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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:13 am 
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Goblin

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My fellow gamers,

During the course of working on my current Dungeons & Dragons project, I have had the opportunity to become good friends with Darlene Pekul. For those of you who do not recognize her name, she is responsible for much of the artwork and calligraphy that appeared in the some of game's earliest source material. She did many of the illustrations in the first Dungeon Master's Guide and was responsible for the beautiful lettering that decorated the World of Greyhawk maps.

Darlene has asked me to act as the creator and proctor of her official Facebook fanpage, located at: http://www.facebook.com/DarleneTheArtist

I would ask you, my friends interested in the game, please join the group! Furthermore, tell your friends that enjoy it or are interested in the roots of the game about the fan page, as well. Many exciting things (such as an eBay auction featuring many early Dungeons & Dragons game materials and other nonsuch!) are on the way!


Warmest,

TPoD


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:25 pm 
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Giant Space Hamster
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Hi TPoD,

Welcome to The Piazza.

Please let Darlene know, that if she fancies coming to talk to some of her fans about her art and cartography, we would be very happy to see her over here.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:11 pm 
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Goblin

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Mr. Shepheard,

I'd be pleased to relay that message to her. I'll warn you in advance that Darlene will probably not take you up on the offer, though: She has a tendency to eschew social networking (which is why I'm serving as a proctor for her fan page, rather than her doing it herself). I would expect that that would include this Forum. You never know, though. When I tell her that people like Mr. Gygax and Mr. Mentzer themselves were active here...perhaps she'll make an exception!


TPoD


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:36 am 
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TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Mr. Shepheard,

I'd be pleased to relay that message to her. I'll warn you in advance that Darlene will probably not take you up on the offer, though: She has a tendency to eschew social networking (which is why I'm serving as a proctor for her fan page, rather than her doing it herself). I would expect that that would include this Forum. You never know, though. When I tell her that people like Mr. Gygax and Mr. Mentzer themselves were active here...perhaps she'll make an exception!


Thanks TPoD.

That is very kind of you. Either way, I hope you will keep us updated with what Darlene is up to. I've also got an influence with D&D Nexus, so if you have enough notice about the auction, I'll try to get the word out on their blog.

I was never really a follower of the people behind D&D, when I was young. (I just saw it as a pink-fluffy cloud that rained out cool stuff. :lol: ) But now I am older, and have gotten to learn some of the names that are on products I like, I've been really interested to see who made what.

I've also been interested to see what people have been up to since they made that "cool stuff", so if you have news of what Darlene has done since Greyhawk, I'd love to hear about it.

Just to correct you, we have never had Gary Gygax himself here. The Piazza was "born" on May 22th 2008 (after forum staff working for Wizards of the Coast decided to remove the forums for older campaign settings, like Greyhawk, Mystara, Spelljammer and other out of print settings and merge all the posts into a single forum). That is a couple of months after the sad day that Gary Gygax died. ;(

We would have loved to have had him come over here at The Piazza. This website was set up to create a home for fans of all D&D campaign settings and regardless of if people prefer early settings like Greyhawk or Mystara or new settings like Eberron or Nentir Vale, the one thing that we all have in common is that none of that would have happened if Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson had not invented the game.

We do have Frank Mentzer here though. He has been very friendly towards fans. Back in 2010 he even sponsored a competition here. Frank is currently working with Tim Kask, Christopher Clark and Jim Ward. (Tim Kask and Christopher Clark are also on our forums.) They have a company called Eldritch Enterprises and are publishing RPG material. (We even have a forum for Frank Mentzer's Aquaria campaign setting here.) And both Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask stopped off in London to meet London-based fans. (I was lucky enough to meet them both. :cool: )

Other people that Darlene may have worked with include: Bruce Heard, Tim Beach, Allen Varney and Colin McComb. I'm not entirely sure when she left TSR and when other people joined, but there is a list of the gaming professionals on The Piazza, that you or her can check.

I think the social thing can be a bit of a time eater. And I have occasionally seen a fan asking a professional about some trivial thing from 30 years back. But I think that mostly fans (in all places) want to say "thanks for the cool stuff".

I think it is great to have someone like you, that can look after a fan page and deal with some of the mundane questions that a pro might not have time to deal with. Are you going to be allowed to put copies of more of Darlene's art on the DarleneTheArtist page, so that people can do the "like" thing and the "share" thing with their favourite pictures?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:51 pm 
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Dragon Turtle
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Awesome. Subscribed to her FB page :)

-Havard

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:04 am 
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Goblin

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Mr. Shepheard,

Big Mac wrote:
That is very kind of you. Either way, I hope you will keep us updated with what Darlene is up to. I've also got an influence with D&D Nexus, so if you have enough notice about the auction, I'll try to get the word out on their blog.


