Stephen Player Fantasy Illustration



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Stephen Player

Fantasy Illustration

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Bloodbones

A Fighting Fantasy Gamebook by Jon Green

Illustrations

The setting of the Port of Crabs is like your classic coastal town from the 17th or 18th Centuries. Amidst the shale-roofed, higgledy-piggledy buildings and narrow winding streets smugglers creep and ne’er-do-wells lie in wait for their next victim.


Bone Island, however, is your equally archetypal tropical treasure island, a place of sandy beeches, stinking swamps, seething jungles and craggy highlands.


30 Full Page Illustrations



1) Half-Ogre and Pirates

The hero is at the end of a narrow alleyway, surrounded by shadows and tendrils of thick fog. At the end of the alleyway are three pirates facing the hero. In the middle of the group is a Half-Ogre, the biggest of the three, who is easily wielding a heavy wooden club in one hand and a bullwhip in the other. The second pirate is a well-built, bearded man, missing most of his teeth, and the third is a leaner rogue with two ugly red scars running down the right-hand side of his face. The second and third pirates are armed with cudgels and are about to attack the hero. An old vagabond is cowering behind them. The pirates have given him a beating.


3) Crivens and his Monkey

The hero is facing an old pirate at the end of an alleyway in the ancient Port of Crabs. The roguish man is gaunt and scrawny, in his later years, with several days’ growth of stubble. He also has an eye-patch, a wooden stump for a leg beneath his right knee and is wearing a long coat and tricorn hat. A monkey with its own tiny waistcoat is clawing at the hero, and the Long John Silver character, with an angry expression on his face, is throwing a dagger at the hero, the knife flying out of the picture.


4) Madame Galbo

Inside a low-raftered room, a dark-skinned old woman with a crumpled face and thick curly black hair is sitting behind a table cluttered with strange gourds, bunches of herbs and other herbal medicines. Bunches of herbs also hang from the rafters and the old woman is surrounded by potted plants, which make it seem like you are in the depths of a tropical rainforest. The woman is preparing a concoction in a pestle and mortar. Standing next to her on the table is a large, black cockerel.


5) The Anchor Man

It is night and the hero is standing on a wooden jetty in the harbour. To the left is the harbour wall and to the right the dark waters of the harbour. Everything is swathed in mist. Emerging from the fog is a tall, barrel-chested man, built like an ox and with muscles like ship’s cables. His hair is close-cropped and his square jaw is set in a grim frown. In his hands the pirate is holding a heavy iron chain on the end of which swings a large, ship’s anchor. His chest is partly exposed on which is the tattoo of an anchor. He has similar tattoos on his exposed arms and even has earrings that look like anchors.


6) The Giant Octopus

Our hero is standing inside a cave in the base of a cliff into which the sea crashes. The hero is standing on a narrow ledge running around the edge of this dark cave. The water inside the cave is churning and seething. From the turmoil is rising a hideous, slimy-skinned, grey-green Giant Octopus that is reaching for our hero with its sucker-lined tentacles, intending to pull them into its snapping, beaked mouth.


7) Silas Gallows and Wu-Lin

It is nighttime. Standing in the street in front of the hero to the right is an attractive woman of oriental appearance, with her long, shining black hair twisted into a plait, and wearing finely made leather armour. The mercenary warrior woman is holding her thin sword in both hands with it raised ready to attack. Slightly behind the woman to the left is a rough, gaunt-looking man, holding a cruel sabre and with a noose around his neck, the frayed end of the rope hanging down over his front. He has a wild look in his eyes and whereas the woman’s face is sternly set his displays a manic grin. Behind them both is one of the gates leading out of the city. There are no guards on the gate.


8) Jack A-Lantern

The hero is in a passageway inside a granite tomb. The far end of the passageway is in darkness. Gliding vertically towards the hero is the apparition of an old man with sunken eye-sockets and talon-like fingernails clogged with grave-dirt. Below its waist its outline becomes even more indistinct. The glowing spectre is carrying a lit lantern fashioned from a human skull, which it is holding up to light the way. The pirate-ghost is moaning.


9) Nine-Tails

The hero is in a Spartan, dirt-floored room that contains just a few pieces of broken furniture, with a door on the other side. In the centre of the room is a huge mutant, predatory cat. The cat, as big as a lion or tiger, has a fiery red coat and mane, a ridge of spikes growing from its spine, and huge fangs. Lashing behind the beast are several long, snake-like tails, each ending in a stinging barb. The creature is snarling and crouched, ready to pounce.


