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Gamerprinter
12-09-2009, 01:39 PM
A temporary recall from retirement, this Challenge has got me intrigued, just too bizarre to pass up. I'm thinking of creating a story in the format of a Children's Book, one illustration and one stanza per page, with a map in the end that shows the journey taken.

As a preview to what is planned, here's the story in rhyme - its already written. It has the kind of sing-song style that Tolkien presented in his orc song in The Hobbit.

In case you can't tell, an Orc Christmas is about winning the Race War...

Note: final map is on page 5, post # 42 of this thread

The Twelve Nights of Yuleblood

When nights grow longest, and snows blanket all, tis the season of Yuleblood before Long Night's Fall, when spirit of First Orc visits our door, to decide if his bloodline will settle the score, as first among races in twelve nights, no more.

First night is hardest, a red wyrm we seek, hopefully in slumber atop a great peak, of gold and bright treasure and burnt hero bone, its dung that we want from that dragon sewn, something for spells for the shamaness crone.

Next we enter the Marshes of Men, who live in stone towers beside the Great Fen, taking a daughter or fat farmer's wife, we'll kill all the menfolk in glorious strife, then at midnight, we'll be taking her life.

Third to the forests where old enemy dwells, to those hidden archers and spell-casting elves, we won't chance to see the Woodlands nor Grays, nor their enchantments, nor arrow slays, we'll just put to torch, set their forests ablaze.

Gnashing and tearing, chomping and chewing, dining on halfling that's what we're doing, be better as elf-meat, if we had our due, we'll just settle for halfing, to be filled we need two.

The roots of old mountains, in holes of dwarf clan, where forgers are forging the shields of their band, whose gaunt bearded faces and beer bellied shapes, shall meet orcish spear points to pop them like grapes, we'll sunder their laughter and silence their japes.

Boom, boom bringing their doom, the giants are marching and they're coming soon, big as the mountains, but they're just as dense, we're setting the pitfalls for our needed defense, we'll kill them with guile as they have no sense.

Rotting and stinking with maggoty stares, undead afoot, don't get caught unawares, from battlefields ancient, the fallen of brave, we'll bash in their skulls with stone hammers and stave, and send the arisen back to their graves.

They smell of dragon, these tiny churls do, the kobold's a morsel in any orc stew, we'll track them and snack them and bring them to bear, or drive them to pit traps waiting to snare, since they breed like rabbits there's plenty to share.

Hiding in deep beneath driven snow, beneath even dwarf holds this habit of Drow, these ebon-skinned devils, like their brothers up high, still elvish blood born, an orc can't deny, we hear them and fear them and seek their demise.

On high to the mountains, to village's cold, barbarians raging and bellowing bold, due to the inks under their skin, tattoos are poison they must be flayed thin, an orc must be careful too much means death's grin.

Once all the raiders return from their raiding, we feast on the windfalls still left from our sating and offer the chief's cut to First Orc ancestor, not of the green meat that's started to fester, only the best of halfling, elf or a man's sister.

In winter we orcs go merrily a raiding, to honor the First Orc before spirit's fading, to sing of our endless racial war's fight, one that the orc will win through our might, and celebrate the Yuleblood on this twelve-th night.

GP

Steel General
12-09-2009, 02:14 PM
Sounds interesting GP, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Vorhees
12-09-2009, 07:03 PM
Love it mate cant wait to see the final product

Rythal
12-09-2009, 09:08 PM
awesome poetry there, might have taken my vote already...

Gamerprinter
12-10-2009, 05:44 AM
Page 1 of the story - the Spirit of the First Orc at the door (young orcling answering the door)

Enjoy!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-11-2009, 03:51 AM
Plate 2: dragon cave - an orc picking up some dragon dung...

Note it says page four, instead two, which means I need to change the previous illustration to say page three. I plan to place a title page and the map before the story begins, thus the corrected page numbers. I might add some detail to the first illustration, the room around the door looks too bare - need to fix that.

Anyway, moving right along - I like how this illustration turned out, much better.

GP

PS: no WIP tag, yet, as these are illustrations only and don't count towards the challenge, its just extra credit for some fun!

PPS: I plan to make a PDF of the whole thing when I'm done...

Ghostman
12-11-2009, 05:40 AM
Nice illustrations GP. Maybe you could add some burnt hero bones as a final touch to that dragon pic?

