Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blood Rituals: The Art of Tom Baxa 2015

I wanted to talk a little about the my art book Blood Rituals: The Art ofTom Baxa .  I can't believe it, but the book has been out for about 4 1/2 years now.  I did a Kickstarter to get the book printed and released, in 2010 and it was quite an involved experience with so many things to do to bring it to fruition.




The Kickstarter site launched in April of 2009, and I did my campaign in July of 2010.  So needless to say it was the early days of Kickstarter and there weren't a lot of people on it from the gaming community yet.  Backer incentive strategies like stretch goals and add-ons didn’t exist yet and there were no fulfillment or marketing companies specializing in KS at that time.  I’m sure there were a lot of people on there already, especially in publishing and other product areas, but I didn't have the wealth of examples to draw from that are available now on KS. So I was flying blind, but I totally saw the potential of using crowdfunding for my artistic endeavors. 

When I did the Kickstarter campaign video, I had the cover paining for the book about halfway painted, and (if I remember right) I had the book laid out for the most part.  I knew I wanted to do a brand-new painting just for the cover and I thought it be kind of fun to have a sexy babe with the demon (how could you go wrong right?) and some Blood!  This is the final cover painting in all its glory.


The way I personally work is that I spend a little time envisioning what I might want to put on the cover, then I just start sketching and see what plays out.  I seldom do a bunch of thumbnails or multiple sketches, because I usually enjoy what comes out the first time when I put pencil to paper. My sketches are line drawings that I mount down to a board and paint over.



When I mix oil paints to do a painting I'll always do a little mini sketch like this just to get a sense of the colors and how they're relating to each other. 



Graphic design
To my surprise one of the things I had the most fun with was the graphic design of the book.  Whenever I start a new book, IP (intellectual property), or project I always start with the title and create a logo for it so that I can brand it across any kind of marketing efforts I apply.  Sometimes I draw my own logo,  but often it's not much more than finding a cool font and jazzing it up to make it into a logo.

I was fortunate to have had help from a professional graphic designer on Blood Rituals who help me lay out the book and get it ready for print. However I did have a tremendous amount of input on the graphics and the way the pages would look, especially on the chapter/section title pages.  Here's the section title page from the concept art section.  Each of these two page spreads had a little bit of creepy prose that I wrote on the left-hand page.  The prose related to the up-coming section and I always use the word “blood” somewhere in the pros and highlighted it using the same font as the book logo.  I also created the layout in imagery for the two page spreads.



Invoke the whispered ways, and
Call into being
Wretched creatures conceived from a
Fractured imagination.

Incantation
A baptism of Blood
An impure awakening.

Rise
Vile ones.

Feed.

Here's another page from the Wicked Fairies section.  I provided the designer with a bunch of textures and some examples and he did an excellent job of laying out the rest of the book, placing artwork over the background textures.


I also designed the back cover of the book.  This was quite fun because I got to play with some design elements and visual balancing of the page; and I also enjoyed working with fonts. 


Putting this book together was an amazing learning experience for me and I know it will serve me well in the future when I release my next book. Running the Kickstarter also was quite an experience and I learned a lot and I continue to learn from all the amazing artists and creators in our community who have been doing Kickstarters.

Blood Rituals: The Art ofTom Baxa is a 112 page, full-color art book with images that span my 25 year career. It's full of art from your favorite games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering,  World of Warcraft, Shadowrun, and more. There's also a few samples of my fiction in the book because at that time I knew I was going to be writing more in the future.  I’m actually working on an illustrated novel right now (more on that later).

Buy the book here: Blood Rituals:The Art of Tom Baxa

And here's a flip through video I created why flip through every page of the book and you can get a glimpse at all the awesome are inside that will likely make you want to run out and buy the book.



There's also an option for me to do an original sketch on the inside front page if you like.  Hope you've enjoyed this post about one of me labors of love :)    -- Tom




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