I will most definitely take you up on that offer. At this time, all I know is that the auction is due to take place in November. As we progress towards that date, I'll drop you a line to five you more information. Thanks so much for being so thoughtful!

Big Mac wrote:
I was never really a follower of the people behind D&D, when I was young. (I just saw it as a pink-fluffy cloud that rained out cool stuff. :lol: ) But now I am older, and have gotten to learn some of the names that are on products I like, I've been really interested to see who made what.

I've also been interested to see what people have been up to since they made that "cool stuff", so if you have news of what Darlene has done since Greyhawk, I'd love to hear about it.


My experience is much the same as yours. When I was young and first was learning about the game, I would marvel in wonder about such luminaries as Tenser and Leomund and, of course Mordenkainen (such a mistake in the game's newer editions to omit such names! But I digress...). This, to the point when I got older, as I learned about the individuals that created these characters in the D&D milleu, I devoured information about them--those early experiences with the game--voraciously. Darlene is no exception. I remember sitting on my living room floor, the winter I received the Dungeon Master's Guide as a gift, in awe of her art within the pages of the book. Her legend only grew in my eyes when I realized it was her that did the calligraphy for the World of Greyhawk maps I spent an entire summer poring over.

I'm currently working on a World of Greyhawk project in which I'm creating a sourcebook for Fireland: The sub-continent to the east of Oerik's Barbarian Lands. I intend this to be a professional quality project. As such, as I went along writing the text for the book, I retained professional artists (wow, they can get expensive!) for my interior artwork and cover. By the time I was set to make my master map, I thought to myself: "Wouldn't it be cool if I could get Darlene to do the calligraphy for my map?" To me, her handwriting is one of the things that makes a Greyhawk product "official". With that thought in mind, I set off in my typically monomaniacal fashion toward getting that done. Eventually, I managed to track her down and contact her...then fulfill a lifelong dream in getting her to do the lettering for my very own Greyhawk project.

Know what I found out? As I went on with the project and got to know her a bit better...getting her to do my lettering was just as cool as eventually becoming her friend. Darlene is a rare individual, just as wonderful as my childhood imagination always made her out to be. They say that you're better off never meeting your heroes, as they rarely measure up to the level to which you build them up in your mind. Darlene was everything I imagined she'd be...and far more.

Now, as to what she's been up to: I have passed the notion of "interviewing" her for the Facebook page before, but she never gave me her thoughts on that (we have a lot of ideas going back and forth, you see!). If she declines the offer to visit the Piazza herself and does, sometime, do the interview, you can be sure I'll share it here for everyone to see!

Big Mac wrote:
Just to correct you, we have never had Gary Gygax himself here. The Piazza was "born" on May 22th 2008 (after forum staff working for Wizards of the Coast decided to remove the forums for older campaign settings, like Greyhawk, Mystara, Spelljammer and other out of print settings and merge all the posts into a single forum). That is a couple of months after the sad day that Gary Gygax died. ;(

We would have loved to have had him come over here at The Piazza. This website was set up to create a home for fans of all D&D campaign settings and regardless of if people prefer early settings like Greyhawk or Mystara or new settings like Eberron or Nentir Vale, the one thing that we all have in common is that none of that would have happened if Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson had not invented the game.

We do have Frank Mentzer here though. He has been very friendly towards fans. Back in 2010 he even sponsored a competition here. Frank is currently working with Tim Kask, Christopher Clark and Jim Ward. (Tim Kask and Christopher Clark are also on our forums.) They have a company called Eldritch Enterprises and are publishing RPG material. (We even have a forum for Frank Mentzer's Aquaria campaign setting here.) And both Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask stopped off in London to meet London-based fans. (I was lucky enough to meet them both. :cool: )


Ah, I see. Well, I knew that Mr. Mentzer came to visit. The reason I know about this Forum at all is because I was drawn to it in search of information about Aquaria (Fireland is situated between Oerik and that mysterious land, you know!) and saw that Mr. Mentzer was a frequent contributor. I very much look forward to seeing what he and his fellow RPG legends be coming out with!

Big Mac wrote:
Other people that Darlene may have worked with include: Bruce Heard, Tim Beach, Allen Varney and Colin McComb. I'm not entirely sure when she left TSR and when other people joined, but there is a list of the gaming professionals on The Piazza, that you or her can check.


Funny you should mention Bruce Heard! I noticed just today that he joined our Facebook page! :)

Thank you for the resource! You can be sure I'll use it!

