The Last Zelart

Today I put up the last piece of art from Zel, which was a bit of an emotional experience. Now there’s not going to be any more.

Zel worked with me on a lot of things. Hentacle, Final Straw, Origins of the Specious/Sex, Dice & Gamer Chicks, stock art, even a game I made as a personal present for my friends.  He helped me make a comic – something I always wanted to do.

We’re going to use the residual income from his stock art to make a sort of ‘micro scholarship’. I’m still working out all the details. It’ll be used to help out, even if its just in some minor way, an art student somewhere in the world, once per year. Probably helping those more into the illustration, comic, anime, etc style who can sometimes suffer from academic indifference and disrespect.

Please Stop Selling Bad Art

Wait. I’m the bad guy?

You’re not good enough yet.

Really, you’re not.

I know that people are always out for cheap art to illustrate their RPG projects and that not everybody’s presentation is professional or even semi-professional. I tend to go for fairly simple, minimalist layouts for that reason but please…

Stop selling your bad art.

Any schmuck can put together wooden looking poser dolls and anyone can trace an outline. You’ll get better with practice but that horrible scratching you’re selling for a buck a throw? It’s doing everyone harm, including you.

How is it doing harm?

1. You’re giving yourself a bad reputation – Get a rep for shitty art and people will stop looking and checking.

2. You’re pushing product off the front page of sites like RPGNOW – If you’re throwing up shitty sketches twice a day you’re contributing to product churn and pushing worthy product off the front page. The front page is important advertising for people with new product. Books that take months to put together are being knocked out of view by your napkin doodles. Stop it.

3. You’re depressing the acceptable price of stock art and flooding the market with crud. – That makes it hard to search through and find the good stuff and the price of stock art is already low, very low, compared to direct commissioning.

Now, what constitutes crap art is very subjective. I’m not saying everything has to be perfect and the ‘dodgy doodle’ can even be a stylistic choice for some games trying to capture to old-skool feel. There’s a few things you can do though, even if you can’t stop:

Being Less Crap:

1. Find honest people to give you honest, critical feedback.

2. Consolidate your releases. Don’t release ten, individual, shitty pieces of art for a buck each. Put them together in a collection and sell them. The good pieces will stand out, you won’t flood the front page so much and you’re providing value and giving yourself space to practice.

3. Do spot illustrations. Spot illustrations don’t have to be as good, typically and if they’re a little rough they just recall classics like Fighting Fantasy books or old adventure modules.

4. If you can’t do spot illustrations, do graphical elements, textures, things like that are always useful and you don’t need to be OMFGBRILLIANT to make something useful.

Now, I’ve also become aware of rumours about a disturbing trend amongst other small RPG companies. Reselling artist’s work as stock art.

This is a ‘Dick Move'(tm). Don’t do it. Let’s be honest here, most of us cannot afford what the work of these artists is worth. Allowing them to retain right of resale and reuse of their art or allowing the rights to revert after 3/6/12 months is a way we can help compensate for being cheapskates.

The stock art that I sell is commissioned AS stock art from the artists involved and includes highly detailed and highly stylised art depending on the artist. If I’m selling stock art money is going to the artists and I’m providing a central clearing house with, what I hope, is a good reputation for decent art. I’m not taking advantage as I fear some companies and individuals may be.

Don’t treat artists like crap and if you are an RPG artist I think you should be asking for these rights and finding places to sell your art – after rights revert – to help you squeeze a living out of a tough business. At this point, honestly, this should be standard procedure for small press.

TLDR: Don’t sell shit, don’t be a dick, re-sell your art yourself.

RavenArt: Steampunk RELEASED

Cheaply priced stock-art useful for your Steampunk, alt-historical or even planetary romance games.

Get it HERE

People Say Nice Things about our Stuff!

People have had nice things to say about our stuff. Look!

Colony: Moon

Like the author, I grew up with a sense of wonder and anticipation regarding space travel. As our generation has in a sense ‘lost the moon’ I find the concept of Colony Moon to be compelling. Those motivations aside, the game itself is quite simply fun.

The rules are easy to read and follow, so even a cursory amount of preparation will allow you to host a game without too much worry. The basic interactions of the game are interesting on their own, but adding in characterization and roleplay magnifies this significantly.

The game is ideal for those who love games like Civilization/Alpha Centauri or Outpost but have always wanted more from the diplomatic and political side of things.

I got the game for personal enjoyment, but after reading and testing it, feel it will be useful and enjoyable in an educational setting as well.

This game is well worth a look.

Anthony B

Tobyart 3: Knights

Toby Gregory’s artwork is among my favorite stock art pack and has made me seek him out for custom work. I have developed an entire series of releases based around the entire series of Tobyart. These images are always glorious to behold. In addition there is always a wonderful mix of the iconic and the original when it comes to the characfters created.

