Melissa Uran Final Art
But first an Update on EX3:
Maria Cabardo and I are finishing up reviewing final pieces as they pass through our hands and are approved by CCP. Only a few remain to get to finished state at this point including some of the full page pieces. There are a few pieces we need the completed text for so we can do the design thing we want to do with the art working the way we need it to in terms of working with the text.
Once Holden passes the text to us, Maria will start combining text and design ideas to create the page design format, and the art will also factor in there. Because this is a new design, with a new art director/designer, we will be going back and forth a bit to perfect it, so estimates on how long such a process will take are still not possible. When the format is settled and Maria gets a few chapters under her belt, we'll be able to take a stab at how long the rest of the chapters will take to lay out.
Matt Forbeck's EX3 Novel is being written and the EX3 Anthology is in second drafts with the writers. Composer James Semple (he created the music we used in the KS video) and I talked and he is working on new material finally for the EX3 Music Suites. Writing is being done on the EX3 Quickstart (note Holden's comment about that above).
And now, here are the finals of the art from Melissa Uran:
We posted her sketches, and then the inked versions last Update, and now Mel has handed in her finished pieces. These are still before we hae tweak the colors for printing, so a couple are a little darker here than they will be in the book. I'll include the art notes text here as well so that everybody can follow along even if you missed the earlier Updates.
1- The Wyld and the Fair Folk (Horizontal half-page illustration, full color) The setting is a forest of gigantic blossoms. The centerpiece of the picture is a classic lord of the Fair Folk—a graceful, wicked faerie prince, garbed in all the colors of the forest and wielding an elegant, otherworldly bow of wood and pearl. Lesser fae are unfolding from the blossoms around him—in addition to 'fae' traits such as pointed ears, these should have visual markers reminiscent of Hindu demons—claws, fangs, long arms, bulging eyes, striped hides, that sort of thing. They're clearly a different, and lesser, sort of creature than the Fair Folk noble, only distantly related at best. In the corner of the shot, a deer-woman cowers in the shadow of the blossoms: the noble's sport. Please go crazy with the colors here-- we want this picture to really pop off the page, to give an impression of hyperreality through visual saturation in the fantastic landscape.
2- Righteous Eye (Vertical character illustration, roughly half-page sized, full color) This is a character image, no background. Righteous Eye is sleek and muscular, powered by the wind and shadows, moves like a blur, never loses his footing, no matter how slick the rooftop. He stands with his weapon, wearing a black hood and armless vest. One of his arms is bare save for an archer’s glove. His left arm has a cool orichalcum armor-sheathe going all the way down to cover the hand—it doesn’t cover his shoulder. The sheath has a burning eye motif repeated across it. He’s wearing a hide belt with orichalcum segments and an orichalcum buckle; the buckle is a blazing sun with an eye in the center. He’s wearing black tights, along with black and white boots with orichalcum studs on the shins. Righteous Eye is a young black man, in his early 20s, with hard eyes and his jaw is strong but not thick—he has the look of a raptor. He’s bald, although his hood is up so this feature can’t be seen. His face is scarred diagonally on the right side, from his upper lip down over his chin and down his neck; the scar widens as it goes, due to being slashed at some point. It’s an anime-ish scar, so it makes him look cool rather than disfigured. The hood has a white eye on it, over Righteous Eye’s forehead. His powerbow, Windscythe, is an orichalcum short bow with bladed wings that can be used to slash enemies as well as to fire arrows.
3- Rolling the Dice (Vertical half-page illustration, full color) Draw a seedy speakeasy in the bad part of a big city. In the foreground are several rough-looking characters sitting at a table, gambling with a variety of different-sided dice. They’re suspiciously glancing up from their game, toward the door of the establishment. The door is open, and two strangers are standing in it—Solar Exalteds have arrived at this den of thieves, looking over the room with a stern and measuring eye. Use the backer descriptions for Zan the Invincible and Peleps (Captain Zhui the Traveller) Perhaps one of the rogues at the table is their quarry.
