Archive for the ‘Miskatonic River Press’ Category

2013 in review, and a look ahead…

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I don’t know why, but for whatever reason, 2013 doesn’t /feel/ like it was a busy year, but upon reflection, it was probably the most crazy year yet for us Squamous folk.

  1. Publication-wise, most of the stuff that Squamous helped shepherd to print were Miskatonic River Press books: Tales of the Sleepless City, Grimscribe’s Puppets, and Deepest Darkest Eden. Sadly, this would be the year that MRP decided to go on indefinite hiatus (though i know that they’re still working with Chronicle City to get Punktown out in the near future.
  2. Oscar Rios’ new company, Golden Goblin Press, started and completed their first Kickstarter, and we managed to get our first release, Island of Ignorance, out to backers in the timeframe that was announced. That was one hell of a project to work on!
  3. I joined Montag Press, and designed the first book for them, M Against M.
  4. Work began (and continued) on Call of Cthulhu 7th edition; by far, my biggest project to date.
  5. Continued work on my Feed the Shoggoth card game, with toiling away at the artwork top priority for that.
  6. A second book for Montag Press, Punish the Wicked, is in the works.

So what’s up next? Oh, nothing much, really…

  1. Call of Cthulhu 7th edition core rulebook and the Investigator’s Companion are released to the public in late spring. And if they don’t, you’ll probably never hear from me again, as a horde of CoC fans will have stormed my house and flayed me alive.
  2. Punish the Wicked will be out on the shelves.
  3. I plan on launching the Kickstarter for Feed the Shoggoth in mid-March. Watch this space for further developments!
  4. Golden Goblin Press’ next Kickstarter is about get underway for Tales from the Crescent City. Assuming that the KS is successful, i’ll be doing the book design for that as well.
  5. I’ve got a project for Cthulhu by Gaslight that i’ve had on the back burner for months that i’m just itching to get out. By hell or high water…

And who knows what else the year will bring? I’d really like to thank everyone who’s been following along here, and those of you who have been posting comments. They’re very welcome, and i’m happy to answer any questions you may have. Cheers!

Almost there!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

My latest design mock up for Call of Cthulhu 7th ed. was reviewed by the authors last week, and the response was very positive. Outside of a few tweaks here and there, and pending approval from Charlie, i think i can consider the design for 7th ed. done. Somehow, i suspect that this was the easy part…

Now, i should add that i’ve been concentrating on the core rulebook only. However, in the course of coming up with the design for that book, i’ve been able to experiment with design elements that i’ll end up using for the Investigator’s Handbook. Expect to see two very distinct designs between the two books. I’m really excited about this; i’m hoping it’ll come across as an actual handbook, or field guide, if you will.

I’m currently attempting to wrap up production on Deepest, Darkest Eden for Miskatonic River Press. I’m pretty sure all that’s left to do is place the ads in the back of the book, and i’ll be able to officially put this in the “done” pile.

Similarly, my first for Montag Press, M Against M, is nearly done. Feedback from both the author and publisher have been enthusiastic, which is awesome. Everyone has different expectations on what they want to see in book design, and working for a company, completely out of the RPG industry, has been a real change for me. But since everyone is digging what i’m doing, i guess i don’t need to worry.

Work also continues on Island of Ignorance- i’m done with all the articles, and am now throwing together the scenarios in the back.

And, somewhere, lurking in the shadows, Feed the Shoggoth waits to be worked on….

Feedback Galore // MRP RIP

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Well, i had turned in my first layout example to Charlie and the gang last week, and, um, the feedback on it was…there were a lot of points brought up. All valid. So last night, i sent in two more examples- kind of a salad bar approach. “Pick and chose which bits from both of these that you like, and i’ll mash ‘em all together, sprinkle some croutons and dressing on them, and Bob’s your uncle”.

So far, opinions on those are much more positive, and while they’re more things to address, my gut tells me that i’m on the right course now. I think what i’ll do, once the books are in (or maybe even when they’re in the process of being laid out, but the design is locked in), is post images of the evolution stages of design for the book. To show what worked and what didn’t.

In other feedback news, i’ve heard back from Golden Goblin Press, and Oscar is really happy with what i’ve done for the Cthulhu Companion. Work continues apace on that.

Sadly, i have to report that Tom has decided to put Miskatonic River Press on indefinite hiatus; the struggles of a new career, low sales and support, and the fact that managing a publishing house was distracting from his first love, writing, forced him to make a choice.

I joined up with MRP back in 2009, i think. Tom had announced that Keith Herber had suddenly died, and that Tom had no idea of what the future may hold for MRP. I instantly volunteered to help out in any way that i could. Turns out, Keith was in the process of laying out Our Ladies of Sorrow, so Tom enlisted my help in getting the files off Keith’s computer and finishing the book. Since then, i’ve had the joy to work with Tom as staff layout monkey. Tom has been nothing but a stand up guy, forthright and honest. He’s allowed me a metric shit ton of creative freedom, and really trusted me to do what i felt was right design-wise. This, in turn, allowed me to grow and experiment, really honing my skills as a designer. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity, or a better boss.

