Calling all Texans! From October 9 through November 28th, you can venture back to the 16th century at one of the largest Renaissance festivals this side of the Mississippi: the Texas Renaissance Festival. Though I wasn’t able to attend this event, my good pals at GeektGear.com sent me their lovely photos and gave us an inside peek.
“The Texas Renaissance Fair is an amazing experience. I still remember the first time I went, which was about 12 years ago… it was magical! We camped on site for a couple of days and spent the whole weekend exploring the GINORMOUS outdoor geek extravaganza that is the Texas Renn Fest – thousands of people in elaborate costumes walking around in character, incredible shows, amazing food from all across the globe, scantily clad wenches eager and willing to plant a big wet kiss on your cheek, and all kinds of music that hearken you back to days when pirates, Vikings, Romans, and ninja’s ruled the world. Ahhh… those were the good ol’ days!”
~ Michael A. Walker, Co-Owner of GeektGear.com
“As an artist and designer, I always love attending the Texas Renaissance Festival to re-charge my creative spirit. Inspiration surrounds you—the music, the elaborate costumes, the intricate handcrafted works of other artisans. It also offers a nice reprieve from the fast-paced, tech-focused mindset that defines society today.”
~ Alisha K. Ard, Co-Owner, GeektGear.com
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I’m a huge fantasy fan, and though I must commend many series writers for their attempt at adapting some of our favorite novels into episodic television, the end result (for most) is generally, well, cheesy. They err on the side of good prevailing (in every episode), yet they fail to venture into the depths of pain, suffering, violence and seeming hopelessness in story lines. Often the dialogue doesn’t come close to matching the original writer’s brilliance. (Then there are the special effects… sigh).
Late last year when I found out that HBO, the television network that gave us True Blood, Rome and many other sagas filled with blood, murder, deception and betrayal, was about to embark on bringing George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (the first book from A Song of Ice and Fire series) to television, I couldn’t be happier. Will they finally get it right?
With production announcements pouring in daily, the new series creeps closer into our purview and spring 2011 can’t come soon enough. Here are some highlights so far, starting with our favorite topic: Art!
Costumes & Set (new!)
Costume designer Michele Clapton shares the process of creating Westeros garb.
Artisan Gemma Jackson on the Castle Black Lift
Some oldies but goodies (if you haven’t seen them):
Behind The Scenes Featurette
George R.R. Martin (the author of “A Game Of Thrones”), the executive producers and the cast talk about what to expect in HBO’s new dramatic series.
Game of Thrones teasers
True, they don’t show much!
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I had the honor of attending opening night at the Battlestar Galactica Exhibit in Seattle, WA, where cast members and creators Edward James Olmos, Michael Hogan, Kate Vernon, Richard Hatch, Ron Moore and Glen Larson hopped on stage to answer the fans’ buzzing questions. One of my favorite moments was Olmos’s story of what happened on set during the first “so say we all” speech.
Here it is for you guys to watch! (Apologies for the shaky camera, there were 2,000 people packed in like sardines.)
I’ve captured more of the event, including the entire opening question segment and a the “Sex, Blood and Cylons” panel discussing the re-imagined series. Stay tuned!
Find me on Twitter @Nedopak.
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Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum (EMP|SFM) in Seattle will unveil it’s newest exhibition Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition on October 23, 2010 (through March 4, 2012), and you’re in for a surprise! The show will honor both the new and older series, and include three full-size spaceships from the later series (two Vipers and one Cylon Raider), costumes, concept art, storyboards and various props from both shows. The exhibition is organized by EMP|SFM, Universal Cable Productions and Syfy.
I’ll be there, and rest assured, I’ll be documenting the whole thing! Find out more on empsfm.org.
Building Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition
BSG Cast & Crew Attending
Photos: Setting Up the Event
Yes, the EMP has a wall of guitars!
View all photos on EMP’s official Flikr stream.
Battlestar Galactica Evolution of the Cylon
Missed out on BSG?
Watch the miniseries promo!
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SPOILER ALERT: Parts 2 & 3 include the same spoilers the trailer does.
The Wheel of Time is my favorite fantasy series ever. I’ve dreamed about being part of the world Robert Jordan began back in 1984, whether it was being immersed in one of the enormous novels, making a fun costume or getting to meet Jordan himself to attest my love for his incredible work of political, epic fantasy.
Sadly, I never did get to meet Robert before he passed away in 2007; however, back in June (thanks to Twitter), I became pals with some of his most devoted followers. One of those fans was Jason Denzel, who created Dragonmount.com (@Dragonmount). After a lengthy phone call (or what I like to refer to as a total WOT geek out session!), Jason informed me that Tor, The Wheel of Time publishing company, had asked him to create something special to promote the release of book 13 Towers of Midnight: a book trailer. So, I jumped in the car and drove to Sacramento to capture this epic moment in Wheel of Time history.
Below are three Making of the Book Trailer features that I’ve created to showcase the story of this production, featuring clips from the trailer, behind the scenes photos and interviews with the cast and crew. Be sure to visit Dragonmount for the full feature write-up by Jason: A featured look at the making of the Towers of Midnight book trailer. And come find me on Twitter @Nedopak!
