Hey folks, I’ve been alluding to a big update / discussion on what I’ll be doing with this stuff in the near future for a while, so here goes:
Okay, so I’ve been pondering reorganizing for a while – part of it’s driven by how bloated some of my older threads have gotten, and how my changing standards make a hard reset appealing. The other part of it comes from a professional capacity – now my Masters is winding down, I’m looking to go into freelance illustration at least semi-professionally, and various members have expressed interest in commissioning me over the years, so separating illustration work (iconography, character portraiture etc.) from my concept art / unit design would provide a good opportunity for portfolio / commission purposes.
The current plan is to make a new thread for illustration work (most likely with entirely new content save for a couple of iconography pieces) in the WIP forum that I’ll also use to showcase any commissions I do that are related to the content covered on the B&C.
The second reorganising aspect is consolidating rules / unit design into a single space. I’ve had separate threads for vehicle & infantry designs, 40k / 30k designs and further subdivisions over the years, and combining them into a single coherent thread will make my life easier, as well as allowing easier navigation for folks who follow my work. Any artwork related to these designs will go here too, but this will likely differ significantly in quality and style to the content in my planned illustration thread. I’m still ruminating on where to put this thread – while the Age of Darkness system is my current focus for this stuff, there’s always the possibility that I’ll branch out, and while I’m not sure this stuff qualifies as a special project, both that forum & WIP are appealing. Just to note, this isn’t necessarily an indicator that I’ll be continuing with this stuff apace, but that’s addressed further down.
Yup, that’s a dramatic & ambiguous heading, but I’m still apprehensive about shouting about what I’m really considering: crowdfunding. Dithering aside, what this comes down to is the interaction between time pressures and my perfectionism.
I really enjoy doing concept work for 30k / 40k, and even when I have zero time to spend on it, I never stop coming up with ideas – I’ve become so immersed in the universe over the years its just what my brain does at quiet moments. But as I transition from my Masters to freelance art, I can’t afford to spare the time to do this stuff to the standard I’d like, and as a complete dumbass perfectionist, even doing high quality one-offs means I subsequently set that as my standard.
In terms of ‘quality I’d like’, honestly that includes well-written lore, points costs, formatting stuff as useable PDFs and *high quality* artwork. In that last case, I’ve only ever shared super rough work here, very basic stuff that translates my idea into a visual format as simply as possible, but I’d love to do more, especially when I’m considering designs that deviate more and more from existing miniatures.
Take for example the design I did a while back for heresy-era Lheor firefist – the initial plan was to produce a PDF page (in the same format as the Downloadable rules from FW’s site, so I’m not plagiarising any images) of rules with the art in the background. A year ago, that art took me 3 days. These are examples of artwork that took me a single day each from the last couple of months. If I was ever gonna follow through with the plan for Lheor, I’d want to do a full-colour portrait instead of that shoddy painting, and that’s the issue I have.
At the moment, I barely have time to write vaguely reasonable rules, and I find that the easiest part of the process. People ask me about timeframes for when I’ll finish unit concepts, and understandably want some form of art so they can envision designs that are entirely encapsulated within my imagination, but it sucks that I can barely scrape together the most basic showing when I could be producing much more polished content.
So I just wanted to put feelers out there to see if there’d be any interest in me setting up a Patreon or some such so that I can make the kind of stuff I’d like to without cutting into time I need to be spending on earning a living.
Admittedly this stuff does get a bit murky, so I’ll make some provisos: obviously with the B&C’s new policy on special & regular projects, I couldn’t continue to post work in progress content on the forum (those guidelines are what lead me to actually consider this route), but hopefully I’d still be able to post the completed profiles with artwork here. Additionally, all the stuff I’d produce would be 100% free and universally available – I’m just looking to offset the costs of dedicating time to making this stuff.
Copyright gets a bit tricky here – according to GW’s community guidelines this isn’t strictly viable, but that isn’t the same as meaning it’s not legally viable. Crowdfunding campaigns for GW IP-related projects already exist, and considering I’m already producing the rules and background at a slow pace in my own spare time, effectively this would be little different than commissioning an independent artist for the illustrations and formatting, which are practices that also exist.
I’d never reproduce rules that exist in published GW works - any PDFs would have directories of where to find referenced rules in their various publications, and I’d also make no copyright claims to any of the content.
I’ve also got concerns when it comes to my long-term ambition of joining the GW / FW design team – obviously this would likely jeopardise any chances of that happening, but when I consider how slim the chances of that happening are anyway, it’s a difficult call to make. I’ve already had one application turned down, and while I’d planned on applying again next year, I really don’t want to put my life on hold based on an unrealistic fantasy. Plus, let’s be honest – my real passion is for the Heresy, and FW don’t use concept artists, just miniature designers and illustrators.
Then I consider whether I even want to work for GW – I never got feedback from my rejected application, but part of me wonders whether the fact I explicitly stated my interest in GW’s attempts to increase the diversity in their range might have been an issue – every part of their careers process emphasises a ‘the company comes first’ mentality and its possible they read that as me being less likely to toe the line on moral issues. Then I consider reports of some stuff Tony Cottrell said at the last HH weekender and ask if I could ever justify working under someone who thinks it’s okay to spout that sort of horrendous garbage.
So I just want to explicitly say this is in no way a definite path I want to take. Even if I get an overwhelming amount of support for this idea, it’s entirely possible I’ll never go ahead with it – there’s lots of moving parts and provisos, so if this is something you don’t think is cool, that’s fine! I’m honestly mostly curious about whether people are interested enough in this to support it.
I just wanted to set out in a bit more detail what me creating designs for 30k (and yeah, at first it’d only be 30k) might look like.
- Firstly, the basic end-goal would be releasing PDFs of the unit rules I design. These would be styled after the very basic format of the downloadable rules from the FW website, and I’d make it explicitly obvious they’re unofficial.
- These would include points costs so you could actually field them, background to situate them in the setting and high quality artwork to give a detailed visual overview of their appearance.
- All this stuff would be entirely free to access & I’d try and format them to be as printer-friendly as possible
- As I’ve currently got a decent back-catalogue, the first steps would likely be going through and releasing my existing designs, updating them as necessary, adding points costs and working from existing concept sketches
- Moving on, if there was enough support I’d also be able to try more ambitious stuff: entirely new army lists for example (Legion auxilia anyone?), as well as stuff like dramatis persona in which I take background characters from the Heresy and give them rules and artwork (Lheor’s a perfect example here)
- It might even give me a chance to branch out into other GW game systems, although with 40k and AoS featuring single-reference rulesheets, there might be some difficulty with not being able to repeat existing rules (again, I would *never* reproduce existing GW material – be it text or art)
- In terms of backer / patreon rewards, I don’t want to produce exclusive content, because that goes against the whole point of this exercise, but I’m thinking stuff like a gated Discord channel where I’ll share work in progress rules / art so supporters could have more of an input on the creative process
Anyway, I’ve nattered on for long enough
Please let me know what you think – any concerns and input are welcome
And as always, thanks for keeping up interest in my various projects over the years
Edited by Iron Hands Fanatic, 17 June 2018 - 02:56 AM.