With the mad dash that’s been developing to get information regarding the art book (Dave McCaman at the Brotherhood without Banners was the first to get a scoop), we’ve been trying to see what else could be turned up. Well, at last, we’ve some more new information to put out there, thanks to the editor of the book, Brian Wood. Extracts from his mail to us follow.
Brian Wood explains who he is and what his involvement in the art book is:
"I am the editor of the book. Basically my job was to get all the rights to existing art, chose pieces, assigned new art, work with George on concept, artist selections, and choosing which pieces to include, compiling artist bios, hunting down quotes from the book (and then begging others to help me) and of course I laid out the book."
We ask Brian who had the brilliant idea to publish the book:
"Thank you! This book was actually my idea and has been running around for a couple of years. For several years I worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing for FFG. In that role I got to contact George for the first time to get the license for the CCG and the board game, and I have watched the games grow ever since. I was also working a lot with book stores placing FFG’s role-playing products there, and as our distribution into the book market grew, I felt that we had a perfect opportunity to expand slightly out of the game-only industry with a product that was geared more specifically to the book and collector market.
"We all of us know how incredible George’s series is, and that it has captured a very large audience—much larger outside of the gaming industry than within. FFG already had (at this time) over 600 pieces of art, we had the ability to produce a top quality book product, and we had the infastructure to get it into the hands of fans. It seemed (to me) perfect.
"Eventually the project was greenlit, but by this time I had left FFG. Unforunately George was working furiously to finish his book, and we knew this was a project that would require copious amounts of his time for approvals and changes and such. This was a book that George wanted to get, in the words of Syrio, ‘Just so.’ So FFG couldn’t start the project until AFFC went to press; however, FFG then wanted the book to release at the same time as AFFC. Because FFG’s production schedules are set in advance, it was difficult for them to work the art book in. So, in a happy turn of events, they contracted me to put the book together for them.
"I was thrilled. This book was my baby, and unbelievably I was going to get to raise it myself. Also, despite working on and off with GRRM at FFG for several years, I’ve never really entirely gotten over being a little starstruck. I would find myself on the phone with George well after midnight talking about budgets and timelines and which artists have reponded to requests and which have not and part of my brain is still thinking, ‘"Hot damn! I’m talking to George R.R. Martin. Whee!’"
Brian shares some details regarding the book and its contents:
"The book is 192 glossy, full-color pages. It is hardcover with a dust jacket. I don’t have a count on the final number of pieces included, but it is well over 300 pieces of art. These vary from three pieces to a page, to full page pieces, and even several two-page spreads. There is also a foreword by George R.R. Martin.
"The art comes from three general sources: existing Fatnasy Flight art, mostly from the CCG, existing art from other sources, and new art commissioned for the book.
"The majority of the art included is from the CCG—understandably since Fantasy Flight has commissioned over a thousand illustrations since starting the game, and continues to create more with each new expansion. George and I both spent hours and hours and hours pouring over all of these illustrations and selecting which to include. These are all reproduced larger than they appeared on the cards (sometimes much larger indeed, depending on how big the artist created them) and on occasion the artists had actually tweaked the pieces since originally making them for the card game. A couple pieces of art were cut into multiple cards for the CCG, and will appear here in their original, complete form.
"We also have existing artwork, usually published by other companies. These include the cover art for the American and select international editions, artwork from the Hedge Knight graphic novels, illustrations from the Meisha Merlin and Suberanean Press limited editions, concept art for the Testor Corporation miniatures, and the gorgeous Dragon Magazine cover by Donato Giancola. In addition we also included some fan art that has been created but never published, including some of Roman’s portraits and a couple of other very talented fan artists.
"Finally, we commissioned new pieces. We ended up with about 30 new pieces commissioned for the book, in addition to the gorgeous Targaryen portrait gallery by Roman featuring the entire Targaryen succession from Aegon the Conquerer to Daenerys. Among the many talented artists who did new pieces for us are John Howe, Michael Komarck, Steve Stone, John Schoenherr, Don Maitz, and Mike S. Miller."
When asked about the news that there would be a limited edition of the book, Brian offered some very general information regarding availability and pricing:
"I do not have the final information regarding pricing and availability on this, though I suspect it will run in the neighborhood of $100 and only be available directly through FFG. I must stress that this is only my best guess and FFG will make the final decision on this. When last I heard FFG is planning on printing only 250 copies.
"The limited edition is really more of a deluxe edition. It will not be numbered or lettered. It will have a faux leather cover with gold embossing, gilded edges, silk bookmark, slipcase, and be signed by George."
We asked Brian to comment on the rumor that follow-up art books might be forthcoming:
"I can tell you that there are no concrete plans for a follow-up book. Now, if this book sells well, there will very likely be another in a couple of years. After all, FFG alone continues to commission over 500 pieces of art set in the world of Ice Fire every year. We’re only halfway through the series—it’a a big world and I’m sure we have much more to see. George would like to see another one. Due to the constraints of our timeline there were many new artists that we wanted to work with that just couldn’t squeeze it in, and I would love nothing more than to have a larger time-span that would allow us to include the vision of more of these fantastic artists. So while there are no plans, everything is in a wait and see mode, I believe it is likely."
That’s it for now, folks. We’d like to thank Brian Wood for his thorough responses to the questions we’ve all been dying to have answered.