Ken Meyer Jr. has been writing for ComicAttack.net since its inception in 2009, but he has been a professional illustrator for more than 30 years! His career has taken him through industries as diverse as advertising, education, training, military training, comic books and role playing/trading card games. It is those last two industries for which he has created hundreds of fantasy and horror themed paintings and illustrations. He has produced artwork for Marvel, Dark Horse, Caliber, Image, Avatar (Warren Ellis’ Atmospherics) and many other comic companies. While in the role playing game world, he has been a mainstay at White Wolf Games, and done work for Magic the Gathering, Middle Earth, Dragonstorm, and several others. And now, he is collecting the best of these two genres into a new book, Into the Crimson Light!
To fund the printing of this book, Ken has started a Kickstarter campaign. In fact, that campaign is almost halfway over. If the goal is not met, he will not be able to publish his book. He stated “every donation counts, honestly. But of course, there are rewards that escalate with the amount of money pledged.” More on that later. You can actually see the first 15 pages of the book here. Print on demand usually means higher prices per unit, and this project is no exception, which is what prompted Ken to go the Kickstarter route. “I just wanted as many people to be able to afford the book as possible, and very few can afford the print on demand version. Heck, I know I couldn’t!”
Some of you are probably already familiar with Kickstarter. The organization provides a central location and engine for those that need a way to fund their projects, be they musicians, performance artists, activists, or illustrators. The process is simple- As a supporter, you go to the site and pledge what you can afford. None of the funds are collected until the goal is met… if the goal is not met, no funds are collected, and the project does not happen.
Ken’s long and varied career has had one central theme presented time and time again, that being his love of dramatic lighting. “I’ve always been drawn to dramatic lighting, how it affects the objects it plays upon, how it can change a characters demeanor, etc. And probably the best genre for that is horror,” Ken explained. Sprinkled throughout this column you will see many images in the book that show this command of lighting and effects. Above you see the very first painting he did for horror role playing game pioneer, White Wolf Games, in the highly popular book and game, Vampire the Masquerade. White Wolf has provided an especially fertile plain for Ken to play on. He started working with the company in 1992 and continues to do so today, recently completing work for an upcoming book. In fact, he is doing art for White Wolf’s own Kickstarter campaign, offering portraits of backers that support the publishing of a new book from the company. Along with Timothy Bradstreet, Ken is one of the most identified artists within the “World of Darkness” that White Wolf has created for more than 20 years.
In addition to seeing all of these amazing paintings and drawings collected into one book you also get the proverbial “peek behind the scenes” with progressions such as the one above. This is the cover of a previous collection of Atmospherics, the macabre comic by Ken and Warren Ellis, published by Avatar Press. The new edition is out now, with newly colored interior pages by Ken, new covers and deluxe editions with sketches and original paintings included in the book!
Remember, there is a deadline for this project to actually come to fruition. In this case, Ken has to make his goal by March 24th, so there are only a few weeks to accomplish this task! To entice interested parties to pledge, Ken has offered rewards of escalating value to correspond to the escalating pledges. You can find out the details by going to Kens Kickstarter page and the links throughout this article. But, as a teaser, we can tell you that he offered prizes such as original sketches in the book, original paintings, and if you pledge a certain amount, you can even appear in the book as a vampire or monster yourself! See a few examples of what Ken can do with your portrait below.
Though Ken has done hundreds of illustrations in the horror theme you see above, he can do sublime fantasy imagery as well, as evidenced by the illustration below. Ken explained that “I had a friend who wanted a commission done, and he didn’t care what it was, as long as it was beautiful, could hang on his wall, and had a beautiful female subject in it. I happened upon a gorgeous photo of the New Zealand shoreline and thought of doing a winged female character that migrated with the birds, and had the same coloring.” The piece mentioned is titled “At Rest” and is seen below and in the book as well.
Are you convinced yet? Keep in mind this is the first collection of Ken Meyer Jr’s art ever [almost] produced. He has said he has plans to do others, if this one does well enough. And you can help! Remember, time is running out! If you want to help and score some great items in the process, do it now!