City of Terrors: We’ve got you covered! (New CoT cover art! – scroll down to 3rd image)

City of Terrors cover art by Liz Danforth and Rob Carver.  A rare joint effort by both artists

City of Terrors cover art by Liz Danforth and Rob Carver. A rare joint effort by both artists

For me. City of Terrors was “the book” that sold me on T&T. I buried myself in its strange places and odd citizens.  It was fantasy, sensuality and humor all at mixed together same time.  It is my favorite solitaire adventure –ever and has yet to be topped in my opinion.  (I’m sure other members of the fellowship feel differently.)

If I was to compare the solos to rock music, City of Terrors is T&T’s “Sgt. Pepper album.”  The concept of exploring a City in a solo adventure was new and no one had done it before. Mike Stackpole is to be congratulated for coming up with a great idea and executing it so well. CoT also has lush, textured illos on every page by Liz Danforth  and Rob Carver.  Both of them working together and separately on the same “album.”  Pat Mueller’s typesetting and layout add a professional look to the book that stands up even 30 years later.  Even Ken St. Andre’s presence hovers in the background, much like Sgt Pepper himself inspiring the Beatles as they created this masterpiece.  All of it fell perfectly into place with this book. Rick Loomis took a chance publishing a 60-page solo about a city – but it paid off in spades.

Most fans remember the great wraparound illustration by Liz Danforth and Rob Carver with its panoramic view of the city of the Gull, its varied inhabitants spilling out of the main gates. It was a black and white illo, never meant to be in color and was replaced in 1983 with a new cover painted by Janell Jaquays.   City of Terrors became a “must-have” in most fans collection.

Flash forward to 2012.  When we started discussing what to do with the solos for Deluxe T&T, I think all of us agreed that reprinting City of Terrors should be high on the list. Everyone still remembered that original cover, so it seemed appropriate to somehow use that as the cover once again.  In the years since I worked for Buffalo, the computer had become the tool of artists, and I had a lot of experience digitally coloring comic books.  So I offered to digitally paint the original art, little realizing just how big a job with would be.  I should have known – after all it’s 11 x 17, contains hundreds of individually drawn buildings and over thirty characters.  A very daunting task indeed!  So how did I color this piece of art?

This is the flat color placed into the Cot cover.  the next stage is actually painting it.

This is the flat color placed into the Cot cover. the next stage is actually painting it.

The Process: scan and flat color:  Once the cover art is scanned and cleaned up in Photoshop, I start to drop in flat colors in all the areas that will have to be painted. Liz Danforth had given me a rough colored pencil thumbnail to use as an overall lighting guide. She had suggested a sunset scene, just before night descends and the City becomes dangerous.  The colors of everything and everyone were largely up to me, though I consulted regularly with Liz for her input and suggestions. Above is the flat art version of the image.  Some of the general colors of the finished piece are in place and you can begin to see hints of how it might look in the final version.  But the real purpose of the flat color is to allow me to easily select individual areas of the image that I can work on one at a time.  A perfect example would be the tile rooftops. Once they are in as flat colors, its easy to select them all and work on them as a group.  Same for the sky, the ocean or the grassy areas etc.

And here is the final version of the cover with all the painting texturing completed.

And here is the final version of the cover with all the painting texturing completed.

Painting & Texturizing:  This is where the hard work begins.  In this case I worked from the background to the foreground, so I selected the sky and got that done first, then the water etc. To me this piece is really a landscape with a group of people in front of it, so the landscape came first.  That way I can make sure the people fit into the lighting that’s in the landscape. It was a this stage I also decided to redo the City of Terrors logo to better make it match the rest of the dT&T product line and the new look of the cover.   I painted in textures like fur or water, along with seemingly endless toning, layering and adjustments, until the background is done and all the characters are painted. (see above)

We had planned to go even more darker and dramatic with the coloring and lighting, but in the end, I decided I didn’t want to run the risk of obscuring Liz’s and Rob’s beautiful line work with too many lighting effects.  I wanted to keep the original line work all there, because that’s what everyone remembered from that cover.  In all, it took me about 100 hours from start to finish.  That’s just the coloring and painting.  I don’t how long it took Liz and Rob to draw and ink it back in 1976   Maybe Liz will post a few of her remembrances of creating the black and white art.

I am deeply honored to have been a part of bringing this book back and making it better than ever. Yes, better. Besides the color cover, Deluxe City of Terrors has also been updated by Ken so that it will work better with the new Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls rules.  We adjusted some information in existing paragraphs to add dT&T features and added some new paragraphs at the end of the book to allow you more options.  We also fixed a couple of link mistakes that were in the last version of the book, the main one being that you can now actually get to Chronus for a chance at bringing yourself back to life.  I also scanned and cleaned up all the original art for the book.