Big Mac wrote:
I think the social thing can be a bit of a time eater. And I have occasionally seen a fan asking a professional about some trivial thing from 30 years back. But I think that mostly fans (in all places) want to say "thanks for the cool stuff".

I think it is great to have someone like you, that can look after a fan page and deal with some of the mundane questions that a pro might not have time to deal with. Are you going to be allowed to put copies of more of Darlene's art on the DarleneTheArtist page, so that people can do the "like" thing and the "share" thing with their favourite pictures?


Thank you so much for the kind words. In my eyes, though, I am just a fan and a friend of Darlene's (that's partly why I go by the name "The Prophet of Darlene" and not my real name: This is about her, not me). I am a means by which her other fans can connect with her and so that she can get messages she wishes the gaming world to receive properly communicated. For everything that she's done for me, I could do no less. How to repay someone that colored the skies of a child's dreams?

I'll be putting up everything Darlene sends me, which is a list of things growing by the day. Stay tuned, for sure! :D


Your friend,

TPoD


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:57 am 
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Goblin
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Good evening all------What a very pleasant surprise to all of a sudden learn that I've had fans all this time! It's a little embarrassing, but appreciated nonetheless. Thank You. ("The Prophet of Darlene"... ? I'm speechless!)
To correct a supposition, I've always worked alone in my studio. I was never a TSR artist. I was not in that fraternity. I was only an artist who worked as a freelancer for TSR. As I lived in the same town, I was available and got the art work nobody else wanted.
Thus, I never worked "with" anyone in the same room. If I met any of the artists at all, it would be in the hallway on the way to or from delivering artwork or receiving assignments. They'd also be around during after-hours activities. I mostly hung out with the game designers and the writer/editors...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:45 pm 
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Hello Darlene,
welcome to the Piazza! Maybe you could tell us something about how you started working for TSR? :)

-Havard

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:15 pm 
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TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Mr. Shepheard,


I'm far too unimportant in the big scheme of things to require that amount of formality (especially when we are in a thread discussing an artist that everyone knows by her first name). :)

Most people here either call me David or Big Mac (which is a nickname I've had since the 1980s).

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
That is very kind of you. Either way, I hope you will keep us updated with what Darlene is up to. I've also got an influence with D&D Nexus, so if you have enough notice about the auction, I'll try to get the word out on their blog.


I will most definitely take you up on that offer. At this time, all I know is that the auction is due to take place in November. As we progress towards that date, I'll drop you a line to five you more information. Thanks so much for being so thoughtful!


You might also want to use your forum signature to link to your Facebook fan page. (And perhaps the location of the auction, when it happens.)

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I was never really a follower of the people behind D&D, when I was young. (I just saw it as a pink-fluffy cloud that rained out cool stuff. :lol: ) But now I am older, and have gotten to learn some of the names that are on products I like, I've been really interested to see who made what.

I've also been interested to see what people have been up to since they made that "cool stuff", so if you have news of what Darlene has done since Greyhawk, I'd love to hear about it.


My experience is much the same as yours. When I was young and first was learning about the game, I would marvel in wonder about such luminaries as Tenser and Leomund and, of course Mordenkainen (such a mistake in the game's newer editions to omit such names! But I digress...). This, to the point when I got older, as I learned about the individuals that created these characters in the D&D milleu, I devoured information about them--those early experiences with the game--voraciously. Darlene is no exception. I remember sitting on my living room floor, the winter I received the Dungeon Master's Guide as a gift, in awe of her art within the pages of the book. Her legend only grew in my eyes when I realized it was her that did the calligraphy for the World of Greyhawk maps I spent an entire summer poring over.


I came to Greyhawk in a round-about way. I started during 2nd Edition AD&D and was blown away when I went to a gaming store and saw Jeff Easley's fantasy space painting on the front of the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set. I fell in love with Spelljammer and with the setting being built around Greyhawk, Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, I saw all three as mightly pillars holding Spelljammer up.

I didn't have a lot of spare cash back then, but recently I've been trying to learn more about Greyhawk (and the other two settings). And while I still didn't know who Darlene was a few years back, I quickly learned that anyone that knows anything about Greyhawk maps knew who she was.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
I'm currently working on a World of Greyhawk project in which I'm creating a sourcebook for Fireland: The sub-continent to the east of Oerik's Barbarian Lands. I intend this to be a professional quality project. As such, as I went along writing the text for the book, I retained professional artists (wow, they can get expensive!) for my interior artwork and cover. By the time I was set to make my master map, I thought to myself: "Wouldn't it be cool if I could get Darlene to do the calligraphy for my map?" To me, her handwriting is one of the things that makes a Greyhawk product "official". With that thought in mind, I set off in my typically monomaniacal fashion toward getting that done. Eventually, I managed to track her down and contact her...then fulfill a lifelong dream in getting her to do the lettering for my very own Greyhawk project.


