The Eyes of the Stone Thief, like the eponymous beast, is a monster. It’s on a par with the Ennie-Award winning Trial of Cthulhu campaign, Eternal Lies, and may well be the largest book we’ve ever published. I was intending for it to be monochrome, as Eternal Lies is, but then I saw the beautiful maps, and the idea of full colour grew on me. By this stage, the art, all monochrome, was pretty much in.
So I broached the subject, gingerly, with my colleagues.
I want colour, I said. Surely the artists could just colour the pictures in? You know, get the crayons out and stay within lines? My ten-year-old can do that.
Gareth Hanrahan was all flappy-handed about it on Skype, though full of “Can Do” as always. I interpreted the flappy hands as “No”. Cat Tobin fixed me with a steely glare and said “this book is ready to lay out.” She also pointed out that “colouring in” is not a technical term artists recognise and I should not mention my ten-year-old’s artistic endeavours in this context. Robin D Laws, in a spirit of compromise suggested we do colour plates. Rob Heinsoo laughed with pleasure at the sheer foolishness of it.
Gar approached each artist and asked them to colour one piece each. The colour art in 13th Age uses washes of colour, which mades colouration slightly less problematic. This is what we got.
This is working, I thought.
All the artists stepped up and promised to colourize their art for the difference in cost between colour and monochrome, and do it by the end of September. To keep us on schedule, Chris Huth is doing the layout in colour and using the monochrome pieces as placeholders, to drop in the colour when we have them. This plan was enough to gain acceptance.
I hope the scope, ambition and pure fun of this epic adventure is enough to interest our audience. I have no idea if, commercially, colour is the right choice – the book wil certainly be more expensive. In this case, I’m really doing this just because I want to and because I can, and because it made Rob Heinsoo laugh.