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As FASA closed its doors and FanPro spun up, I suddenly found myself not only the BattleTech Line Developer, but also its Art Director. While I’m proud of what I managed during that time period (in huge part thanks to Fred Hooper at FASA putting up with me hanging out in the art department early in the morning), one of the best results of the formation of Catalyst was the hiring of Brent Evans as the Art Director. Trained in the capacity and a wonderful artist in his own right, books like Masters and Minions, Historical: Operation Klondike and Jihad Hot Spots: Terra are a fantastic expose of his talents to expand the stable of artists for BattleTech, while continually increasing the quality of art.

However, at the end of the day, even after Brent generated a detailed Style Guide for how art notes should be generated to make them as user friendly on the artist side as possible, art notes still originate from the Line Developer (usually in conjunction with the author(s)), who knows the brand and a given book much better than the Art Director. Once those art notes are provided, than the Art Director brings his talents to the table to take the notes and work with the artists to bring out the best possible concept and finished piece within the suggestions from the Line Developer.

I’ve shared some of this in the past, but thought it would be an interesting ‘behind-the-scenes’ ride for the community to really see the full scope of what goes into generating art notes, and then the sketches and final art that emerges through Brent’s work to create a final product. Almost without exception a Handbook is one of the most complex of art directions due to the sheer quantity and breadth of type of illustrations required. Since Handbook: House Liao is nearing its time to head to print, that’s the book I’m tackling.

Even split into multiple posts, these are likely going to be long, as I plan on including every last scrap of art note I generated for this work (usually this would come from Herb, but I stepped up to help on this so he could keep other projects on schedule; one of the things a Managing Developer is for, after all…). So apologies before hand for the length…hope it’s worth the eye-strain for you.

For a Handbook, there are 4 different art note documents, each with their own set of guidelines, art references, and so on. They are: cover, B&W non-units illustrations, unit/equipment illustrations, and color section illustrations. In addition to a word document, each has a folder of compiled references for ease of use by the Art Director and artists (culled jps/pdfs from a host of pre-existing references), as well as a General Art references folder of all things Capellan; this last folder is for review by any artist to get a feel for the continuity of House Liao aesthetics as they create new and cool visuals that tie into those aesthetics, while forging a cool new look.

For this blog we’ll dive right in and tackle the biggest art notes document: B&W bon-unit illustrations.

[Note: Please note that the following text is taken directly from an internal word document and was never meant to be published publicly, so there’s not the “editing/grammer” care taken that a public document would go through, while the direct sourcebook excerpts are from documents that have not yet gone through final proofing.]

B&W NON-UNIT ILLUSTRATION ART NOTES

All references to art are found in the BT – Handbook: House Liao folder, in the House Liao B&W Non-Units References folder on the ftp site.

Note that text within arrows (i.e. <<<<>>>>) is taken directly from sourcebook/fiction material to help further establish the details for an illustration.

AIDE AND COMFORT

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 6)

>>>

Sao-wei Tzu-Chien Hao watched Hunan’s sun rise over the distant lip of the Bloodrime Mountains from the cockpit of his Vindicator. He paused his shaving, turning the pocket-size electric razor off and setting it on his lap. The sunrise was beautiful—red and gold and blue all at once, and it bathed the Badlands in blood-red light that shifted toward yellow the farther the light reached, like the sun was melting a bloody snow from the land. He chuckled. Bloodrime indeed.

The razor’s quiet buzz overshadowed the sounds of his ’Mech at rest—weapons off, reactor on standby, with a trickle of power running to keep the circuits warm and the cockpit heater running. His sensors were reading in passive-mode only, drinking in whatever data their collectors might receive and pinging his heads-up display with anything the simpleton computer thought he might be interested. A new caret appeared on the HUD, near the Vindicator’s foot. Yes, child, Hao thought. I know Si-ben-bing Howard is awake.

