July 19, 2012

Picture This

By Paul Baldowski

Post It highlighter pensI spent most of the last weekend drawing pictures. Despite my plans to complete the first draft of my planned adventure module, I ended up concentrating on the visuals. In practice, I know I didn’t waste any time here. A picture, as we all know, paints a thousand words – so, I think I managed close to 10,000 words this weekend. Only kidding.

When I read a new book, I appreciate good art. I also appreciate the guidance of a good map, diagram or supporting image. I suspect the business analyst in me drives the need to condense a concept down into a picture. If I can draw it, I probably convey more than if I attempted to write it. Better yet, if I draw it I won’t stumble over the hideous acts of grammar I commit. In all likelihood, I probably should have drawn a picture to get the point across here as well. I suspect my grammar will already have sent a reader or two packing. Or grumbling.

I sat in the kitchen with pad, Sharpie and assorted pencils, and scribbled. I’m by no means an accomplished artist, though I can draw if pushed. I have attempted to tap into the creative side of my brain, but it takes time. Well, it doesn’t take time, it takes a controlled environment – without interruption. I like working in the kitchen because people only really interfere with my work when they get hungry. I also see a lot of green when I gaze up from my notebook or laptop.

I drew a couple of maps, some guidance around drawing your own maps, and sourced a few public domain pictures. I would love to have the resources to get a commission, but if I’m turning out a 32-page adventure module I’m never going to make the money to get the payback. When I write my first major game supplement I’ll think long and hard about hiring an artist. In the meantime, I intend to practice in the hope that I might get good enough at drawing myself to avoid the need to hire anyone!

I have a cover image, but I won’t spoil anything just yet by posting it anywhere. When I have a draft done and dusted, I start promoting the first release with more excerpts and pictures. In the meantime, you can always check on Google+ or Twitter to see what I’m up to and catch a few snaps.

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