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ANNOUNCEMENTS Join Outland's Street Team, The Outlanders! Get sneak peeks at new releases, including fiction, games, and comics! Receive exclusive content, and be eligible to receive advance review copies of upcoming releases! If you like to help spread the word about...

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX Releases in October!

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX by Ian Stuart Sharpe Coming in October! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the...

HATH NO FURY Has Hit the Shelves and E-Readers!

Mother. Warrior. Caregiver. Wife. Lover. Survivor. Trickster. Heroine. Leader.   This anthology features 21 stories and six essays about women who defy genre stereotypes. Here, it’s not the hero who acts while the heroine waits to be rescued; Hath No Fury’s women are...

Announcement: VIKINGVERSE COVER ILLUSTRATION RELEASED!

ANNOUNCEMENT Official summary of ALL FATHER PARADOX along with color cover illustration! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard,...

Announcement: New Comic Coming from Outland Entertainment!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Announcing Riddle of the Loremaster, an all new original comic series written by Melanie R. Meadors, with art by Nicolás Giacondino! Here is a sneak peek at some of the promo art: Riddle of the Loremaster is a comic for mature readers set in a fantasy...

Women in Dark Fantasy Have Changed by Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered,...

Alethea Kontis on Imposter Syndrome

Earlier this year, I met the only student Katy Kellgren ever had. He told me he just about had to bully her into being his teacher. This amazing, multiple award-winning voice actress with hundreds of audiobooks under her belt truly didn’t believe she knew anything...

Announcements: HATH NO FURY Has Arrived in the US!

Backers of the paperback and hardcover editions of Hath No Fury will be happy to learn that the books have arrived at the printer's headquarters in Chicago! Now, they just need to be sent to our head honcho Jeremy Mohler, and then they will be sent out to backers...

Fairies with Dark Faces by I.L. Cruz

I like fairies—not a difficult admission for a fantasy writer—and I don’t mean the safe Victorian ones with gossamer wings that spread sparkles when they walk. I mean the ones that steal little children and make Faustian bargains. They were ancient and magnificent and...

Announcement: Launching New Transmedia World, VIKINGVERSE

Announcements Introducing the beginning of a new transmedia project with fiction, comics, and games in development! VIKINGVERSE From a concept created by Ian Sharpe, Vikingverse is going to launch this fall with a novel called All Father Paradox. Here is the line art...
Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics

Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics

Press Release: Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUMMARY: Outland Entertainment launches its own line of webcomics with five titles.

TOPEKA, KANSAS, FEBRUARY 24, 2015 — Outland Entertainment is proud to announce the launch of its new line of webcomics. The comics will update at least one page per week in black and white on their websites.

“I’ve felt for a long time that webcomics are the new frontier of comics and sequential storytelling and I’m extremely excited about the line of works we’ve developed”, says Outland Entertainment’s Jeremy Mohler.

Ithaca [created and written by Emily Hall, illustrated by Dean Kotz and Jeremy Mohler] and Mars2577 [created and written by Gabe Schmidt, illustrated by Nicolas Giacondino]  are available as of today, while other projects will be launched during the following weeks:

Remnants [created, written and illustrated by Alec Morgan]  March 2nd;
Nightfell [created and written by Jeremiah Tolbert, illustrated by Nicolas Giacondino and Jeremy Mohler]March 9th;
N0.1R [created by Nicolas Giacondino and Scott Colby. writen by Scott Colby & illustrated by Nicolas Giacondino]March 23rd.

Ithaca is an homage to the Midwest. There’s no better way to discover the strange beauty of a place than to go on a journey through it. Artist Dean Kotz perfectly captured the gritty, moody atmosphere I was going for”, says Emily Hall, creator of the modern, Tarantino-inspired retelling of The Odyssey, Ithaca.

Remnants is a project very near and dear to me. It’s the first story I ever wrote myself and the first comic I produced entirely on my own (with a little help with the lettering from Owen Staley). I hope other people will enjoy reading this first issue as much as I did producing it! (Hopefully it won’t take them as long!)”, Alec Morgan tells us .

“For Nightfell, we began with a basic premise: what if the undead were the good guys? With that simple question, the world of Nightfell was born — and there, nothing is quite what it seems at first. The artwork on the page may be black and white, but the moral tones of Nightfell’s characters are more varied than that,” states Nightfell creator, Jeremiah Tolbert, a story that challenges the preconceived meanings of light versus darkness.

Gabe Schmidt mentions, As someone who has been a fan of webcomics for years and graphic novels for far longer, I am excited at this opportunity to be involved in the melding of the two.”

And Scott Colby addsN0.1R is an old school whodunnit starring a cast of really cool robots. Artist Nic Giacondino does an amazing job bringing both the characters and the setting to life.”

For more details, visit outlandentertainment.com or the individual pages of each webcomic [linked above].

Professional Practice: Not Doing Free Work

Professional Practice: Not Doing Free Work

This is a loaded question in the comics and game community (and while I’m speaking directly to that community, I feel that this applies across the board to ALL creative endeavors).