I'm sure that a Darlene map of Fireland would be something that a lot of Greyhawk fans would love to see, as well as your sourcebook.

I am not a lawyer, and you would need to talk to one, but I think that you could possibly find some Greyhawk fans that would be happy to chip in if it would allow you to commission more art, either from Darlene or other Greyhawk artists.

Have you looked at Kickstarter? That works with projects having a base goal, plus some additional goals if more cash was raised. (So if you got a ton of cash, you could perhaps hire a GH designer to write an adventure set in Fireland.) And if people paid in more than a certain amount, and the project hit its target, they could get a poster-sized copy of the map, a hardback copy of your book, sketches from Darlene or other artists or other stuff.

Like I said, you would need to talk to a lawywer, if you went down this group. Some people say you can't do anything like this, but there are some things you can do. Casey Brown (known here as Aurdraco) created an unofficial Living Greyhawk: Bandit Kingdoms book. He might be able to give you a few pointers.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Know what I found out? As I went on with the project and got to know her a bit better...getting her to do my lettering was just as cool as eventually becoming her friend. Darlene is a rare individual, just as wonderful as my childhood imagination always made her out to be. They say that you're better off never meeting your heroes, as they rarely measure up to the level to which you build them up in your mind. Darlene was everything I imagined she'd be...and far more.

Now, as to what she's been up to: I have passed the notion of "interviewing" her for the Facebook page before, but she never gave me her thoughts on that (we have a lot of ideas going back and forth, you see!). If she declines the offer to visit the Piazza herself and does, sometime, do the interview, you can be sure I'll share it here for everyone to see!


I've "met "some really great RPG designers (both from the old products and new ones) and some of them are very happy to hang out with fans. I try not to bug them too much.

Maybe you could look at blogs (Wordpress and Blogger do free blogs) as they might allow you to do a bit more than you can do with Facebook alone.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
<snip>

We do have Frank Mentzer here though. He has been very friendly towards fans. Back in 2010 he even sponsored a competition here. Frank is currently working with Tim Kask, Christopher Clark and Jim Ward. (Tim Kask and Christopher Clark are also on our forums.) They have a company called Eldritch Enterprises and are publishing RPG material. (We even have a forum for Frank Mentzer's Aquaria campaign setting here.) And both Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask stopped off in London to meet London-based fans. (I was lucky enough to meet them both. :cool: )


Ah, I see. Well, I knew that Mr. Mentzer came to visit. The reason I know about this Forum at all is because I was drawn to it in search of information about Aquaria (Fireland is situated between Oerik and that mysterious land, you know!) and saw that Mr. Mentzer was a frequent contributor. I very much look forward to seeing what he and his fellow RPG legends be coming out with!


Frank Mentzer has been kind enough to put up a Q&A with Frank thread in our Aquaria forum. If you have specific things you need to know, I suggest you drop a question or two in his thread and (so long as it is something he remembers) I'm sure he will give you an answer, when he next drops by.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Other people that Darlene may have worked with include: Bruce Heard, Tim Beach, Allen Varney and Colin McComb. I'm not entirely sure when she left TSR and when other people joined, but there is a list of the gaming professionals on The Piazza, that you or her can check.


Funny you should mention Bruce Heard! I noticed just today that he joined our Facebook page! :)

Thank you for the resource! You can be sure I'll use it!


Bruce Heard has been doing a lot to give the Mystara community a boost in the last few months. He has his own blog. Maybe he might be able to help get the word out on Darlene's auction. The same goes for the other ex-TSR staff. Some are busier than others, but I'm sure you can get a few plugs.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I think the social thing can be a bit of a time eater. And I have occasionally seen a fan asking a professional about some trivial thing from 30 years back. But I think that mostly fans (in all places) want to say "thanks for the cool stuff".

I think it is great to have someone like you, that can look after a fan page and deal with some of the mundane questions that a pro might not have time to deal with. Are you going to be allowed to put copies of more of Darlene's art on the DarleneTheArtist page, so that people can do the "like" thing and the "share" thing with their favourite pictures?


Thank you so much for the kind words. In my eyes, though, I am just a fan and a friend of Darlene's (that's partly why I go by the name "The Prophet of Darlene" and not my real name: This is about her, not me). I am a means by which her other fans can connect with her and so that she can get messages she wishes the gaming world to receive properly communicated. For everything that she's done for me, I could do no less. How to repay someone that colored the skies of a child's dreams?


