Friday, 3 September 2010

A Wordy Post

The work inserted into this post is the result of two recent commissions - see bottom of post for more details.

I previously mentioned that I lost a particular post, one that I'd spent some time on when it 'disappeared'. Ah well, thus is life.

It had three purposes originally, first to reminisce about the gap in my period of working on the FF series. Secondly, to announce that I'm away in Paris next week appearing as a guest at a Games Convention 'Monde de jeu'. Thirdly, to reprint an email reply I made about the 'recording' of my appearance at said con. as I was informed it was worthy of 'broadcasting' I'm not so sure. Mmmmm.
First. I had a very nice email from a fan reminiscing about his Fighting Fantasy collection. He said, "The first one I got was the Citadel of Chaos in the 1980s. Great book and your art really made it shine. I always liked the chaotic style of your fine-line drawings. Great stuff and a fond reminder of my childhood!" This in turn had me thinking about that period and the reason why after finishing book 2: Citadel of Chaos I never did another book until book 30: Chasms of Malice. Originally, in the 'lost' post, when I wrote about this period and being 'dumped' by Puffin I was full of ire [and malice ]. Mainly because thinking back, and being handsomely praised for my work, I was told by the then editor, that they couldn't afford to raise my fee. Also, as I'd announced I was taking up a 'new' teaching post, which I never regretted, in Papua New Guinea I was told Puffin Books did not hire artists who lived and worked abroad. As I was enjoying then enjoying working on the series this was a bit of a blow. Stay in the UK and continue to work on the series leave and that was that.

 It came as no surprise to learn that other publishers were happy to receive work from abroad, and I learned on my return that a artists agent I had known had two artists working on the series soon after I left and they were earning twice the fee I had been. Useful things artists agents.

But there was, and is, an upside. I also learned years later from a teacher friend, when attending teachers conferences, that these first two books in particular, "Warlock" and "Citadel", had a profound effect in helping boys with reading and learning difficulties to engage in reading and the primary motivational 'trigger' was as a result of my drawings.
Second. I had intended to 'announce' this earlier but things have been a little hectic of late. I have been invited to be a guest at 'Monde de jeu' a Games Convention in Paris to be held next weekend. It should prove to be an interesting experience as I know no French. Anyway, this leads to the email I mentioned earlier.
Dearthwood Orc
 Third. I've been doing a bit of work for Ramsey Dow at Calific and I wanted to add at least one picture to the PowerPoint presentation for which I was organising pictures that was from his new Fantasy Science adventure that he plans to launch shortly.

[See his blog  for more information.]

But when he heard I was to appear at this Convention he immediately thought of my presentation and discussion being recorded by video streaming then being 'posted'.
This was my sad reply which he thought both funny and worth posting, and so here it is.

"First I'm sorry Ramsey for the 'double' send.

I was concerned when I tried to leave my email on a site and it wasn't 'recognised ' and wondered if the email address was 'playing up' as one politely states on such occasions, and of course you are usually swift with your replies. Still, I hope the busy was a 'good' busy and not a 'bad' busy. 
Now this message does so alarm me!!  Being recorded? Streaming video? Video file?
I'm the person who cannot even get a simple mobile phone to work properly. I managed once and then the phone just stopped and the local shop where I bought it was suddenly not there. So a few years went by and I bought another in a local supermarket, but made the mistake of not getting it operational there and then: so it still sits forlorn by my desk in bits
and some of the bits seem to have gone on walkabout. Most strange. 

So asking such questions of me... Hell, they probably wont understand my accent. I used to have new students every year say, 'What's you sayin' sir?' Is that a' accent, sir? Is dusz yuz Scottish, sir?' The playful little monks couldn't even say 'scots' not 'scottish'. I'm not a marmalade, for heavens sake! Ah, the sweet memories.

MM this might appear on my blog - or is that too sad git :)

OK - this techno Q. I'll ask if it is happening? Why do you want to hear me rabbit?  As an ex mature student said to me today with a grin, and I'll shorten her reply, " PowerPoint presentation? Can you handle that? Succinct was never your strong point." Bah, who invented students?

So there you have it except to mention a couple of new commissions. The 'originals' have been inserted into the post elsewhere as you will have seen.
The Invincible Overlord
First for Kobold Quarterly Magazine [ ] and second for  Scott Driver [see his blog ].
Next post will be after my return from Paris. Is it me or I the only one who hates organising trips and thinking of a all the things that can go wrong?   


