Recently I've been really enjoying the art produced by some of your new artists Tony Foti (whom you've already covered), Jason Juta (like what he's done with Rising Sun Blade and Nightingale Blade) and Alayna Lemmer. Can we expect to see more from them in the future (not just continued use, but increased volume of art per set) and is there any chance they'll ever attend some of the cons/tourneys for fans to meet and appreciate?
Those are some solid artists and we use them the best we can. But yes you should see work from those three on a fairly regular basis as for more those are artists I give as many as they like usually which is in the 2 or 3 per side typically. Tony has been a bit busy with other projects the last few months. As for attending events, I know Alayna was at Gen Con this year. Con attendance isn’t a topic that comes up a lot with our artists we tend to be so busy with getting the work done. I hope they go though, Cons are amazing.
What's the deeper connection between the cards Disgraceful Conduct, Economic Manipulation, and Bayushi Toshimo? Are those really mantis?
Scorpion cleaning up a Kolat branch of Mantis that a Master Coin wanted out of the way. Who’s the boss? I dunno. Both probably got what they wanted out of it.
I made all of that up, I didn’t write the descriptions. But if I had thats what I’d be going for. It may have been Jorge’s idea he is a player and often comes up with creative ideas like that and loves Scorpion.
Having just gotten my Herald, I have to say, I am loving the Clan Champions' art, and it's nice to see Drew Baker got to put Daizu back there behind Kisada Jr. But what about the ominous temple-looking structure on the third to last page?
could you compare and contrast what it is like working with an artist like Drew Baker vs. a company of artists like IFS?
So Drew is a funny example because he requires next to no art direction. He knows the world so well, and has been at it so long he does his own research I pretty much tell him who it is or what they do and he gives all of us his fine work. Studios tend to ask a lot of detailed questions which is actually really fun because it can trigger new ideas and helps you get them the source images they need to be successful. Drew tends to turn in as late as he can with finals where as most studios crank it out fairly rapidly due to their business model vs a freelancers. This allows a studio time to do a few more modifications than say Drew. Both tend to be very helpful in those corrections, Drew tends to not need many or any. Studios its rare but since we often give them higher numbers of cards statistically speaking they end up needing a few more corrections here and there. Studios have a point of contact that all dealings are done with, Conceptopolis has Aaron, Gong has Angga ect and in many ways the process is so streamlined its like dealing with a single artist.
you mentioned you have art as your phone background. I have often wanted specific art pieces as my computer desktop background, but few artists have 'computer wallpaper' quality images of their art available. I understand the risk if images are too high quality, somebody might take it and make prints themselves (unfair to artist) but I personally would be willing to pay a small fee for hi-def scans like that *points at this page's background*. Is there an official policy on art distribution?
We tend to leave that up to the artists on most cards for pretty much the reasons you mention. Many of them are not involved with the L5R Community so they don’t even know that anyone beyond us is interested in high ress copies. The company policy is that in general we release some high ress images for desktops but it tends to be champions, strongholds and the like.
I love most of the art your new SH artist has been producing and he is in no doubt a very talented artist, but with some frequency it seems that the strongholds themselves within the art are a complete after thought (such as Pillars of Virtue, and The Golden Plains), is this intentional to draw more attention to landscape?
It is a handful of choices so the short answer is yes it is a choice to use more landscape. That being said however we hear peoples feedback both positive and negative. Firstly Noah is a landscape artist, it’s his strong suit. Second we wanted a new approach so as not to just clone Mr.Urbach. Third and this has changed, Noah had not see how his art translates to card scale and format. We’ve since had discussions about trying to bring the strongholds structures in more while still letting his beautiful landscapes to be on display and we’re trying to find a middle ground to play to his strengths and address the con. In the set we are working on now he is doing both strongholds and some regions which should be awesome.
Nowhere! What did you hear? He said what? He’s a filthy liar and a cheat is what I say to that!
