Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Role Playing Illustration---Base Raiders and Red Markets

So for long time readers of this blog (Hi mom!) you will recall that back in late 2015 I was working on a feature film called "The Weight". The wheels of progress on films when not funded with Marvel money is usually pretty slow, so two years out and The Weight is in the festival circuit, not quite ready for wide release. Which is too bad, because it means Ive not got to watch it yet. It should be amazing, as everyone I was fortunate to work with on the film was amazing. The lead actor, Clayne Crawford, is currently tearing it up as Martin Riggs on the Lethal Weapon tv series, which is one of few shows Rachel and I try to keep up with. He was an incredible guy and deserves all of the great press the show is getting currently.

Anywho, as head of the Art Department, I had two guys who had to put up with my demands and thereby made my life a ton easier. Ross Payton was one. He is a big timer in the world of role playing games, running Ennie award winning podcast, Role Playing Public Radio.

Now, I had very little knowledge of role playing games outside of the osmosis a nerd has while interacting in our varied world of nerdality. I know I sat and watched a couple slow hours of a Vampire: The Masquerade game where a pack of werewolves were shaken off the sides of a van (I think). Ive filled out about three character sheets for D&D games that never progressed beyond the character sheet stage. And I wanted to create art for the games....which is good, because that's generally kind of an entry level illustrator gig these days and despite working as various forms of 'artist' for 15 years I am definitely still an entry level illustrator.

So between shots and during the long drive too and from set, Ross filled me in a little about what he did and I mentioned wanting to do some art. He was kind and commissioned me draw the cover to his newest expansion to a RPG he created, Base Raiders. Its rough, but I like it.

In retrospect I would have dropped the background character a little darker so she didnt fight for as much attention as the foreground characters. It was meant to impart a feeling overwhelming action, and its busy enough that it definitely does that.

Ross ended up having me on Role Playing Public Radio as a guest to speak about the film industry, gaming and gaming ideas within the bureaucracy of the entertainment industry. But, the bigger thing that I have to thank him for is introducing me to a friend of his who was putting together a group of artists. Caleb Stokes had invested something along the lines of four or five years of his life into an incredibly detailed and intriguing role playing game entitled Red Markets. To borrow from the Red Markets incredibly successful Kickstarter page:

 Red Markets is a tabletop RPG about economic horror.

In Red Markets, characters risk their lives trading between the massive quarantine zones containing a zombie outbreak and the remains of civilization. They are Takers: mercenary entrepreneurs unwilling to accept their abandonment. Bound together into competing crews, each seeks to profit from mankind’s near-extinction before it claims them. They must hustle, scheme, and scam as hard as they fight if they hope to survive the competing factions and undead hordes the GM throws at them.

Takers that are quick, clever, or brutal enough might live to see retirement in a safe zone, but many discover too late that the cycle of poverty proves harder to escape than the hordes of undead.

Red Markets uses the traditional zombie genre to tell a story about surviving on the wrong end of the economy. It’s cut-throat capitalism with its knife on your neck.

I ended up creating more than a dozen pieces of art for the massive tome that arrived a month or so ago. It doubles as gym equipment while doing bicep curls. Its huge. The amount of work that went into this game is humbling. And the detail...I cannot even fanthom the thought that was put into all of this. But it seems like it was worth every period and bullet point, because it seems to be going over incredibly well among the role playing set. Ive seen post after post of people taking photos of their setups and reporting that the Blight has hit different parts of the world. Its humbling to be a part of something someone enjoys so much. It feels different than most of my film work. I dont know. Somehow more personal. More of my fingerprint showing even if the concept isnt mine.

Over the next few weeks Ill be posting up my contributions to the game. Please, enjoy, comment and contact me if you are looking for an illustrator. 😀😀😀
 If you are into role playing, I highly recommend you purchase a copy of the book and immerse yourself.