>>>>

For a very different and interesting take, I’d love to see an illustration inside the cockpit, off to the left and behind, so you can both see the MechWarrior using the electric shaver, but also so you can see the spread of the cockpit in ‘stand-by’ mode, and then see beyond to that wonderfully beautiful landscape shot.

Note this guy should have Asian features and should look like hell worn over…he’s been fighting in the cockpit a long time…hence why he’s shaving to try and ‘feel’ better.

See “House Liao MechWarrior_In Cockpit” reference for what he’s wearing. However, note that the MechWarrior obviously wouldn’t be wearing the helmet at this point.

HISTORY OF THE NATION

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 10)

>>>>

Two minutes after the deadline, the skies above
Capella Prime filled, not with landing craft and shuttles,
but with lasers and missiles. The Confederation
Navy—newly formed and personally commanded by the
Chancellor—obliterated Capella Prime. More than 2,000
Capellan citizens died, along with three elite regiments
of Davion troops.

>>>

This should be a grand God POV piece, showing a flotilla of ships in orbit, sheets of fire stabbing down towards the planet and the capital city of Capella Prime.

These are ancient, very different looking JumpShip/WarShips from BattleTech modern. See the following three references:

  • Aquilla-class Transport JumpShip
  • Liberator JumpShip
  • TAS Charger

Use those references as a guide for the type of ships to show.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 16)>

This is the companion illustration to the p. 10 full-page illustration. I’m thinking of a citizens point of view as the clouds are violently pierced and buildings start to vaporize in the distance, a wall of death heading towards the viewer.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 20)

Terrence Liao signs Star League articles and the Capellan Confederation joins the star League.

Illustration should be an over-the-shoulder view of a man signing a massive pile of documents with the Star League name and logo all over them.

HALF PAGE HORIZONTAL ILLUSTRATION (p. 26)

Dawn of the First Succession War and a casting aside of the Ares Conventions.

>>>

Chancellor Liao’s sealed orders to Colonel Devlin were simple:
make the Mariks pay for their temerity in attacking Capellan
worlds. Her rationale—the same failed excuse put forth throughout
history by dictators and tyrants to rationalize atrocities—was
to shock the Mariks into drawing back. She wanted to convince
them that the cost of attacking Capellan worlds was too high to
bear. Colonel Devlin and his troops—those bits and pieces of ten
regiments deemed reliable enough by the Maskirovka to carry out
such extreme orders—were to destroy as much of New Delos as
they could reach in a short time. Civilians were not to be spared.
Capellan ’Mechs, working in concert with squadrons of Thrush
aerospace fighters assigned to ground-attack missions, lured the
few Marik ’Mechs out into the open by firing on civilian targets,
and destroyed them. By the time the Liao force lifted from New
Delos—anxious to escape before the inevitable Marik counterattack—they had obliterated most every Marik military unit that had
reached them, as well as killing upwards of 20,000 civilians and
wounding more than ten times that number.

>>>

While there’s no need to go ultra realistic and show burned bodies in the street, this illo should show the crimes that everyone participated in during the First Succession Wars. BattleMechs and vehicles waging war against entrenched troops in a town, destroying absolutely everything in the way; aka much of the fighting after D-day during WWII.

  • A House Marik tank that’s already been destroyed: Manticore Heavy Tank.
  • House Liao Units: Catapult BattleMech, Awesome BattleMech, Maxim Heavy Hover Transport (perhaps unloading troops), Lighting aerospace fighter

Obviously not all of the units above need to be included…a simple selection is provided so the artist as a pallet to choice from when putting the scene together.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 28)

A failed peace treaty.

>>>

Though forced to continue fighting the First Succession War,
Chancellor Ilsa attempted to buy her realm some breathing room
with a peace proposal to New Avalon in 2808. In return for House
Davion’s concession of the Chesterton worlds, Ilsa promised to renounce
Capellan claims to the First Lordship and to back Paul Davion
for the position. While many in her government argued against
it, some even labeling her a traitor to her ancestors, Ilsa awaited a
response from the Federated Suns government. The message that
finally came was delivered by the heavy ’Mechs of the Crucis Lancers,
renewing their assaults on several Capellan worlds.