I've seen some great companies and great people that have had no time to put information online. If you can act as a conduit and deal with mundane inquiries, I think you could really help Darlene to connect with a lot of people without it being a chore.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
I'll be putting up everything Darlene sends me, which is a list of things growing by the day. Stay tuned, for sure! :D


I'll be looking forward to seeing more stuff and learning more.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:22 pm 
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Giant Space Hamster
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Darlene wrote:
Good evening all------What a very pleasant surprise to all of a sudden learn that I've had fans all this time! It's a little embarrassing, but appreciated nonetheless. Thank You. ("The Prophet of Darlene"... ? I'm speechless!)


Hi Darlene.

Thanks very much for accepting my invitation. Welcome to The Piazza. I hope you enjoy it here. (Please feel free to ask for help if you need a hand working out how to add an avatar or a signature.)

I think that some people at TSR had a higher profile than other people, but the great thing about the way the Internet has connected fans of out of print products is that people that like less high profile stuff (or rarer stuff) can meet each other. I think this has raised the profile of a lot of people above the level of fandom they had initially.

I've been trying to learn a bit about cartography and your name comes up a lot when I speak to the Greyhawk fans that have been turning themselves into cartographers. So you have not just inspired fandom, you have also inspired creativity. And some of that creativity is awesome.

I've been following a woman called Anna Meyer, who has spent more than 10 years working on a three dimensional atlas of the Flanaesss! :cool: And she is just one of the people following the maps you made.

Darlene wrote:
To correct a supposition, I've always worked alone in my studio. I was never a TSR artist. I was not in that fraternity. I was only an artist who worked as a freelancer for TSR. As I lived in the same town, I was available and got the art work nobody else wanted.

Thus, I never worked "with" anyone in the same room. If I met any of the artists at all, it would be in the hallway on the way to or from delivering artwork or receiving assignments. They'd also be around during after-hours activities. I mostly hung out with the game designers and the writer/editors...


I stand corrected. That is the "pink fluffy cloud" effect working its confusion on me. I just saw names in the books, and never knew who was in-house or not.

Sounds like you had the same sort of deal as Allen Varney. He was freelance too, although he wrote for TSR, rather than make maps.

Havard wrote:
Hello Darlene,
welcome to the Piazza! Maybe you could tell us something about how you started working for TSR? :)


I'd love to know that too. But I'm a bit worried that we could fill TPoD's thread (about his Darlene fan page) with questions for Darlene. That might make it a bit harder for TPoD to get information about the fan page updates across. :shock: :?

@ Darlene: Would you be willing to visit a "Q&A with Darlene" topic, if we created one?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:16 am 
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Goblin

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David,

Please don't worry about me! As I said, this is all about Darlene, as far as I'm concerned. If she would prefer to post here, I don't mind if she hijacks the thread at all.


Warmest,

TPoD

P.S.--> I will consider much of what you've said in the above posts. As for the idea of a Blog, that's more for Darlene to answer than I: She has her own website already, though, that she speaks on when she's moved to...so I think it might be superfluous. In any case, she would be able to decide that far better than I.

With respect to Fireland, my map isn't a "true" Darlene map. I did the cartography myself, digitally; Darlene provided the calligraphy that will decorate it. Just so there's no confusion or mistakenly elevated hopes!

As for getting others to chip in on the project...well, that's a slippery slope, in my eyes. I own no rights to the Greyhawk name and do not intend to make any money off of this project. My ultimate vision is simply to create a professional-quality product for the fans to use. My dream scenario would be that it would be as embraced and considered as "canon" as another non-published sourcebook: Ivid the Undying (for those of you who know of it). Because this is a non-profit project, I'm loathe to accept any money from anyone (no matter how good their intentions are!) or accept outside assistance with the source material. Thank you for all the great ideas, though! I'm finding that the project, as it goes along, becomes bigger and bigger, so who knows? By the time it's all over...maybe you WILL see me use some of those avenues!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:19 am 
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It's great to see Darlene herself responding to this thread. I second a Q&A thread for questions.

TPoD: Once your project is finished I'd love to promote it through my blog "Greyhawkery" or even Canonfire.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:40 am 
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TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
David,

Please don't worry about me! As I said, this is all about Darlene, as far as I'm concerned. If she would prefer to post here, I don't mind if she hijacks the thread at all.


Warmest,

TPoD


Thanks. :D

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
P.S.--> I will consider much of what you've said in the above posts. As for the idea of a Blog, that's more for Darlene to answer than I: She has her own website already, though, that she speaks on when she's moved to...so I think it might be superfluous. In any case, she would be able to decide that far better than I.


You may be right.

Perhaps you might want to do a blog or Facebook page for your Firelands project...at some point.

