Call for Backers! Artist Elizabeth Leggett Discusses Her Illustrations for DreamForge Magazine, and More!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 | Posted by Emily Mah

BethFP-PPD-16-2002In the second of two interviews supporting DreamForge’s Year Two Kickstarter Campaign I had the privilege of interviewing Hugo Award winning artist, Elizabeth Leggett, who has provided several illustrations for DreamForge.

She has also illustrated for magazines such as Lightspeedand art directed, Women Destroy Fantasy and Queers Destroy Science Fiction. But I’ll let Elizabeth and her gorgeous art speak for themselves.

Emily Mah: You’ve illustrated several stories for DreamForge, that I’m aware of. How many have you done for them and what were the stories?

Elizabeth Leggett: I have been profoundly lucky. DreamForge has found some of the most talented writers and they have let me play in their sandbox through illustration.  The first two pieces I did for them was for Lauren Teffeau’s short story, “Sing! And Remember.”  The first was the cover image and the second was a black and white design.

My next contract was for David Weber’s story, “A Certain Talent.”  This one is close to my heart because I was not only allowed to illustrate the main character, but also conceptualize Jim Moore (Jane Lindskold’s husband) as the power player!  Next, I needed to leave my comfort zone and illustrate Jennifer Donohue’s story, “The Fundamentals of Search and Rescue.”  Good heavens. wreckage sites are a challenge to draw!

My last illustration for last year was for John Jos Miller, “The Ghost of a Smile.”

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Don Maitz

Thursday, May 30th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

R. Bertram Chandler's The Far Traveler

R. Bertram Chandler’s The Far Traveler

C. J. Cherryh's Hestia

C. J. Cherryh’s Hestia

Jeff Rovin's Fantasy Almanac

Jeff Rovin’s Fantasy Almanac

The World Fantasy Awards are presented during the World Fantasy Convention and are selected by a mix of nominations from members of the convention and a panel of judges. The awards were established in 1975 and presented at the 1st World Fantasy Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Traditionally, the awards took the form of a bust of H.P. Lovecraft sculpted by Gahan Wilson, however in recent years the trophy became controversial in light of Lovecraft’s more problematic beliefs. The Best Artist Award has been part of the award since its founding, when it was won by Lee Brown Coye. In 1980, the year Maitz received the award for his work, the convention was held in Baltimore, Maryland. The judges were Stephen R. Donaldson, Frank Belknap Long, andrew j. offutt, Ted White, and Susan Wood.

After graduating from the Paier School of Art in 1975, Don Maitz broke into the field with a black and white illustration for and ad that appeared in Marvel’s Kull and the Barbarians. In 1976, he provided the cover for the Science Fiction Book Club edition of Leigh Brackett’s The Book of Skaith: The Adventures of Eric Stark as well as books by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Lloyd Alexander.

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The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Titan Cover Art, by Paul Lehr

Thursday, January 10th, 2019 | Posted by Steven H Silver

Cover by Paul Lehr

Cover by Paul Lehr

Cover by Paul Lehr

Cover by Paul Lehr

Cover by Paul Lehr

Cover by Paul Lehr

Peter Graham is often quoted as saying that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. I was reminded of this quote last year while reading Jo Walton’s An Informal History of the Hugo Awards (Tor Books) when Rich Horton commented that based on Graham’s statement, for him, the Golden Age of Science Fiction was 1972. It got me thinking about what science fiction (and fantasy) looked like the year I turned twelve and so this year, I’ll be looking at the year 1979 through a lens of the works and people who won science fiction awards in 1980, ostensibly for works that were published in 1979. I’ve also invited Rich to join me on the journey and he’ll be posting articles looking at the 1973 award year.

The Analog Award was launched in 1979 for works published in the magazine in the preceding year. The Best Cover category was added in 1980, so this was the first year the award was presented. The award has been given every year since then with the exception of the year covering works published in the magazine in 2002, when the award was replaced, for one year only, with a cover artist award, when it was won by David A. Hardy, who painted two covers for the magazine (May and December issues).

Paul Lehr painted the cover for the first installment of John Varley’s four-part serial for the novel Titan, which ran from the January to the April issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact.

The artwork from the January 1979 issue of Analog seems to depict the spindle that runs up the center of the torus moon discovered in orbit around Saturn. The tower looks like a mixture of organic parts, wires, and high tech platforms growing out of a small globe and inside a massive dome. The night sky with other moons of Saturn can be seen through windows and a rainbow-like arc stretches behind the tower.

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Art of the Genre: Top 10 ‘Orange Spine’ AD&D Hardcovers by Jeff Easley

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 | Posted by Scott Taylor

Did The Wilderness Survival Guide make the list?

Did The Wilderness Survival Guide make the list?

Now you might be thinking, ‘Top 10, really? How many did he do?

Well, the answer to that is 12. And, considering how iconic each one is, how much they meant to D&D players in the 1980s, and how many folks still use these books 30 years later, it is little wonder that this was a much harder list to trim down than one might think. But, I’m going to give it a shot nonetheless!

