#RPG #ART – Zelart Scholarship 2018-2019

DONATE, SHARE, ENTER!

Many artists are struggling. The gig economy, the degree of competition, university or college fees, it all adds up to be a massive discouragement to many artists and for those who make their living from their art, life can be extremely precarious. The Zelart Scholarship seeks to redress this for those who have the biggest challenges ahead of them, young or disadvantaged genre artists. For several years we’ve been doing all we can to help.

The Zelart Scholarship

Hi, my name is James ‘Grim’ Desborough. I’m an author and roleplaying game designer from the UK, with my own small press publisher, Postmortem Studios. I run the Zelart Scholarship in memory of my friend and collaborator, ‘Zel’.

Zel was an artist I worked with and helped through his education. We met through friends and formed a strong working relationship together. We made card games together and he provided illustrations for several of my gaming books. I got a great sense of satisfaction from helping a young, budding artist through school and watching his talent blossom.

Sadly, Zel was killed in an accident before I got to see him fully achieve his artistic potential or the success he so richly deserved.

Casting about for something I could do to commemorate him, I remembered how we had met, how the work I gave him had helped him so much and how good it had felt to nurture that talent. The best way to remember Zel, I felt, was to do the same for others.

In my day to day work I do what I can, deliberately seeking out young, marginalised, disabled, unemployed, homeless and other disadvantaged artists to give them a leg up, money and help in getting the attention of the RPG and publishing community to get them into more regular work.

The Zelart scholarship is a natural extension of this. A way to hunt out and promote new talent and to give them a lump sum of cash to smooth their way.

What We Need & What You Get

We sell Zel’s back catalogue of stock art, along with donated artworks and the artwork of past winners to raise funds over the year and supplement that with what we can raise via this fundraiser. This isn’t about selling a product to you, but what you get out of it is more, reasonably priced stock art, a way to nurture new artists and a warm sense of self-satisfaction.

Whatever money we get will go to the scholarship winner, if we raise a great deal over and above our target we may institute second or third tier awards. Whatever we raise will go to artists.

Risks & Challenges

It can be challenging to find people both to sponsor and to enter into this scholarship. Previous years this has proven very challenging. Whatever you can do to spread the word to potential sponsors, donators and entrants is greatly appreciated.

Other Ways You Can Help

Besides a contribution, you can help out in many other ways.

Are you a young artist or an artist suffering from reduced circumstances? Then enter!

Are an artist who is doing OK for themselves and has some spare personal pieces they don’t mind being sold to support this enterprise? You can donate art!

Do you know a young artist or an artist who needs the money due to disability, unemployment or other issues? Tell them about it!

Rules for Entry

Entries to try and win the scholarship award should meet the following requirements:

  1. At least A6 at 300 dpi and able to be delivered digitally.
  2. It is preferred that you have a Paypal account for ease of payment.
  3. You must be either a student, or an artist in reduced circumstances, whatever those might be.
  4. Your art must fit into the loose definition of ‘genre art’. That is science fiction, fantasy, horror and similar.
  5. Adult art is permitted, but nothing ‘hardcore’. Consider your limit to be that of ‘burlesque’.
  6. Contact for further clarifications and entires is grim AT postmort DOT demon DOT co DOT uk.

#RPG – The Politics of Postmortem Studios

f2388bfcfd4cad5fbf8dd05fa090cf7a.pngIn the run-up to the US mid-term elections, several game companies put out statements on their political stances and exhorting people to vote in particular ways. This struck me as a little crass, and somewhat beyond the remit of a games company, an entertainer or – indeed – an artist.

This is far from the first time that this has happened, with games companies ‘excommunicating’ fans with particular outlooks, or even outright telling them ‘we don’t want you’. In a time of increasing division, this is even more divisive and this seems – to me – to be especially unhelpful when games and other diversions are a way to reach across the aisle and to humanise each other.

Still, I thought it best to explicitly state my political position as a company writer, game designer, artist, employer – and as an individual. So first, my position as a company, and the one I would prefer (but not demand) that anyone who works with me adopts…

I do not care who you are or what you believe. Your politics are not relevant to whether you enjoy my games or not. I do not want to deny anyone access to my material and while it is inevitably, somewhat, coloured by my experience and outlook, I make no demands and exclude nobody. Whatever your politics, creed, colour, sexuality, gender identity or ice-cream preference you’re welcome to play and enjoy my games, to work with me ore interact in any which way you prefer.

Hopefully, that’s clear enough. The TL;DR is that I don’t care about your personal politics, and you shouldn’t care about mine. Games are a way to look past all that, see each other as people, set aside politics and other divisions and to just have fun.

So as regards my personal politics, if you care…

I am a left-libertarian on the political compass, waaaaay down on the bottom left. Ideologically I’m an Anarchist-without-adjectives, but closest to an Anarcho-Technocrat. Ideological ideals rarely survive contact with the real world however, and my guiding principle from Anarchism is to maximise freedom for the greatest number of people, which in the current sociopolitical climate leads me to adopt Socialism as the best option to meet that goal.

I am pro free speech, for anything that falls short of The Harm Principle and believe the role of the state should be as guarantor and defender of people’s rights, rather than a source of constriction, censorship or oppression – and I extend that to the private sphere. Those rights should be as equal as possible between everyone, without special treatment either positive or negative. I believe we should work as hard as we can to maximise people’s opportunities so that everyone has the best possible chance to achieve their full potential.