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
With respect to Fireland, my map isn't a "true" Darlene map. I did the cartography myself, digitally; Darlene provided the calligraphy that will decorate it. Just so there's no confusion or mistakenly elevated hopes!


Thanks. I stand corrected. Your method sounds similar to the way that comics are made by one artist and lettered by another one. :)

TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
As for getting others to chip in on the project...well, that's a slippery slope, in my eyes. I own no rights to the Greyhawk name and do not intend to make any money off of this project. My ultimate vision is simply to create a professional-quality product for the fans to use. My dream scenario would be that it would be as embraced and considered as "canon" as another non-published sourcebook: Ivid the Undying (for those of you who know of it). Because this is a non-profit project, I'm loathe to accept any money from anyone (no matter how good their intentions are!) or accept outside assistance with the source material. Thank you for all the great ideas, though! I'm finding that the project, as it goes along, becomes bigger and bigger, so who knows? By the time it's all over...maybe you WILL see me use some of those avenues!


I can totally see where you are coming from there.

I love well crafted fanon. Have you ever heard of the Adlatum Campaign Setting? That is a fanon soucebook that turns a partially described canon land into a new fanon continent for Dragonlance players. It was made by a small team of hard-core DL fans and is a free download that looks really beautiful. It sounds like your Firelands project is trying to do the same thing.

I thought it would win an ENnie Award, but it didn't. And that is because they forgot to enter it. I hope you don't forget to submit your Firelands book to the ENnies.

I've seen a really beautiful version of Ivid the Undying made by a fan that converted the text into the house style of commercial Greyhawk products. Maybe you can do that sort of thing (or get help wth it) further down the line.

mortellan wrote:
It's great to see Darlene herself responding to this thread. I second a Q&A thread for questions.


I think it could be a bit easier for everyone.

mortellan wrote:
TPoD: Once your project is finished I'd love to promote it through my blog "Greyhawkery" or even Canonfire.


Perhaps you could do a Firelands cartoon strip, at some point. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Good Morning All--

Fall in North Carolina is upon us. It rained last night and a musty smell of wet leaves now permeates the air. I find myself sipping coffee in front of the computer, wondering about life, art, choices, and the pathways I've chosen, etc...

I feel like I'm a comet in an elliptical orbit on a return journey after 30-years. Y'all have me thinking about things I haven't thought about in years... How DID my association with TSR all begin? And what is the true beginning point?

... It was around 1977 or 1978 when a customer came in and needed some assistance with a large mailer. I was working part-time as a layout artist at a local Lake Geneva graphics and printing company. The customer was Mike Carr (designer of A WWII aviation game "Fight in the Skies") and the mailer was for Gen Con, a yearly convention held in the Racine/Kenosha area. I was 23. Mike immediately pursued me and eventually caught me.

When Mike "showed me off" at the house on Williams street, besides himself, there were only a handful of people working for TSR at the time--Tim Kask (original editor of The Dragon), Joe Orlowski (editor of "Little Wars") Dave Sutherland ("Legions of the Petal Throne") Jon Pickens, Kenneth Reek--are the people I distinctly remember. Mike and Dave were roommates.

When I dated Mike, I was fresh out of college, living for the first time away from home in Lake Geneva, very green as an artist and struggling to make ends meet. I held down 3 part-time jobs. My stern and unsympathetic father wanted me to stay on the farm (yep-- I'm a farm girl from the Mid-west). My father had no faith that I could make it on my own and predicted I would fail and come "crawling back" to him. What incentive!

Among the first jobs I was given to do was to design and produce an outdoor sign for TSR's Williams Street building. I made the sign in the shape of a shield and painted The Dragon on one side and TSR on the other. Although I had earned my BA degree in Art, nobody initially associated me with illustration. I was first and foremost associated with graphics design, happy to receive any freelance work I was given...

This will have to suffice as my first installment of the early days when I had a ring-side seat to the TSR phenomena, witness to how everything unfolded... Am I providing too much detail?

Smiles, Darlene

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Thanks for sharing Darlene!

I love hearing about the early days of TSR and the people behind the games that we all here enjoy so much. Are you providing too much detail? No way! :)

Its interesting that you mention Dave Sutherland as he was another artist working for TSR. Did the two of you get into any discussions about art?

In a recent book written by Jon Peterson, the author revealed a scanned image of the Castles & Crusades Society World map by Gary Gygax:

Image

Am I correct that this was the map you used as a basis for your maps of the World of Greyhawk? While some parts of these maps are very similar, the later Greyhawk maps were extended to the west and south. How much creative freedom were you given in expanding the maps? Did TSR have specific requests on this? Any details you may remember about how the Greyhawk maps came to be would be of great interest! :)

Also, what have you been up to since you left TSR? :)

-Havard

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:53 pm 
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Darlene wrote:
Good Morning All--

Fall in North Carolina is upon us. It rained last night and a musty smell of wet leaves now permeates the air. I find myself sipping coffee in front of the computer, wondering about life, art, choices, and the pathways I've chosen, etc...

