Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
The Last DaySaturday was very busy. I started early and ended late. I played "Tower of Gygax" with a few young fellas at the table. They may have been somewhere between 10 and 12, but their over excitement at the table was good to see. I didn't care that the Druid tried to pick some pockets or the bumbling around. We were all smiling, and their enthusiasm is something I hope will last as long as mine has.
I had a Chance to steal Diesel "DSL", Dave LaForce for an hour or so and talk about digital art, the Wacom, Photoshop and how I work. soo... no pressure.
SundayI grabbed a game of Gigantic with Chris Clark. An outrageously fun game that I NEED to get a copy of, where you play classic character types on a sinking legendary cruise ship.
We got to talk a little "business" afterward about Eldritch enterprises and how they work with artists. Next week I will have the contract signed, and you can say hello to the newest member of the art team of Eldritch. I am not sure if everyone is aware of who is involved with Eldritch, but it is a core group of Dungeons and Dragons old guard members. There isn't a ton of money involved, but I can do whatever I like with the images I give them and this has nothing to do with money for me. They have found a contract that is smart and gives everyone maximum creativity.
What does that all mean?
That means, cross a life long dream off my list.
The over -allI met a bunch of the Gygax family, a bunch of the originators of RPG's, a bunch of artists, game designers, players, young and old. I didn't come across a single person I didn't like. I TRULY wish I had come with a few hundred bucks to blow. When I realized Elise Cousino (Gygax) (Every D&D old school player's dream girl ;)) was auctioning off her chainmail top that really is a piece of D&D history, I realized a fella should come to the auction with a full bank account. There were some other UBER collectible pieces in the auction that all the family and friends had donated to help Ernie recover from a fire. I hope they made a mint for him.
No one charges for signatures, and everyone came in honor of Gary Gygax Sr. "A Life Well Played"
I would especially like to thank Luke Gygax for letting me illustrate the module for the convention he wrote with Jim Ward and REALLY opening the door for me to get my feet wet and get everyone's attention right off the bat. I look forward to many more projects with him and TSR whenever they pop up for me.
I would also like to thank everyone who looked at my portfolio, talked with me, and gave their thoughts. Lastly, everyone who rolled dice with me and sat at the gaming tables.
This was truly a trip to remember and one I will never forget. It may have strained the purse strings this year, but was worth every cent, every moment.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Another Exciting Day
I packed up and headed to the table. Frank was there, and I said, " I'm the first one?"
My computer was still on Eastern time and I was an hour early.
A lucky hour it was. Frank took the time to tell me, "You have been all over the place at this con, talking to all the artists, showing everyone your work, networking with all the right people and being seen everywhere. You are doing everything exactly as you should be if you want to get noticed in this business."
Forgive me Frank, I may be paraphrasing your words to me in that quote. He followed it up by offering encouraging words to keep it up and telling me,"I think you have what it takes!"
I guess that last part will be the part I remember the most.
So the rest of the group showed up eventually and we went into gaming. Frank's module was one that mimicked almost exactly the Salem witch trials, complete with New England style "directions" to get to someones house. It was a heavy in roleplay game. We were attacked early on by some wild barbaric dwarves and after capturing a few, my LN priest had some struggles with just killing them off, and made extra efforts to treat with them.
He was kind enough to sign it, and my old beat-up over used book of Marvelous Magic. I had him personalize it to me. While this makes it not so valuable to a collector, it makes it invaluable to me!
More Good stuff!
I was looking through Jeff Easley's artwork, and was telling him what an admirer I have always been. I told him my budget was very tight this year, but I wanted some of his pen and ink work, but I would have to wait for next year. I asked him what sort of price range he needed for some of the work, and he thought he could let go of some for $20!! I couldn't believe my ears, ran to the ATM and told him I had $40, and wanted him to choose what he would let me have for that. He flipped through and was unsure about the $40 mark, but he said anything here or here, pointing to some of his work... I said,"What about that beholder, I really like it."
"Oh, that's a comp I did for a possible poster layout, I would take $20 for that, so he was very kind and I left with two original Easley works that I REALLY like!!
A Chris Clark momentEarlier in the Con I had met Chris Clark, and got to show him my portfolio. If you don't recognize these names, don't feel too bad, but google around a little and you will find these "Old Guard" names related to Dungeons and Dragons.
Well, I apparently got more of his attention when I got to sit at his gaming table and was drawing a picture of my half orc cleric, "I need your card!" he said and I knew we would be talking soon enough about artwork going into the Eldritch Modules.
