Thursday, 24 December 2009

No Dice All the Way!

Merry Christmas to you all!
I Just thought I would send you a small present - 3 more finished illustrations for you, now Random Encounters has finally been completed. It has been a long slog for all the team - what started as a simple adventure supplement grew somewhat. I even managed to pen my own adventure "Empire Finest" along the way, which proved a little challenging! Personally, I really am proud of this one. Artistically speaking, this is close to approaching what I want No dice to be (I am my worst critic!) and sets me up nicely for Levercastle our next project. I assure you, that is going to be special, both in Leo`s fantastic setting, and the illustrations. Till then, I wish you all a great Xmas and best wished for 2010, the official Year of the Puck!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

For Hosts Eyes Only....

Ok, so right now, I am furiously finishing off the illustrations for Random Encounters, I thought I would show you my favourite three so far. A warning though - these illustrations may well spoil your enjoyment of the adventurers, so if you are planning to play, rather than host, dont scroll down. You have been warned....

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Zombie Hoff Lives!

Hi all,
well short and sweet this time round. Heres the cover for the new No Dice book Random Encounters Volume 1, our adventure anthology. The cover image is taken from one of the adventures - Con of the Dead, featuring a whole host of tv actors turned zombies. Obviously, the Hoff would be there. Whats better than the Hoff? A Zombie Hoff!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Roughing it

Well it has been a little while since my last Blog, but the past couple of months have been crazy. I have just got back from my yearly stint teaching Character Design in Kent, which i always enjoy, although it can be pretty hectic. I just finished off an illustration for a horror anthology, and i am frantically trying to finish Random Encounters Volume 1, the No Dice adventure supplement. Fortunately, Leo realized my impossible work load and we have revised our plans somewhat for the no dice schedule. It means I can at least get some sleep and not have to give up gaming time, which is why we are doing all this in the first place. So I though i would show you some of my sketches for the up coming book, since they are all drawn up and ready to be inked.
Before that though, heres the cover I worked on recently:

And here are some of the sketches:

I shall be working on the cover couple of weeks so i will post it when its done

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Back to No Dice

Hi All,
well since the Summer seems to be over, I suppose its time to get back into No Dice. There is certainly plenty to do, with the schedule lined up. Just thought i would show you some of the things I have been doing this past 6 weeks or so:

These images are coloured up versions of the Mini pucks in the core book, and feature on our range of T - shirts.

And yes, I have even been doing some Non No Dice stuff (gasp) for a friend of mine:

There is some really good stuff on its way over the next few months. I am particularly looking forward to working on 6icons, a project me and Leo were developing last year: You can catch up on that stuff on the 6icons blog, musings from the Good Earth

Anyway enough for now - its back to the drawing board for me now.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Its Alive!!!!

As you may have spotted from the diary entries, I have been rather busy for the past month. But the corebook is finally out so I can relax and chill for the time being (well until plans for the next book are underway). This project is somewhat of a labour of love for me, well and the rest of the no dice team. Personally, my intention was to produce the absolutely best work I could, to show off the real breadth of the system, to spark the imaginations of the reader, and to make No Dice as professional as possible. I have to admit to skiming many independant rpgs over the years, and dismissing them, just because I didnt rate the artwork or layout. There may well have been incredible content from writers who couldnt afford illustrators, so I could have missed out on some of these. Lets be honest, a project of this scale, is time consuming, and had I not been part of the entire production, I doubt whether I would have given my spare time so readily.
As it happens, No Dice combines my two biggest passions, and it also a collaboration with two very good friends. Our roles are not set in stone either. I may have illustrated the book, but fortunately Leo has always been open to contructive criticism. And the same for the art - I am happy for Leo and Sue`s suggestions. So although tiring at times, and a little stressful as the deadline loomed, the whole project has been a blast. It seems there is much more work to do, and who knows, one day, we may all be able to give up our day jobs....

So I thought I would include two of my very favourite illustrations. This project has really pushed my skills. Its been a challenge, but also incredibly rewarding for me, and the more I do, the more ambitious I get. I feel this is just the start...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Less, apparently is more

After a long weekend in Italy, its back to the drawing board (or more accurately graphics tablet), once more. So having got the mini-pucks out of the way, its onto the final stage of the project, for me. Actually the thing i was most looking forward to. Originally, i had planned on twelve illustrations in the book, as well the two dozen cartoons, but as the June deadline looms, Leo and myself have actually decided its better to go for quality over quantity, and hopefully you will appreciate that. After all, there is only one artist on board, and that's me. And I do actually have a day job. So since sleep should really be a necessity, not a luxury, the number has been reduced.