Gamerprinter
12-11-2009, 06:18 AM
I'm gettin' better at this! :D

Been a while since I've done more serious illustration, almost makes want to improve the first one (almost.)

Plate 3: Orc taking the daughter away!

I'm done for the night...

Enjoy!

GP

PS: good idea, Ghostman, I'll do that tomorrow!

ravells
12-11-2009, 08:31 AM
Go GP go! You've become quite the artist!

Gamerprinter
12-11-2009, 12:41 PM
Plate 4: Burning down the house (and trees).

Orcs too scared to face the elves in their domain, so its time to burn them out!

I'll try to get the "burnt hero bones" in tonight...

Thanks, Ravs! I've always been the artist, just haven't had to show it except thru maps recently. Its been a while since I've just drawn like this.

GP

Ghostman
12-11-2009, 03:06 PM
I like the trees; they look simple yet very real. Must have been quite a work to draw all the branches. The Moon gives a strong 'feel' to the picture.

Gamerprinter
12-11-2009, 06:25 PM
Plate 5: a pair of halflings...

This one is a bit gory, but hey, did you really think this was a children's book? Its just supposed to resemble one - more like an orcling children's book, if you get my drift... I'm still havin' fun, here.

I do draw in more realistic fashion if I try - and spend more time at it, but this is supposed to be a cross between cartoon and something more real (I've never cared to draw truly cartoon style, mine is slightly more realistic than true cartoon.) Besides I am working at a high speed pace, just to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time. (A bit sketchy, I know.)

Ghostman, I've always liked drawing trees, oaks are my favorite. Basically I created 5 trees, placed a solid grey coloring. Then I copied the trees, moved them behind the front trees, flipped it horizontally, shrink it a bit, move slightly to one side and higher up - then rinse and repeat two more times. It looks enough like a forest to me.

I will definitely get to the burnt bones later this evening, I promise!

Note: I realized that the stanza for this one was missing a rhyme. First two sentences rhyme, then the last three - except this one only two rhymes in the second half, so I had to create one more rhyming line. It works now.

GP

ravells
12-11-2009, 07:28 PM
This is begining to look like an annual CG caledar...every picture is better than the last. GP, I am very, very impressed.

Gamerprinter
12-12-2009, 06:15 AM
Plate 6: (Work in Progress) Dwarf sensing a spear at the back...

Thanks, Ravs! I did an extra special job on the dwarf in this next illustration, but its not finished yet. I did want to show progress though, before I went to bed for the night. I'll try to do more tomorrow, but more than like Sunday, before I get back at it again. [The rectangle frame is just a reference so I know where the image stops - it gets deleted at the end of each illustration.]

I see an "extra word" in Plate 6 stanza that doesn't belong there - need to fix that.

Also, for Ghostman, got some burnt bones for Plate 2: dragon pic...

Enjoy!

GP

Gandwarf
12-12-2009, 06:37 AM
Wow, amazing stuff!

Djekspek
12-12-2009, 07:20 AM
aye very good stuff. How many hands you got to create so many in such a short time? ;)

Gamerprinter
12-12-2009, 01:24 PM
Djekspeck, you haven't been around long enough to know, I guess, ask anyone, when I map, I map like a fiend -- I do it extremely fast. You see, I'm a graphic designer by trade, and work for myself, so the only way I can get anything done is by working at a high rate of speed. Not so fast, I can't handle it, but to the very edge of the mix between lightening speed and in boundary of quality. I've been doing that for 25+ years. So that practice carries into my maps and my illustrations. Its not to be impressive, its to outmatch my impatience. Really.

OK, Plate 6: the Dwarven Hole (or the hole that's going into the Dwarf's back) - complete!

I already know what I plan for the next one, but I've got some other things to do, so I'm guessing after tonight's D&D game (sometime early tomorrow morning, 3 am -ish) I'll knock that one out and go to bed.

GP

Gamerprinter
12-12-2009, 08:48 PM
Plate 7: Giant and the Pit Trap...

This one isn't finished, the D&D game got delayed (one of our group is moving, so another member of our group was helping...) so I got this one started - almost done. The Giant is about to step into an Orcish Pit Trap. Oh, this is gonna hurt. He's definitely going to pierce his foot, he might even break his leg.

I need to make a background - probably some snow covered spruce trees, with a couple orcs peeking out from behind them. This one is fun so far!

Like I said, I'll finish this early in the morning after the game is over.