So I essentially started with the concept that I’d fold in overall book importance to game play, but then decided against it, instead relying on nostalgia for the cover alone. This would be tempered by the fact that the three most beloved and used books in the AD&D series are the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and the Monster Manual, which were all re-released with different covers in the late 1970s, so a lot of players prefer those versions to the more uniform Easley editions produced in the 80s.

Still, TSR sold a boat load of these books during the initial days of the 80s, so I know Easley’s covers did introduce a good deal of players to the hobby (and likely more in the 2nd Edition cover he also did). My first DMG and PHB were Easley covers, so he was my ‘gateway drug’ so to speak and all his ‘orange spine’ hardcovers still sit proudly behind my desk for easy access since I use them almost daily.

I hope those reading this will remember these books as fondly as I do, and perhaps, want to see another one produced to make it thirteen ‘orange spines’ in total, but I’ll talk about that later. Until then, enjoy this beautiful fantasy art Top 10.

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Art of the Genre: Gunsmith Light Novel Now on Kickstarter

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 | Posted by Scott Taylor

2 CompAotG News!

Art of the Genre lead author Scott Taylor has just created his first science fiction novel to be released on the Kickstarter platform. This is the 8th novel either written or edited by Taylor on the crowdfunding site, and the first since Airship of Fools in August 2014.

Taylor explains,

The concept for the novel was born from the Massively Multi-Player Online games that bloomed into popularity at the turn of the millennia, and expanded upon by works like Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Riki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online. I blend elements of modern day pop culture with aspects of William Gibson’s Neuromancer in the otherworldly setting of ASH. Here, unique player personalities must face the challenges of depression, the concept of second lives conflicting with lives in the real world, and the pressures of an extended ‘deep dive.’

The Gunsmith: Tales of a Time in ASH campaign ends on June 8th, and can be supported on Kickstarter here.

Art of the Genre: 24 Hours Remain on The Hidden Valoria Campaign

Thursday, March 24th, 2016 | Posted by Scott Taylor

bannerArt of the Genre continues to roll out Kickstarter after Kickstarter in their Folio series, this time teaming up with terrain production juggernaut Dwarven Forge to create The Hidden Valoria Campaign.  Dwarven Forge architect Stefan Pokorny opens the doors to his personal gaming world of Mythras so that AotG‘s own wordsmith Scott Taylor can have a run at the world capital of Valoria.  Stefan has always been a big fan of old fantasy pulp fiction, and along with Scott, the two have worked hard to produce a feel within Valoria of Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar, Howard’s Conan, and even some of the mosaic aspects of Asprin’s Sanctuary in Thieves’ World.

Utilizing Dwarven Forge terrain sets, Taylor takes the Folio from a pure tabletop RPG to a miniatures compatible 3D play system.  Dungeons come alive with rubbish-strewn cellars, undead-inhabited crypts, monster-infested wizard towers, and even a gang-run ‘Brawl Club’ (First rule of Brawl Club, don’t talk about Brawl Club).

Boasting old school TSR-like removable module covers, two interior booklets (Gazetteer & Adventure), as well as 2D & 3D mapping, Folio #8 continues in the AotG tradition of gaming in both 1st Edition AD&D as well as the new 5th Edition D&D mechanic.  Currently the project has achieved 6 Stretch Goals that help flesh out the Valorian neighborhood of The Patina Court, with a 7th & 8th Stretch Goal of a mini-adventure and full print production of Folio #9 still within reach.  You can find the campaign and all the details of it here.

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Art of the Genre: Kickstarter Landscape Early 2016

Sunday, March 6th, 2016 | Posted by Scott Taylor

cancelledYou know, as much as I write about Kickstarter, there just always seems to be more to say. Just this week I was reading a blog post by Danny Capaccio entitled ‘The Myth of Kickstarter’ which certainly got my juices flowing to write more on the subject. You see, Danny was writing about his… I’ll use the word ‘concern,’ that Kickstarter isn’t what it’s billed to be. Danny had a Kickstarter campaign that was going to fail (and now has), and although he did manage nearly $10,000 in contributions for his game ‘#Storytags’, it didn’t really sniff the $17,000 he required for the campaign to fund.

Danny’s theory iss that successful Kickstarter companies now dominate the platform and drown out smaller companies and individuals who really need it. Sorry Danny, you are a few years late on this one as I tilted at the windmill with The Pillaging of Kickstarter here on Black Gate in early 2012, four years ago! Granted, Danny extends my rant with the caveat that once a company has success they should get out and run a business like normal, not Kickstart all their future projects.

The primary difference between Danny and I is that I’ve had fourteen successfully run and fulfilled Kickstarter campaigns since 2012, and had two before I even wrote my infamous ‘Pillaging’ article, while Danny’s only attempt has now failed. Still, I’m sure he’s getting the same ‘sour grapes’ jibes I did back in 2012, but nonetheless, I’m no longer convinced that my 2012 argument is sound, while Danny’s 2016 version is closer to the truth, and yet still is a ‘miss’ on the target.