I’m terribly sad to see MRP having to stop production soon (we’ve two more books; a fiction anthology, and Punktown), but i don’t regret for one second all the hard work we sweated over. The quality of the writing was top notch, and Tom was able to wrangle some of the best artists and writers. I /know/ Keith would be proud of what Tom did with MRP. Cheers, mate.

And so it begins…

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Needless to say, the biggest news around here in the Shoggoth pits is Call of Cthulhu 7th edition (if you haven’t checked out the Kickstarter for it yet, you can do so here). I’ve been putting together design elements and resources, gathering fonts, and tinkering with page design. After some early struggles with InDesign not bending to my will, i’ve managed to get the start of a framework going for the basic page layout. Right now, i’m getting really fussy with fonts, and still haven’t decided on the final font for the header. But other parts are coming together, and i’m (mostly) happy with the results so far.

Part of the thrill and terror of this sort of project is that i feel that in some ways, i need to pull out all the stops, and use every ounce of skill and technique that i’ve learned over the years to make this the best book it can be. It also means a) still trying new things, and b) making sure i stick to my function-over-form rule.

I’ve been seeing a lot of clamor lately about “FFG edition/Spanish edition/French edition looks so gorgeous! That’s what we want!” on the interwebs. It would be really easy to try to mimic those designs, and i understand that some gamers really want a pretty book. But as a Keeper myself, i know that the first thing i want out of a rulebook is for it to allow me to read it easily, and find the information i need quickly. I cannot in good conscience let the organization of a book suffer to make it look more attractive.

Since i’ve been doing book design, i’ve by and large trusted my gut, as to what looked and felt right. That’s what has gotten me to this point. I’m not about to change that now. So…i hope people will be able to trust my judgement.

In other news, i’ve finished off Grimscribe’s Puppets (though i need to send the files off to MRP), and i’m making a lot of headway with my first book for Montag Press. I’m also gearing up layout for Golden Goblin’s first book, really diving back into art deco styling.

Beeeeeeg frikkin’ news

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Oh man. Where to start.

I guess i’ll be blunt. I’ve just, as of last week, been given the honour and responsibility of creating the book design and layout for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition.

*ulp*

Not only will i be doing the core rulebook, but i’ll also be designing the Investigator’s Handbook, as well as the Keeper’s Screen.

This, obviously, is a huge deal. And not something i take lightly. As someone who actively plays CoC, and knows about the….various opinions on how CoC 6th edition looks, and how i’m doing the book design for RPG i love the most, it’s a little daunting. Well, okay. A lot daunting. Kinda terrifying, but in a good way.

Anyway. I’ll be discussing my progress right here, at ol’ Squamous. Right now i’m in pre-production, going over the manuscript and getting ideas for the design. At this point, i’m pouring over fonts, how page elements might look, navigation, splash pages, and so on. One thing i’m keeping mind that, as pretty as this could be, it is still a /rule/ book, and needs to be easily referenced by people (one thing that people complained about with 6th ed. (me included) that it’s a bitch to find information in it sometimes). But i still want it to reflect a period look and feel, evocative of the Classic era. We’ll see how it goes.

 

Meanwhile, other stuff has been slithering around in the Squamous camp-

I’ve been pounding out a fiction anthology for Miskatonic River Press, called The Grimscribe’s Puppets:

GPCoverWebThumb.jpg

The first pass is already done; now i’m going back and making corrections and the usual lot. I still hate italics text.

Work continues on the card art for FtS!. I’ve kinda lost track of how many i’ve finished, but i’ve gotta be close to the 30 mark. I need to post more examples about that here. I’ll get on that.

In non-Lovecraftian news, i’ve been hired as book designer for Montag Press! I’ve already received my first assignment from them; more news on that as it happens.

Whew!

Tales of the Sleepless City is out!!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Yes, it’s true! Miskatonic River Press’ latest release, Tales of the Sleepless City, is now starting to get into the hands of people as i type this. It should be winding its way to distributors (and then, your FLGS) any day now. Comprised of such acclaimed authors as Dan Harms, Scott David Aniolowski, Tom Lynch, and Oscar Rios, this book features adventures all taking place in New York City, during the Classic era. Get it! It’s damn good! You can order your copy by heading to MRP’s website here.

Now, you may be asking yourself, what the hell’s going on with this card game you keep babbling about from time to time? Well, i’m still neck deep in the art. After the clean up was done, i’ve had to go back and redo all the colouring, as well as do further clean up of the line work i originally did. It’s a long process, and one that i can get to in between other (i.e., paying) design work. To give you an example of what needs to be done, i essentially need to take scans of the original work i did, like this:

Dominate I

 

 

And turn it into something more like this:

Dominate II

 

 

It’s not terribly difficult, mind. It just takes a long time to do, and get right. And there’s a *lot* of art to get done. I think i’ve mentioned it before, but there’s about…80 pieces that need to be done in total. Some of which i need to go back and start over from scratch, as the original art is just too crappy for my tastes.

So…that’s where i’m at with Feed the Shoggoth!. Got a ways to go, but i’ll continue to post progress here as it happens.