>>>

The image should show First Prince Paul Davion, on the throne of the Federated Suns, snapping an ornate Chinese “scroll” in half, a look of anger on his face. The scroll should have a prominent House Liao logo on it.

Use the “Davion Duke 2” for Paul’s clothing, and reference the “House Davion Throne Room” for the setting.

HALF PAGE VERTICAL ILLUSTRATION (p. 34)

“Great Lee Turkey Shoot”

This should be a large-scale space battle near orbit, almost entirely focused on aerospace fighters. House Liao got their heads handed to them by the House Davion forces

Might be cool to have the action centered around a fighter or two (Sparrowhawk chasing a Thrush?) navigating the debris field of a lot of destroyed aerospace fighters and DropShips, with the “swarm” off in the background; i.e. almost like a classic Star Wars fight through an asteroid field, but debris instead.

  • House Liao: Thrush Aerospace Fighter, Transit Aerospace Fighter, Transgressor Aerospace Fighter
  • House Davion: Sparrowhawk Aerospace Fighter, Corsair Aerospace Fighter (should be a large number of Sparrowhawk’s evident in the scene).
  • If any DropShips are desired, use the following: Leopard DropShip, Union DropShip, Overlord Dropship

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 46)

The Andurien War.

An Orion BattleMech bearing the insignia of the Duchy of Andurien blazing away with it’s weapons on some alien battlefield, stepping on the head of a destroyed Vindicator BattleMech bearing a House Liao logo.

See “Duchy of Andurien Crest” for reference.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 54)

Marriage of Convenience.

Sun-Tzu Liao (at age 21), in court finery (see “House Liao Ceremonial Kimono” reference) is sitting across a table in a garden from Duchess Isis Marik (at age 17), whose in her own court finery (see “Marik Duchess of Tamarind” reference; doesn’t need to be exactly that, but should be very reminiscent). On the table should be a document with the words “Marriage” readable.

Isis should show nervousness and awe, while Sun-Tzu should have a blank face, fingers steepled, but eyes as cold as winter, and infinitely calculating.

HALF PAGE HORIZONTAL ILLUSTRATION (p. 62)

Xin Sheng!

A scene of a cavernous metal works manufacturer, with the giant cauldrons of molten metal moving and pouring in the background. An impromtu ceremony is under way. A man looking like he was born in an office cubical, with pristine clothing to match (see “Liao Business Suit” reference), is at the center. In a semi-circle around him those actually working the plant floor; dirty, filthy ragged clothing and looks; i.e. goggles up on heads showing faces blackened by dirt except for where the goggles kept it moderately clean and so on.

The official is affixing a brilliantly white/clean pin bearing the Chinese characters for “Xin Sheng” on the man’s leather apron. The man (and those behind him), despite their grime, filth and obviously 18-hour-work days for little pay are standing tall, proud, smiles blazing to be honored: evey citizen giving his all for the Capellan Confederation.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 66)

The St. Ives Compact Re-absorbed.

The aftermath of battle, debris and burning fires in the background of the capital city of the capital world of the St. Ives Compact.

In the foreground, a cordon of infantry (see “House Liao field infantry” reference) keep a crowd of anxious civilians back, while a Capellan Officer (see “Liao Officer Dress Uniform” reference), and a few other soldiers, have just finished lowering the massive St. Ives Compact flag (see St Ives Compctt Crest” reference) on the flag poll, tossing it into the dirt, and are starting to raise a massive flag bearing the House Liao crest.

TOURING THE REALM

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 69)

A holographic Star Map of House Liao circa 3067. A Planetary Diem (see “House Liao Planetary Diem” reference) is in the midst of it, hands out-stretched, ‘tapping’ worlds to bring up AR windows of data.

