Sunday, 16 September 2012

The horror of it all...

A short quick post today, primarily due to being busy at the moment with some work, the 'tax man', some work, getting my accounts in order, some work, the accounts need doing, sorting out a fee, some work, get on with those bloody accounts!

Bet you can't guess which is both the most pressing, and the least prepared ... sigh. But then on the other hand lets ignore all that and post a couple of pics.

See! I can get my priorities right.

The first relates to the the last piece of work ever commissioned by Games Workshop from me, which through a long and protracted argument about the fee resulted in it all ending with a phone call from the owner [?] managing director [at the time... no idea if that still applies ... it was so long ago] who decided, as I would not agree to what they wanted, I would never work for them again and so it has been.
A piece for White Dwarf magazine
This all made more amusing in a cynical sort of way by two letters from Games Workshop just recently. Apparently, according to the nice letter sent, which was quit complimentary about my work for Games Workshop, they had 'lost' contract copies of my signing over the rights to my work and they'd like me now to re-affirm the rights by completing a draft document sent by separate letter.

I have not replied to either letter, especially as when I originally did the work I never signed over rights to my work in the first place, and this goes back to the 'Warlock' and 'Doctor Who' games they produced.

Anyway here is the piece ... with apologies for the picture quality.


So what was the disagreement about? Well, it was along time ago [over twenty years at least] and I can only put my version of things.

The original brief was basically for a huge complex double page battle scene and the fee was £200. But although the fee was not much I wanted to produce a scene as complex and as large as I could. So I drew the original A2 [approximately] in size and sent it off. A few days later I received a phone call from somebody at Games workshop telling me in effect they loved the piece but felt only the left side was what they wanted, and I said, 'fine, not a problem'.

LEFT SIDE


I was then told, 'But because we want to only use the left side we will only pay you £100.' My reply in effect went as follows. 'That's ok, but you cannot use the right side as well.' To which I was informed that, 'no, they could use the right side as well'. I pointed out that the fee was then being reduced by half and I could not accept that, but I would accept the half fee offered but only for the use of the left side. So, in my opinion, if Games Workshop wanted to use both halves [that is the full picture] then they should pay me the full fee agreed, to which the reply was, 'no, as they only wanted to use the right side of the picture'. Thus the argument started, which resulted in several phone calls from a variety of senior members of staff until it reached, as I've 'said' the 'top'. 

LEFT SIDE - NOT WANTED


So, there you have my two-pennies worth. I'd put a lot of time into this picture, even trying to match the regiments involved to Game Shop figures offered at the time. But felt, though I did not object to them apparently not liking the left side of the picture I drew, I was not going to allow the to 'use' of any, or all, of that right part without payment. What you all think of the matter I do not know, and I it would not surprise me if GW have a different take on events, but as said, this is my story.  

But what of 'the horror of it all'? 

Well, besides doing fantasy and science fiction work I have lesser known reputation for horror, and although elements crop up my liking for Ghost and Horror stories is rarely allowed to flourish. I'm not really into the slasher work especially of films like 'Saw' et al, but occasionally a story is offered where I can indulge my 'Grand Guignol' ways. Though rare as I do suffer nightmares [laugh ... or should that be cackle!]. 

Anyway Micah Nathan, American author asked me to contribute an illustration for his latest book, 'Jack the Bastard', which I was pleased to do and here it is.
For those interested check out the book, Nathan can be found at:

So there you have it. So what's in the pipeline? Well a record cover [in the planning stage but well under way] and some work for 'Runequest', which is in the thinking stage. Till the next time, keep well you readers of mine. 



31 comments:

  1. The two page battle scene is just incredible. Wish I could view the original at a local museum or gallery.

    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for that. As for the work, well make me a fantastic offer [grin] and you can buy it.

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  2. Amazing piece! As someone who teaches Contract & Copyright law for a living, I love that claim of their having "lost the transfer of rights"! I saw their contributor contract when I submitted (written) stuff to them ca WD 95. All they asked for was a license with single-reprint rights, certainly no transfer of copyright ownership. I think that was pretty normal in the magazine industry in the '80s; even in the USA it was still quite common for work to be published with a license rather than a transfer of copyright.

    -Simon

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    1. My memory of those contracts is pretty hazy but yes that does make sense.

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  3. I just got to say you are such a huge inspiration to me, it's a bummer a guy with talent like yours has to deal with such silliness.

    ERIC!

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    1. Thanks Eric and yes I agree and one of the reasons the artist agent came into being.