I’m also an atheist, apparently I’m obliged to mention that.

Overriding anything else I think or believe, pragmatism and correct information has to come first. Effective action can only proceed from accurate facts, and pragmatism requires compromise where such is possible without losing touch with those base principles.

You may have heard things about me that seem to be in conflict with these ideals. There is a lot of bullshit going around, mainly – ironically – because I choose to speak up about the regressive, censorious behaviour of others in the industry who – also ironically – often consider themselves progressive. If you want clarity, my door is always open.

Behind all this is, of course, is an argument over politics, art, political art, the ‘personal as political’ and all that jazz.

Can art be political? Sure. To an extent, we can’t help but project our own politics and worldviews into what we create. This is more obvious in some forms of art than others. That doesn’t mean that art has to be political, nor that it has to beat people over the head with politics.

There’s a term for wilfully, evangelical political art, and that is propaganda.

That’s also behind what I call the ‘Christian Rock Problem’. The reason Christian Rock is so fucking terrible is because it puts its religious message first, over and above the concern of making it any good. This is also why Rage Against the Machine’s breakout album is the only good one they did.

  • So, art can be apolitical.
  • Art can be about politics.
  • Art can be political, and that’s when it becomes propaganda.

Art to any purpose can be worthwhile and beautiful. Even a TV commercial or a cereal box, even a Soviet-era political poster.

In divisive times like this, streaming art and games according to political tribalism only stands to worsen things and to increase the polarising effects we already suffer from social media bubbles, tabloids and tribalistic news channels. Games, hobbies, sports, these are places where we can meet across these lines and understand each other – or they should be. I cannot stand that people are willfully and deliberately politicising these spaces and making the problem worse, not better.

If you are interested in my more political games, feel free to check out The Little Grey Book and @ctiv8.

If there are any specifics you’d like me to clarify my positions on, I’d appreciate the opportunity to do so. Feel free to ask below or via Ask.fm/grimachu

#RPG – Stock Art – Celtic Smith

257764We have a new piece of stock art, by a new artist, up for sale. This piece depicting a celtic-style smith, hard at work in his forge.

Postmortem Studios sells a metric shitload of stock art, so if you’re a budding (or even established) games studio or want to add a little flair to your handouts, we’re your one-stop shop for all things artsy fartsy. There’s even a 400 piece bundle, which makes a great ‘starter pack’ for amateur publishers, and a 100 piece bundle with a more varied array of artists and styles, sales of which go to support our artist scholarship.

If you’re an artist we’re always looking for more contributors and if you need to make some quick cash, we might be willing to buy unsold art you have to sell on as stock art. You get money short-term, we get money long-term, and you get The Dreaded Exposure to a potential audience of new clients. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, and follow us on social media for opportunities.

Please do get in touch if you’re interested.

Postmortem Studios Apparel: ‘Dead Tired of Zombies’

deadtired.png

You can get this, and a bunch of other cool and nerdy shirts, over on TEESPRING.

#RPG – A Month of Monsters – The Biting Bone

44526532_10216626427311222_2240961403584249856_nYou can buy this piece of stock art, for as little as $1 this month as part of a promotion. We have a promotion running all month, 31 pieces of monstrous stock art, one a day until all are at on sale culminating on the 31st for Halloween.

This piece depicts a bloody bone.

The Biting Bone is all that was left of Saint Galston (patron saint of the devoured) after he was attacked by ravening, toothsome beasts. The bone carries the power of Saint Galston’s final words, reported – by his squire – as being “I hope you choke on it, you bastards.”

To read the rest of this entry, with statistics for 5e D&D, please subscribe to me on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.

#RPG – A Month of Monsters – Turtlefolk

image (7)You can buy this piece of stock art, for as little as $1 this month as part of a promotion. We have a promotion running all month, 31 pieces of monstrous stock art, one a day until all are at on sale culminating on the 31st for Halloween.

This piece depicts a vicious turtle-man, armed with a tribal weapon.

The turtle men are surprisingly quick, violent and tough. They lurk in villages, hidden in rises and rafts in steaming swamps. They hide in damp tunnels, deep in the earth. Grumpy, quick to anger, explosively violent they belie their passive, ponderous appearance with horrendous and patient applications of brutality. They’ve also been known to use treasure as a lure, before springing an ambush.

To read the rest of this entry, with statistics for 5e D&D, please subscribe to me on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.

#RPG – A Month of Monsters – The Flux

44126915_10216605085497690_8879370496752222208_nYou can buy this piece of stock art, for as little as $1 this month as part of a promotion. We have a promotion running all month, 31 pieces of monstrous stock art, one a day until all are at on sale culminating on the 31st for Halloween.

This piece depicts a mutated humanoid, mid-change.

Magic, curses, unknown forces can all come together to change and mutate people. Dark wizards sometimes use their powers to create entire new species, whole cloth or through the fusion of other creatures. Sometimes the change is simply so overwhelming that no solid form can be garnered and the ill-fated creature enters a state of permanent flux and change.

To read the rest of this entry, with statistics for 5e D&D, please subscribe to me on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.