I left him a picture I doodled of his carnivorous chipmunk so he wouldn't forget.
Ode to Gary
Whew!!! and this is only day 2! the busy day will be tomorrow!!
I have no idea how I will pay my mortgage this month, but this trip has been worth while every step of the way!
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Getting Started at Gary ConEverything was going smooth to start my trip off. I woke up early, double checked my bags, had a nice bagel and a couple cups of coffee and was running through my head everything I had to do to make my trip from Maine to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the birthplace of Dungeons and Dragons and RPG's in general.
I got to the airport and my flight was delayed before I even got on the plane. So for 3 and a half hours I opened up my laptop and did some final tweaks on Luke Gygax's flyers for his module which I had illustrated the interior and cartography.
My life is on my laptop, my art, and everything I planned on doing. Imagine my terror when the stewardess told me they would have to check my carry on, My laptop and all, to the underside of the plane on this small plane. I had images of brute tossing my precious cargo like gorillas on a samsonite commercial.
My connection in Detroit began boarding at 7:10 and we got to the gate at 7:13. I am not sure if I can emphasize how far Detroits' gate A49 is from gate C26, but suffice it to say that my hurried state from one to another was something remarkable. Somehow, I made it as they were boarding. Onboard, everyone seemed to have puts big bags where they didn't belong, and there was no room for my precious cargo again... and it was officially "checked". OHHH the panic as I let go of my life, portfolio, and art to someone elses hands.
In Milwaukee, everything survived!! From this point on - everything would be smooth!
Until the rental car company decided they neeeded to put and extra $200 hold on my credit card. No idea how I didn't hear about this.
At Lake Geneva ResortI came into the resort and immediately recognized my roommate Jeremy and shook his hand. Then he thought it would be funny to flip his badge over and say, "Hi, I'm Steve.." The exhaustion of travel sent me spinning and saying, "Ok... Hi Steve..."
Before I even checked in, ten minutes through the door Frank Mentzer was flipping through my portfolio and commenting on the pieces he liked, and how he liked to know that digital artists could also work in traditional media, Colleen was right! We talked about OGL and copyright info for module printing and I immediately was struck by how good this weekend would be. Frank is a very charismatic articulate speaker and was freely sharing his experience. HE took a card and I am pretty sure that somewhere between himself and Jim Ward we will be talking about maybe getting some work in some Eldritch modules.
The lodge was warm and inviting, the staff friendly and there was plenty to do. I WAS STARVING!! that bagel at 8:00 AM was a long time a go.
A run to Burger king and we were in action again. We grabbed a board game of "Ticket to Ride" and a drink and had a late night. Jeremy and I sat up talking about the Con, the games and what we would do.
I checked my schedule and saw I had an Old school D&D game with Tim Kask in the morning at 10:00. The first old school TSR employee, if I recall correctly, and legendary editor and DM.
Tim Kask (Behind the screen)Tim worked his way through the module with the group. His first game of Gary Con V. I felt my character was dominating the social situation, and along toward the wrap up time, my character made a slightly rash decision and charged into a giant lizard (That may have been wounded) instead of fleeing.
This started the trend, and Tim enacted a coupe de gras and finished up the game a TPK (Total Party Kill) It was a good game, lots of fun, and The Curse of the Weaver is a great module.
Some Chinese take out and a nap was in order... and there we are.
The portfolio and artwork has all been well received, Luke bought me a drink and chatted a while this evening and SO many good things are happening. I really feel my work has a place in all this somewhere, and it's coming together. Not to mention the fun!
Tomorrow morning I sit in on Frank Mentzers D&D adventure, notes and photos will happen.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
When Raptors FlyThere always seems to be a shortage of time when it comes to preparing for a trip or some such thing, but I have really made an effort to keep focused on what I love to do.
So when I get home at night from working on a computer all day, it is sometimes a little difficult to turn the computer back on, and paint. but, it's paint time, not work time.
A little ginger tea and the old Wacom get warmed up and I have to remind myself to get some sleep.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Chronicles of an AdventureTomorrow, I will roll my D20 in memory of E Gary Gygax Sr. Who's XP exceeded the level limit on March 4th 2008.
I will be attending Gary Con in Lake Geneva Wi. from March 13th to March 18th, a gaming convention put together by his friends and family in memory of the fella that changed the way we roll dice and tell stories.
So book mark this page, as I intend on TRYING to get to the blog to update with photos, events, and "whatever happens" as it all progresses day by day!