I feel like I'm a comet in an elliptical orbit on a return journey after 30-years. Y'all have me thinking about things I haven't thought about in years... How DID my association with TSR all begin? And what is the true beginning point?

... It was around 1977 or 1978 when a customer came in and needed some assistance with a large mailer. I was working part-time as a layout artist at a local Lake Geneva graphics and printing company. The customer was Mike Carr (designer of A WWII aviation game "Fight in the Skies") and the mailer was for Gen Con, a yearly convention held in the Racine/Kenosha area. I was 23. Mike immediately pursued me and eventually caught me.


Sounds like that is a "butterfly effect" moment that changed not only your life and Mike Carr's life but also led to you having a big impact on Greyhawk cartography.

Darlene wrote:
When Mike "showed me off" at the house on Williams street, besides himself, there were only a handful of people working for TSR at the time--Tim Kask (original editor of The Dragon), Joe Orlowski (editor of "Little Wars") Dave Sutherland ("Legions of the Petal Throne") Jon Pickens, Kenneth Reek--are the people I distinctly remember. Mike and Dave were roommates.


I've only just recently learned of Empire of the Petal Throne. It is strange how fate decided to favour Greyhawk more.

Roleplaying sometimes seems to be a strange hobby, to people that have not played it yet. But then art sometimes seems to be a strange thing to people that are not into art. Do you recall your initial reaction to the TSR crew? Did your artists eye start to visualise things you might paint when you met the TSR crew, or were you doing a different style of art before you met Mike? Or did they just feel like a bunch of people that worked with a friend/boyfriend at that time?

Darlene wrote:
When I dated Mike, I was fresh out of college, living for the first time away from home in Lake Geneva, very green as an artist and struggling to make ends meet. I held down 3 part-time jobs. My stern and unsympathetic father wanted me to stay on the farm (yep-- I'm a farm girl from the Mid-west). My father had no faith that I could make it on my own and predicted I would fail and come "crawling back" to him. What incentive!


I've been meeting a lot of artists (both at my day job and talking to RPG fans) in the last few years and art does seem to be a very hit or miss industry (just like acting, writing and other creative jobs). Three of the artists I work with have a part-time "day job" to bring in money and then do art in between "proper work".

One of the things that I find a bit weird about art is that it is a very subjective thing (you either like it or you don't like it) but the way that art seems to work in the economy is that it is often assigned little to no value or sometimes it is given a gigantic price, that normal people could never afford. And when art goes to silly prices, it has usually already passed from the hands of its creator, so they don't get a cut of a $6,000,000 price paid by a collector at an auction. (Some artists, from the past, have even died very poor and later their art has become really collectable and ended up being viewed like treasure.)

It is a bit of a shame that success is sometimes based on money, rather than how well you are doing at the thing you want to do.

Darlene wrote:
Among the first jobs I was given to do was to design and produce an outdoor sign for TSR's Williams Street building. I made the sign in the shape of a shield and painted The Dragon on one side and TSR on the other. Although I had earned my BA degree in Art, nobody initially associated me with illustration. I was first and foremost associated with graphics design, happy to receive any freelance work I was given...

This will have to suffice as my first installment of the early days when I had a ring-side seat to the TSR phenomena, witness to how everything unfolded... Am I providing too much detail?


Too much detail? I don't think so. Not unless you think this intrudes into your private life.

The sign is a very interesting detail. I hope that someone here has a photo of (both sides of) that sign. Was that all your idea, or did you take an existing dragon and TSR logo and roll them into your work?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:05 pm 
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Havard wrote:
Also, what have you been up to since you left TSR? :)


That is something I'd be interested in too.

Maybe our new friend TPoD has a list or some links. :)

Darlene's Wikipedia article shows her as the inventor of a card game called Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm, which is connected to a cartoon strip from Dragon magazine.

I don't know anything about Jasmine. I wonder if the Mid-Realm is something that could have (or still could) work as a RPG campaign setting.

EDIT: Darlene has a website, with its own blog! (Doh! :facepalm: ) There is an article there from a few years back called JASMINE: the story behind the Story behind the game…. Jasmine's story might work well as a graphic novel.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:12 am 
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Havard wrote:
Thanks for sharing Darlene!

