Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! Give Me Your Artwork!

So as I posted last night, the text for my B/X Companion project has been completed, and it should be rolled out for purchase sometime in the next couple months (*hope*hope*). Even after reducing the font size and shrinking margins, the thing came close to fitting my expectations. There's room for a little more than 6 pages of artwork PLUS the cover leaf and the cover.

So now comes my plea for artwork. While I could certainly include my own B&W line art (the only kind I do), my stuff barely on par with the worst of that offered in the original Basic and Expert sets. Which is, of course, what I'm shooting for. Some folks have already expressed interest in contributing pieces and after looking at their web sites, I see there's a LOT of talented folks out there...stuff I'd much prefer to my own work.

So I'm soliciting submissions. Here's what I'm looking for:

- ORIGINAL artwork (please, please only YOUR OWN stuff!): you get to keep all rights to your material and may freely recycle it/re-sell it for other projects. I'm just looking to make my book a little "spruced up." All pictures should be marked with your signature or symbol or whatever for easy identification.

- Scanned images in .jpg format: I readily admit that I am fairly ham-handed with computer gizmos, but software these days can make even my lay-out look adequate. I can easily paste jpegs into my document and size them to fit...and that's about the extent of my abilities.

- Small, simple, black&white drawings: those who have been following this project on my blog knows that I am trying to put together something that matches the look and feel of the original Moldvay/Cook/Marsh books. Images will be sized to fit in columns or as "banners" across tops and bottoms of pages. I don't plan any full-page images (the cover leaf will be the largest), and most should be small enough to plug-in throughout the text. Reference the B/X books to see what I mean!

Here is the total amount of space per chapter available (the number represents a CONSERVATIVE rough % of a single 8.5 X 11 inch page):

Cover leaf -- half to three-quarters of a page
Part 1: Introduction -- .25 (about one small image)
Part 2: PC Info -- .75
Part 3: Spells -- 1.25
Part 4: The Adventure -- .25
Part 5: The Encounter -- .25
Part 6: Monsters -- 1.5
Part 7: Treasure -- .9
Part 8: DM Info -- .75
Part 9: Special Adventures -- .2

Not a whole lot of space. I'm hoping for 3 or 4 half-page images (including the cover leaf) plus another 20-22 smaller images. I prefer the illustrations be pertinent to the chapter within which they appear, though images appearing at the end of a section may apply to the chapter that follows.

Artists interested in doing work for particular chapters (especially Part 6: Monsters) can email me for ideas on theme and composition. I can provide partial lists of things like spells, monsters, and magic items to artists that are interested in drawing specific images (partial because there are some things I'd rather leave to the readers' imaginations!). However, if you just have a fun picture you want to submit, I'll be happy to look at it and see if I can fit it in somewhere!

All submissions (again, .jpg format for attachments) can be emailed to me at my blog profile email address: bxblackrazor AT gmail DOT com

Again, anything you submit should be YOUR original art! Please include your full name (or name as you'd like it to appear) so that I can properly credit you in the book. Multiple submissions are fine, though I'd ask they be in separate emails.

Of course, I have no money to pay anyone. Substantial contributors will probably receive a free copy of the finished project...well, 'cause I'd feel like a heel otherwise.

Just remember: the sooner I can get the artwork, the quicker this thing gets put out. I'm not looking for masterworks, just nice little drawings to fill the space and give the Companion an "old school" feeling. Space is limited but there IS space...I appreciate anything you want to send me! If you feel like you want to submit something big (like the cover leaf illustration), please feel free to email me ahead of time for discussion.

REGARDING THE COVER: The original cover art for the Basic and Expert sets are probably my favorite pieces ever done by Erol Otus. I especially like how the Expert cover integrates the Basic cover into its composition. In my ideal world, this is a technique I'd like to see for my Companion book...but it may be difficult due to the challenge of finding a proficient cover artist. While I can draw a sword equal to the one on page 24 of the Basic set, I have no skill or experience working with paint, color, or even computer art programs. If ANYONE wants to tackle this, please contact me at the email listed with the subject "Cover Art." Otherwise, I've got some rough composition sketches done and I'll try to tap one of my old college buddies for the painting.

Thanks folks. I've reached the point of the project where I can no longer "go it alone" and I really, REALLY appreciate any help you can provide me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  1. Hey JB - long time lurker - congrats on finishing your companion booklet for the new year!!! I had my old gaming materials destroyed years back (long story) so I have been working with LL&OSRIC&S&W - does your companion specifically reference the B/X books or build upon them? Will it be useful to somebody that doesn't have a copy of the old B/X books?

  2. The Companion is designed to specifically work with the Basic set written by Tom Moldvay and the Expert set written by Dave Cook and Steve Marsh. It does not change the rules set forth in that book, and additions are based on a combo of OD&D (sans supplements), Swords & Spells, extrapolations of the original B/X rules, and a few selections from AD& some of my own imagination and thefts from fantasy literature/cinema.

    If you only have Labyrinth Lord, the Companion will still be useful to you. The B/X Companion begins at level 15 (where the Cook/Marsh Expert set ended) and goes only to Level 36. Full spell lists for levels 1-9 are provided in the B/X Companion, but are different from the Labyrinth Lord spell lists (which extrapolate higher level spells from AD&D sources). Many of the high level spells, new magic items, and monsters in the B/X Companion are "spun from whole cloth" rather than based on AD&D. Personally I find this more interesting and exciting than converting AD&D or the OD&D "supplements" (Greyhawk, Blackmoor, D&DG, etc.)...I personally see those supplements (upon which AD&D is based) as Gygax and Arneson's "setting specific" supplemental rules, similar to the Caracosa supplement.

    So will it be useful without the B/X books? Yeah. Probably the easiest way to use it would be to use Labyrinth Lord up to 14th level, replace the spell lists and magic item lists of LL with those in the Companion, and...well, that's about it. I do not include the original B/X equipment lists (which LL changes) and LL has some errata that have never been corrected (like the damage for different bear types, for example), but these are very minor issues.

    I think that many of the ideas and "goodies" in the Companion are easily adaptable to both Osric and S&W. Give it a shot!

  3. Thanks for your detailed response. I will definitely give it a shot. I've been following your posts and it caught my interest :)