DarkZel Scholarship 2015

gcqsngdzsnf6vqutl3xpThe Darkzel Scholarship for this year has commenced.

You can give money to the scholarship fund HERE.

There’s more information in the Darkzel scholarship tab at the top of this page, but here’s the brief rundown as we’re not only soliciting donations towards the scholarship fund, but also entries and applications for the scholarship!

The Darkzel Scholarship

Zachary Harris, ‘Zel’ or ‘Darkzel’, was a friend of mine who worked for me on a number of projects from Blood! to Cthentacle as well as side projects such as a comic book and stock art. We were planning all sorts of projects together and he worked with me for some years until his untimely death while he was teaching English in Korea.

In this business, you often end up working with young artists and so it was with Zel. As a result we forged a friendship and I helped him pay his way through education and to blossom into a professional and very skilled artist.

What better way, then, to commemorate him by establishing a scholarship in his name to further support new, young artists? So that’s what I decided to do.

Young SF&F artists often have a hard time in an education system which favours ‘fine art’ or ‘design’, neither of which SF&F easily fit into. Art is also, often, a hard career to enter and to succeed at with expensive supplies and other issues that stand in a person’s way.

126181How it Works

Each year I consolidate the money raised by Zel’s stock art and the donations and winners from previous years and put it into a lump sum, as well as running a fundraiser to raise the scholarship funding to a more useful level (typically $500). Each year, then, more art accumulates and in theory the income rises year on year as the art is added to.

This year sales raised $60. I hope donations can add onto this and get us to at least $600.

You Want to Help?

You can…

  • Donate Money at the IndieGoGo fundraiser.
  • Donate Art (Pieces should meet the same criteria as entries.
  • Publicise (Post on forums, blogs, social media etc).
  • Buy some art, the sales of which go to fund the scholarship.

145470You Want a Scholarship?

The Fundraiser will close out on February the 1st next year and judging may finish then or continue until the end of February, depending on the number of entries received in that period.

  • Entries need to be presented in electronic format, submitted to my email address (grim AT postmort DOT demon DOT co DOT uk).
  • Entries should be at least A6 size at 300-600 dpi.
  • B&W or colour is fine.
  • Content should be Science Fiction or Fantasy related – or at least ‘genre’ related. Horror is also fine, modern adventure/spy/historical adventure, pulp, steampunk and so on is all fine too. (‘Adult’ illustration is OK, but full on erotic/pornographic cannot be accepted).
  • You must be in full-time education at High School, College or University. Entries from people in reduced circumstances (long term unemployment, disabled etc) will be considered but the scholarship is primarily intended to help young up-and-coming artists. You’ll need to provide confirmation of your status either way.
  • You must be payable via Paypal.

#Blog – Why Crowdfunding Court Ruling is Bad for Everyone


News comes via Polygon that a court has ruled that late or failed Kickstarters are liable to their backers.

“Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft,” said Washington’s attorney general Bob Ferguson in a press release issued July 27. “If you accept money from consumers, and don’t follow through on your obligations, my office will hold you accountable.”

I’ve been trying, hopelessly, for some time to get this point across to people, but crowdfunders are not customers. They’re investors. When you back a project via a crowdfunding site you are not making a preorder, you are risking money to back a maker of a project to try (operative word try…) to create something. There are no guarantees that you’ll get anything at all, let alone everything that’s promised.

On the flip side, too many companies – especially established companies – HAVE been using crowdfunding as a preordering system. This abuses the system and sucks money away from small companies and innovators who should (in my opinion) be the major beneficiaries of the crowdfunding revolution.

Are there rip-off artists? Yes.

Should they be punished?


Are there clueless people who don’t know what they’re getting into? Yes.

Are there people whose projects fail or get delayed through no fault of their own? Yes.

Should they be punished?


This ruling is going to likely lead to more rulings in a similar vein and this is going to severely curtail risky and creative ventures, it’s going to severely truncate the scope, scale and ambition of projects. It’s going to disproportionately impact on the small businesses and innovators while impacting less on the larger companies who have more slack and more existing capacity to reliably deliver.

This concerns me, and not only because my own project is currently delayed. It’s going to end up hurting people whose projects have failed through no fault of their own and who have thrown their entire lives into their projects and will have nothing left to compensate angry and litigious blowhards. It’s also going to mean less interesting, innovative and meaningful projects for people to fund as more will play it safe or scale back what they’re attempting. This will mean more bland, less interesting projects.

Fingers crossed this precedent is overturned or at least not followed in other territories, but things are looking grim for what was a revolutionary and essential tool for small publishers and technical innovators to disrupt the existing system.

Gor: Crowdfunding Update

Art1We’re nearly halfway through the crowdfunding appeal now and we’re at 42% of our goal. I’d like to get that to 50% over the next two days, which means convincing you to give up another $400 or so between you.

One thing I’m offering, as an exclusive to backers, is a PDF booklet of Michael’s art, at larger scale and without the distractions of text, for those who back the project as an exclusive for those who get the PDF books and print.

How else can I convince you to give up some cash? Tell me and let me know! Also please be sure and do me a favour and pass on information about the project to all and sundry. The more money we get, the more art Michael can do and the better the final products will be.

Also, don’t forget, even if you’re not a roleplayer, the world book will make a great art and information resource on the book series and a fine thing to own in its own right, quite apart from the game.





Patreon: You can now pay me forever! Bwahahahahha!

Hey there prospective patron.

I’m ‘Grim’ (a nickname from college that’s stuck) and I make games. I have worked on some social media games and helped out with some videogame projects here and there but my big love is roleplaying games and I’ve written… quite a lot of them.

I want to keep creating content – and branching out into fiction – but things are pretty volatile at the moment and as a depression sufferer it’s hard for me to work reliably day by day no matter how hard I work when everything is fine.

A little more financial security would hugely help my situation with my brain issues, and give me more money to plough back into games and personal projects which will also go to support young and upcoming fantasy and science fiction artists, editors, writers, typographers, layout people and other creatives all around the world.

I’ll pay forward your generosity.

You can keep up with me at my website
Or on Twitter.
Or you’re welcome to email me.

With ‘1000 true fans’ each giving me just one buck per month, I’d be safe, secure and have the freedom to experiment.

PATRONISE (In a good way)