So Anyway, i thought you should get a taster of these illustrations, starting with a classic scene from the wild west. Each illustration, much like the mini-puck cartoons, covers a particular genre or type of situation, and of course Puck features in all of them (Even if its not immediately apparent). As you will be able to see, however, Puck appears a little less cartoony than the previous images, as the illustrations are more realistic.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Pucks 2- the new batch

So now Easter Sunday has finally arrived, and i am enjoying the prized chocolate I have so dutifully given up for Lent. When I say given up, I am of course ignoring the huge amounts of chocolate ice cream and cakes that I have consumed with Leo and Sue, which were eaten after roleplaying sessions, when I was of course still in character. In-character food is a lot like holiday food, in that it contains zero calories and is therefore guilt-free. You may ask why an Agnostic is concerning himself with Lent, and my answer is that in the remotely unlikely event that I find myself at the Pearly Gates, even a half-arsed attempt at resisting temptations will no doubt secure me a comfy seat on the good side.....

So anyway, regarding the project, I have finally finished the two dozen or so Mini-Puck illustrations for the core book. Below are some more of my favourites. The next and final stage of the book involves the illustrating the court cards, one for suit and type (Queen of Hearts, Jack of Spades etc), so there are 12 in total. Eventually these will also be printed on playing cards for the official No Dice cards, not that we are at all interested in merchandising our property to death or anything..... I should have the first of these illustrations posted in the next week or two, starting with the Jacks.

Incidentally, in the following illustrations, there are 5 film references, 3 easy, one a little obscure, and the fourth unbelievably obscure. Anyone getting all 5 wins a free pdf of the core rulebook!!*

* Of course the No Dice corebook is actually a free pdf to everyone, but I wouldnt let that stop you feeling special for getting them.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

..and never feed your Puck after midnight..

Hi again. It seems my computer is now infected with a dozen or so Pucks, running amok and up to no good. He seemed so harmless at first. Guess I should have paid more attention to that old oriental guy who sold it to me....

Just thought I would show you some of the stuff I have been working on this past week, for the No Dice corebook. I am illustrating a number of black and white images involving our lovable mascot Puck. Since the corebook is a book about roleplaying in general, not a specific setting or world, then each Puck represents a particular genre or archetype, from just about every conceivable type of setting we could imagine. I am about half done on those, but I thought you may like to see some of my favourites so far:

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Judging the book by its cover

Hi again. Over the past few weeks, I have been working on the illustrations of No Dice, a new roleplaying game I have been involved with. Since I have been working flat out on the Illustrations, I thought I would show you what I have done so far....

This is the Logo design which hopefully captures the essence of the game- essentially, No Dice is about freedom, and uses playing cards rather than the more traditional dice-based games. So I went for the ball and chain metaphor.
Throughout the book, a character called Puck acts as narrator and guide. He is a kind of Jester-type figure, and from the get go, the writer, Leo, had a pretty strong impression of his character and appearance. I began working on 3 different versions of Puck, the first of which , known affectionately as Mini-Puck, is a very cartoon like, stylised figure who appears in various guises and costume throughout the book, in exaggerated and comical poses.

This was my first finished illustration of Mini-Puck, more for my own reference really, so i could easily refer back to this, for proportions and colours. It probably wont actually appear in the final book.

From that, here`s the first of the Mini-Puck illustrations from the book, each depicting a particular genre. Although coloured, the original book illustrations will be in black and white.

And from here we move on to a much less stylised, more sophisticated Puck. Since the illustrations in this style will involve more complex storytelling, the character needs to be much less cartoony.

And finally for the cover illustration. I like to refer to this more realistic version as Uber-Puck. Since people will judge a book by it`s cover, it had to be a little bit special. The biggest difficulty turned out to be the hair, which I really had to learn how it worked.

So anyway, that's how things are progressing, art-wise, at the moment. I will post more to you in the near future....

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Into the Lair

Welcome to the virtual home of the Phantomdoodler, my crimefighting alter ego. In reality, I am but a humble illustrator and caricaturist, and since I have a few projects on the go, I shall be updating them here. However, to begin with, I thought I should show you some of my earlier work, starting with caricatures:

Although I have been caricaturing professionally for the past 6 or more years, I have always enjoyed doing them for friends and family. In the past, I always used to work from photographs and so a few years ago, with some trepidation, I agreed to draw in a local pub, with some artist friends. It was a great night, and we have been drawing together ever since, under the partnership of Caricature Inc.

I thought I would show you some colour examples. I have never really liked painting - the first two images were done with liquid acrylics and watercolour, but generally I find it all far too messy. Fortunately, now armed with a decent graphics tablet, I dont need to reach for a paintbrush - in fact its very rare now I reach for a pencil!