We chat with Tom Baxa this week, an avid artist on the Dragon Kings team. Tom has produced some fantastic work on numerous projects, including an illustrator for Dark Sun, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, World of Warcraft tcg, Shadowrun, and many more. He also has done concepts in design Film + Video Games for Van Helsing, Alien vs. Predator, Nox, and Command & Conquer.
See what Tom has to say about his work on Dragon Kings below!
Dragon Kings: Share with us a little bit about your history and what you do for a career.
Tom Baxa: I’ve been a fantasy illustrator for over 25 years working primarily in the role playing game industry. I’ve worked on countless projects including Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, World of Warcraft tcg, Vampire the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and more. I’ve also done concept design for miniatures, video games and a few films. I’m currently focusing on some personal projects that include my being a writer as well as an artist.
Dragon Kings: What interested you most in participating on the Dragon Kings project?
Tom Baxa: Well, as most folks interested in DKs probably know, I was the primary black and white interior artist on the original Dark Sun saga for Dungeons and Dragons. Brom did the covers (and some interiors) and I did the ink drawings inside for most of the run. So when Tim Brown got in touch with me about DKs, I was pretty stoked, mainly because it gave me a chance to revisit a universe that I really enjoyed working on in the past.
Dragon Kings: What other projects are you working on now besides Dragon Kings?
Tom Baxa: I always have my hands in something, but I’m most focused on developing my own properties with a lot of verve right now. I’m creating a new branch of the BaxaArt brand called BaxaArt Academy which emphasizes art instruction and sharing art ideas and information. I’m also at the beginning stages of an illustrated horror novel (can’t say much yet).
Dragon Kings: How did making Dark Sun art affect your art for Dragon Kings?
Tom Baxa: Well after talking with Tim Brown and getting a little sense of what he has in store for Dragon Kings (it’s going to be great guys!), I understood that he wanted to carry much of the flavor of his original creation of Dark Sun into this new universe.
I did two creature paintings for DKs, so there wasn’t a ton of context from Dark Sun in them, per se, but did want things to feel desolate and gritty like the bleak desert environment prevalent in Dark Sun. I’m sure there will be more carry over as the project progresses.
Dragon Kings: Who has inspired you to keep producing art for these kinds of projects?
Tom Baxa: I’ll always have a passion for fantasy art settings and I love doing fantasy art, so it’s not hard to get me on board such a great project like Dragon Kings. I’m most inspired by other artists; and when I see a game developer that has come up with a cool universe in which the artists can play – that’s cool – I want to be a part of that.
I’m also very excited about the possibilities that crowd funding sites, like Kickstarter, are opening up for creatives like Tim and myself. I used Kickstarter to fund the printing of my art book “Blood Rituals: The Art of Tom Baxa” way back in 2010 before it was all the rage. I saw its potential then, and I see that potential growing as more people get involved with it.
Dragon Kings: You created some Magic: the Gathering cards. Tell us about those.
Tom Baxa: Magic is a great game and Wizards of the Coast has brilliantly nurtured its gaming fan base. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me as a working illustrator to do imaginative and dark fantasy art, and get worldwide exposure.
Some of the player favorites I’ve done art for include: Lobotomy, Relentless Rats, Festering Goblin, Blighting, Maelstrom Wanderer and more.
Dragon Kings: If you could create a new Dragon Kings creature or race right now, what would that be, visually speaking?
Tom Baxa: A crusty salt ghoul that feeds only on other undead. They live under the sand and salt flats and their bodies are dead flesh infused with chunks of salt minerals and grains of sand. They can be summoned and bound by a complex magic ritual and commanded to seek out and kill those pesky undead roaming the night.
Dragon Kings: Where can budding artists go to learn more about your work and how to become an artist?
Tom Baxa: Funny you should ask, I’m about to release an ebook called “Get Work as a Fantasy Artist” packed with all kinds of great tips and insider information on how to break into the fantasy illustration market and launch a career as a fantasy artist. Anyone interested should stay tuned to www.BaxaArtAcademy.com for news about the release later this month (November 2013).
As always, my primary website www.BaxaArt.com is the main hub for everything I’ve got going on including art galleries, news about me and my new product releases, art for sale, my fiction, by blog, you name it.