Category Archives: Ghost Estate

Even More Fear Cards for Ghost Estate

Some of my favorite spooky things are in this group of Fear Card illustrations. I’m particularly fond of the Creepy Doll, the Old Portrait, and the Stone Idol. I thought those turned out particularly well. The Stone Idol, of course, being a shout out to “The Exorcist” and the Creepy Doll being for my daughter. She very much wants to see the movie “Annabelle.” I think 9 years old is a little early for that one. I actually preferred the opening to “The Conjuring” as that scared me more than the whole of “Annabelle.”

These illustrations I also completed with the dark blue Colorase pencil on sketch paper. The red Colorase pencil isn’t bad and the black works as well as graphite. I would definitely steer clear of the light blue Colorase pencil, though. It might be okay for animation but for concept work you can’t get a good enough range in the values.


Fear Cards for Ghost Estate

Once the illustrations for the ghosts were complete, I set to the task of thinking up and illustrating every creepy thing you might expect to find in a haunted house. My daughter, Ruby, was a huge help. She and her friends pretend to be ghost hunters at their elementary school and tell each other creepy stories. She had a lot of ideas of what should be in her game. The idea behind this part of the game is that you find scary things when searching rooms and they add to your overall fear. You hold up to a total of three cards, replacing lesser cards with higher point cards, until you miss a fear roll and run out of the house. Once outside, you can remove cards at 1 per round, until you are ready to re-enter the house. Pretty scary, huh?

These I sketched with my blue Colerase pencil on sketch paper and then used a lightbox to ink them on clean sheets of paper. I like using the dark blue Colorase pencil as it holds up better in sketchbooks than graphite while still retaining some erasability. You definitely get less smudging than with graphite. For the inking, I use Micron pens with tips varying from 05 to 005. I like the heavier contour lines and the lighter, thinner lines for the cross contour and hatching.


Card Illustrations for Ghost Estate

I’ve completed a number of ghost illustrations for the Ghost Estate boardgame I’m working on for my daughter. The idea behind the game is to move through a haunted estate, encountering spooky elements and fighting to keep your calm and continue exploring the house. If you fail a fear roll, you run out of the house until you can compose yourself and return. Eventually, one of the players will encounter one or more ghosts and then play continues until someone can defeat the ghost and win the game. In order to make the ghosts a little less scary, I enlarged their heads to give them a more characatured appearance. The game is designed for little kids, after all. I expect the age range would be somewhere between 8-18. I started with sketches then inked over them on a light box with micron pens, defining what I could of their forms through cross -contour line and trying for some dramatic and creepy lighting. Once the inks were done, I brought them into Photoshop and added in a little ghostly feel with some hazy white glow and bright green color. After printing the cards, I really had to pump up the green to get it as bright as I wanted.

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Digitally Painted Game Board

I finally managed to grab a minute to post about my digital, plussed-up version of the ghost boardgame board that I made for my daughter. I took a little inspiration from the Downton Abbey boardgame board when I was mocking this up. The only difference is that instead of running from room to room serving the tea and laundering the sheets and whatever else Mister Carson decides you need to do, you are fighting down your fear and hunting ghosts. Personally, I’d take the horrors of the undead before the cascade of never-ending chores in that massive house.

As much as my wife tells me the look is dated, I still like to use ornamentation in some of my projects. When I was mocking up the blueprint for the initial pen and ink map of the house, I threw together some preliminary lighting in Photoshop. Luckily, when I found I needed to push the pen and ink a little further, I was able to bring that forward and make the lighting pop a little more. I found it gave the work a little more of that gloomy feel that I was going for. The colored stairs tell the player where pawns move from one floor to the next. For the overall color scheme, I wanted a sepia-toned old map type feel. I had a lot of fun with the lighting and shadows, making them all consistent, either with the light from the moon coming in the windows or with the individual lights in the rooms. When I got to merge the two light sources together, I found that to be even more interesting and fun to bring together.


New Boardgame Design Underway

In a weak moment I decided I would start working on a haunted house boardgame for my daughter who is turning 9. She loves all things creepy and likes playing boardgames so I just couldn’t resist. I call it a weak moment as it means I will need to take a little break again from working on the children’s book for my other daughter. This will be the last self-imposed break from that work. I swear.

The idea behind the game is that players explore a haunted house, fighting their fear all the way through. As they move from room to room, they encounter things that add to their overall fear and find objects that help them in their quest to discover and overcome one of the many ghosts in the house. I started working on the board in Photoshop, mocking up blueprints. I worked to scale so that I could make sure the spaces for the board would actually be correctly sized once I complete the board and print it on a 20 inch by 20 inch square.

Once I completed the Photoshop mock-up, I printed out on 8 1/2 x 11, letter-sized pages, taped them together and then used my light table to ink the plans onto cold-press Arches watercolor paper. I’m trying to use a hatched style in all the illustrations for consistency, including in the board. Defining the lighting in each room and the hallways proved to be a challenge.