Since this is all about the ‘worlds’ of Liao, I’ve no problem with the person facing away or even the face falling totally into shadows.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 78)

Proving grounds of EarthWerks, Limited, Grand Base plant.

A Cataphract BattleMech firing away at several dilapidated targets, with crews of techs watching from a safe distance, notepapers and so on in hand to review the results. All behind a tall, chain-link fence with awesomely serious razor wire, sensors and so on to keep people out, with a big EarthWerks logo (see Economics logo section for that reference) on it and some universal “keep out” iconography.

HALF PAGE HORIZONTAL ILLUSTRATION (p. 84)

A massive, alpine resort in mid winter. Chinese architecture, mixed with a futuristic bent, wedded to an arctic region. A beehive of activity as people are skeeing, and so on.

Off in the far distant, a small but busy DropPort, with DropShips taking off and landing. Use the Monarch DropShip and Mammoth DropShips as reference.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 87)

A “cowboy on an alien world” scene.

Dry, arid grassland, with a herd of “Turin Beefbull” being hearded by a man riding a perfectly normal looking horse, with a laser rifle in his arms, a few very odd and strange looking trees in the distance.

Note this animal is also to be illustrated in the Rules Annex, so if the Rules Annex is done first, then referenc here; if this illustration is done first, then it should be handed to whoever is doing the creature illustrations in the Rules Annex section.

>>>

Turin Beefbull
(Bos Taurus Turin )
The Turin bull (or beefbull) was one of the first alien creatures
found that could mate with Terran animal stock, and the newly
created crossbreed animal quickly became a food staple across
several worlds near Turin. The thick and hearty meat is normally
prepared in ways similar to Terran beef, though the Turin meat is
green rather than red. This often confuses tourists or other visitors
who have never eaten Turin meat; the shade of beefbull meat at its
most delectable mimics the color of Terran beef when spoiled.
Currently, Turin is the site of exciting new research as scientists
labor to make the milk of the Turin cow—indigestible by humans—
into something acceptable, if not palatable. Experiments
are underway to isolate the amino acids responsible for the milk’s
deleterious effects on humans and replace them with less poisonous
ones, but the work is proceeding slowly. Initial successes
by Star League-sponsored researchers have brought new investments
from nobles all around Turin, including Turin’s own Lama
von Avon. Adding a dairy component to Turin’s already bustling
meat industry would make the world an even greater economic
powerhouse.

Homeworld: Turin, Capellan Confederation
Environment: Arid plains
Type: Native, genetically altered
Body Shape: Four-legged
Coloring: Brown
Length: 340 cm
Height: 153 cm
Weight: 1,000-2,000 kg
Traits: Bad Smell (2), Domesticated, Shy
Skills: AniMelee (Ram) +3, Perception +3, Swimming +5
Size: Large (+1)
Armor: Thick furred hide [1/1/0/0]
Attack: [Bite: 1M/3], [Ram: 3M/2 (+1 per meter moved)]
Movement: 10/22/50 (Max Sprint: 2 turns)

>>>

GOVERNMENT

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 89)

The view of a room that houses the Protectorate; a 11-member body that advises the Coordinator. Though Spartan, it should still be Chinese in nature, theme and style.

A large table with 11 seats and then a raised seat at the head; not ‘exactly’ a throne…but there’s no doubt it’s a first among equals.

11 individuals are seated around the table, some heatedly arguing, others looking bored. To be honest, only 3 of them are important…the rest can just be ‘part of the scene’ (the actually list of names of all 11 is below); References for any of these people, if they exist, are on the ftp site.

Ion Rush should be at the head of the table to the right of the empty ‘throne.’ He should be looking sternly as though he’s trying to keep an eye on everyone. He should be wearing a House Liao Officer dress uniform; there’s several such references uploaded, but the best is House LiaoUniforms.