Part 1: The Making of the Book Trailer (no spoilers)
Part 2: Characters & Costumes (spoilers)
Part 3: Creating the Set, FX & The Tower of Genji (spoilers)
Sound Designer & Sound Mixer
Wheel of Time fan since 2002
I was particularly excited about creating a rumbling world of thunder for the trailer. Being a kid from the Northeast trapped in sunny Los Angeles has deprived me of years of thunder storms, and this was like therapy for me. Jason Denzel kept emailing me after each pass, “More thunder!” Building a world of sound from scratch around Kate Reading’s rich voice and the striking imagery on the screen was invigorating. My greatest challenge was creating the sound of Saidar. Tess and Jason both wanted it to be a holy sound. My first try sounded too much like thunder and was more fitting for Saidin; luckily Jason was very demanding and whipped me furiously until I got it right. A swirly sound of smooth glory made up of twenty tracks (one of which is me singing with my voice pitched up)!
I’m a huge fan of epic fantasy. I started reading The Wheel of Time while studying Tolkien at Oxford University in England in 2002. I finished Knife of Dreams just in time to shoot an interview and book signing video with Brandon in Pasadena during the release of The Gathering Storm.
Final Film: Towers of Midnight Book Trailer
Be sure to visit the official book trailer page on Dragonmount, where you can discuss it with fans!
Towers of Midnight: The Novel
Towers of Midnight will release in early November and is written by Brandon Sanderson (@BrandonSandrson), another incredible fantasy author who took over the WOT series after Jordan passed away (and is kicking some serious butt at it).
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I’ve been long obsessed with fantasy art, drooling over the level of creative detail artists were able to depict in creatures and characters that didn’t exist, crafted by each artists’ imagination. So when I started the “Artist Spotlight” feature, I already had a list of people I’d want to showcase right off the bat. On the top of that list was a guy whose work I’ve been following for years. Some of you know him as the famous Wheel of Time character artist. That’s right, I’m talking about the oh-so-talented Seamas Gallagher. But… who is he really? Outta This World interviewed him to find out.
When did you realize you were an artist?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing ever since I was a little kid, and so far I have been fortunate enough to continue doing it as a bigger kid!
Describe your style and the materials you use
I would like to think that I try and strive for a more stylized approach to my own personal work. At least that’s what I enjoy doing the most. These days I’m almost exclusively working digitally on a Wacom tablet, but occasionally I pick up an actual pencil and paper and do some “old school” sketching.
What artists have inspired you throughout your career, and how?
There are so many talented people out there, it’s hard to name all of them! However, to name a few: Frank Frazetta, because his iconic fantasy images were always a favorite of mine as a kid; J.C. Leyendecker, his style and design is phenomenal; Claire Wendling, whose style I really enjoy; Iain McCaig, an all-around bad ass; and Eric Canete, whose stylization blows me away.
You’re obviously a Wheel of Time fan. How long have you been a fan and how has WoT inspired you?
A good friend of mine turned me on to The Wheel of Time when I was in art school, sometime around 2001. I’ve been hooked on the series ever since I finished The Eye of the World. Being one of my favorite fantasy series, I was inspired to visually portray some of the characters from the series. I think I’ve gotten to a fair amount of the main characters, although there are still a lot more I’d like to sketch out!
Who was your favorite Wheel of Time character to create?
This is a bit cliché, but each one so far has been a lot of fun; however, there have been specific characters that I had a strong gut reaction as to how I envisioned them in my own mind. For example, for whatever reason, Sammael was one such character. He was pretty fun to draw, but I also very much enjoy drawing the “bad guys.”
View Seamas’s vignette tutorial for creating characters like the one seen below.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received on your work?
Any compliment is nice to receive!
If you could have any other profession in life, what would it be?
Truly, I can’t imagine doing anything other than what I do. I feel very fortunate that my livelihood is something that I really enjoy. Except for maybe a professional beer taster. That’s a job, right?
What do you do for fun, besides art?
I haven’t had much free time as of late, but when I do get a chance, I like to play video games, read and enjoy an occasional tasty beer.
What advice would you give an artist that’s just starting out?
Draw stuff. A lot. For myself, I found figure drawing to be invaluable knowledge to possess. I also find it helpful to constantly check out cool art by talented artists, not only to get inspired, but to challenge yourself to be a better artist.
Where you can find more artwork by Seamas Gallagher
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Outta This World captured Brandon Sanderson reading the first few pages of “Distinctions,” the Towers of Midnight prologue, off his laptop during the TOM panel at Dragon*Con (2010). Towers of Midnight is book 13 in The Wheel of Time series. My apologies for the slightly shaky camera. This was completely impromptu!
This is only part of the prologue too! You can purchase the entire piece at Tor.com. Brandon Sanderson has also posted the the first Mat chapter from Towers of Midnight, “The Seven-Striped Lass,” on his website.
Videos: Towers of Midnight: The Making of the Book Trailer (3 parts)
Seamas designed the Tower of Genji in the Towers of Midnight book trailer and is famous for his Wheel of Time character renditions.