  1. The first "FF" book I bought was "Citadel of Chaos".

    I instantly got addicted to the series. Not only because of the game mechanics (I had never imagined that a book could be "interactive", but also because of the drawings.

    It's your fault, Russ. ;)

  2. nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

  3. Fueled by nostalgic memories of the freakishly awesome Grell attack illo. and the wicked Githyanki battle scene from the "Fiend Folio," I commissioned Russ for some work.

    Russ is a pleasure to correspond with and the consummate professional. You would not believe how thorough he was with the preliminary preparations. The final result was exceptional and insanely detailed.

    BTW, his fees are surprisingly modest given his experience and talent.

    Thank you again Russ and enjoy your trip to Paris!

  4. Aw shucks, I'm blushing. Will post about Paris on my return.

  5. My biggest regret was that we never got Abraxas off the ground. Your unique blend of ancient world architecture and super-science was so unique. But there are plenty of other fabulous Nicholson originals out there to enjoy. Have a great time in Paris, Russ!

  6. M. Nicholson, you don't have to worry too much about knowing no French, as quite a few people you'll meet at the Monde du Jeu convention next week-end, have learned ( or been encouraged to learn ) some English thanks to all the great books you participated in ! When it was not with M. Morris' ones...

    And it would be such an honour to see you there ! I know that you are going to be a special guest of "Le Grimoire", but please could you indicate me when would be the best moment to find you at this game convention ? On which day and at what time ? ...

    Anyway, thanks a lot for all your work ( and M. Morris' one too of course !), which enlightened my childhood and well beyond... I'm following your blog with the greatest interest, even if it is the first time I post a comment on it.

    Très bon séjour en France !

  7. Again, many thanks for all the good wishes for my trip - I need it, as I'm a lousy traveller [till I get there].

    I do agree Dave, I enjoyed our work on Abraxas and would have loved to have seen it develop further.

    To Steph R.
    Nice to hear from you and that you and others are looking forward to meeting me at Monde de Jue.
    As for my 'appearance at the Convention [?] In truth I know little, but as I understand it, I will be about on all three days. But I could be wrong lol.
    I 'know' I'm doing a discussion with Joe Dever on the Saturday, I may be involved in a game [?] on the Sunday, and it will be quiet on the Friday [?] all which suggests I'm to appear on all three days.
    Anyway, which ever day you do come please come up and say 'hi' it'll be nice to meet you. I hope you wont be too disappointed lol. All best wishes.

  8. M. Nicholson, don't worry, I doubt I will be disappointed, as my expectations are not so high : to say "hello" and "thank you" in real, and to ask you one short question or two about your work if you have the time.

    And about your planning, I have discovered on the Monde du Jeu website, that your discussion with Joe Dever ( another fantasy legend... ) will be one of the major event ( nothing less ! ) of the saturday and that it will take place from 15h to 15h30 French Time.

    I would have prefered a several hours long speech, but I have to understand that you are an artist, and not a politician... I was joking, of course !

    Enjoy your stay in Paris, and see you there, with some luck.

  9. Dear Mister Nicholson,
    your coming in France at the "convention du jeu" is a very good news !
    Discovering your blog a few weeks ago was a great surprise for me ! I know your work since about 1980' in so far as the Warlock of firetop mountain was the very first heroic-fantasy book I read...
    I can say that you are (with John Blanche) my favorite illustrator and you made me really appreciate black and white pictures. Thank you !!
    Have a nice stay in Paris, I hope to be lucky enough to find you there on friday afternoon...
    Best regards,

  10. Hope the trip goes well for you Russ, you may very well be surprised and have a nice relaxing
    and life enriching mini-holiday!Looking forward to catching up on your memoirs when you return.
    Travel safely my friend.:)

  11. Dear Mister Nicholson,

    I saw you yesterday at the Monde du Jeu convention in Paris, and it was a great pleasure for me to meet you. Thank you so much for being here for the fans !

    I'll be here to saturday at 15pm to see again and discover some of your unpublished works.

    As a member of the french gamebook community, I'll talk about your blog and I hope You ll'have more messages from the french fans.

    Thank You again & see you soon...

  12. Hi Russ, just wondering where abouts in PNG you ended up?


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