Suilad Mellyn, and welcome to the first installment of a new series of posts about the art of Against the Darkmaster!
In this series we will explore both the visual inspirations for the artwork, and meet the amazing artistis behind it.
Artwork is definitely something of the utmost importance in creating the right atmosphere in any form of fictional media – and therefore also in our game. We are lucky and privileged to be able to collaborate with some of the most talented artists in the industry, who literally breathed life into our game, with their wonderful characters, horrible monsters, fantastic locations – creating a whole fantastic imaginary world.
Today we will have the chance to know better Marcin Sciólny, our lead character artist, which has been involved in the project since its beginning and up to now created more than 20 original artworks including some of the most beloved iconic characters and astounding action-packed scenes that really capture the vibe of the game.
Our chat with Marcin S.
VsD: Would you like to tell us how started your passion for illustration and particularly for the fantasy genre?
M: Seeing Frazzetta’s and Chris Achilleos art as kid, and reading “The Hobbit” shortly after, began my love for fantasy. The more of the great fantasy artists I discovered, the more I wanted to do it myself. I’m a fantasy and sci-fi buff.
VsD: What are you most notable collaborations up to date?
M: Among my works there are published illustrations in the now cult-status polish RPG magazine “Magic and Sword”, where my artwork was used for scenarios and RPG articles for games like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Cyberpunk 2020, AD&D, Vampire: The Masquerade and The Witcher RPG (the polish one). I also have published illustrations in “Portal” and “Space Pirate” RPG magazines, I co-illustrated the polish “Monastyr RPG” (kind of like The Three Musketeers mixed with grimdark fantasy) and co-illustrated “Perdition”, an OSR game by Courtney Campell and Arnold Kemp. I have published illustrations in “Vacant Ritual Assembly” – an OSR zine, and illustrated “The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem” by Clint Krause for “Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG”. I did some art for “Westward”, a sci-fi steampunk RPG by Wicked North Games, and have been one of the main artist of their upcoming fantasy RPG “Azamar”.
VsD: When and how did you first fall in love with the fantasy genre?
M: I must have been like 10-11 years old . Our neighbour, friend of my dad had a huge library of books and magazines and one day I found one called “Fantastyka” with Chris Achilleos art on cover: Raven, an awesome fantasy warrior. That same day I borrowed a “Conan” book with Frank Frazetta’s cover and “The Hobbit”. Nothing was ever the same…
VsD: What are the visual artists that influenced you the most – and why?
M: I already mentioned Frazetta and Achilleos; I think I also have to mention Grzegorz Rosinski, a comic book artist who created the comic book series called “Thorgal”. I was absolutely blown away by his drawings and ability to create worlds.
Since I’m a hardcore Warhammer fan (about 12 years of GMing!) I always loved most of Warhammer art but Adrian Smith in particular has to be my favourite with his dark and gritty style. Paul Bonner is also one of my favourite, his art speaks for itself.
I also think Moebius art had big influence on my style, as long as Milo Manara’s work – absolute masterclass .
VsD: What do you like about Against the Darkmaster?
M: The thing that I like the most about “Against the Darkmaster” is that it is a high fantasy RPG with all the right core fantasy elements. The world just seems so rich with visual possibilities! And I’m not gonna lie: Tommaso’s art, mostly the character designs, just caught my eye and drawn me to the game. I can tell it’s a project done with love, passion and true knowledge of the genre and I’m happy to be part of the team working on it!
VsD: Which one is your favorite fantasy work of fiction?
M: Tough one. Probably if I had to pick one, it’s got to be “The Hobbit”. For me its like what fantasy is all about: the journey, the discovery, the adventure… We all seek to emulate those themes in our RPGs.
VsD: Which Against the Darkmaster character did you enjoy drawing the most? And why?
M: I have to say Alaise. Most of the characters I draw start with pencil sketch, and then I rework and refine that sketch until I get to something satisfying… But with her it was like she couldn’t wait to be drawn! She just jumped out on paper with barely any pencil outline. She has personality and a peculiar look. I loved every second of doing that drawing.
Marcin is currently working on new eye candy for you, Against the Darkmaster fans! So stay tuned to see and here more from him, and don’t forget to visit him at his Google+ home for more of his amazing artwork!