Saturday, July 11, 2009

The weekend so far...


We’ve been making hay over the past couple of days. In the land of cloudy skies (Bremerton/Seattle), you do that while the sun shines – which it has, for the past week. And we’ve got some high-quality hay, let me tell you.

Geoff has come through again with some sterling modifications (okay, they’re practically rewrites) of the Guillotine and Vulcans. As Jack Black would say, ‘Excellent work, my keyboard-slinging amigo!’ They read smooth as glass; I rewarded a lowly (but brave) BU-20a driver with a slot in combat medic school, but that was the only change. The BARS looks very good, as does the Crinos. The Katana I will read through after dumping the week’s garbage.

Mike has been hard at work tweaking the Cheyenne III; I have bumped his pay up a bit although it does not begin to compensate for the effort he has put in. I will see what I can do to reduce the workload per piece. He will be working on the Dragonfly next, I hope – Mike has a knack for producing excellent VTOL designs which are practical and pleasing to the eye.

No further news from JP on the Thug and Blackjack. Work over the weekend should yield some results. Lee also has fallen silent in the past few days, no doubt due to the challenge of illustrating the Cortes and Zhukov II. Eric has posted a note on his page over at to the effect that he will try to get caught up on his backlog soon. Calculus II will do that to you! Eric, study hard and don’t let the art keep you from making top grade. I wish I had a shot at college again, but time has passed me by and my bed is made. School is the key to your future – mine is nearly used up, but you still have many miles to go.

Jeff has been pounding away at the Forge again – it looks better with each iteration. I still have the impression that the missile launcher is cocked towards the left side of the ‘Mech, but that may just be me.

Malcadon (sorry, I don’t know his real name) has been working on the Diatryma armored car and the Leopard VTOL, but so far no word from him on any progress. I will let you know as soon as I find out.

I have not yet contacted our Layout man, James Devlin; he is a professional and may be quite busy. Nevertheless, I have decided to make two PDFs if at all possible. One will be the ‘color’ version, for viewing on a computer. The other will be a ‘print’ version, with only certain pages in color and the vast bulk of the TRO in simple black and white to enhance clarity and reduce cost at the printer’s. Several of our artists and a few writers have expressed interest in a copy, and I would like very much to comply. It would go a long way towards defraying the cost of their personal time, and give them something solid to show in their portfolio. However, this will depend on the per-piece cost of each copy and that will have to wait until I get a final page count from Jim.

Once I have that, I can contact various printing establishments in the area (as well as online) and determine the price breaks. It cost me $120 for four copies of the TRO: 3062 down at Kinko’s, but I didn’t have more money to spend and each page was in color (at a time when they were having a special on color copies). That page count was 91 – the TRO: 3063 has 37 ‘Mechs and 62 vehicles and will run over 200!

I can’t stress enough to our artists that the first, second (and maybe even third) drafts of an illustration should be in pencil or the digital equivalent. There is going to be a degree of back and forth on each design, and I don’t want you guys to put an assload of work into your piece, only to find I want the body changed or something equally unreasonable (which, at the later stages, it is). You fellows put a lot of sweat and talent into your work, and to be blunt, I can’t pay you what you are really worth. The less you have to do when making changes, the better. It will save us all a lot of heartache.

If, on the other hand, I give the thumbs-up to a piece - and you finalize it - only for me to decide later that it is somehow unsuitable due to a style issue, that is MY fault and you are NOT obligated to correct anything. In the end, it is my job to make sure the art has the right number of guns, legs, etc. You still get paid, and I adjust my eyes and expectations. That is how it should work. But until that final okay, let’s keep the piece minimal until the major issues of balance, position and location are settled.

Finally, I have been informed that persons associated with Catalyst Games look in here from time to time. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you are getting a good look at the fine work of my talented artists - their efforts appear on the header of each post. I trust you will give them a shot at joining your team sometime down the road. They do excellent, timely work and are good communicators.

Thank you for stopping by!



Doug said...

To get a bit more pricing on getting stuff printed check out:

Guild of Blades Publishing Group

These folks are local to metro Detroit, MI and do great work. They have printed stuff for me over the years and have only great work from them.

Doug said...

Here is their prices page:

Steven Satak said...

Thanks for the info. I have not heard back from Jim Devlin yet, but will act on his info as soon as I get it.