In a recent book written by Jon Peterson, the author revealed a scanned image of the Castles & Crusades Society World map by Gary Gygax:

Image

Am I correct that this was the map you used as a basis for your maps of the World of Greyhawk? While some parts of these maps are very similar, the later Greyhawk maps were extended to the west and south. How much creative freedom were you given in expanding the maps? Did TSR have specific requests on this? Any details you may remember about how the Greyhawk maps came to be would be of great interest! :)

Also, what have you been up to since you left TSR? :)

-Havard


Hello Harvard,

It is impossible to tell if the above-mentioned map is or is not the one I used. Whatever I used, there would have been an acetate with a hex grid placed on top (so as to see thru it) and so it was only a matter of interpreting the boundaries in between geographic features. Once these were determined and OK'd, I was free to creatively conceive the details of the map. It was a matter of counting hexes and transferring something tiny into something big.

The maps were almost too big for my drawing table. They were produced like a pasteup, with the black plate on the bottom. I inked the details of the map directly upon the hex grid. There was no room for mistakes! The color was added in layers using adhesive Pantone color sheets placed on acetate...

Hope this helps, Darlene

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Fascinating!

Darlene, knowing every inch was hand-drawn I need to know, how long did it take you to finish the mock-up of the maps?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:06 am 
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Dear Troll, I believe the Greyhawk Map project, from start to finish, took 3 months, averaging 9 hours of work per day.

The auction of my RPG stuff will be from November 14th to the 21st. Check out Paul Stormberg's website, The Collectors Trove ( http://www.thecollectorstrove.com/ ) for more details

In the meanwhile, for those who are interested or curious, here are the links to my early TSR art work on my website. I prepared the list thematically:

Darlene's art in the Dungeon Master's Guide published in 1979 by TSR Hobbies:
http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=435

Have an enchanting time with Wizards & Mages at:
http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=396 You'll be spellbound.

Make no bones about it! The Skeletal Warriors are advancing. Head them off at:
http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=380

Break the ice with Arctic Barbarians and others who frequent the snow-laden frozen wastes:
http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=329

Many War Maidens want you to visit them at:
http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=300 I'd advise caution.

http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=293 (winged panthers & felines)

Centaurs like to horse around at: http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=326

http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=197 (RPG Bio)

http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=282
ANNOUNCING AUCTION of DARLENE's CLASSIC 1980s RPG ART!

http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=97 (Darlene's non-obvious contributions to the RPG Industry)

http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=182 (Jasmine™ Collector Card Game)

http://darlenetheartist.com/?p=215 (Stationery from the Vintage RPG 1980s Era)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:57 am 
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David,

I have no such links. Now that Darlene's joined the discussion, in fact, I'm rather happy to step back into the shadows and, with the rest of you, enjoy the anecdotes and information she chooses to share (most of which secrets, were as much a mystery to me as they were to each of you!).


Warmest,

TPoD


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:24 pm 
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Darlene wrote:
Dear Troll, I believe the Greyhawk Map project, from start to finish, took 3 months, averaging 9 hours of work per day.


I think you got confused by our forum rank system there, Darlene. :D

That question was asked by Mortellan. It says "Troll" below his name, because the boss of The Piazza decided we should all change into different D&D monsters as we made more posts.

If you have a look at your own name, you will see you are a Kobold. If you make some more replies (or if you write in other threads on The Piazza) you may soon transform from a Kobold into some other form of beastie. But I won't spoil it for you, by telling you when it is going to happen. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:28 pm 
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To think though, I was called a troll by Darlene. That's pretty fun to see.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:33 pm 
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TheProphetofDarlene wrote:
Now that Darlene's joined the discussion, in fact, I'm rather happy to step back into the shadows and, with the rest of you, enjoy the anecdotes and information she chooses to share (most of which secrets, were as much a mystery to me as they were to each of you!).


Thanks TPoD. :D

mortellan wrote:
To think though, I was called a troll by Darlene. That's pretty fun to see.


I thought that was very funny too. :lol:

Darlene wrote:
In the meanwhile, for those who are interested or curious, here are the links to my early TSR art work on my website. I prepared the list thematically:


Thanks for those links. It took me a while to read all those pages and they were very informative. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:04 am 
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Big Mac wrote:
Darlene wrote:
Dear Troll, I believe the Greyhawk Map project, from start to finish, took 3 months, averaging 9 hours of work per day.

I think you got confused by our forum rank system there, Darlene. :D

That question was asked by Mortellan. It says "Troll" below his name, because the boss of The Piazza decided we should all change into different D&D monsters as we made more posts.


Oh--I see... OK ^_^

I admit to being puzzled about the Kobold thing. Now I get it... (I wonder how long it took Mortellan to become a troll?)

More Later,
D

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