4- Naval Combat (Horizontal half-page illustration, full color) This illustration depicts a pitched naval battle near a tropical island. In the foreground, a Solar Exalted is rallying the crew to prepare to repel boarders. The ship is being boarded by a trireme whose sails depict the symbol of House Peleps; the marines surging over the rail are clad in crimson buff jackets. It’s clear that the battle has been going on for a while, before ending in this boarding action—the trireme has taken some damage, and there are arrows sticking out of various portions of the Solar’s vessel. Use the backer description for Jareth. We did not get an inked version of this yet.
5- Unsurpassed Hearing and Touch Discipline (Vertical half-page illustration, full color) This is a split illustration. One half of it depicts two wealthy characters (perhaps merchants, perhaps Dragon-Blooded Dynasts?) in opulent surroundings engaging in some form of serious planning session, conspiracy, or meeting. A hair-thin wire has been tied around a nearby object, and trails out of an open window. The second half of the picture depicts a Solar Exalted character sitting cross-legged in a dark attic somewhere nearby, with the wire running into the attic and laying across her fingertips, listening in on the conversation through vibrations conveyed down the wire with her impossibly keen sense of touch. The Solar’s garb resembles that of a spy, assassin, or similarly shady sort of character.
6- Ten Magistrate Eyes (Horizontal half-page illustration, full color) “Attuning herself to the ambient Essence of the world, the Solar can see the order of and links between objects. This Charm supplements a case scene action, making that action infallible, and reducing the time it takes to just seconds. Even if the Exalt’s Perception + Investigation roll turns up no successes, she gains at least one clue to her investigation. For each additional success, the Storyteller describes the Solar’s mind racing from clue to clue, making logical connections that would be impossible for most people, and describing how those connections work to advance the Solar’s inquest. Such clues should provide the player with information that constitutes leads to characters, places, and events that will automatically trigger Watchman’s Infallible Eye when encountered. The Solar can also automatically tell if there has been an attempt to conceal evidence.” This is an illustration of a crime scene—a well-appointed room in a manor. A bloody body lies on the floor, the window is shut, and there is a well-built desk on the far side of the room, one of its doors very slightly ajar. In the back of the room stands a Solar Exalted investigator, using the backer description for Diving Salmon. Her Twilight Caste Mark burns on her brow, and her eyes are closed in concentration. The illustration should depict hazy phantom forms, representing his reconstruction of the crime scene, overlain on top of the actual scene—imposed over the closed window, a hooded figure coming in through the window; that same hooded figure should be shown standing over the corpse, stabbing his victim in the chest at an angle congruent with where the body fell; and on the far side of the room, the hooded man’s ghostly form can be seen rifling through the drawer that he left slightly ajar.
7- Blurred Form Style (Horizontal half-page illustration, full color) This is a cover of the illustration on page 202 of the First Edition Exalted core book, by Mel Uran.
8- White Reaper Style: Enemies Like Grass (Horizontal half-page illustration, full color) A nighttime illustration, set in the countryside of a chill frontier land. A Lunar Exalt armed with a large magical scythe tears through a late-night patrol of Realm legionnaires. The legionnaires are wearing heavy armor, crimson-lacquered, and are armed with shields and spears, save for one who carries a lantern. For the Lunar use the backer description for Tyrell. He’s surrounded by a silver-white nimbus of power as he tears through the patrol, having ambushed it from the darkness; silver-white slashes, drawn in the same fashion as her nimbus, can be seen in several places in the illustration, giving the impression that he’s striking everywhere faster than the eye can see, scything down the legionnaires. His actual scythe (made of an elegantly-lined, mystical silver) is tearing through the lantern and the legionnaire holding it, splashing flames across the piece and providing the principle illumination in the scene.
Hope you've enjoyed watching the evolution of Mel's pieces, and I'll be posting some more finishes from other artists next Update!