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  4. Well done for sticking to your guns Russ, I can just imagine the time and effort envolved. Cheeky gits, White Dwarf went rapidly downhill after you quit. Especially when it just became an in house advert pamphlet for Games Workshop & no other games systems.I was never interested in the futuristic 40k system they created.After all the great work you created for them! Nice artwork, I would love to see a higher res version!( I'll give you £100 for it, and promise not to use either side..lol)

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    1. You made my other half laugh [and she did need cheering up:)]

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  5. Ever considered making the art available as a print or poster? You wouldn't get the 200 pounds but at 5 pounds each I suspect you'll make a lot more.

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    1. Good idea but how to get it photographed scanned...? Ideas on a postcard please.

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    2. Not sure. When I worked in Publishing (as an intern 20 years ago) we had a photostat machine that would take a high quality photo of art. I'm not sure what replaced that tech in the age of computers.

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    3. This may not sound highly professional but I'm fairly Staples will have the equipment to get something that size scanned into a computer at high res. Give 'em a bell and ask :)

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  6. Incredible work ! I just can't imagine how much time it took you in so far as it is not less than A2 format !
    Thank you for sharing such an artwork and the "horror business story" which is just exasperating considering your talent...
    By the way, I'm still fan of your zombies !

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    1. Ta, and sorry about no direct reply to your email last... computer died then reborn but behind with so much!

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    2. No problemo Russ ! I just hope you haven't lost too much important files in your computer crash... If you do some kind of poster, let me know ! I would also be very interested with your Gandulf artwork too ...

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  7. A lot of reading, but this explains why Games Workshop are attempting to change history.
    http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/355433.page

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  8. To make a long story short, they sent the letter you received to everyone who worked as a freelancer because they are trying to sue someone for copyright violations. It is hard to sue someone for violating copyright if you don't actually have it :)

    They got in touch with Gary Chalk as well:
    http://ia700405.us.archive.org/18/items/gov.uscourts.ilnd.250791/gov.uscourts.ilnd.250791.246.0.pdf

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    1. Thanks for that, and the link, explains a lot.

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  9. Sounds like the classic - chase up.. where IP rights and artistic rights were not fully qulified or properly tenured under a contract and so they are now desperate to get it back, before they loose a case which will set a president.

    They have to prove your signture on a dated contract. No contract, and no rights. So if you are sure you didn't sign the rights over, then good for you. And by the way. lovely piece of work. Very nice indeed.

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    1. See the message links from Jamie and czak above. As far as memory serves there were no dated contracts and my experience was similar to that cited by Gary [Chalk].

      Glad you liked the piece :).

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  10. You've done artwork for Doctor Who?! Let's see it!!

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    1. EEK! Paul, you do like to ask difficult questions, they were tiny little pictures you know, used if memory serves as 'play' tiles... I did have one copy of actual box set ... now where did I put it?

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  11. Does this mean that GW are worried that YOU own the IP on Space Marine shoulder pads? Will you shortly be a millionaire?

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    1. Chance would be a fine thing [laugh]... I'm just happy to keep my head above poverty ... what am I saying [gurgle, gurgle]?

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  12. That battle scene has left me speechless. So here you've one more person interested in buying a print. Or at least looking at it in high resolution.

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    1. Thank you ...now if I can only take a decent photograph of it ...

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  13. Mr. Nicholson, I would love to pay you 100 pounds for the right hand side of the illustration. Of course you would be required to send both sides, but I promise I would never EVER look at the left hand side or display it (I would frame it with a lead sheet blocking the unwanted portion of the art.)

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  14. I almost offered you a large amount of money for the art, both in appreciation of your skill and the years of enjoyment it has given me, and indignation at your shabby treatment at the hands of GW - but a moment of reflection on my current credit card commitment stopped me! Still, it's a stunning piece, and certainly worth far more than I can afford at the moment. I must start a personal RN fund! :)

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    1. Laugh ... If I had a large amount of money I'd give it away [well, more or less :)], but coming from you, your praise is very welcome!

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  15. Hey Russ! Great work as always! Interesting that such a fierce battle in our world had to be fought over one in another!?

    The current state of aforementioned company always makes me sad. My only goal when I was a lad was to follow in your footsteps and create artwork for them.

    I had a thought regarding the re-printing of your work. A good friend of mine works for WETA Workshop here in NZ but is also the director of White Cloud Worlds publications (see link)
    http://www.whitecloudworlds.com/about.php
    Its basically an anthology of NZ sci fi and fantasy artists printed yearly. How wonderful would it be for you and many of your contemporaries to get together and be printed (and/or re-printed) on such a basis?

    Just an idea =)
    Now I have to go and do my taxes...

    Tim

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    1. Nice idea Tim ... but you mentioned taxes... overload...overload... over lo..qver..lod.. l... zxwq sput ...

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