Steam Highwayman III: Update 32 live

Over on Kickstarter you can read the most recent update for my Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis project.  It’s a while since I’ve linked them up on here, but why not?  You’ll find out which map took me longest to draw, and how soon I hope for the book to be on its way to backers!

Kickstarter Update: Draft Complete

Over on Kickstarter I’ve just posted an update about the current project progress. It’s a full one, including some details about plans up until November as well as lots of remarks about work complete. Head over there and enjoy the details!

Over here is a fresh image from Russ, full of action and violence – great! You might spot the eponymous hero himself somewhere in the background (sensibly masked against infectious diseases) as well as a backer in the brawl…

Refuelling and getting back to work.

I took a week (and a couple of extra days) off from working on Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis to visit the Lake District with my wife and daughter.  The project hasn’t stopped, though – faithful Russ has been churning out the good old black-and-white, as you will be able to see over on the new Kickstarter update.  I’m very pleased to be able to reveal the first full-page feature for The Reeking Metropolis – so take a look at Update 19!

You can also discover where I went in the Lake District to encounter some live steam…  mmm!

Meet the Reeking Metropolitans!

A new update for my Kickstarter Campaign of Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis has gone live.  It’s brief, but includes some tasty images of the sort of people you might mingle with in the muddy streets of London…  Ohh, let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of London…  I’ll show you something…  Ahem.  Excuse me.

And here is Russ’s rendition of that wonder of nineteenth-century prefabrication, Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, which housed the Great Exhibition.  Not bad for a gardener from Derbyshire, eh?  Paxton, not Russ.  Russ is Scottish.  And not a gardener.  Not primarily, anyway.

A Local Good Pub Guide

Something I’ve always wanted to do is to explicitly celebrate the pubs of Steam Highwayman. Every one featured in the series is based on – and usually, named directly after – a real, visitable pub in our very own timeline. And now that the Kickstarter for Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis has raised an incredible £10,000 in pledges, I’ll be producing a trio of special maps and a printed guide to the regions, which will feature reviews of every single pub.

The page above is my first attempt at a mockup, and it has its own story to tell. The image is my own pen and ink, but heavily inspired by a certain poster I once saw in an Oxford bookshop…

When I was still in the process of writing Steam Highwayman I: Smog and Ambuscade, before had any experience of publishing or working with an illustrator, I was looking for someone to draw my world and the pictures for my gamebook. I knew a few illustrators and I had received some help refining exactly what I was looking for and writing a brief, but I had no strong leads. The people I knew weren’t about to jump into a new project, or to draw what I was looking for: monochrome, classic, pen and ink, with an exciting sense of movement and a realistic take on steampunk. Where to find such an illustrator.

One evening as I was praying on the balcony of our flat, I distinctly heard the word ‘Oxford’ in my mind’s ear. It popped into my head accompanied by a sudden sense of peace and a release from the worry I’d been accumulating about how I would ever find myself a collaborator. So the very next day, I drove to Oxford.

I didn’t have a particular plan or destination, but reached Oxford around lunchtime. I walked around for a short time and entered Blackwell’s art shop. There, just inside the door, was a fine poster of the pubs of Oxford, drawn in pen and ink, in a fine, confident style.

http://www.benmayart.com/

It took me a little while to work out what I should do, but I eventually plucked up the courage to speak to the person behind the desk and to ask if the illustrator of the poster was local, and if they knew how I could contact them.

“This poster?” asked the young man behind the counter.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I’m the artist,” he said.

And that’s how I met Ben May, who designed the Ferguson velosteam and illustrated the first two volumes of my adventure: the power of prayer and a good pub drawing.

The Fight is On!

Russ has sent me a finished version of his first illustration for Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis, and I love it! From the fancy footwork to the flying gobbets of blood, the leashed dog and the multitude of hats.

I’ve also released another five slots at the SPONSOR A LIKENESS pledge level in the Kickstarter Campaign: that’s five more lucky backers who can be drawn into the final book by Russ.

On top of this, I’ve added some stretch goals to the project: head over and take a look.

Steam Highwayman III Reward Pledges

In just over a week, Steam Highwayman III: The Reeking Metropolis will go live on Kickstarter. It’s taken a long time to plan this campaign, partly because I’ve chosen to add some merchandise into the equation, as well as offering two ways in which Backers can see themselves in the finished book.

The basic pledge is exactly like in my previous campaigns; for £15, backers can receive a copy of the gamebook with a written acknowledgement printed in the back. This is a little cheaper than the RRP and, of course, you’ll know that you helped create this. If you’re looking for extras, I’ve been working on custom dice, as well as beginning to redraw the maps from Smog and Ambuscade and Highways and Holloways. These will be printed, large (at around A2 size) and folded, together with a small booklet of further regional info, much like an OS map. For £30 you will be able to receive the book, three maps (one for each volume) and two custom D6.

If you don’t yet own your own copies of Smog and Ambuscade and Highways and Holloways, or if you’d like to make a pledge as a gift for someone, you can also have all three books at a considerable saving, with or without the maps and dice.

However, for an additional cost of £10 for one book or £20 for three, you can have a custom Wanted Poster printed into the front of your book. This is made possible by the power of print-on-demand, and your books will be completely unique – these will be true one-offs. The extra pledge will pay for the additional printing cost and contribute towards the rest of the project. You will be able to submit a digital image of yourself (perhaps a photo in costume, or even in everyday clothes) that I will edit into the poster, and this will be the first thing you see when you open your copy of The Reeking Metropolis.

Finally, there is a limited and exclusive opportunity to be drawn into the book itself, featuring as a character in one of the illustrations. This is going to be limited to only 5 backers, since it impacts directly on Russ’s timeline and on the whole budget. But it’s something I’ve wanted to offer for years! As part of your pledge, you’ll receive each book, customised with a Wanted Poster, the three maps, dice and an art print of your illustration for your wall. After all, YOU are the Steam Highwayman!

If you’re not currently following the Kickstarter, head over there now. You’ll be reminded on launch and get a chance to pledge for your reward straight away.