Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dnd, Art, Design: Dwarven Rune Font

Remember the Binary Runes I was working on for one of my Nevermet Press submissions? I used fontcapture.com to turn it into a TrueType file.

The resolution in the final product was not quite as precise as I'd hoped, so I had to remove the binary aspect from the upright portion of the characters, as it came out rather 'blobby.' Still, I think it works rather nicely without it:

Just download it and drop it into your Windows/Fonts folder (Mac OS X: Double-click on the downloaded font file, then click Install Font.)

Dwarven Runes Font (14.34 KB, Mediafire)

This font is 100% free and my Christmas gift to you. I just ask that you give credit where it's due - of course, any and all donations will be greatly appreciated and go towards producing more and better material.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Art: DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics Review

My art library is relatively small, but steadily growing. I have found that the books I end up with tend to fall into one of two categories: inspirational and instructional.

The inspirational books are primarily collections of art work, though some 'how to' books will fall under this category if I'm kinda into the art, but don't really get anything new or worthwhile from the text. Usually, I'll look through them, taking a mental inventory of what kind of art is to be found, and set them aside until I need a specific type of inspiration. They cover a variety of artistic styles and subject matter, and are themselves subjective to the kind of inspiration they provide.

Lately, though, what I've tried to focus on getting are books of a more technical or instructional nature - titles such as: Scott McCloud's Making Comics, James Gurney's Imaginative Realism, Vol. 1 of the Best of Wizard's How to Draw series, and pretty much anything by Andrew Loomis.
These books go in depth with the processes and methodology of artists I respect and admire. I am happy to add to this list The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics, by Freddie Williams II.

I should make clear, though, that it's not Mr. Williams' style I am such a fan of - despite his obvious ability and DC's stamp of approval. What intrigues me most about his work is his process, and that is the main focus of this book. FWII (if I may be so bold . . . and lazy) does his work entirely in Photoshop.

His process basically breaks down into the following steps:
  1. Load the script for a page and make very rough gestureal sketches for each panel beside the descriptions.
  2. Move/resize the roughs into panels and develop them further on a new layer.
  3. Make thin 'wireframe' inks for each panel - sans any sort of lighting or texture. Strictly structural and provides a groundwork for inking.
  4. Make outlines (contours) of the foreground elements in each panel.
  5. Turn the contours into "cardboard cutouts" that can be repositioned as needed, but block background elements.
  6. Ink and drop in black areas.
FWII (I'm going to make this a 'thing') also provides instruction on how to break out of the process at a couple of points for artists who prefer to do tasks such as penciling or inking the old fashioned way.

Another section I found fascinating (simply because I'd never thought of it before) was on making paths of complex background elements, such as building facades and chest emblems, which could then be stored, reused, and distorted to meet the artists' needs. FWII also makes use of Google Sketchup to build entire cityscapes for his scenes. Since I like playing around with Sketchup, I found this to be a pretty cool idea.

On the downside, if you are at all familiar with Photoshop, at least one or two chapters of the book will be going over the same information about the program that this topic always seems obligated to address. Also, there was some background information about the author and the evolution of his process that was mildly interesting, but certainly not what I was after when I decided to get the book.

Overall, I am very happy I got this book, having devoured it in its entirety in less than half the time it took for my laptop to upgrade Windows 7. I would recommend it to anyone interested in producing comic-style artwork and looking to make at least some part of the process digital.

One last tidbit: I have read, to some extent or other, all of the "DC Comics Guide to" series, and this is the first one I felt compelled to buy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

DnD, Art: Portrait of a Villain - The Desire; On Sale Now!

I am happy to announce that Nevermet Press - the online collaborative group I have been working with for several months now - has released it's first collection of articles in its Portrait of a Villain Series!

In this eBook, you will find the complete back story to Desiree Turpis, also known as The Desire, a calculating Madame who manipulates local nobles and crime lords to serve her own needs.

It is fully-compatible with 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Along with The Desire's own back story, adventure hooks, goals and motivations, you will also find:

  • Three fully developed, drop-in encounters featuring The Desire
  • Four new organizations to help create a rich campaign setting, complete with stats for each organization's leader and minions
  • The Objects of Desire; a collection of new magical masks for 4E
  • The Sword Sisters; a new 4E Paragon Path for PCs bent on revenge
  • Highcourt, City on the Edge; a fully developed microsetting to help get things started (includes full color map)
  • The Ceremony, a short story where The Desire assassinates a local noble.

All this and dozens of high quality illustrations and maps, over 30 new allies and enemies all for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Nevermet Press eBooks offer the following added features:

  1. TWO PDFs in each purchase. The main PDF is brilliant full color landscape, 3-column layout for EASY screen reading. The second PDF is a FREE B&W printer friendly version that includes a portrait 2-column layout, reduced graphics, and wider left margin. The result is a PDF that is easy on your ink/toner and ready to hole punched for your notebook.
  2. Interlinked PDFs with bookmarks and links to www.nevermetpress.com
  3. Full color, beautiful illustrations and maps.
Get it here!

To mark the occasion, here are a couple of illustrations I contributed to the project, in addition to some written content, two encounter maps, and the Highcourt Map featured on this blog a couple of posts back:

Friday, December 4, 2009

DnD: Call for Submissions - Open Game Table II

Howdy! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving- or ideologically equivalent - holiday. I've been ridiculously busy with projects that (hopefully) I'll get to post more about soon. Until then, I have an announcement for all the DnD/RPG readers:

Jonathan Jacobs, mastermind behind The Core Mechanic and one of the founders of Nevermet Press has announced the second volume of the popular Open Game Table for a Summer 2010 release. It will be released simultaneously as an eBook and with retail print distribution via Studio 2 Publishing.

As was done for Volume 1 - the creation of the manuscript is preceeded by two important steps:
1) the assembly of an independent peer review panel (bloggers, game designers, developers, artists, fans all welcome)
2) the recieving of blog post nominations.

The application period for being a peer reviewers closes December 31st, 2009. These individuals will be responsible for reading the entries (not all of them, word count will be spread around) and interacting with Jonathan during the final decision making process. If chosen, your names will be withheld until publication of the book. If you are interested, follow the link for more information and to submit your information:

The submission deadline for nominations of blog posts closes January 15th, 2010. The submission process has been streamlined so that all you need to submit is a valid URL. Up to 5 submissions per form can be accommodated; but there's no limit to how many forms you can send in. The nomination form, and more information, can be found here:

I thinking of submitting some stuff, myself - maybe I'll see your stuff there, too!