Candace Liao should be serene, eyes on the empty ‘throne’ contemplating only secrets she can know. Candace could be wearing exactly what she’s wearing in the “Candance Liao_Age62_Color” reference.

Kali Liao is looking at Candace, face ‘mostly’ serene…but there’s blackness in her eyes that might kill Candace where she sits. Kali should be wearing some strange mystical Thuggee-inspired black attire.

CURRENT PREFECTS
Duchess Candace Liao
Duchess Kali Liao: Age 33
Gao-shiao-zhang Ion Rush: Age 61

NOTE: The Ages on those below don’t matter.
Duke Gregory Liao
Duke Abigail O’Hanlon
Shonso Hurtong Liao
Lady Evadne Rivoli
Mandrissa Alana Morgaine
Duchess Helen Ling
Lama Wu Tao-Zu
Lama Ivan Teng

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 96)

Lord Marcus Baxter (Age 80) walking through the bustling base for the First McCarron’s Armored Cavalry, military personal in abundence, a shut down Yu Huang BattleMech in the background, behind it flying the flag of House Liao and McCarron’s Armored Cavalry (see “McCarron’s Armored Cavalry” for logo reference).

CONFEDERATION MILITARY

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 100)

A collage of various images.

More so than any other faction, it’s the fanaticism of the individual that has allowed Liao to survive. With that in mind, the central individual should be a Death Commando warrior: see “House Liao Death Commando” reference.

Around him should be various units in different scenes; whether these are ‘fighting’ or ‘parade’ scenes is up to the artist. (All references are directly named off of the units noted below):

  • Yu Huang BattleMech
  • Regulator Hovertank
  • Ying Long battle armor
  • Troika Aerospace fighter
  • Feng Hung WarShip

SOCIETY & CULTURE

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 112)

The Caste System.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the Capellan Confederation is it’s caste system. I’d love to try and create a montage of illustrations that show the 7 castes (the Warrior caste doesn’t really exist yet, so I think we can avoid that).

The central image should be that of a bureaucrat (the Directorship), with a House Liao logo very prominent in the picture and the ‘center’ of the entire illustrations. Around him, then, are 6 additional people illustrations that cover the additional castes. Below are the descriptions of those castes; exactly how the artist interprets these castes into the illustration is up to him.

>>>>>>

Directorship
The directorship is the caste of the bureaucrat, the caste to
which most administrators as high as the planetary level belong.
Because of their ease of movement throughout the bureaucracy,
members of the directorship display influence far outside their actual
numbers, and have an excellent relationship with the House of
Scions (which includes many directorship members).

Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia are the Confederation’s thinkers. As the sector
of the population most vital to the Confederation’s growth,
they are accorded the highest regard and most flexible living
conditions of any caste. Scientists, technicians and religious leaders
make up this caste, and many of them are amply rewarded for
their contributions to the state with noble titles or large properties.
Their salaries are the highest of any caste, even the non-noble
members.

Supporters
Supporters are the non-science-oriented professionals of the
Confederation: educators, political economists, members of the
judiciary and so on. Teachers are perhaps the most widely respected
professionals in the entire Confederation—as long as they
maintain the correct political outlook—and make up a large portion
of the supporters. Business leaders and industrialists fall into
the supporters caste as well.

Artists
Art in the Confederation is a venerated profession, so long as
the art has demonstrable value for the state. Painters, sculptors,
musicians, entertainers, actors and show people of all descriptions
make up the ranks of the Artists caste. Of all castes except the servitors, artists receive on average the lowest wages and benefits,
though numerous state-sponsored endowments exist to promote
artists who make significant contributions to Capellan life.

The Entitled
The entitled are the Confederation’s medical professionals:
doctors, nurses and other health-care workers. Given the nature of
their service, members of this caste are the only ones with a blanket
travel allowance, permitting them to travel anywhere in the
Confederation without restriction. Because of this, the Maskirovka
monitors the entitled very closely for foreign agents, but surprisingly
few are discovered among them.

