Beyond the Morning Mountains released

btmm_volone_graphic

Volume One of my Tales of Quahnarren fantasy gamebook, Beyond the Morning Mountains, has finally been released. More information about the world of Quahnarren and links for where to purchase are available at the ToQ website.

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Tales of Quahnarren: RARE items

RI_preview

A preview of two RARE items currently on offer as part of the Kickstarter campaign for the exclusive special edition of my Beyond the Morning Mountains gamebook. These unique, precious and powerful items add various benefits and abilities to your character, which may aid you to successfully survive the long journey to Liust.

ToQ: Laneway ruffian

Tales of Quahnarren: Laneway Ruffian

An illustration from the free preview version of my Beyond the Morning Mountains gamebook. A key part of the development for this project is for me to create a number of fantasy images using a range of different styles and techniques, in both full colour and black & white. This piece shows a possible encounter with a thief in the town of Ustahm and has been created digitally, using a comic/graphic novel style that I enjoyed working with and will certainly use again within this adventure.

Tales of Quahnarren: Spacers

Tales of Quahnarren: Spacers

A selection of the small black & white spot illustrations recently created for my Tales of Quahnarren gamebook. These small pieces are known as ‘spacers’ as they are used to fill or create space when formatting the pages of a gamebook. They are frequently utilised to prevent widows and orphans from appearing in the text layout, and also to help with the placement of written sections that are accompanied by a full-page illustration and therefore must fall at a particular point in the document.

Tales of Quahnarren: Spacers

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown poster
Poster design for an upcoming production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown by the Hills Musical Company.

The main title was hand lettered by me using PITT artist pens, referencing the early lettering style of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. As a huge fan of his work, I was very keen to create a colourful design that respectfully conveyed a classic comic style with an obvious Peanuts feel, while also matching the set design which will feature large comic panel sections on the stage backdrop. Charlie Brown’s iconic zigzag T-shirt, which was also hand drawn and inked, became an important central element in the design as it offers a strongly contrasting and very striking pattern.

Further promotional design work for this production will use these key elements in a variety of different combinations, which have been deliberately created to provide a flexible system of components for any desired layout or format.

ToQ: Objects and Artefacts

Tales of Quahnarren: Objects and Artefacts
I’ve recently been creating several illustrated articles for my Tales of Quahnarren project site, detailing some of the unique items to be found within the world of Quahnarren. The Objects and Artefacts page will be regularly updated with further new pieces as they are completed, and will eventually contain a wealth of information regarding the daily lives of the Quahneri people, their possessions, customs and beliefs.

Gone Troppo: Sands of Time

Gone Troppo_Sands of Time
Cover designs for a new track by art-music collective Gone Troppo. This was an interesting design process, due to the songwriter requesting the investigation of an alternative approach that further referenced the ‘sand’ element from the song. My initial thoughts were that without the high contrast of the original blue & yellow design, the overall impression created by the thin linework would be too diluted and therefore not stand out enough at the small scale of an icon, which is where this artwork would mainly be viewed.

As it turned out, the design still works well with a lighter textured background and my concerns were proven incorrect. This is always an interesting part of the design process for me, and something I’ve regularly communicated to clients when changes are discussed. Many requested changes are often very difficult to judge accurately before simply trying them to see the actual impact on the finished design. Experience has shown me that some small adjustments can have a significant negative effect on a design, dramatically changing the flow, appearance or readability in a way that myself and/or the client will not accept. Current digital production methods certainly make it far easier to alter artwork and investigate options, especially compared to when my artwork was mostly hand drawn and assembled – but any changes incur extra time (and usually money) so the designer is responsible for efficiently advising a client and resolving all queries without futile and costly exploration.

My design features various elements from the song itself: a diamond, travel, a broken heart, the universe and a sunrise. The track is available to download at CD Baby.

A Snake in New York

SNAKE PLISSKEN print
I recently watched John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi film Escape from New York again, and was inspired to create a design featuring lead character Snake Plissken, played with rebellious coolness by Kurt Russell.

In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire country. A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: once you go in, you don’t come out.

I’ve always liked the setting, atmosphere, music and general style of this cult movie since first seeing it back as a young teenager. Snake is a great hero character and was to later be the inspiration for Solid Snake from the popular Metal Gear video game series.

The typography I’ve created is based on the font style used in the film for the prison signage, which I think really captures the unique 80’s look of type design during this period and is what I believe to be the signature font for this great film.

Prints, t-shirts and more available to purchase at søciety6.

Snake Plissken tees

Tales of Quahnarren: ancient artefact

Qadhul statue
A small wooden statue carved to represent a Qadhul, made by an accomplished craftsperson from the ancient Guahn peoples. The mythical Qadhul were menacingly intimidating creatures featuring a long prehensile trunk similar to the modern Makkhra, and historically were widely worshipped as significant spiritual creatures with divine attributes.

This example stands roughly one hand tall and was used as an incense burner, as it features a hole at the top of the head in which numerous sticks of incense can be inserted. It is therefore likely that this statue was of regular ceremonial use, appeasing the vengeful gods with aromatic smoke in combination with small gifts, prayers and songs of praise.

Animated birds

Seagull Pelican Sparrow Eagle
Early last year I worked on a home-made music video for local artist Gone Troppo, drawing four bird animations for the clip Make This Thing Fly. Unfortunately I couldn’t animate them as well as I desired due to limitations with the editing software that I had available, so I’ve now created these animated GIFs to show them off as intended.

They’re all hand illustrations, with the seagull drawn with a brush pen on paper and the remaining three all drawn on my Wacom tablet directly into Photoshop.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Abbott vs Putin
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stated that he plans to ‘shirtfront’ Russian President Vladimir Putin when he attends the G20 leaders’ meeting in Brisbane during November, due to Russia’s suspected involvement and lack of rescue assistance in the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine in July.

Abbott was a student boxer and Putin is a bear-wrestling 6th dan judo and karate expert! BRING IT ON!!

ToQ: Beyond the Morning Mountains fantasy adventure gamebook

ToQ: Beyond the Morning Mountains
Today I’ve finally announced my gamebook project set within the fantasy world of Quahnarren. Beyond the Morning Mountains is a very ambitious project, featuring over 120,000 words it is extensively illustrated throughout, and is the first in a planned series of adventures that will take readers to all corners of the world that I am creating.

Visit the Tales of Quahnarren site to read more about the book, and if you’re completely new to the adventure gamebook genre you can also preview a few written sections to gain some understanding of what these books are all about.