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

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.

Something really wicked!

Something Wicked This Way Comes - hideaway book box
I was contacted in December last year by talented artist Ruth Fabiano, who designs and sells wooden boxes that look like real books. She was keen to create a box using my artwork for Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes – one of my favourite fantasy stories from the master storyteller. I was more than happy to see her use my design to make one of her fabulous boxes, and as you can see above she has done a great job in capturing the cover with her wood-burning and hand-decoration techniques.

Here’s my original cover design:

Something Wicked This Way Comes
You can check out further images of the box here on Ruth’s Etsy site, where you can also view her many other designs for such books as The Lord of the Rings, Peter Pan, A Game of Thrones, The Mists of Avalon, Alice in Wonderland, and many more.

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.

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.

ToQ: Duquellah coat of arms

Duquellah coat of arms
A new coat of arms design for the City of Duquellah, as part of my ongoing Tales of Quahnarren project.

Duquellah is the largest city in Quahnarren and the oldest permanently inhabited site on the continent since the arrival of the Guahn people. Known by all as the ‘city of learning’, Duquellah is famous for the Victory Gate of Vehkorr and the broad thoroughfare Aelisen Way, both located near the central area of the city amid the attractive natural parks and small gardens that abut The Skar river.

ToQ: Tomb of Haakuhl

Tomb of Haakuhl
On windy nights, when thick low cloud rolls in off the sea and settles into the small valleys surrounding the tomb, a shape in the form of a man wearing a long cloak, is occasionally seen drifting silently around the immediate area of the Tomb of Haakuhl. The cloak itself appears to be formed from the twisting fog tendrils that cover the ground, his long white hair glows with a radiant intensity, and his body and face are said to be of a limitless blackness. This unsettling figure causes no physical harm, and has never attempted to approach any witness, but all reported sightings tell of a strongly emanating feeling of distress and desolation as the lonely apparition keeps silent vigil of the family tomb.

A quick piece for my Tales of Quahnarren project. Illustration completed in Painter and Photoshop.

Tales of Quahnarren: Great Statue of Tahsanook-Lai

Great Statue of Tahsanook-Lai

Situated in the spectacular rocky valleys formed along the western base of the Morning Mountains stands a towering monument to one of the most important and legendary figures in Quahnarren’s history. Carved from a rising outcrop of ancient sedimentary rock by a dedicated team of skilled stonemasons and local artisans, the Great Statue of Tahsanook-Lai is a striking 24-foot tall permanent remembrance, impressively honouring the visionary ruler of the Guahn nations, who thoughtfully initiated the permanent migration of his people to the unpopulated island landmass of Quahnarren.

The Great Statue was constructed nearly a century ago, and is considered to be an engineering and artistic masterpiece of considerable cultural importance. Tahsanook-Lai has been accurately sculpted wearing his winged battle helm, a famed and sacred symbol of everlasting victory, worn for both ceremonial and practical purposes by only the most revered leaders of the Guahn peoples.

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The most recent illustration for my Tales of Quahnarren fantasy series. Nice to have finally turned my initial quick sketch into a finished piece.

Tales of Quahnarren: Sacred Bone Tree

ToQ: Sacred Bone TreeIn a small glade surrounded by thick forest, an ancient tree, known as the Sacred Bone Tree, stands starkly in the centre of the clearing, isolated amid the brilliantly luminous grass that grows only in this singular location. Long ago it was believed that the great warrior, teacher, and protector Guahvaan, the purposeful and enlightened leader of the early nomadic peoples, met his untimely end in this location, most likely directed or influenced by tricksters summoned by demonic forces who sought to swiftly kill his rising influence. The tree is said to have risen from his fallen remains, fractured bones forming into a sturdy trunk and branches, enriching the soil and creating an area of remarkably fertile growth, offered as a parting gift to all his people and a demonstration of the genuine power of the human spirit.

Tales of Quahnarren: Firebird

Firebird

Rarely seen, these large and impressive birds are known as the ‘life giver.’ The arrival of a Firebird is always extremely welcome, as they only ever appear in moments of great personal need, when all hope seems lost and death imminently awaits. Featuring a vivid red and gold plumage, and long sapphire-blue tail feathers, Firebirds promptly restore life and vitality to all in peril within their immediate vicinity.

Those who have been bestowed the gift of the Firebird’s recuperative powers, state that they experienced a joyous and heartfelt warmth overrun their entire body, and that they felt affectionately protected and comforted during the restorative process. Many religious orders claim these birds to be arbiters from the heavens: returners of life to anyone about to be mistakenly called before their time. In various styles and uses throughout Quahnarren, the image of the Firebird is symbolically used to denote virtuous qualities and celestial affinity, and is regarded as an emblem of all principled people.

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A new addition to the creatures found in the fantasy land of Quahnarren.