The Commonality
The commonality caste represents the bulk of Capellan citizens:
the huge masses of skilled and unskilled laborers who toil to
operate the state’s industries, keep its farms productive and maintain
its infrastructure. Because of this caste’s sheer size and the
power it holds over industry, commonality caste leaders on every
Confederation planet meet often with planetary diems to discuss
wages, price adjustments and holidays. While any such decision
is at the discretion of the diem, anyone can see that productivity
increases when laborers feel they have a voice with those whose
decisions affect their daily lives.

Servitors
Only officially recognized after the ascension of Sun-Tzu Liao to
the Celestial Throne, servitors are the largest segment of Capellan
society to grow out of the centuries of Succession Wars. Servitors
are second-class Capellans, not considered citizens, and are treated
as little more than slave labor. The servitors, more than any other
caste, were often cited by Hanse Davion and his propaganda machine
as the cause of the Fourth Succession War, despite the fact
that this caste had existed for hundreds of years.

Servitors perform society’s mundane tasks, those that are necessary
but that other Capellans are unwilling or disinclined to do.
Most servitors are treated as slaves, and until 3052 could be owned
by noble Capellan citizens. One of Sun-Tzu Liao’s first acts was to
abolish the ownership of servitors and establish the beginnings of
a true caste system for them. These actions paid fulsome dividends
when the Confederation embraced Xin Sheng, making the servitors
some of Sun-Tzu’s most fervent supporters.

As with other castes, servitors may earn (or attempt to re-earn)
their citizenship after ten years of service, and more and more servitors have done so since 3052. The children of servitors are treated like any other Capellan child, entered into state schools and given the
same citizenship requirements as the children of Capellan nobles.

>>>>>>

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 116)

The Price of Failure.

>>>

Though each student is responsible for his or her own academic
performance, Capellan instructors are held responsible
for the actions and performance of their classes as a whole. An
instructor who fails to bring a majority of his students along
through the various academic checkpoints each year is investigated;
those who continue this failure after ministry officials
have begun remediation are disciplined or even terminated. The
Ministry of Social Education regards children as far too important
an asset to waste.

>>>

A teacher being interrogated as though she were a criminal, text books and a computer on the desk, a splash of papers with failing grades on them, the interrogator hammering his finger into the scores to make his point, the teacher wilting before the onslaught.

HALF PAGE HORIZONTAL ILLUSTRATION (p. 120)

Religion, opium of the masses.

>>>

Though the Confederation has no official religion, recent years
have seen a sharp increase in the number of reported Buddhists in
the state. Most studies root this increase squarely in the fertile fields of Xin Sheng, as many Capellans embrace the faith of the Chancellor and most of the Sheng in order to tie themselves more closely to the ruling order. Neither the Chancellor nor his government has made
any official comment, instead releasing cleverly parsed statements
that support the adoption of Buddhism without bluntly saying so.
Across the Confederation, citizens are legally permitted to worship
however they wish, but local laws and nobles often circumvent the
common laws to enforce their own religions. The Confederation has
historically had little use for organized religion—such loyalties often
detract from a good Capellan citizen’s efforts to further the state’s
goals—but since the Liberation of 3057, the Liao Commonality especially
has shown remarkable tolerance of other faiths. The former
Federated Commonwealth subjects returned to the Confederation
with the religions of their fathers and mothers, and the Prefect of
the commonality recently announced his intention to approach
the New Avalon Catholic Church to appoint a bishop for the Liao
Commonality worlds. Whether the Chancellor will allow this, or
even permit this level of religious diversity to spread throughout the
Confederation, remains to be seen.

