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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Classifieds: Trouble for Hire

No, I'm not talking about myself. Yes, I wish I'd thought of it for my own personal tagline.

I'm talking about one of the jobs I've been working on that I've been thinking about a lot, called TROUBLE FOR HIRE - written by Kevin Allen Jr., creator of accolade-winning games like Sweet Agatha [read more on Allen at his site].

Kevin contacted me a few months ago and pitched the game idea to me, and, I'll be honest - I felt like it was completely out of my comfort zone of colorful, adorbzies fantasy and steampunk anachronism. So I said yes.

You know when Ernie Hudson says, "when someone asks you if you are a god, you say YES!"
...Don't lie, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen Ghostbusters, you stop what you're doing and you go watch it. It's OK. I'll wait.

Anyway, my inner Ernie Hudson shouted at me, "When someone gives you the opportunity to watch movies like "Deathproof" and "Vanishing Point" for work, you say YES!" So I obeyed. I found myself immersed in the glorious, horrible, grainy pastiche that is the "road movies" genre. I was behind the wheel. I was feeling that anxiety you get when you watch a well filmed car chase. I felt the filmy layer of dust on my brain that makes you want a shower after watching the exploitation and the cliches. Kurt Russell was wearing that eye patch for ME. For SCIENCE.

Ahem. What came out of my sketching time was a big pile of fun drawings. Kevin's character write-ups are really wonderful, and I hope the original tone and much of the wording remains in his final game descriptives. The non-player protagonist is such a right mix of "everyman" and "that cool guy I always hoped would give me a ride home from high school in his Corvette".  When thinking about the antagonists, I had to find the right balance of cartoonish vs. "yeah, I believe that person could ruin my character's day", and it was a fun, dark road. Best of all, my inner Amazon is desperately willing the enigmatic character known as "the Rider" into existence, via "Neverending Story" magic.

Here are some process sketches, artfully staged (cough cough, iphone) so that I can give you a look before I show off the final inks.

I can't wait for more information on TROUBLE FOR HIRE to come out so you can see for yourself, and support it.

[Warning: Some drawings below contain boobies. You have been warned. Tuck away your inner fifth grader, people.]

Working out the comic relief characters and all their charming idiosyncrasies was a riot. Drawing unidentifiable stains is a not normally in my purview, but I was... er, inspired (inspired is a horrible word to use in this context, but, you work with what you've got, and I'm not a writer). Using "People of Walmart" for your go-to visual reference website. Yeeeeah. Whew.

This guy was reworked to look a little more realistic, and the end result (which I'll post soon) ended up being at least 82% more terrifying. I think so, anyway. 

I know you want his car. I want it too. Good luck stealing it.

This character brings to mind my favorite quote from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's "Good Omens":

'The men in the room suddenly realized that they didn't want to know her better. She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close. And as she held her sword, she smiled like a knife.'

The quote's not entirely accurate - this character is no sex kitten. Her toplessness is out of sheer "could care less"-ness rather than being of any motive of enticement. This makes her intriguing, and ups her intimidation factor tenfold, if you think about it. It might be best not to. The direction I was given relayed that the Rider hovered somewhere between Frank Frazetta's "Death Dealer" and Racer X. You just ponder that for a little while, and see if she alone doesn't make you want to buy this game immediately.

Anyway, there you go. The finals and more goodies will be released when there's an update on this game. I will let you all know, have no fear.

In other news, my next post will hopefully be a process blog about the illustrations I'm finishing up for a kick-ass fantasy novel called "The Duchess of the Shallows", by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto. I think you'll really like this book, and hopefully dig the work I've done for it. Maps are challenging, but I really, really dug the process to create it. Hope I get to do more maps some day soon.

The guys over at Penny Dreadful Productions teamed up with the Brothers Young (a really kick ass  brother filmmaker duo and their mad, merry crew of talented-as-all-getout artists) to get the short film series for REMNANT underway. I did a poster series for them (you can see that here). Dan Carroll - an all around excellent gentleman and naughty ne'er-do-well (yes, he actually can be both at the same time) - wrote a great article/interview about it over here at Space Gypsies. I recommend you read it!

OK. I'm off to attempt to reverse-engineer some Pie*. I'll have to post the recipe once I've gotten it to the point that I'm satisfied. Pray for me.

*Pie: A moonshine-like spirit that kicks like Everclear (...because it's sometimes made with Everclear) but tastes distinctly like wholesome, innocent apple pie. Homemade. Often seen being poured from unmarked jugs, and destroying costumers at conventions in the South.


  1. Well I'll tell you one thing - even if I don't get a chance to actually play the game, I'm going to have to buy it. Your write up and concept sketches alone make me want to 'meet' the characters.

    " Using "People of Walmart" for your go-to visual reference website."

  2. I can not believe how talented you are. I stumbled across your blog from terribleminds.com and I am quite happy that I did. Your work is astounding and I wish that I had the talent behind the keyboard that you have behind the pencil.