Showing posts from April, 2011

Blogging A to Z: Z is for Zero

Alright, this is the last of the Alphabetical related blog posts. It certainly was challenging to do. I know some folks are looking forward to getting back to gamer related business. I'll admit that I'm looking forward to a more freeform posting. Anyway, Daisey and I just finished some cover work for the Expeditious Retreat Press OSRIC/AD&D 1e tournament module The Obsidian Sands of Syncrates . I'm very pleased with our collaborative work. I think we make a great team in so many ways and it really shines through in our artistic collaborations. Here's a look at our latest.

Blogging A to Z: Y is for Young Werewolves

OK, another music post, but damn these guys just make me want to rip it up and make some art! I just recently heard of them but they take me back to my punker days. Great psychobilly sound there. If you like the Reverend Horton Heat, these guys'll rock your socks off. Now I wanna go jam out with some werewolves! Oh yeah, have a great Friday everyone!!

Blogging A to Z: X is for X-Men

When in doubt, go back to your root right? Well, comic books is where it all started for me. Yeah, the gateway drug into the greater nerdery. As a kid, I think Batman was a favorite but when I entered my teens, I discovered the X-Men. And things changed for me. This was the first time that I could really identify with the characters. Sure, they were mutant rebel outcasts, but I was going through puberty when I discovered them and those changes alomost seemed like a mutation. Add to that that I was almost cataclysmically shy, just got braces, had to start wearing glasses, grew to be a 6'2" super skinny (oh, yeah, that was long ago wasn't it?), and all the rest, and I really felt like a mutant. Since my mother had remarried and we relocated to Nuremburg, Germany from Mascoutah, Illinois - yeah, I felt like an outcast as well. So the X-Men spoke to me for sure. For me, the classic team was Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. The John Byrne/Chris Claremont idea is good (and

Blogging A to Z: W is for Weird Adventures

If you have not been following Trey Causey's work over at From The Sorcerer's Skull , I gotta say, you're missing out on one of the freshest takes on a fantasy setting that is currently out there. Weird in a sort of crazy 1920's pulp meets seriealized sci-fi and cliff hanger movies meets lost highway Route 66 weird roadside attraction - aw hell, this thing just oozes flavor. Go check out the downloadable preview Strange Trails and read through it. Oh yeah, this is also where Daisey and I began our collaboration work so here's a piece that we worked on for Wierd adventures: Got check it out!

Blogging A to Z: V is for Vendetta

Vendettas are a good way to bring either a single encounter, recurring story arc or the basis for a whole campaign to the game. Often times, vendettas are vengeful actions carried out by someone with a perceived wrong against them by the Player Characters. Most often, vendettas are the result of a perceived insult that may be directed at the wrong persons or even entirely fallacious. Persons carrying out a vendetta are usually acting in a heightened emotional state and thus the vendetta may not even be based upon any logical. Here’s a random table for some more, er, unusual vendetta ideas that are free to use. 1. Fezmin Seven Finger at the local watering hole doesn’t like the way the PCs look. Adventuring types always mean trouble and Fezmin has an axe to grind with anyone of the adventuring stripe since he lost three fingers on his right hand as a torch bearer for a party that left him for dead during an adventure. Fezmin, a grizzled and scarred from many delves is a sour old

Blogging A to Z: U is for Unafraid of the Dark

As I've been maturing as an artist, I've noticed a definite evolution of my work from simple line art to something more, well, more on the lines of a woodcut print I suppose. I used to have quite a penchant for crazy detail pretty much all made up of line as you can see here: While I still have a tendancy towards that stylistically, I've been trying to steer away from that style and move to a more "noir" style I suppose. Guys like Mike Mignola make the minimalism involved look easy but to be honest, I find it quite intimidating. It's not easy to "let go" and trust yourself enough to let go of the detail and define a picture by form rather than line. I find myself quite often taking much more time on my pencils than I ever did previously. Most of this time is actually involved in a process that is called "spotting blacks". When trying to define an image through form, it becomes critical that the positive and negative areas define vo

Blogging A to Z: T is for Thickets (The Darkest of the Hillside)

OK, I'll admit to being way outside the cutting edge of the music scene. I guess that kinda happens when you become a family man. I'm not complaining, it just means that I'm a little slow on the uptake on what's going on out there. At any rate, I just got turned on to The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, an awesome Cthulhu Punk rock band. I've been a fan of bands like the Misfits and the Cramps for many years so these guys are right up my alley to be sure. Go check out their site here . Here's a youtube link to one of my current favotite songs by these guys: . My investigations into Darkest of the Hillside Thickets have also yeilded some other cool findings such as Rue Morgue . The Rue Morgue Facebook page also turned me onto another cool Horror Punk/Rockabilly band the Young Werewolves. Here's a cool video from those guys. So I'm happy. I've lost a few sanity points, added some new bands to my punk rotation on my iPod, discovered som

