Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jeff Dee's Kickstarter Project: Queen of the Demonweb Pits

In case you haven't heard, former TSR artist Jeff Dee has initiated a new Kickstarter project wherein he will re-create his artwork from Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. How great is that? Be sure to have a look.


  1. My first thought, when I heard about his kickstarter to recreate his Deities and Demigods art, was 'cool.' But after thinking about it, I have to wonder why he needs the capital from a kickstart campaign to redraw his own pictures. It sounds to me like he wants to get paid up front to draw art that will eventually go into a book, which he will then sell. I'm not sure why this needs to be a kickstart or why we are being asked to contribute money to the cause. He should just bite the bullet and make the drawings if it is important to him. Then publish an art book.

  2. For a very small amount of money you can own an original piece of Mr. Dees art. That is what this Kickstart program is about. Thanks for this info and I love the new look of the blog.

  3. I agree with Sean on this one. He should do the art if that's what's important him.

  4. I understand Sean's point of view. However, Dee offers all kinds of stuff subject to the size of the pledge.

    Here's another way of thinking about it:

    Even with support from the government my book with UBC Press cost 8,000 bucks to (literally) put the pages together on the first run. Also, the larger the number of coloured plates, the higher the price. It can rise dramatically, esp. for an art book.

    I say more power to him.

  5. Hi, friends. Thought I'd point a few things out.

    A lot of people don't realize it but Jeff was only 17 when he first did those pictures. It's very rare that an artist gets that kind of exposure at such a young age.

    Somebody's FIRST work isn't going to be their best.

    Jeff is asking for the opportunity to revisit pictures that are full of the life and wild enthusiasm from a teenager. But, now he's in his 50's and he's got a line quality that only a lifetime of inking can bring.

    Here's one of the new versions, using modern art reproduction methods:

    Another thing that's changed since then is the technical equipment involved. The old books were produced using photostats of the originals. They're incredibly bad reproductions! Digital scanning did not yet exist.

    Maybe the difference doesn't become apparent without side by side comparison. We were probably so forgiving back then because it was the best we could get. The superior reproduction quality of "art prints" was something only those hoity-toity collectors knew about and could enjoy. :)

    A picture takes between 8 and 10 hours to create. The first half is penciling and the second half is inking.

    That's sort of the irony of being a professional artist... Jeff can't afford to just make a picture for fun. He has to pay rent, food, medical bills, car repair, etc., just like everybody else. He just hasn't got the freedom to do a dozen drawings "on spec".

    Some of his art won't contribute to his career: It will never be seen because it's production sketches. He has to keep constantly producing art or else he doesn't have the exposure that brings him more commissions.

    It's a very difficult choice whether or not to take on this type of work. (This was for "The Golden Compass" and he has permission to display it. Normally he would not.)

    And that's where Kickstarter has offered a remarkable new option: an artist can ASK if something that they might personally wish to do, is something that others would financially support.

    If a Kickstarter doesn't get its minimum amount, an artist doesn't start in on it, and nothing is lost.

    On the Egyptian project, Jeff asked for $2500, and received $5750. Less than 20 backers will receive sets. Even if he makes 200 more sets, that is an EXTREMELY limited edition. (In the art world, 1000 is a mini-micro teensy tiny print run.)

    While he completes this, he's launched the next Kickstarter for the Q1 module's illustrations. It may or may not gather enough support. (If it does, the likelihood of an art book compilation goes up. If that happens, the art value of the signed prints goes up, not down.)

    Jeff's in a further unusual situation. He's a professional game designer as well as artist. To put it in AD&D terms, his art career has been slowed by having to spend his experience points on his game design Class. :)

    If an art Kickstarter doesn't happen to come through, he'll still be making games like Villains & Vigilantes and Quicksilver. Because of the market, he would most likely be using Kickstarter for any RPG project, as well.

    Nevertheless, I hope you can see from his first Kickstarter that he has more of a passion for adventure illustration than ever.