, that I can share, was that Chris Meeks (one of our most talented and dependable artists) and I (Jeremy D. Mohler) entered a contest over on deviantART for Epic Games Gears of War 03. There were literally thousands of entries that were submitted and somehow, we managed to take third place.

I have to admit, it was all very exciting and we were quite honored. There were a lot of fantastic entries, so to actually take third place was pretty amazing.

Below you can see the original sketch that Chris and I worked on. Chris really nailed the idea right off.

I’m not entirely sure how many sketches he did of the piece to begin with, but the above is what he sent over to me. I suggested really pushing the sort of three-point perspective/fish eye/up-shot by sketching over the drawing in orange. I really wanted to push the composition to be a bit more circular – to help keep the eye moving around the image and to keep things from being being static. That being said – Chris was already there. I was really just reinforcing where he was already heading. His composition was spot on and I think the drawing turned out fantastic.

Below you can see the final contest entry with both the final inks (by Chris) and final colors (by me).

I had a lot of fun coloring this, though it was a bit nerve-wracking at times. I really didn’t want to let Chris down and I wanted to capture the gritty quality of the game. Overall, it was a good experience and it’s always fun to work with Chris.

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