Blogging A to Z: S is for Satisfaction

Unlike the Stones, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from the act of creating something. I'm sure if you've been following my blog, I tend to be a bit more heavy on the art side or more specifically the artistic process and though process than I am on RPGs. The act of creating work is incredibly satisying and fufilling for me. And I'm always interested in learning about other creative type's processes. My wife Daisey has a Blog dedicated to her creative process. Lately she has decided to branch out beyond just her creative process and interview other creative types in an effort to document the creative process for others. Today she has made a post of my four year old daughter Rosa's creative process and more specifically how her figure drawing has evolved . Hopefully soon she will have interviews with other creative types from many diverse backgrounds. So if you know of anyone with a creative background that would be ameneable to an interview about th

Blogging A to Z: R is for Relief Printing

Alrighty, so the other day I went over to my favorite online artseller and ordered a bunch of art supplies. I ordered a a bunch of stuff to make some linoleum prints. You know, I don't think I've made any lino prints since I was in High School (damn, and that was a hell of a long time ago). I know we did quite a few found object prints for zines in my punk days but that was a bit more spontaneous and in college I did a lot of etching and lithography. So anyway, my lovely wife has volunteered to sew up some flannel dice bags and I'm going to make up a print design for the dice bags. I'm fully intending on being at GENCON this summer so I'll hand out what I bring for free. I'm also thinking of making some hand printed T-shirts and the like. I'd sell some of this stuff but unfortunately I can't use the US military mail and the Status of Forces agreement bars me from conducting business through the Italian post, so I figure making a batch of stuff up

Blogging A to Z (and Weekly Creature Feature): Q is for Quork

I've made several attempts at full scale world building over the years but they've always pretty much just stayed at more or less skeletal frameworks with a few bits of of meat. I have a tendency to do a lot of what it type stuff and day dreaming. Today's Weekly Creature Feature (my, it has been much too long hasn't it?) is a remnant from one of my various worldbuilding projects. The Quork evolved out of one of these what ifs. I really have become much more of a humanocentric gamer over the years and demihuman races have just lost their appeal for me. I wanted to create a world where there are other sapient creatures but not necessarily "human" in their outlook. The Quork are somewhat along the lines of an elevated primate and are based on lemurs (mostly because I think lemurs are just cool). Instead of evloving vocal language for their primary means of communication, they have a complex vocal and olfactory language. This means that humans 1) might not

Blogging A to Z: P is for Palladium

One of the longest running game companies and perhaps one of the most polarizing is Palladium Games run by Kevin Siembeda. Back in the eighties, after entering into RPGs through (A)D&D, it was fairly common to check out some of the other systems out there to fill some percieved hole or flaw in in (A)D&D. In the case of myself and many of the folks I knew that gamed during the time, much of this just stemmed from outright curiosity more than any real disatisfaction with D&D itself. My first intorduction to Palladium was through Robotech. ' My friends and I at the time were huge Robotech fans and the idea of a roleplaying game set in that universe of transformable mecha was right up our alley. We created our own adventures and ultimately ended up with our own campaign that used some of the ideas presented in Robotech but we had our own mecha and storyline that differed quite a bit from the original. I still have very fond memories of the Space Fortress/Colony Sh

Blogging A to Z: O is for Old School Reference Index Compilation (OSRIC)

Of all the retro-clones, it seems that OSRIC tends to get the least amount of attention in terms of the system itself. I think a lot of that is how Swords and Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord were marketed as commercial enterprises whereas OSRIC was (until very recently) a primarily hobbyist affair. I've also noted a marked interest in the OSR in a rules lite approach towards D&D so I'm sure that has some play into it. For those that aren't familiar with OSRIC, it is perhaps the first true retro-clone and emulated 1st Edition Advance Dungeons and Dragons. AD&D is probably aesthetically the version of D&D that is the most commonly thought of when brought up to someone that was around then. It is edition that I played in my youth and is also when D&D entered the public consciousness. So it perhaps seems a bit strange that OSRIC, the rule set that emulates this game is the least well known of the AD&D clones. Black Blad Publishing has recently taken up p