 

 

 

 

It’s been a bit quiet around here…

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I hate it when real life gets in the way of work. Ugh. Sadly, it’s put a bit of a stall on projects, but things are ramping up again.

I’ve been working furiously lately to get Tales of the Sleepless City out the door; last night, i made a big push to get the page decoration done, and i think i’m there with it. Again, trying to be pretty without ruining the functionality, and working within an Art Deco style/framework. I think i pulled it off, but i need to see what Tom thinks. After that, i’ve got a round of corrections to comb through, which i’m hoping won’t be too long…

Happy to say that i’ve been given a new book to work on, a fiction anthology called “Undead and Unbound”. Given that it’s been shepherded by Brian Sammons and David Conyers, i’m sure it’s gonna rawk. :)

Feed the Shoggoth is, alas, something i haven’t been able to look at much, mostly because of time constraints, plus i’m still waiting for the art clean up to be done. But it’s still present in my mind.

Lastly, there are a couple of Gaslight-related projects that are in the works, but i can’t say more on that just yet. But don’t fear, that era is going to see some support. :)

A Season in Carcosa is back from the printer

Friday, September 21st, 2012

…which means you should be seeing it in the stores any day now. Which also means that i finished that project. Which also means i need to update my portfolio gallery. ;)

Aaaand it means i’m back on Tales of the Sleepless City. Right now i’ve got the first two scenarios done, and am chugging through the third. My process has been a bit reversed on this particular book; normally, i like to have all the page decoration done prior to laying out the contents, but due to how things worked out, i’m doing the opposite. I have done the scenario splash pages, however, and feedback on them has been positive. I’ve got a vague idea of how i want the page designs to look, but nothing concrete…so i’m essentially letting things percolate until inspiration or (more likely) desperation hits me.

Various stuff. Plus, Gaslight wins a Gold ENnie!

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Sometimes, there are lulls in projects, where i’m not working on much, or i’ve just got one book or something that i’m concentrating on. Other times (and they’re pretty rare), it feels like i’m juggling five very pissed off tigers. That are all on fire. Plus a couple of chainsaws. Juggling them all with one hand. Whilst riding a unicycle. That’s got a seat covered in grease.

This? This is one of those times.

To keep track of everything that i’ve got going on, i assembled a list on my whiteboard, complete with status and colour coding. I’ve got, uh, nine things in various states.

Ulp.

Obviously, there’s no way in hell i can devote all my limited time to every single project, so i attack things where and when i can. Right now, the two things that have my attention are:

Medieval Tales: Work continues apace on this. Mostly been concentrating on the Tales section, though i was able to get the chapter heading page wrapped up as well (and man was that a lot more difficult to put together than i anticipated). The artwork looks really great; you can see a couple of examples of the progress on Red Lion Publishing’s news page.

A Season in Carcosa: This kinda came up on me so fast, i haven’t had an opportunity to even mention this one yet. It’s a collection of Cthulhu Mythos fiction, all centering around The King in Yellow, edited by Joe Pulver, Sr. Trying to crank this one out as soon as possible (which, since it’s almost all text, is a fairly quick project. Although italicized text is my bane at the moment). This one will be published by Miskatonic River Press. You can read more about it here.

Meanwhile, Tales of the Sleepless City is temporarily put on hold until Carcosa is done; right now i’m mostly through formatting the text, and gathering source material for the page decoration. As far as my Feed the Shoggoth! game goes, i have someone assisting with some art production duties, cleaning up the artwork that i’ve done. I laid out a spreadsheet for all the cards, and figure that i’ve got about 17 pieces of art that need re-doing. So i’m glad that’s going on in the background whilst i devote time to this other stuff.

The beeeeeeg news, however, is that the Gen Con ENnie awards were announced over the weekend, and Cthulhu by Gaslight won the Gold for Best Supplement! Hot damn! I can now officially say i’ve been part of an award-winning book. Big congrats to Kevin Ross and William Barton, the authors of the book, all the artists who came through big time, as well as Paul Carrick, who won a Silver for best Cover Art.

I feel a little justified, then, in slapping this graphic right here:

The contract is in the mail…

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

…literally. I just got a contract from MRP, so now i can officially announce that i’ll be working on Tales of the Sleepless City, a collection of Call of Cthulhu adventures centered in and around New Yawk. I’m sure the fact that Tom Lynch is from NY has absolutely nothing to do with this. ;) In addition, there’s a couple of other projects attached to that contract, but, um, i can’t talk about them yet.

Meanwhile, the art situation seems to be slowly untangling itself. It looks like i’ll have found some people to help out soon, so i need to get some raw card scans done and sent to them, and see what they can do with the designs. If absolutely nothing else, i’ve gone and proven to myself that i *can*, if i need to, clean up the card designs well enough. And i’ve already got the template going (fonts, border, etc.) so that they’ll all be legible.  Looking through them, though, i know that at least some card art needs to be redone entirely. Not to get down on myself, but some of it just looks like crap, and i know i can do better.

Work on the Medieval Tales book has been going in fits and starts. I need to finish designing the chapter head sections, which is proving more difficult than i first thought.