With the rise of the internet, there is absolutely no shortage of artists looking for work. There is also no shortage of people wanting to have work done for free. And as a young artist, sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out just what the best course of action is as you build your portfolio and reputation. It’s also easier to take chances when you are younger and fall into traps because you just don’t have the experience to know what kind of mess you might be getting into.

There are several situations you may find yourself in –

  • Somebody approaches you to work on the project for a royalty. This is typically called spec work and no matter what the person approaching you might say, there is no guarantee of payout. Please be wary of dropping weeks and months into a project with no guarantee of payout.
  • The other situation you may find yourself in is the case of free samples. Again, this is often considered a test to potentially get a project. I’m here to tell you – any decent art director can take one look at your portfolio and know whether or not you’ll fit the project. Plus, you may sink days or even a week into working on these free samples and still not get the job. Samples are fine, but getting some sort of payment for them is reasonable.
  • Finally, watch out for contests from big companies. Often, a large, well established company will run a contest for a poster, design, or anything, really. Please read the fine print – often-times there is just one reward and the company running the contest will own rights to every contest entry. This is simply an easy way for them to generate new ideas cheaply.

I personally feel that any payment, even a low payment, is better than no payment. There is almost always room for some sort of negotiation. And it’s not good for the industry for artists to take on free work as it devalues the work across the entire industry. More personally, it’s also not good for you, as I’m pretty sure you are still going to have to pay your bills on time, whether or you are paid or not.

Now, there is almost always an exception to the rule, so when you find yourself in this situation, and you will (every professional I know has been in this position), you need to ask yourself several questions –

  • Who am I working with? Is this somebody I know of? Do they have a reputation in the industry?
  • What is the product I’m working on? Is it well known? Does it have a following?
  • If the person approaching you cares so much about this project, why aren’t they willing to put their own money into it?

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where the lines aren’t so clear. It’s easy to turn down a project from a complete stranger. But if it’s a peer or colleague, or even somebody who has some pull in the industry, it may be worth taking a chance. The same can be said for established properties. If it’s an established brand with a large following, it might be worth taking a chance.

To give you several examples –

  • I took on a coloring project for a graphic novel a couple years ago. It was for a well established property with millions of novels sold and a feature film in production (which, incidentally, flopped). I researched it before hand to find all of this out and to educate myself on whether it was a smart business decision or not – from all indications, it seemed like a sure thing! I colored over a hundred pages of artwork over the course of a year and at the last minute, the owner of the property decided to change the terms of the contract, and I’ve never seen a dime. This is a cautionary tale – even with research and a well-established property, taking on spec work is still a gamble.
  • Several years ago I met an industry veteran, Bo Hampton. I’d grown up reading his books and I have always been a fan of his work. We started talking, exchanged some emails, and eventually, he had a really awesome project come together called 3 Devils. It’s a supernatural western with zombies, werewolves, and gypsies and he invited me to work on it with him. For me, since Bo was somebody I’d grown up admiring and reading, I jumped at the chance to work with him. We’ll be publishing the series through IDW later this year. In this case, the royalty didn’t matter as much to me as the opportunity to work with an artist I admired.

You have to judge each project on a per case basis, just keep in mind – nothing is a sure thing.

JM

 

 

Press Release: Outland Entertainment Stock Art to Release First Collection

Press Release: Outland Entertainment Stock Art to Release First Collection

Press Release: First set of collected images from ongoing Outland Entertainment, LLC Stock Art Collections to be released by Thanksgiving 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUMMARY: Outland Entertainment, LLC to make available for general purchase their first set of collected images from their ongoing stock art releases.

TOPEKA, KS, NOVEMBER 24, 2014 — Outland Entertainment, LLC. a digital publisher, producer an purveyor of fine artwork and fiction, is pleased to announce the first collection from their initial line of Fantasy Stock Art. Featuring illustrations from Jeremy Mohler‘s 2003 Portfolio of Creatures, this collection of six images includes five previously released inked illustrations:

Available starting this Thanksgiving, the collection also includes an exclusive illustration that will not be available for individual purchase.

Each entry in Outland Entertainment’s collected releases will provide artwork from a single artist, to assist publishers in creating products that using quality artwork, benefit from a coherent visual presence.

Outland Entertainment’s Stock Art is available for personal or commercial projects and can be purchased at DrivethruRPG. For more information visit outlandentertainment.com.

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 –

S&S_Cover_72_Colors_02

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!

JM

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 Forbeck.com and outlandentertainment.com.

Artist Interview – Jeremy Mohler

Artist Interview – Jeremy Mohler

Experienced illustrator and colorist, Jeremy Mohler founded Outland Entertainment in 2008. He has been project manager at the Platinum Studios, colored for Marvel Comics, and art directed numerous projects, including an exhibit for the History Colorado Museum. He’s phenomenal at drawing personality into his characters and creating epic settings.

When did you begin to show your artistic capabilities?