>>>

A group of Planetary Refector’s (see “House Liao Planetary Refector” reference) are in a room, surrounding a table displaying a blown-up map of the Sian Commonality. On the world of Liao is a large chess-like piece showing a universal Buddha symbol. A man is in the process of placing another chess-like piece next to it showing a catholic cross. They’re vehemently arguing.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 124)

A noble witch hunt.

>>>

In matters under dispute among nobles, the House of Scions
appoints a Court of Tolerance to examine the issue and pass judgment.
At their inception, these courts were intended to provide the
nobility a means of policing themselves, using their noble peers as
jurors. In practice, borne out of centuries of petty infighting and
corruption, the Courts of Tolerance are most often used as witchhunts
for nobles out of favor with the current power.

>>>

A courtroom, with a panel of “noble judges” passing verdict on a noble standing in the middle of a room wearing once fine clothing (similar to those passing judgment) now worn and torn. The man tries to safe face by standing tall, but there’s terror in his eyes as he’s about to be stripped of his nobility and cast to the servitor caste.

ECONOMICS

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 126)

Shengli Arms.

This should be a shot from a helicopter over-looking a massive industrial complex at full-bore. The Shengli Arms logo should be nice and large on one of the buildings, while the Lao Hu BattleMech should be featured; perhaps walking the perimeter walls; you’ll want some military vehicles next to it for size comparison since you’ll be a ways away from it.

RULES ANNEX

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 137)

Minelayer infantry.

A fortified position at the top of a hill, behind it a damn and power generator station. Vehicles and a lone Vindicator BattleMech “digging in” with infantry to keep any attack from the damn at bay. Around the base of the hill, platoons of Minelayer Infantry (see “Minelayer Infantry” reference) are laying a web of defensive mines. Off in the distance is a thick column of smoke; aka a burning town, a reminder of the “coming enemy.”

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 149)

Shipping bonanza.

Scene from a busy DropPort, as landtrains arrive and transfer cargo to DropShips constantly coming and going.

See “Galatea DropPort,” “Wheeled Land Train” and “Tracked Land Train” for references for creating this scene.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 153)

Xenophobia.

A street scene on a standard Capellan world. One of the people walking down the street is obviously different; i.e. very different clothing and race. Everyone is viewing him with anything from suspicion, to fear, to loathing.

QUARTER PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 155)

Travel rights.

JumpShip captain holds a book with a large Liao logo on it as he finishes typing in the security code to allow him access to the world. Out through the viewport, a DropShip (see “Kuan Ti DropShip” reference) with a large Liao logo on it can be seen; i.e. ready to fire if the codes are not right.

ART REFERENCES

As mentioned throughout the text above, there’s a hoard of reference material to provide to the artists; both ‘general’ art, as well as, specific art. The following are all references I pulled (either in jpg format or PDF, which ever was easier) and provided to the Art Director to pass onto the artists, as appropriate [the name below is the file name I gave it for clarity, while the information in brackets is its original source; sorry, no page references…you’ll have to go dig those up yourself if you want that data].