Enjoy!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-13-2009, 07:24 AM
Goin' to bed, but I wanted to finish Plate 7, before I did...

Undead next...

GP

Gamerprinter
12-13-2009, 06:21 PM
Plate 8: Zombies in the Snow...

A storm has hit and its then that the undead crawl from their cold graves and seek the life they have lost.

Enjoy!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-13-2009, 11:17 PM
Plate 9: Kobold go "snap"

This was a toughy, I'm not a Kobold fan, never actually ran into one in D&D in my entire 30+ years playin' the game, but it had to be done (Juggernaut's fault!)

Finally done though.

GP

Gamerprinter
12-14-2009, 04:38 AM
Plate 10: Drow baby, baby...

I needed at least one hot chick for the book, so the Drow priestess is it. Added a friend for her. The Orc is making fun of her in the background.

Enjoy!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-14-2009, 04:41 AM
Plate 11: Tattooed Barbarian...

Just started, no tattoos, no orc, no background - this is the base. I'll finish this tomorrow. All I got left is two stanzas, both orcs partying and gift to the First Orc ancestor. Then I will begin the map, after which I have a cover design to do and the title page, then I will be complete. Few more days and this is done.

Enjoy!

Edit: I just did the tattoos, so I'm uploading that - and now I'm going to bed...

GP

Ghostman
12-14-2009, 06:32 AM
More excellent drawings :)

I especially like the big spider in the drow plate. Nasty looking critter...

Gamerprinter
12-14-2009, 06:49 PM
Plate 11: Tattooed Highland Barbarian

Barbarian Head Soup...

GP

Gamerprinter
12-15-2009, 03:12 AM
Plate 12: Offer to First Orc

Looks like "man's sister" - the daughter/fat farmer's wife head for an offering.

Got one more story illustration, then I'll do the map, followed by the Cover Design, then title page --- almost finished!

Enjoy!

GP

Sapiento
12-16-2009, 01:29 AM
Barbarian Head Soup! Sounds delicious. :)

Gamerprinter
12-16-2009, 03:37 AM
Barbarian Head Soup! Sounds delicious. :)

LOL! :lol:

Got bored of doing illustrations, but I'll get back to it when I'm done with the map. So I just started working on the Elflands portion of the map. I'm going to make the structures somewhat oversized as they are as much labels as depictions of what's there.

Question, is this too detailed, so far. I started by drawing at much larger scale then shrink to fit my needs. Is this too detailed?

Instead of a map created by orcs - huh, orcs don't need maps. This is a map of the region provided by the bard who assembled this document, translating the tale from the Orcish to Common, which is by far less pretty (the bard came by the tale while being stored in an orc pantry one winter night. He saved himself by singing a song of praise to the First Orc Ancestor, in the limited Orcish he had known...)

GP

Edit: yech, I didn't like that halo shadow thing, so I dropped it, lightened, changed the purple to more of a blue - I think this is better.

Still undecided if this is too light, and the lines too fine... I can always upscale the map area, so the graphics stay the same, but I've got more room to place regions of the map...

Gamerprinter
12-16-2009, 01:15 PM
Added the Great Fens, land of the men in stone towers - I have yet to add the towers. Moving right along. Notice I left a blank area on the edges to place a border later on. Note I made the Elven castle smaller.

GP

### Latest WIP ###

Gamerprinter
12-16-2009, 01:31 PM
On review, I think I'll draw the Fen marsh grass at larger scale so I can shrink it down to match the line style of the forest.

GP

Ramah
12-16-2009, 01:52 PM
I think that is a wise choice. I was going to comment on it earlier that when the map is at full scale your trees and castle look good, with fine lines but we get too close to the fen, seeing it as a collection of stubby but quite thick lines.

Love your castle btw. :)

Gamerprinter
12-16-2009, 05:54 PM
Better Fen Grass (reed groves instead), also first attempts at labeling...

Thanks, Ramah, appreciate the feedback, sometimes I have to post and really look at what I did, to decide whether something works or not. Here's my fix of the latest issue.

Also made the castle outline a bit heavier so it stands out better.

The shadows might be too much, but I like the way it looks, especially the trees.

GP

PS: don't care for the hand-scrawled lettering, will probably type in the labels instead.

