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What’s In a Character’s Name?

Naming a character is like naming your first-born child. You agonize over very detail, even go so far as to pronounce the name under your breath to test the inflection. Lucky for you, you're more concerned with how it looks on paper rather than how it sounds spoken in...

4 Ways to prep for the Royal Wedding Outland Entertainment style

In addition to wearing the Editor in Chief hat here at Outland Entertainment, I also write about pop culture in enough places that I've found it useful to follow the news. While this is particularly relevant for geek news, there are some headliners you just can't...

Press Release: Blackguards Anthology Gets Facelift

Outland Entertainment is please to announce a new look and edition for the anthology Blackguards, dividing the book into two volumes and including two never-before-seen stories. Blackguards, originally published by Ragnarok Publications, was a massive volume containing stories from some of the best dark fantasy and grim dark authors in the industry…

A Letter to My Past Self

Dear Greg (in 1986), So you’ve just turned fourteen, and you’ve just entered your freshman year of high school.  I wanted to send you...well, not a pep talk, exactly.  You’ve never liked or trusted those; they’re treacherous, and too often they’ve been empty promises,...

Fighting The Voices in My Head

This article by fantasy author Melanie R. Meadors first appeared Geek Mom: Geek Speaks...Fiction! Here, Melanie tells us about how she fought the voices (of the characters) in her head…and lost. When editor Marc Tassin invited me to write for the anthology, Champions...

Outland Entertainment on the new serial, Born to the Blade

Recently, Publisher Melanie Meadors and Editor in Chief Alana Joli Abbott got together to chat about a serial they're both reading: Born to the Blade. Alana: So, Melanie, how did you feel about Born to the Blade? Melanie: Wow, I have to say, I knew it would be cool,...

Press Release: Announcing Knaves, A New Blackguards Anthology

Outland Entertainment is pleased to announce they will be publishing a new collection of stories where protagonists’ moral compasses don’t always point north, and where villains are the heroes of their own stories.

Rejections: The Building Blocks of Collections by Maurice Broaddus

Short stories are my first love. As much as I enjoy writing novels and novellas, I keep coming back to short stories. That’s why my first collection, The Voices of Martyrs, means so much to me. But as I’ve reflected on the long journey in getting here, I keep coming...

Dagon’s Bones: A Lovecraft-Inspired Kickstarter Game!

Dagon's Bones A fast and fun Lovecraft-inspired dice game played in the pubs and bars of Innsmouth. Roll the Bones, pray to Dagon. Utility Games, LLC is proud to announce our first game, debuting on Kickstarter, Dagon's Bones. Dagon's Bones can be taught in minutes,...

Interview with Warlock 5 Artist, Jeffrey Edwards

From Batman to Star Wars, Jeffrey has tackled numerous fandoms. Now, he faces the Warlock 5 Grid! Did you read Warlock 5 before joining this project?  No, unfortunately I had never even heard of Warlock 5 before signing on to work on this project. I was given a .pdf...
Designer Interview – Edward Lavallee

Designer Interview – Edward Lavallee

You might know Ed Lavallee from his work as a graphic designer, but he’s also a published author working on numerous comic projects. Let’s pick his brain, shall we?

Ed, what came first: graphic design or comics?

Comics all the way. Comics have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started out pretty young just looking at the pictures, then reading, then collecting. Comics have always inspired and amazed me. Definitely influenced me in making my decision to study art and design in college. It was during my time at Stephen F. Austin State that I started writing comics. I guess for me the two have always gone hand in hand. Kind of a no brainier really.

Would you ever choose only one or do they somehow complement each other?

The two have always complemented each other. The design side of things is actually what got me my first pro comic gig as a letterer. I lettered “PARADIGM” and an issue of “EXPATRIATE” from Image. If I could make a living just writing comics I would, but design provides me with the glamorous lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to.

As a kid and teenager what was your favorite activity? 

As a kid I was always outside playing in the woods by my house, building forts, riding bikes. I had a very active imagination. Loved to be outside adventuring.

Did you begin to show your artistic talents early?

I don’t know if it would be considered talent, but I always loved to draw and create when I was young. Whether it’s comics, animation, drawing, film, Art has always been there for me in some form or fashion.

What was the first project that made you realize you wanted to be part of this graphic world?

Not sure I can pinpoint a single project that led me on my path into graphics specifically. It was more out of a need to make a decent living doing something I enjoyed. I was originally a sculpture major in college, but I could never see myself making a living as a fine art sculptor. I changed my major to graphic design in my junior year and finished college with enough credit hours to have a double major. Been working in design ever since, publishing mostly. The rest is history.

What about references? Do you have any favorite artists that inspire you?

Da Vinci and the artists of the Italian Renaissance. Mike Mignola… I’m a huge fan of the Hellboy Universe he has created. Frank Frazetta. Quentin Tarantino. Martin Scorsese.

Is there a project that touched you in a deeper way?

“REVERE: Revolution in Silver” will always be my baby. It was my first professionally published work as a writer.

How does it feel to create a brand image, a logo, like the new one for the “Shotguns and SorceryRPG”?

Working on the S&S logo has been fun and exciting. It’s pretty cool to think that the work I did on the logo will be on all future S&S products. I’m looking forward to seeing everything take shape with the upcoming KS launch for the S&S RPG.

Is the process of finding the right logo for a brand straightforward or is it too subjective?

I try and use the same approach every time. Sometimes it is pretty straight forward, other times it is more of a creative evolution. Each step adding a little something in the process to get you to the final finished version.

What is your method: meticulous research or diving right into experimental sketches?

I think all projects are unique in their own way. For some, the lightbulb goes off right away and I can jump right in. In other instances it’s lots of research, sketching, and asking questions of the team/client involved. 

What can we expect to see from you in the near future: graphic design projects or comics?

Well, I have an active hand in the majority of the projects set up here at Outland. We just finished up the S&S logo, and an RPG supplement. The S&S Kickstarter is launching soon. So a lot is happening on the design front. I have a few different comic projects as well, “REVERE vol. 2″, “POPSTAR ASSASSIN”, and “BLACKLANDS” are all in the works as we speak. Exciting times are on the horizon, stay tuned!

 

Thanks Ed for shedding some light on your work!

 

S.G.

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!

S&S_Cover_72

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!

JM

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!

JM

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!

JM