Blogging A to Z: N is for New Art Supplies

Ah yes, perhaps nothing is more exciting for me than getting new art supplies. Comic books and role playing games come close, but I tell you, there is nothing quite like the thrill of opening a box of new paints, inks, brushes, paper, etc... This is the raw stuff of creation! I know in RPG circles, we often talk of creating worlds out of our imagination and that is exciting stuff. As a visual guy, nothing is cooler to me than taking a blank piece of paper and from that void of nothingness and my hand acting as a conduit for my imagination, just creating. Good stuff. So, yeah, I'm getting ready to place a new order. I'm thinking of getting some silkscreen supplies and doing some prints. I'd love more than anything to be able to make my artwork and prints availiable for sale, but unfortunately, one of the few drawbacks for me living in Italy is that I cannot directly use the US post office on base for business. Nor can I use the Italian post for selling due to the sta

Blogging A to Z: M is for Isle of Maedsid

OK, Here's an updated version of my funerary isle (Maedsid) for the Sea of O'sr. I've got to key it up and work up the map for the funerary mound. Oh yeah, this is open gaming content so feel free to use it. I envision this having a definite druidic/celtic feel when it is complete.

blogging a to z: L is for Lazy

Yeah, well, what are you gonna do? Too much to do today to get in a real blog post. I'm actually working on some more collaborative work with Daisey for Expeditious Retreat Press and doing some work for CKutalik of Hill Cantons fame (yes I'm actually working on it)! At any rate, time to get back to the tree of woe, um I mean my kitchen table ;).

Blogging A to Z: K is for Kolinsky Sable Hair Brushes

As an artist, it's important that I have tools that optimize the creative process for me. All artists have their perferred tools, meia, processes and methods for creation. It's not unusual for an artist to have a favorite brush, pencil, type of paper/canvas, and on and on. Since most of my work is black and white, I usually use a mechanical pencil (.5mm lead) to do all of the preliminary work. For me, penciling is mostly about plotting more than design. I know some artists like to "finish" their penciled work to such a degree that they just copy over everything when they ink. My magic usually comes in more in the inking stage than the penciling stage. I use Speedball Super Black India Ink along with my Kolinsky Sable Hair brushes (Usually I use a number 3 brush - it gives a wide variety of lines and can be made into a nice point). There is some debate among artists (mostly in the comic book field but other artists that use penk and ink) as to whether using a b

Blogging A to Z Challenge: J is for Jaundiced Eye

Note: The following magic item is designated open game content. The Jaundiced Eye is a magical pendant belonging to Viscount Wilven D’Ava (Also known as Wilven the Yellow). Viscount D’Ava was possessed of several predilections that have ostracized him from mainstream society. A self proclaimed seeker of knowledge and truth, Wilven firmly believed in the ends justifying the means. Wilven proved to be quite adept at the practice of magic and amassed a large variety of magical items to aid him in his quest for knowledge and power. The Eye of Joqua Ha Denaes (colloquially known as the Jaundiced Eye) is a large topaz set in white gold and worn as a pendant. The eye is roughly the size and shape of a human eye. It possesses many magical properties (both malevolent and benign). The pendant is strongly aligned with chaos and any being of a non-chaotic alignment must make a save versus magic or take 1d12 points of damage. Further, any non-chaotic being must make a successful save ve

Blogging A to Z: I is for Ice

I think one of the most inimical environments on the face of the earth has to be the poles. I’ve been fascinated with the tales of Roald Admunson, Scott, Shackleton, Perry, etc. I think of all of them, the 1845 expedition of Sir John Franklin to find the fabled Northwest passage is probably the most engaging of the lot (and they are all spectacular to read about). Tragedy and horror is no stranger to tales of arctic voyages. Indeed, the very nature of the isolation, inhospitality, very alien nature, and desolation make it ideally suited to such tales. Take for instance the H.P. Lovecraft tale “Beyond the Mountains of Madness”. Lovecraft uses the alien landscape and inhospitable nature of the arctic to further build upon his story of an ancient alien terror. Similarly, John Carpenter’s movie The Thing an alien menace from the stars “infects” members of an Antarctic research team. In terms of real life events of tragedy, the aforementioned Sir John Franklin Northwest Passage expe


I was looking for a picture to update the What I'm reading photo and I stumbled across this pretty cool model of Elric and Stormbringer . I'm not much of a toy/minatures guy (aminly because I have enough obessive geek hobbies and I can't afford anymore). At any rate I wanted to post the link (mainly so I can go back and see what other kinda modeling geekiness is out there. Oh lord, I don't need to open another can of worms... ;).

Blogging A to Z: H is for Hell Yeah!