So Adrian got a real day job and it now feasts on his soul during the time he was previously giving to you, more like it nibbles on his soul but in anycase its been busy with that and L5R with one set finishing one set starting, and two special L5R projects rolling out its been a madhouse! Anyways yes falling a bit behind, should just queue up a ton of SC images so at least pretty things pour out of our tumblr right? Ofcourse right!
I haven't seen ANY Edwin David art for some time now and I am just wondering if he is still going to be producing art for the game? I loved his style and his Naizen and Paneki are high up there on my list of all time favorites so I really hope he isn't gone.
Oh Edwin is back under us. Lots of cards in the pipe. Just gave him two pretty high profile ones just the other day.
Steve, now that you're one of the AD's for game, does that mean we are going to see less or none (hope not) of your artworks in the game art?
Well, that’s a tricky answer. In theory more as he is now the last minute emergency artist on many cards. But less in some areas as the time being AD takes cuts into painting time. All the logo’s are by Steve starting with Second City, and all of the [REDACTED BY THE MINISTRY OF LIES..er…TRUTH] that will be coming out are done by him. But his art will still be in every set, so far he has had time for at least one to three cards per set.
Why do you, as people closer to the center of L5R, feel that 'Genzoman's art style is so reviled by some people? Ignoring personal bias, it seems a natural fit, an eastern approach to art for a game heavily embedded in eastern history/philosophy/mythology. Can it simply be a youg/old stance (admittedly, anime/manga is typically preffered in large by younger people.) or is there actual merit to a technical argument?
I think its a matter of continuity in the visual narrative. It’s hard to feel like his characters exist in the same world as say someone April or Drew has created, the styles, while both well implemented, don’t match or come close the majority of the time. So I think its jarring for people who are use to a spectrum of “acceptable” when art falls outside that range it can break that mental and visual narrative for the viewer of what Rokugan looks like to them.
A Rembrandt and Warhol piece are both considered amazing art by people but those circles of people don’t overlap as much as say circles who enjoy Pieter de Hooch and Rembrandt might overlap. Now thats not to say Warhol doesn’t belong in the right type of gallery, just that people expecting one type and getting dramatically different are going to react in some fashion. For Genzoman it takes the form of people feeling he doesn’t fit like others do which isn’t inaccurate he is noticeably and dramatically different.
I agree that in theory it seems like it might work, the game is indeed greatly influenced by eastern culture, anime is a big part of some of those cultures. But in practice it’s just more complex.
Age and familiarity with the game and its art I’m sure plays a roll in peoples reactions to his work.
I suppose the short answer then is that the world has a long established look and feel, and disruption or changes, good or bad to that look will cause people to speak up loudly since the game has a very passionate follower base.
Ok, I love the art for Tsuruchi Saya/Kosoko. In Mario Wibisono's description, it says, "Tsuruchi Saya is an excellent archer of the Mantis Clan. She serves as a magistrate and her primary duty is to enforce law in the unsafe regions of the imperial territories, most often at the harsh harbor district..." Is this something he made up or that someone directed him with? Because according to the card, she isn't a magistrate.
Not having directed the piece it is hard to say. But its very possible that she was suppose to be a magistrate and that was part of the description he got.
How much direction do you usually have to give when you hand out assignments for cards? In Second City, I saw multiple cards with Yoritomo Minori. Was this requested by the art team or do the artists decide to repeat characters?
When you see a character across two cards most of the time its due to the art description. Not always though, some people like Drew and April have favorite characters that they might toss into the background or be the focus of an action card simply because they know the character would fit and they like to draw them. They tend to bounce that idea off us.
Personally I love seeing a character in a personality card show up in an action card. So expect to see more of that.
This isn't directly an L5R art question, but have you guys, or the marketing team, or whoever deals with this stuff thought of selling L5R art mouse pads? I remember Magic did it years ago, might still, and I would definitely buy one/some of Steve/Drew/April/Mario/etc's. Hope you guys consider it!
Huh an interesting idea, I like it. Never thought of that before. I’ll run it by the high ups.