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Art of the Genre: AotG releases The Folio: The Roslof Keep Campaign

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Posted by Scott Taylor

Folio 1-6 once again available in print!

Folio 1-6 once again available in print!

Today marks several large releases for Art of the Genre. The small press has recently restocked its The Folio: Roslof Keep Campaign books and now has them all available at their online store both individually, and in a package containing all 6 issues from 2015.

In a homage to TSR‘s Dungeon Magazine, The Folio combines incredible masterwork covers (featuring the likes of Jeff Dee, Jeff Laubenstein, Daniel Horne, Jim Holloway, Todd Lockwood, and David Martin thus far) that can be fully removed like the classic TSR modules of the 1970s & 1980s, along with detailed 3D maps, ‘Blue’ OSR maps, a fully formed campaign Gazetteer booklet and Dungeon booklet. Named for former TSR artist and art director Jim Roslof contribution to the cover of B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, this first campaign set takes characters from 1st thru 12th level in both 1E AD&D and 5E mechanics. If you’ve ever enjoyed campaigns the likes of Against the Giants, Bloodstone, or The Temple of Elemental Evil, then this is for you!

This series has been run exclusively on Kickstarter to this point so it is with great excitement that AotG now has the ability to offer these to all those who missed it. Copies can be purchased as a single unit or issue by issue, and remember all are in shrink wrap to keep them in mint condition. Interior adventures include: ROS1 Beneath Roslof Keep, ROS2 Tremors in the Machine, ROS3 Curse of the Violet Corruption, ROS4 Glade of the Burning Dead, ROS5 Deep Dive into Flooded Halls, and ROS6 Realms of Madness and Despair. The AotG website also includes digital bonus supplements for the campaign to help flesh out world and parties as they explore Mithelvarn’s Labyrinth and match wits against the Infernal Machine that drives it.

Coupled with the announcement of this release, AotG has also provided an incredible preview of two module trilogies for 2016 that can be pre-ordered with a Folio Subscription. Press releases for these promise the following.

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Art of the Genre: Kickstarter, Why I Hate Stretch Goals and You Should Too

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 | Posted by Scott Taylor

11708033_10154052455508976_1237746949710068474_oOver the past three years I’ve written a lot about Kickstarter. In fact, I went back and looked at the Art of the Genre archives and found a rather impressive eight articles dedicated to the subject:

The Art of Kickstarter,
The Art of Kickstarter #2
The Pillaging Of Kickstarter
Why and How I Build a Kickstarter
The Pillaging of Kickstarter #2
Front Loading a Kickstarter
The Joy and Pain of Kickstarter (and how backed projects still fail)
Kickstater, It Really Shouldn’t Be About the Stuff We All Get

In those you can find all kinds of advice, statistics, opinions, and introspection, (or as my non-fans like to say, my sour grapes). But if I’ve learned anything over the course of my time on the platform, it is that it is constantly changing.

Sure, there are some static rules, but even those have some latitude if a developer happens to get lucky. And let me tell you, there is a lot of luck involved out there, as well as blind devotion.

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Art of the Genre: Bill Willingham Loved the Ladies, Even if TSR Wouldn’t Always Let Him Show Them…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 | Posted by Scott Taylor

Check out the lady below Elric in this Willingham done for White Plume Mountain.  Bet you didn't realize it was cropped, did you?

Check out the lady below Elric in this Willingham done for White Plume Mountain. Bet you didn’t realize it was cropped, did you?

Former TSR Artist and now comic writer sensation [Fables] Bill Willingham wanted to be Frank Frazetta, or so I surmise. I’ve always been a fan of his work, dating back to those early days in the RPG field when he was a member of ‘The First Four’ at TSR.

Along with Jim Roslof, Jeff Dee, and Erol Otus, Bill managed to produce some absolutely lovely interior illustrations and acrylic covers for the first sets of D&D modules, once the business took off and TSR could afford color. His tenure there, which ended with a blow up concerning the termination of artists that removed both he and Dee from the company, ended up being the best thing for him as he went on to relative fame and fortune in comics, a place that his talent certainly spawned from.

I sat with Bill at a seaside café back on 2009 when ComicCon was still a monster, but not the headache it is today and we discussed his work in the field. Nothing too in-depth, and sadly he was unable to add his art to my Art Evolution project because it had been too many years since he’d done that kind of work. Still, he looked over all the other artists who had donated work and was most pleasantly surprised to see his old friend Jeff Dee in there. Obviously Dee was ‘the kid’ during his time in the burgeoning TSR ‘pit’, and at 19 there was no doubt that was the case, but Bill seemed to have a twinkle in his eye for Dee’s version of Lyssa in the project, and I was at least happy to somehow connect the two again, if even for a just a nostalgic moment.

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