The Cover image of TobyArt Knights is actually the weakest image presented but is the most modular since a human knight can be found in any game. I truly cannot wait to use the female dragonborn with the eye patch or the drinking dwarf.

My highest praise.

Steven D. Russell
Rite Publishing

TobyArt3: Knights RELEASED!


Buy it HERE.

The pieces will also be released individually at $4 a pop, but buying the lot for $15 is a blummin’ bargain!

Use ’em in your personal or professional projects and do, please, let us know if you do!

Interview with Brad McDevitt (200 clipart critters!)

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Just ask my mom…I was (no joke) drawing before I could talk or read… so being an artist was pretty much a life-sentence! My parents used to joke that I was an easy one to raise: give me a pencil and paper, and they knew where I could be found for the next few hours… days… weeks…

What was your first, paying art gig?

That was in the mid 80’s, back during the heyday of literary zines before the internet took over that end of the publishing industry. As a horror geek, I zoomed in on the small press of the time, ending up doing some illustrations for magazines like Deathrealm and After Hours before moving over to gaming.

How did you come to work with Postmortem Studios?

Lol… it has been so long, obviously Grim doesn’t exactly remember either. If memory serves, Grim had posted hat the forums on that he was looking for a logo for a sci-fi game; I emailed him, we hit it off, and that was 2004 or so. Clip Art Critters came a few years later after a company in Michigan stiffed me for some art, and I was looking for a way to recoup my “loss”… I really need to find that company and thank them!

Name drop… what companies have you worked with?

Err… GDW, TSR/WOTC, FASA, Atlas Games, Goodman Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Pinnacle Entertainment Group… the list goes on and on, not counting, obviously, Postmortem Studios. I have literally lost track of how many companies I have done work for since the late 1980s… thought that might just be senility setting in.

Of what work are you most proud?

That is a hard one to peg; I STRIVE to make each new piece a product to be most proud of, in terms of quality, or in terms of what I take away from the piece. For example, I am teaching myself Adobe Photoshop right now, and with each piece I finish in that program, I am learning a new trick, so I am proud of a lot of what I am accomplishing that way. I am particularly proud of my run on Ars Magica for Atlas Games, as well as my work for Age of Cthulhu for Goodman Games. But I am most proud, actually, of my achievements as the author of It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show, NightLife, and Haiiiii-Ya!

Any unfulfilled professional desires?

…not that spring to mind, except to get some of my books out of head/hard drive and out where people can enjoy them! I get paid to draw monsters, robots, and beautiful women, so I can’t complain.

What’s your favorite thing to draw?

Give me something slimy and creepy to draw, and I am happy, which is why I am so happy to work on stuff like Age of Cthulhu, actual Call of Cthulhu stuff for Chaosium, or the re-launch of Dark conspiracy.

Do you ever get to game?

Not anymore…lol… I am usually working or too busy doing art to worry about it! I still read games whenever possible though. Usually, my wife and I just end up doing a card game, or board game or pretty standard video-game stuff on the Wii.

What’s your favourite game?

That is a good question… when I did game, I absolutely loved first Champions, then Shadowrun, but for the past bit, when I have had time to game, I have wanted to run (not surprisingly) my own games or games I have in the process of writing.

What advice would you offer anyone getting into the biz? (Other than ‘Don’t)

Two things: ONE… accept that you are not going to get rich being involved the tabletop gaming industry! There have been a few people, who did get wealthy doing this, but those are like the top 1% of the business… the other 99%, like me… this is the best HOBBY in the world. TWO… be patient (this applies to any field of endeavor, I know)… it took me five years to break from working for really small companies like Tri-Tac Games to getting a job at GDW… and the pay was, while better, still nothing to get terribly excited about. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with eating Ramen noodles, and having a sense of accomplishment over a fat bank account, maybe gaming is your path to Nirvana.

Brad McDevitt has been working with Postmortem Studios for a long time now and has very kindly been releasing his clipart through us in a very mutually beneficial way. Brad’s also a stand-up geezer, an incredibly hard worker and a good friend and he deserves a hell of a lot more recognition for his efforts and his artwork which has, quietly, defined the look of a lot of gaming products over the years.

I wanted to give Brad the chance to talk a little about his work and his time involved in the gaming industry and hobby and I wanted to pay forward all the great stuff he’s done for me by drawing more current attention to him.

You can see his great online portfolio and contact him HERE.








To celebrate the 200th (!) piece of art for sale by Brad McDevitt we’re knocking 25% off ALL clipart for sale at RPGNOW until the end of the month. Pick yourself up some lovely bargains by an RPG industry veteran and use them to liven up your games, your handouts and your products.

Check it