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Faerieworlds deserves a huge thank you for it’s kindness to Mother Earth. This unique festival focuses on the environment and social organizations that work towards creating a better future for mankind. All of their materials are printed on recycled paper, foodware is compostable, and the food caters to organic and vegetarian foodies (like myself).
Faerieworlds is hosting another incredible event: FaerieCon Nov 12-14, 2010 in Maryland.
Mythic Journeys (DVD)
Mythic Journeys, a film about the power of myth and the essence of being human, was featured at Faerieworlds this year. This animated documentary won Best Animation at Dragon*Con and uses puppets designed by Brian & Wendy Froud. Find out more on the Mythic Journeys website.
Watch the trailer here!
How to Make Faerie Wings – step-by-step (episode)
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Be sure to check out our other post with a VIDEO: Towers of Midnight Prologue read by Brandon Sanderson (Dragon*Con)
Ages come and go, but one thing is for certain: with the premiere of the incredible Towers of Midnight (ToM) book trailer that gave its audience chills; a reading of not one, but two scenes from the new novel by Brandon Sanderson himself; the unveiling of Todd Lockwood‘s epic eBook cover for The Gathering Storm; and the first official Dragon*Con sponsorship by Tor; this was one of the most exciting years for The Wheel of Time (WoT) fans in Atlanta.
Here are some of the highlights… so far!
Towers of Midnight book trailer premiere
Warning: Some spoilers!
The book trailer premiered during the Towers of Midnight panel on Saturday afternoon. Aside from many excited fans, panel speakers and attendees included Brandon Sanderson (Co-Author), Jason Denzel (Director of ToM book trailer, Dragonmount.com), Jennifer Liang (Director of WoT Programing, Dragonmount.com), Jake Ro (Dragon*Con staff) and Sarah Bernard (ToM actress, Moraine).
Visit Dragonmount.com for a complete list of credits.
Watch Outta This World’s non-spoiler cast and crew interviews discussing the making of the book trailer (two more episodes coming about characters/costumes and location/set).
Photos: Panels, book signing & fans
eBook cover discussions & unveiling of new art
The Gathering Storm cover art was unveiled at Dragon*Con and created by Todd Lockwood (below).
Tor Art Director Irene Gallo and Dragonmount’s Jason Denzel (below) led the discussion on eBook cover artwork, including how each cover was created, choosing the perfect scene, working with each artist and fan reactions. Tor often consulted with Denzel, who Gallo referred to as her Associate Art Director, on each book cover’s scene choice. “Jason has helped me understand the emotional impact of each scene,” comments Gallo.
Each book cover goes through several rounds of reviews and changes to get it “just right.” For example, The Path of Daggers cover shows only three Aes Sedai instead of the thirteen that appear around the Bowl of the Winds in the book. “We’re always trying to split the balance between the storyline vs. a very visual scene,” Gallo adds. She felt the cover would appear crowded with all thirteen women.
Fan responses range dramatically from good to bad. Some absolutely loved Mélanie Delon’s A Crown of Swords cover with Lan rescuing Nyneve, while others disliked it. With The Path of Daggers cover, Gallo says fans went crazy over the womens’ appearance. “There was a lot of hair debate,” she says. Denzel responded, “There was a lot of boob debate!” It goes to show WoT fans care.
Denzel wasn’t the only one who helped during the process. Harriet McDougal, Editor, described exactly what some of the characters should look like. “It’s really tight curls, like a poodle, ” she once said about Perrin’s hair.
Gallo has provided several write-ups describing the process of creating each cover with a purpose of engaging The Wheel of Time community. “It’s not a magical process,” she says. You can find links to the entire collection of eBook covers, along with Gallo’s write-ups as to how each was created, on Dragonmount.com.
Be sure to check out our other Dragon*Con post here: Dragon*Con 2010 Photos: Parade, Costume Contest & Hallway Mania
- Towers of Midnight Prologue read by Brandon Sanderson (Dragon*Con)
- Towers of Midnight: The Making of the Book Trailer (part 1)
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Where else can you go to get your Star Wars, Star Trek, Tolkien, Wheel of Time, Dr. Who, Steam Punk, Harry Potter, Superhero, Comic, Gaming and Pirate fix? (Whew!) Why Dragon*Con, of course.
What’s donned as the largest sci-fi and fantasy convention in the world, or Disneyland on crack as I like to call it, is a four-day adventure into the deepest depths of Nerdvana. There’s almost too much to see, from art to panels galore to celebs and much, much more. The good news is that there are shorter lines than some of the other Cons (ehem, you know I’m talking to you Comic-Con), and you actually have a chance of getting to see what you came for.
However, despite the geek overload, I went (primarily) for one thing: COSTUMES! Here are the multitudes of photos I took from the parade, costume contest and creations seen wandering the hallways.
Stay tuned for Dragon*Con video highlights, plus more photos of The Wheel of Time and True Blood!
PS. I was kidding about Comic-Con (not). We attended that too. In case you missed it, be sure to check out our special Comic-Con episode.
Dragon*Con Hallway Costumes
Dragon*Con Costume Contest
*Select photos of some of the contestants