Joe Browning of Expeditious Retreat Press just posted the latest cover art that Daisey and I did for the Latest Expeditious Retreat Press OSRIC module over at his blog . Here's the full cover: I love how this one turned out. Daisey did a great job of coloring my work. Here's the full version without the cover trade dress:

Blogging A to Z: G is for Games

When you take a look at most of the message boards, blogs and other online congregation spots for RPG Gamers, much of the talk seems to be of the analytical bent focused on disecting the games, comparing them to others, discussing the merrits, and often denigrating other games and their players. I find that interesting because at it's core, gaming (be it RPG's, board games, dominoes, card games, four square, jump rope, etc) should be about fun. I have a marked predeliction towards older RPGs but I don't castigate those that play the newer ones. I'll admit, that they just don't do it for me. The more fiddly they become, the more I lose interest (but I realize too that it is me). But, again, gaming is about having fun with your family and/or friends. So, short post as we head into the weekend. Remember WHY you play and most importantly, HAVE FUN. Happy Gaming!

Blogging A to Z: F is for Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire to be exact. Now I know some folks in the OSR roll their eyes back in their heads at the thought of multivolume fantasy series with page counts of 1000+ per installment (and to be honest, mine do too), I find George R.R. Martin's opus to be quite a bit more compelling than most other modern fantasy series out there. It reads quite a bit more like historical fiction than fantasy with its low magic level and grim and gritty style. And yes, I'm a big fan of this intricately detailed series. There is a pretty cool fan website out there that has been going strong for several years now. If you are a fan of the series and like to delve into the minutiae like I do, then Westeros is the place for you. Go check it out, it's worth a visit. There have been several gaming products out there based in the land of the Seven Kingdoms. Fantasy Flight Games has been doing a great job on the boardgame front. I'm not a collectable card gamer but they have

Because it is all about me - Oh and Pie, yeah all about me and pie

Mythmere Games has released the Old School Renaissance Art Book Surge of the Wine-Dark Sea . I've been looking through my artists copy and it is fantastic! No, not because my work is in it - trust me, I'm the bottom feeder of the lot - I'm just glad they let me in the same book as these guys. I mean Peter Mullen, Stefan Poag, Michael Cote, Paul Jaquays?!?! What's not to like. My link is to the Hard Cover (which even though I've got the PDF I'm going to go out and buy a copy) but it is also available in Softcover and PDF. It has some great art and artist bios. So if you're a fan of OSR art, I highly reccommend going out and buying a copy. It's even better than pie!

Blogging A to Z: E is for Elric

Probably no other fantasy character has inspired me more than Elric. Michael Moorcock’s albino anti-hero really struck a chord with me as a kid. I know today, the brooding antihero is common place theme in fantasy literature; but back in the early 1980’s and before, Elric really stood out. I’ve been rereading the saga (from the silver covered Berkley editions from the early 1980’s) and for me, it still stands the test of time as good fantasy reading. I have also gone back and bought several of the stories in graphic novel format (the ones by P. Craig Russell are pretty good). I did purchase Stormbringer several years ago, but AD&D ruled the roost with my gaming crowd and I could find more takers. I’ve recently begun to reinvestigate Elric!, Stormbringer, MRQ, etc and find that there is much to like. I’m currently really enjoying reading through OpenQuest and will get back to the other D100 Elric stuff after that. Ultimately, AD&D/D&D/Clones are most comfortab

GENCON Indy 2011 Question

OK, so I'm about 95% sure I'll be able to go to GENCON this year. I'm pretty darned excited since the OSR will have a booth this year. Check the OSR Group blog for more info on that. I'm looking forward to getting in on some games and meeting some folks and probably hanging around the OSR booth. Anyone have suggestions on where to stay? Any OSR groups gravitating towards any hotels in particular? I'll be coming in on Wednesday 3 August and probably leaving Monday 9 August. Any info would be appreciated so I can start planning. I've been to Indy a few times but this will be my first time at GENCON so give me the scoop!

Blogging A to Z: D is for Daisey

Of course it does! My wife Daisey has been incredibly supportive and understanding of all my various forms of geekery. What is the saying - behind every good man is a good woman? Well, I just wanted to say there is no one standing behind anyone here. Daisey is an equal partner in Team Bingham and quite an amazing woman in many ways. So, if you haven't already checked out her blog, go see for yourself at Creative Compulsive as well as her portfolio web site Oxeyedaisey . Oh yeah, I've been keeping her busy with colorizing some of my art. Just wwait to see the newest covers we did for Expeditious Retreat Press- she did and incredible job!