It’s hard to remember just when I started drawing.  I have some fuzzy memories of sitting at my grandmother’s table with my cousins drawing, but nothing really came into focus until I got to junior high and was introduced to comic books while in the Boy Scouts.  From that point forward, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do.

What’s your favorite childhood moment related to comics or drawing?

This isn’t exactly a childhood memory, but getting a chance to visit the Frank Frazetta museum out in Pennsylvania while I was attending the Joe Kubert School is definitely a favorite memory.  Frank has always been a huge inspiration and influence on me.  I came this close to meeting Frank – we just missed him that day.  But still, seeing his paintings up close was amazing.

Growing up, did you read a lot of comics or were there other activities that you preferred?

I started reading comics when I was 13 or 14 and have pretty much read comics ever since.  Before that I was a voracious reader and remain that way to this day.

What about beloved artists? Any childhood idols?

As I mentioned previous, Frank Frazetta was a big influence.  Larry Elmore, Barry Windsor-Smith, Moebius, Charles Vess, John Cassaday, Brom – all are favorites.  There are a lot of artists I love and adore, but these popped to mind first.

I actually had the good luck to get a great portfolio review from Charles Vess and John Cassaday.  Both of which were very kind and gracious.  I received 3rd in show at Gen Con some years back that Larry Elmore judged.  So I’ve had the good fortune to meet a few of the artists I grew up admiring.

Did you always want to work on this creative field?

Absolutely.  It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and I freely admit, it’s not always been easy.  There have been times it’s really caused a lot of problems, but there’s nothing else I’ve ever wanted to do.

You’ve worked in mainstream comics as well as indie projects. Which of these lines of work do you prefer?

There are certainly advantages to both.  And if the stars align and a cool project comes along that is mainstream, I probably won’t turn it down.  With that said, however, I’ve always wanted to create and own my own projects.  This is a big part of why we’ve been pushing Outland toward publishing.

Why?

It is sometimes tiring to always be creating artwork for other people to realize their vision.  And don’t get me wrong – one of the great joys of this business is working with other creative people and I really love that aspect.  But I also want to have projects and stories that I feel passionately about out there – material that I had creative control to bring to life and leave my touch on.

What made co-found your own company, Outland Entertainment?

Let’s be honest – I’m not the fastest artist out there.  I found myself, at one point, in a position where I had multiple projects coming in that I found really interesting and I wanted to work on all of them.  I’d managed to build some relationships with some really great artists as well and it occurred to me that I might be able connect those artists with some of these projects and help manage them – that way I can be involved without being spread too thin.

Has Outland Entertainment grown at the same pace as you artistically speaking?

I think so.  A lot of the projects that Outland acquires come to us based on my reputation and my artwork.  So I think it has.

What’s the best thing of having your own company?

I love working with all the different creative – the artists, writers, designers, and everything in-between.  Helping coordinate these different projects and chasing down new ones is a lot of fun.  And I love it when a project comes together.

Going back to your own work: illustrating, coloring, drawing,… Do you have a favorite?

It varies a lot.  I like each aspect – sometimes it’s a lot of fun to color the work of other artists.  Something about that collaboration can be thrilling.  I also like drawing too – especially when it all comes together and the piece turns out good.

And projects? Is there one that stands out from the countless amount of work you’ve been involved with?

Probably the Old Bent’s Fort project for the History Colorado Museum.  I spent a year working on that project and I think it not only turned out great, but I’m immensely proud of the work.

Why is that one different?

It might have something to do with the museum.  I’m a huge fan of historical material and it was so exciting to be able to go to the museum and see, literally, life-size blow up’s of the characters I drew staring back at me.  And to think that so many people have been through the museum and learned something about Old Bent’s Fort from the work we created is really cool.

From making the pencil sketch to applying the last smear of color what is your process?

No big surprises here!  It begins with several layouts/sketches.  These vary – sometimes it only takes one try to nail a composition, other times it takes ten.

It’s at this point I usually start looking for any reference material or images to take inspiration from.

Once the composition is sorted out in the thumbnail, then comes the drawing.  This is the slog and admittedly, I’m not always the biggest fan of this part of the process.  For me, it’s always more about the end product than the process and if I could skip the process, I would, haha.

After the drawing is complete (many hours later, and in some cases, weeks), I scan the image, clean it up in Photoshop.  The image usually goes out to a flatter first – somebody to separate all the shapes in the image in color.  Once I get the flats back, it’s a matter of figuring out the color scheme and lighting.

Do you follow a painfully strict plan or is it a more of organic process?

What I outlined above is pretty much the plan.  Each step itself can be more organic though – I don’t approach color the same way every time, though the end result may look similar.

So… can you tell us what project(s) are you most looking forward in the short run?

I’m definitely looking forward to illustrating Shotguns & Sorcery.  This is going to be one of the biggest projects of my life.  I plan to fully illustrate the book myself and I want to go the extra mile and pull out all the stops to make this the most lavishly illustrated book I possibly can.  I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and dive into it all!

Thanks Jeremy for sharing a little bit of your creative world with us!

My pleasure!  Thank you Susana!

 

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

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!

JM

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!

Thanks!

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