### Latest WIP ###

Ramah
12-16-2009, 06:43 PM
Yeah, that looks infinitely better. Great stuff. :)

Gamerprinter
12-17-2009, 12:17 AM
Done with the civilized side of the river half of the map. Next on the mountains, I am going clockwisse following the storyline. So the Dwarf hold entrance will be on a mountain face in the southwest corner of the map, then upwards. Most of the west side of the map will be conifer forest and mountains. Lots of cavern entrances, mountain villages to do here.

Rather than a pure white background, I decided to create something that emulates racial nation borders in the form of pastel color backgrounds for each area. Most of the mountain side will be whiter with snow covered mountains and pine forest.

Next update - its really feeling right.

GP

### Latest WIP ###

Gamerprinter
12-17-2009, 03:51 AM
Map Progress - like the illustrations, this map is looking like a cross between cartoon and realistic. I like it! Moving right along, the map now features the start from the Orcish Wastes, then to Red Wyrm's cavern the human towers along the Fen...

I'll probably finish the map tomorrow. Throw on a border, compass rose and scale. Then go back to those last illustrations. Almost finished!

GP

### Latest WIP ###

Gamerprinter
12-18-2009, 01:11 AM
I still need to create my snow covered pine trees - about 20 of them, replicated, then a barbarian stronghold atop the mountain near the center left. I created a cool-looking compass rose!

Trees. stronghold, border and scale, that all I've got left.

GP

### Latest WIP ###

Ascension
12-18-2009, 01:54 AM
Lookin good GP.

Gamerprinter
12-18-2009, 05:10 AM
Almost done, just the border left to do!

Thanks, Ascension.

GP

### Latest WIP ###

Gandwarf
12-18-2009, 06:13 AM
Excellent :D

Gamerprinter
12-18-2009, 01:09 PM
Border complete, map resized, details tweaked - I'm done!

Next finish the last illustration and the cover design then all done!

GP

PS: actually the border line work looks blurry or faded, need to tweak that... actually the border fought me this morning, and it seems layers moved around as well. Lots of tweaking still...

### Latest WIP ###

Ghostman
12-18-2009, 01:54 PM
Looks very good to me, but those lakes seem like they're begging to be named. Oh and some of the border markings appear to be spilling over the edges. Might look better trimmed.

Gamerprinter
12-18-2009, 10:25 PM
Final map for sure!

I named those unnamed lakes, I tweaked the layers and put everything under the border.

Changes and additions:

1. Someone on another site, suggested I give some splotchy color on the western side of the map as it seemed too stark white - so I did.

2. I hated the barbarian stronghold and the other one didn't capture the perspective well, though this isn't perfect either, its improved.

3. To put more "story" into the map, while at the same time preventing me from having to place a road - I thought that might detract from the map, in the northeast corner, I placed some background story relating to the Twelve Nights of Yuleblood poem as a bard's tale relating his experience having learned of it first hand - he being the author and cartographer of the tale. Besides the Fen is mostly a waste of space. Strangely my underlying sense of balance has come through again and the elven forest seems surrounded by the rest of the terrain because of the created shape of the rivers and the text label.

No more changes!

GP

PS: trying to think whether a project like this is worth publishing, I've hit upon another idea. What if I package this map, the illustrated poem in children story book format, followed by a 1st level Pathfinder RPG adventure featuring Orc player characters as the adventuring party - all the map locations are enough for a complete level one adventure - too bad it won't make it before Christmas!

### Latest WIP ###

Gamerprinter
12-21-2009, 03:55 PM
Since the map is done, its back to finishing up the extra credit. I still need to do one more illustration, and I still might improve on the first illustration, but I just did the cover design as I knew what I intended. (I've got a comic style Frazetta going on here...)

The Cover Design!

Enjoy!

GP

Ghostman
12-21-2009, 04:33 PM
The Orc certainly is at a Frazetta level of clothedness :lol:

waldronate
12-21-2009, 05:44 PM
And there's a strategically-placed hand in there, too.

Gamerprinter
12-22-2009, 01:23 AM
Waldronate - what a dirty mind you have!

Both individuals were drawn separately. I tried to move it around so the barbarians hand was not where it is now, but based on size of figures, there was nothing else to do, but make the orc smaller, and I wasn't going to do that.

OK, I'm complete with this project. I plan to use the same cover design (with slightly different wording for the eventual published version of this.)

Last illustration complete, and title page, now a PDF version of the whole thing.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

GP

waldronate
12-22-2009, 01:31 AM
Waldronate - what a dirty mind you have!


It's a gift.