A to Z Blogging Challenge: C is for Comic books

OK, an easy one - maybe this should be C for Copout. Anyone that has ever known me more than casually will be aware of my love of comics. While it is a rather passive thing and I don't generally sit around and talk about who could win in a fight against whom (or most stereotypical fanboy stuff), I do love to look at the art and read the story lines. Anyways, enough apologizing for my love of the sequential arts and time to delve head long into my love affair with the panneled page! I started my love affair with comics when I was about five years old and it has more or less remained today. I think more than RPG art, comic book artists have really had more impact on my style than anything else. Some of my biggest influences are Mike Mignola, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Eric Powell, Kent Burles (who does a LOT of RPG work - especially for Palladium), and many more. At any rate, I have been itching to dosome sequential work in my RPG project. Here's a peek at the first page o

On the Fly Role Playing with Kids: The Zombie Fountain and the Mountain of Mystery

Today has been an incredibly lovely day. I decided to try something a bit different and do some gaming outside. Bear has been bugging me to get a game started. Unfortunately, he is only reading in Italian at this point and the academic advisor recommended that we hold off teaching him to read English until he has a better grasp of reading in Italian so as to not confuse him. So, I decided to come up with a very basic on the fly RPG system using percentile dice as the resolution mechanic and my D&D minis to create a 3d "dungeon". It actually turned out to be quite fun. The key here was to be free form enough so as to keep Bear's interest while having something of a structure. I created a four class system so Bear, my daughter Rosa, and their "cousin" Marco had a field of characters to choose from. I had a hobbit, wizard, warrior, and amazon princess. Each character had hit points, a percentage chance to hit in melee, a percentage chance to block an a

Blogging A to Z: B is for Bear!

What can I say but my son Bear is an incredibly imaginitive little guy who always amazes me with the things he comes up with. Halloween is a particular favorite as it gives Daisey a chance to show off her crazy costume skills and Bear to show off his imagination. The October after we arrived in Germany, we took a trip to Bavaria and visited the town of Oberammergau . From there we visited King Ludwig II's Linderhof Palace as well as Hoenschwangau and Neuschwanstein . It was an enchanting trip to be sure and one that struck a particular chord with my then 3 1/2 year old son Bear. Bear was particularly taken with the story of the swan knights that were said to have built a castle in the area in the 12th century. Lohengrin, the Swan Knight became a particular favorite of Bear. I played some of Wagner's Operas for him and he loved them. So enchanted was he with Lohengrin, the very next Halloween, he asked his incredibly skilled mother to make him a Swan Knight costume for

A to Z Blogging Challenge: A is for Abstruse

OK, OK, so I'm a sucker and really I just want to increase my followers so I can be higher in the listing on Cyclopeatron's OSR blog rankings . But this seemed like a fun exercise and might help me stay a bit more dilligent in my blogging. I've mentioned before that my preference in old school roleplaying games is to have very humanocentric campaigns. These days I find myself straying from using demihumans as I think it tends to deminish the allure of these beings. For me, creatures like elves, dwarves, gnomes, etc should be mysterious and beyond human ken. An encounter with these beings should be ansomething, well fantastic. In my worlds, demihumans, their culture, and their very mindset is abstruse to the human mind. Think about it, in the real world, we humans can barely comprehend the mindset of someone with a different political affiliation, let alone someone from another culture. Now imagine encountering beings with not only a different culture, a differen

Blood sucking leeches ate my brain and made me read Lamentations of the Flame Princess

OK, so it didn't happen exactly like that, but, well, um, yeah. At any rate, James Raggi has opened the preorders for the Grindhouse Edition of Lamentations of the Flame Princess , Zak Smith's Vornheim, the Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society memberships (I'm member 17 for all you hosebags late to the game - which makes me one of the original 31;), and T-shirts. Why am I mentioning this? Because I have artwork in the new edition. OK, so I only have one piece of artwork in the new edition (but it is acompanying my writeup for a magic item I created for the game - the Maelific Eye of Putrescence - also known as the stink eye). But seriously, I really think Mr. Raggi has an innovative and interesting product here. The game itself is provocative and evocative, the artwork is top notch (I'm actually the bottom feeder of the bunch - Amos Sterns just rocks), and well, it's different. This is not a game for everyone (which is awesome - people shouldn't be affraid

Let them eat pie!

Wow, I've been rather slow on the blogging but the good news is that I've been really busy doing tons of artwork for various projects. In fact, I may have done more art commissions so far this year (since January) than I have in the past two years combine. Looks like 2011 is a great year. Last night I submitted my latest batch to Joe and Suzi at Expeditious Retreat Press. I must say that those two are a great bunch of slave drivers. I'm just kidding, actually Joe and Suzi are GREAT to work with. I think Daisey did another outstanding job on the coloring. She really makes my work look good. Anyways, I've got another stack of art to get on. I hope everyone has a great weekend!