So what are you working on? Its tough to keep up with something every day (I believe I heard you say you wanted this to be a daily update) and I noticed that this past week or so you've not made many updates. So you must be busy? Perhaps insight into what's got the team tied up? (for the record; I'd be happy with just posting L5R art without old borders, even if the write-up was cheaply done)
Busy indeed, both in L5R and our day jobs. Steve has been out to some events, I’m prepping for a new day job and trying to rotate from graves to a normal 9 to 5. Plus Final touches on Alpha Set and the finals for Beta set. Also Minecraft when I can’t stand doing anything productive anymore.
Daily updates are tricky, but I think I’ll aim just to put up art even without comments just to give people their L5R dose as best I can.
Hello, my name is Steve Argyle, and I'm also an art director for Legend of the Five Rings. My arduous workday consists of a brisk flop out of bed at the crack of 2:00pm, pigging out on stolen junk food, watching Futurama reruns, and playing Tenchu until I can't stay awake anymore. With such a demanding schedule, I rarely find the time to wear pants. I've wondered how you cope with the pressure of doing all the actual work, so I can maintain focus on eating your stash of Cheetos?
Why do you title yourselves 'art tyrants'? Doesn't 'tyrant' suggest you do not rightfully possess or abuse your power as leaders? (source: the right side of the tublr page it says "Art Tyrants Steve Argyle and Adrian Burton")
It’s a running joke with the artists. Steve and I tend to be really laid back. So the idea of us being tyrannical is absurd. In someways we’re both half an art director, he is qualified artistically but has very little time to dedicate to it, I’ve been playing for 15 years, but not an artist. However I have the time to filter out all the day to day grind of the job for him so he gets to focus on the art. Neither of us could ever have really gotten the job without the other. And yes I abuse the power all the time, I get to tell Steve what to do now, it’s awesome.
You mentioned that you sometimes get wrapped up in the whole "this clan vs. that clan". I know personally this is one of my favorite parts of L5R rather than other card games where ties to what type of deck you play isn't as strong, though its a shame when people take it personally and feel they need to defend their clan. Does most of the art and/or design team all feel at home or more connected to a particular clan?
I think the art and story team tend to gravitate more towards some specific clans. I know design has people who tend to focus on clans a bit more they seem to divide up some of the duties, I’ve not asked them about it just yet it might be based on play style or clan affiliations, not sure. I’m very much a Mantis Player, Steve Argyle loves Spider, our informal third henchmen Steve DeBirk is a hardcore Crab player. I don’t know the story teams exact favorite clans but I suspect a few here and there.
I agree though that clan loyalty is an awesome part of the game, its a huge feature. Tribalism at its best really. When taken too seriously it brings out the bad perhaps but in general L5R players are a fantastic bunch of people. I love that people get attached to styles of play. I often hear people talk about their “Ancestor Clan” or “Birth Clan” They’ll tell you about what clan they were introduced to the game as, and if they stayed or moved on and why. Personally my L5R pedigree is Unicorn->Mantis.
I actually like the idea of clans getting beat on a bit in story so they can rise up again and kick some ass. I don’t know that in real life I’ve ever met a player who really took serious offense at some perceived slight of their clan it’s always been more a minor complaint or a sarcastic remark there nothing big. It seems to happen plenty online big drama fests of “this is a slap in the face” ect, ect, but I’ve never seen it among the many players I’ve gotten to meet in person.
I think for me and Steve we tend to have clans/deck types that get our goat, I know Steve utterly hated Khol Wall decks along with every non Unicorn Player back in the day. I get really frustrated with PK decks and things I can’t shoot in the face. So that’s really as far as the clan v clan thing goes for us most of the time.
I quite like the Shinjo T'sao art from the other day (though the aspect that caught my eye was not the armor but his face), So, I'm rather curious, what are some of these pieces that people have apparently given the artist some discouraging feedback on? (I don't really remember his name)
That’s what I love about art, it can catch peoples attention in varying ways, I agree his face is great.
I think the one I’ve heard the most feedback on is his BTD Unicorn Moto Hailung