Monday, February 27, 2006

Terran Trade Authority is Reborn!

Hello. Are you a late-twenty or thirty-something SF fan?
Do you remember these books? Terran Trade Authority Handbooks
The TTA handbooks were an ambitious project started by author Stewart Cowley in the late 1970s. He basically took a whole bunch of unrelated space art, shrewdly grouped it, and wove a future history around it. The first book was more or less a "spacecraft recognition guide", the others expanded on the future history theme.
These books, more than anything else, more than Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica (the OLD series, thank you, because I'm OLD), more than Ultraman or the Thunderbirds, influenced my early love of science fiction. I remember being six, sitting with my dad, staring pop-eyed at the wonderful art, being transported to another time and place. The best thing about these books was the mystery and wonder of them, the late 70s, non-cyberpunk world of bright colors and futures full of promise, even as they were full of strife. Cowley wrote a masterpiece.
Enter Morrigan Press, publisher of excellent RPG supplements and a new system (Omni) that's taking the RPG world by storm. Morrigan purchased the rights to the TTA universe and are re-releasing the TTA books, expanded and with new art by the fabulously talented Adrian Mann that both pays tribute to and deliciously expands the universe. They will then release a roleplaying system, based on the Omni rules, that allows you to play in the TTA universe.
Then Mike sent me a link... they were looking for writers.
I went berzerk. I wrote a ten-page sample in one night and sent it off to them. A few weeks later, I had the job.
It's still sinking in... I get to write and expand the universe that I adored as a child.
I've been given the task of doing the anthropological work- describing the Alphans and Proximans, the two alien races living around Alpha and Proxima Centauri, which Cowley never described, despite the books dealing heavily with them. I'm also doing some work on a future Earth, its government, it's corporations, and its problems. I can't get into details yet, but I will as Morrigan allows me to.
The re-issued Spacecraft (now titled Spacecraft: 2100 to 2200 AD) is due for a June release, with the RPG to follow a month later. Morrigan also wants me to write two sourcebooks, one for the Alphans, one for the Proximans. Mike and Mark Dudley are aboard for at least some of the art duties. More to come soon....
Meanwhile... WOO-HOO!

Monday, February 06, 2006

A busy little studio working away and collaborating with other talented beings

Hello everyone.

I figure I should drop in a much needed update and posting regarding what we’ve been up to, one word… BUSY. We’ve been working on various things, all pretty much freelance, and it has been eating up a lot of time. I seem to have snagged Jeff a very sizable writing gig with an RPG (pen & paper) company that he’s been having a ball with as it’s sort of a blast from our past, so to speak. I won’t get into details yet other than to say it’s underway and looks to be pretty involved. He’s loving every minute of it and I imagine soon we’ll chime in with more details so stay tuned. It also seems myself and Mark Dudley will be doing art for this project as well. Currently I’m doing some freelance illustration and colors works, including a Children’s book. I’m also squeezing in work on Theos when I can and some collaborations with talented artists on Deviant art so with this posting I want to showcase some work by one of these artists, a talented conceptual artist and brilliant mecha designer, from Sweden, named Karl Östlund, those of you folks on the net might know him by the handle Genocidalpenguin (I have to say I love that). His work has appeared in various places including 4chan so some of you might have run across him, if you haven’t to check out his works just head to his gallery though the handy-dany penguin hyperlinks ;)

When I began the Vulne Pro Deviant gallery I really had no other purpose than to get the work out there in another venue and possibly make some new friends in the world of illustration. As I continued to post I saw fairly quickly that it would be a good place to test response to Theos concepts and possibly work with other artists. Thus far it’s been a fantastic place to post and gauge some feedback for the work. Mark sent me a link to a little gallery by an artist named genocidalpenguin and I was immediately floored by the creativity and unique work he was doing in mecha concepts (don’t let all this mecha talk fool you though, Karl is adept are illustrating all kinds of things believe me) it was both familiar and utterly his own look. I saw hints of Nagano, Kobayashi, etc but regardless the designs he does are all him and they rock.

I knew I wanted to collaborate on something with him and eventually I ended up contacting him, somewhat through another talented artist daemoria (I plan to feature him in a future posting as well. A link to his gallery is on the left side along with Karl's, DO check his work out). I offered to color one of Karl’s impressive mecha the Zidharta (also below) for a comic he has planed and from there we’ve been collaborating since. If schedules are good I offered to do colors for his comic once it reaches that stage.

Within the comments from The Deviant posting of the Anemos FOIL I had mentioned I eventually planned to have other artists doing FOIL and Sendai concepts for Theos Ke Polemos and Karl offered to contribute some work, I certainly couldn’t refuse so below I have also included the first FOIL design he’s created and it’s a beautiful beast. I’ve seen two more designs in progress and what is completed so far is frankly stunning to say the least so with that I say to folks frequenting Vulne look forward to more impressive works from him and more works from us in the studio. It’s gonna be another busy year but we wouldn’t have it any other way; we have some wild stuff planned.

Also, note: for higher resolution images of the works posted in this blog just hop on Vulne Pro’s and Karl’s Deviant galleries. The images posted here are low-res and really impair the quality of what the original work looks like. Another point of note is ANYONE can post in this blog in the comments section, you don't have to be a registered blogger to do so so feel more than free.

Till next time take care folks. Cheers!

Germane Klau-Faus JF 5 FOIL

Germane Klau-Faus JF 5 FOIL: This is Karl's first original FOIL concept for Theos Ke Polemos and it fits like a glove into the already established aesthetics yet still retaining his unmistakable style. The machine was unnamed (though honestly names have been changed when appropriate with some of the designs for Theos, thus tentative. Faus is a mutation for Faust, something again typical in this setting's fragmentary history) but as I continued to look over the design it's quite fitting for a machine made by the fictional political bloc Germane, a futuristic derived Germany with no real connections other than fragmentary to the original Germanic peoples. Original concept, illustration and colors Karl Östlund. The Basilea Project Theos Ke Polemos © 2006 Vulne pro.
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Zidharta CG color collab

Zidharta: Single seat rebel combat mecha. This is the first design of Karl's I offered to color. The machine has a Kobayashi vibe to it, a little tip of the hat to him so to speak but ultimately is still uniquely a genocidalpenguin machine. The wide stance and forward thrust of the torso is a trademark look to his machines. Illustration line work and design Karl Östlund. CG colors by me. © 2006 Karl Östlund Posted by Picasa

Dashgaw CG color collab

Dashgaw: Close quarters combat machine. This thing just looks fierce and with the pronounced large claws it looks like something one wouldn't want to tangle with. Illustration line work and design Karl Östlund. CG colors by me. © 2006 Karl Östlund Posted by Picasa

Dharga-Zatwa CG color collab

Dharga-Zatwa: 2 seat larger rebel combat machine. Quite a wild looking design, I'm rather fond of the mouth motif sensor array in the forward headcase, very cool stuff. Illustration line work and design Karl Östlund. CG colors by me. © 2006 Karl Östlund Posted by Picasa