area of AdvancedFightingFantasy.com has
been designed and is devoted to bringing
you exclusive unseen material from the FF
our many interviews with many of the original
Fighting Fantasy contributors, authors and
artists were kind enough to reveal much
about their work for the genre. In a number
of these interviews via email, mail and
telephone information was revealed regarding
unseen Gamebooks, proposals and artwork
that has never seen the light of day. This
area is proud to announce and reveal that
SORCERY EPIC 1:
SHAMUTANTI HILLS ARTWORK
Look at Unseen Fighting Fantasy images
We are delighted
to reveal this month the first look at the
cover of the new Sorcery Epic Book one:
The Shamutanti Hills by Mel Grant. Mel Grant
also did the fantastic Deathtrap Dungeon
cover and will paint all of the new Sorcery
covers, for continuity.
Mel may I ask where did the design briefs
come from for all the books? Can I ask what
each of them was?
The design briefs for
the latest four came from Wizard Books,
from Simon Flynn and Steve Jackson. Deathtrap
Dungeon came from Jeremy Cox at Icon and
Ian Livingstone. Below are snippets from
the briefing emails from Simon and Steve.
As you can see, with such great descriptions,
you can’t help but get ‘Fired
Up’ and whack it from a great height.
After the initial sketches there would sometime
be some minor changes, but the gist of it
Standing before you on
four legs is a huge MANTICORE - a hybrid
creature with a lion's body and a scorpion's
tail. Its face is that of an old man and
as it sees you it rears back, flapping two
Some gory remains of the creature's last
meal (a human, of course) can be clearly
seen. Or maybe you've just interrupted his
meal - even better!
Khare City of
This is a huge blubbery
slime-festering creature like a swamp demon,
which feeds on sewage, excrement and general
filth. It stinks. It is covered in festering
sores, pus-filled boils and general grot.
It's foul to look at. A hideous and fearsome
creature. Perhaps it is rising up from its
normal pose resting hippo-like just on the
surface of the filthy liquid it lives in.
Your arrival has disturbed it and it intends
to attack by smothering you in its blubbery
The Seven Serpents
I suggest this is a picture
showing a 'swirl' containing the Seven Serpents
all rearing up to attack. In the book they
never actually appear together, so this
is a bit of a cheat. The Seven Serpents
And here there were individual descriptions
of the serpents
The Crown of Kings
For this I suggest a picture
showing the Archmage of Mampang in the middle
of casting a spell out at the reader. And
a picture of the Crown of Kings, perhaps
semi-transparent, hanging in the background.
Imagine the reader has intruded on the Archmage's
home, intent on stealing the Crown. The
Archmage is LIVID! He rises to his feet,
his eyes ABLAZE with HATRED! He summons
up a powerful fireball spell (or some other
kind of powerful magical attack spell) and
at the time the 'photo' on the cover is
taken, his expression is one of pure screaming
evil as he sends his deadly blast out of
the cover aimed straight at the reader's
heart. As he casts it his body is wracked
with a jolt of energy. The Archmage is going
Can I ask how long does it take for you
to come up with a final design after being
given the initial brief. How many sketches
do you usually try before you are roughly
happy with it?
Well this varies; nothing
I do ever seems to go in a straight line.
It has been sometimes thought by the ‘Powers’
who commission that a quick scratchy, sketch
can be turned around on a sixpence. ‘Just
a quick idea,’ they say, ‘It
doesn’t have to be too good. Just
so we get an idea.’ What they really
mean is, ‘I want a really good sketch…
with all the mustard and pickles, but still
turned around on a sixpence.’ But
the sketch, to me, is the most important
part of the process. This is where the heart
of the work comes from and sometimes it
takes longer than the final painting. But
there are other times when it just goes
‘Wham’ like that. Done with
a manic grin, and the fist is raised with
a triumphant ‘YESSSS!’ Sometimes
though, there are many terrible sketches
with much tearing of hair and foul language.
Those are my dark shades when any sensible
creatures in the immediate vicinity will
go quietly somewhere else and leave me friendless.
But mostly, there are happy times, like
when it goes backwards and the final painting
is done before the sketch (you can do that
with computers). In that case I have to
go back and prepare a sketch, for the presenting,
because there is a procedure here. Some
paintings can be done in a day or two and
some in a week or two. Backward painting
in a day or so, even hours, but I do like
to linger a bit. It also depends on what
else I have on at the time.
When you paint the cover from initial outline
to sketch and then the completion what material
do you use?
Up until about seven years
ago all my work was painted in oils, but
now I use digital paint and the artwork
is given out on a CD. At times I wish I’d
stayed with canvases and oils, as with computers
and me there is occasionally a conflict
of wills. But I don’t have to wait
for the paint to dry now.
Sometimes I’ll do an initial pencil
or coloured sketch and scan this in and
go from there, or maybe I’ll sketch
straight into the computer. Sometimes I’ll
use reference and sometimes it’s straight
through a hole in the back of my head.
But one thing, I do not
do ‘Computer Generated’. I do
not use programs to do the art for me. I
do the work by hand and you can’t
do it well if you can’t draw. I use
Photoshop and sometimes Painter, mostly
Photoshop ‘cause it’s simple
to use and standard. But I have managed
to ‘Tweak’ it so it responds
in a very similar way to oil paints and
it knows who is master now. I did most of
this ‘Tweaking’ with a gentle
touch… and also obscene threats with
a large hammer.
Are you looking forward to any future covers,
or is there a cover you would like to do?
Yes, I would look forward
to many future covers and FF covers in particular.
They are great fun to do. At this time I
have no particular cover that I would prefer
to do… just as long as it’s
something to get my teeth into and chew
around a bit.
A big thank
you must go to Mel Grant for the scans,
e-mails and great conversations. Thank you
for again supporting the site!