Aquilla-class Transport JumpShip [XTRO: Primitives I]
Awesome BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3039]
CandaceLiao_Age62 [20 Year Update]
Candace Liao_Age62_Color [BT TCG]
Capellan Busineness Suit [House Liao Sourcebook]
Capellan Hussars Uniform [House Liao Sourcebook]
Capellan Navy Uniform [House Liao Sourcebook]
Capellan Tech[House Liao Sourcebook]
Cataphgract BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3039]
Catapult BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3039]
Corsair Aerospace Fighter [Technical Readout: 3039]
Davion Duke 2 (House Davion sourcebook]
Duchy of Andurien Crest [Handbook: House Marik]
Fen Huang WarShip [Technical Readout: 3067]
Galatea DropPort [Mercenaries Supplemental]
House Davion Throne Room [Handbook: House Davion]
House Liao Aerospace Pilot [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Armor Officer [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Ceremonial Kimono [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Chancellor Military Uniform [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Court Retainer [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Death Commando [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Family_3025 [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Field Infantry [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao MechWarrior_In Cockpit [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Officer [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Officer Dress Uniform [Field Manual: Capellan Confederation]
House Liao Planetary Diem [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Planetary Refector [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Security Control Agent [House Liao Sourcebook]
House Liao Top General Uniform [House Liao Sourcebook]
House LiaoUniforms [MechWarrior 2nd Edition]
Ion Rush_Age70 [Masters and Minions]
Kali Liao_Age28 [Shattered Sphere]
Kali Liao_Age42 [Blake Documents] Kuan Ti DropShip [Technical Readout: 3057, Revised]
Lao Hu BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3067]
Leopard DropShip [Technical Readout: 3057, Revised]
Liberator JumpShip [Handbook: House Davion]
Lightning Aerospace Fighter [Technical Readout: 3075]
Mammoth DropShip [Technical Readout: 3057, Revised]
Manticore Heavy Tank [Technical Readout: 3039]
Maxim Hover Transport [Technical Readout: 3039]
McCarron’s Armored Cavalry logo [Masters and Minions]
Minelayer Infantry [Technical Readout: 3085]
Monarch DropShip [Technical Readout: 3057, Revised]
Orion BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3039]
Overlord DropShip [Technical Readout: 3057]
Regulator Hover [Technical Readout: 3058 Upgrade]
Sparrowhawk Aerospace Fighter [Technical Readout: 3039]
St. Ives Compact Crest [MechWarrior Second Edition]
TAS Charger WarShip [BattleSpace]
Thrush Aerospace [Technical Readout: 3039]
Tracked Land Train [Technical Readout: Vehicle Annex]
Transgressor Aerospace Fighter [Technical Readout: 3039]
Transit Aerospace Fighter [Technical Readout: 3039]
Troika Aerospace Fighter [Technical Readout: 3067]
Union DropShip [Technical Readout: 3057, Revised]
Vindicator BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3039]
Wheeled Land Train [Technical Readout: Vehicle Annex]
Ying Long Battle Armor_Front of Image [Technical Readout: 3075]
Yu Huang BattleMech [Technical Readout: 3060]

FROM ART NOTES TO FINAL ART

So what does all of that work and effort lead to? Well, hopefully it leads to brilliant art…and in my humble opinion, on the whole, it did just that (a great testament to the process of wedding continuity to what’s gone before, with wonderful talent to create fantastic illustrations for the future).

So obviously there’s a pile of great illustrations from numerous artists, so it was pretty hard to just settle on three for a preview. But I decided to include these both as some of my personal favorites, but also because they show a wide swath of visuals, from a wonderfully ‘normal’ life-style winter retreat, to a military defensive scene, to a montage showing the Capellan Caste System; in all three, the original sketch is first, followed by the final illustration.

BT-HBHL_Winter-Retreat_Sketch_Preview.jpg

TOURING THE REALM: HALF PAGE ILLUSTRATION (P. 84)-SKETCH

BT-HBHL_Winter-Retreat_Final_Preview.jpg

TOURING THE REALM: HALF PAGE ILLUSTRATION (P. 84)-FINAL

BT-HBHL_MineLayerDefense_Sketch_Preview.jpg

RULES ANNEX: FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 137)-SKETCH

BT-HBHL_MineLayerDefense_Final_Preview.jpg

RULES ANNEX: FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 137)-FINAL

BT-HBHL_Caste-System_Sketch_Preview.jpg

SOCIETY AND CULTURE: FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 112)-SKETCH

BT-HBHL_Caste-System_Final_Preview.jpg

SOCIETY AND CULTURE: FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATION (p. 112)-SKETCH

Wew…wow that was epic, even for me. But I hope you enjoyed seeing all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the art side of our books. In the near future I’ll revisit this topic and touch on the other art aspects of this book.

See ya next time.

Randall

 

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