Working on City of Terrors I literally fell in love with T&T all over again.  I think you will too, once you see the new Deluxe version!

In the meantime, enjoy seeing Gull in full-color.  And please, let us know what you think.       Steve Crompton

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Categories: Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls News, fantasy role-playing games | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “City of Terrors: We’ve got you covered! (New CoT cover art! – scroll down to 3rd image)

  1. John B

    I have always loved this piece and glad to see it going back on the cover with a new twist!

  2. ===========================================
    Wow, Kroommmp! In all other respects, I’ve been against colorizing something that was created for b&w — but now I find myself making an exception. This really looks 3-dimensional, and the buildings in the background literally pop up from the flatter ground. Maybe it’s the shading, maybe it’s some advice you received, maybe it’s only your natural talent, but I think at least some of it is because you input your own love into it. I am definitely going to order more copies of the solo!
    And I get to go to Chronus this time? Yippee!!
    ===========================================

  3. To me it’s like when you see one of those ancient Greek statues, restored to the gaudy colors it originally was before the centuries wore the paint off it. Jarring, but awesome in its own way! Totally loving it. I think it’s a great tribute to the original.

    (Personally I wouldn’t have included the photographic stuff, the sky and sea, but that’s OK, different tastes. It works.)

  4. Thank you for the kind comments! I certainly got advice from liz. I think love had a lot to do with it as well. I was really worried about coloring this piece! The good news is, we left the 2 page b&w centerfold of the art in the book, so you get to see it both ways. Now that’s deluxe!

  5. anem kram

    Great work Kroommmp! I like the details in the sky the most.

  6. Vella

    This was an old favourite, and it’s been a blast going through it to get it ready for Deluxe. I’m glad it’s back!

  7. Looks awesome! The look-and-feel of Buffalo Castle was gorgeous and the cover for (d)CoT looks amazing. Great work, everyone!

  8. Wow, that looks lovely. Great to see it in colour after all these years.

  9. I’m very much with you Steve about how special original CoT was. This looks fantastic.
    Will it be wrap around cover like the original and will separate prints of it be available?

  10. SSCrompton

    DarrghT – Deluxe CoT will definitely have a wraparound cover using the art I colored. We will also be making a color print available to Kickstarter pledgers. If there are extra prints, I’m sure Flying Buffalo will make them available. I’m sure we’ll have the prints at GenCon. One question I’m still uncertain of is should the print have the City of Terrors logo on it, or just be the image by itself. What do all of you think?

    • I’d say the image by itself. The logo is nice, but eye-catching. That is great (and necessary!) for a book, but I’d like it better to let the picture sort of speak for itself, without any distractions, in a print. Good job on the colouring, by the way!

  11. Lurker37

    I’m not sure if you caught my belated reply on the Inner Sanctum, Steve, but the piece of jewelry is the chain being tossed in the hand of the leftmost of the front trio of characters.

    The flat colour picture has something in the setting, but the final picture has it empty.

    If you wish to maintain the original reference, the setting at the end of the chain should contain a red jewel.

  12. SSCrompton

    Aww, sorry Lurker! At this point, it’s off to the printers. We’ll just have to say that the jewel is on the other side of the (what I thought was a watch.) I try…

  13. Vanwall

    Well, done, I say, and again, well done! Very much like I imagined it back in the scribbling days as just pencils and an idea or two. It is truly a work now of three, rather than two, Steve, and I am in awe of the way you fitted your artwork in so well with mine and Liz’s, a synchronicity I was always proud of. As you may have noticed in some of my interior pieces, I always had an eye for perspective, and you’ve accentuated that to perfection, as well, thank you very much. All in all, not a re-imagining, or a restoration, or even just a wash and wax, you’ve given the cover a new life – so thanks for that hard work, Steve, and again, congrats on a brilliant job.

    Rob Carver

  14. SSCrompton

    Thank you so much Rob – I don’t think I could ask for a better commendation than to have one of the original artists publicly state what they thought of seeing another artist “mess” with something they did in the past. As someone said earlier, seeing something old redone with color can definitely be “jarring” and I’m sure that can be even more so if it is your work. I really tried to let the fine inks that you and Liz did remain prominent in the colored piece I did. Liz was a great help in helping me keep the sense of perspective and the colors for some of the characters she had specific colors already in mind for.

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