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).
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.)
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.
) 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.
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.
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.
Big Mac wrote:
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'll be putting up everything Darlene sends me, which is a list of things growing by the day. Stay tuned, for sure!
I'll be looking forward to seeing more stuff and learning more.