10) Cinnabar (decomposed)

In a shrine beneath the Port of Crabs the hero meets Cinnabar the pirate-lord for the first time. Cinnabar is wearing the fine gold-braided, scarlet coat of a nobleman, a large tricorn hat and black leather boots. His flesh, however, is a sickly greenish-grey and pus oozes from great gashes and holes in his skin. The pirate-lord’s black hair, beard and moustache are a straggly mess and his jaundice-yellow eyes stare wildly from shadowy sockets. He is not holding a weapon but is standing in front of a huge, grotesque effigy with a skeletal human body and an over-sized bald skull. Around the grinning skull is a feathered headdress, sticking out at right angles like an arc, from one ear to the other. In each of the effigy’s hands is a blazing torch. Between the undead Cinnabar and the statue is a bloodstained stone altar.


13) The Sea Maiden (a ghost ship)

The hero is looking out over the rail of a ship, seeing the Sea Maiden approaching over the waves. The previously clear sky has suddenly, and inexplicably, darkened. Under the leaden sky, the Sea Maiden appears to be in a state of terrible disrepair, with tattered sails, rotten rigging and planks covered by mould and algae. The ghost ship is surrounded by a pall of sickly, green mist. However, the ship’s figurehead of a beautiful young woman appears untarnished.


14) Captain Velyarde

The hero is in the hold of the ghost ship, which is illuminated by a phantasmal glow. Emerging from the shadows are the ghostly figures of the ship’s dead crew (ordinary sailors not pirates). They are forming a circle around the hero. Directly in front of the hero, however, is the ship’s undead captain. He is wearing a long seaman’s coat and tricorn hat, and is wielding a very real-looking, rusty cutlass in one hand, with which he is about to strike the hero. His flesh is grey, he is yelling and his eyes blaze like ship’s lanterns.


15) The Behemoth about to swallow the Fortune

In this picture the hero is looking towards the prow of a fine sailing ship from the rail on one side of the deck of the same ship, so that the sea can be seen to the right. In front of the ship a gargantuan fish-like head is emerging from the boiling froth of the waves, jaws open wide, ready to swallow the ship whole (that how big the whale-like Behemoth is)! I visualise the Behemoth as one of the giant fish illustrated on ancient sea-faring maps or like the one that also happens to swallow a ship in Terry Gilliam’s movie, ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’. It could even still have the remains of another ship (a mast and crow’s nest) stuck at the back of its throat.


16) Balinac

The hero is standing on the beach of a tropical Caribbean island. To the left is the edge of a jungle and to the right is the sea. The sun is blazing down and there is not a cloud in the sky. Ahead of the hero is some wreckage washed ashore from the ship, mainly crates. Tearing open some of these crates is a primitive, human-like creature with strongly muscled arms and covered in red hair all over its body. It is wearing only a loincloth. The creature has just seen the hero and its bestial, ape-like face is snarling.


17) The Giant Chameleon and Chameleonite

The hero is in the depths of the steaming jungle during the day. A Giant Chameleon, six metres in length, has just emerged from the trees. Riding on its back is a humanoid chameleon wielding a short spear. The Giant Chameleon’s scales have taken on a variety of brilliant hues, as it is angry and about to attack. Its long sticky tongue is starting to emerge from its mouth.


18) Zombie Pirates

The hero is trekking through the borders of a swamp. Three figures are rising out of the clinging mire in front of them. They may once have been human but these are now decomposing travesties of men. Remnants of mud-sodden jerkins and breeches still hang from their skeletal frames and each clutches a cutlass in its atrophying hands. Moaning balefully, the Zombie Pirates lurch towards the hero.


19) The Scarachna

In the depths of the jungle again, the hero is looking up towards the jungle canopy. There, clinging to the branches by its eight legs is a monstrous red spider with a scorpion’s tail. The sting at the end of the tail is arched over its back. The four front limbs of the Scarachna are hairy spider’s legs and the back four are more like a scorpion’s chitin-covered legs. The spider-scorpion hybrid is shooting a thick, sticky strand of silk from its mouth directly at the hero too.


20) The Praying Mantis and Tribesman

The hero is looking from between the undergrowth into a clearing in the jungle. There a dark-skinned native tribesman, wearing a simple loincloth (see illustration 24) is cowering before the grotesque form of a Giant Praying Mantis, twice as tall as the man, which is rearing up on its hind legs with its forelegs raised, ready to strike, and snapping its mandibles. The huge insect is covered in armour-like chitin.


21) The Giant Mosquito

Dusk has fallen and the hero is in an area of marshland. In the distance is the line of trees that make up the edge of the jungle. Directly in front of the hero is hovering a Giant Mosquito, two metres in length and with a proboscis to match, and an even larger wingspan. The proboscis is glistening with poison and the mosquito is about to attack.


22) Scrimshaw the Castaway

In is a glorious sunny day and the hero is in a range of low, scrub-covered hills. In front of them is a roughly made shelter, like something Robinson Crusoe might have made. Dancing around in front of it, chuckling to himself, is a skinny old man with a long, straggly white beard and large straw hat. His clothes are tattered and torn and he looks like he might originally have come from the Old World. He is calling out to the hero as he hops from one foot to another.


23) The Treasure Golem

The hero is underground in a natural cavern. Glowing crystals placed around the cavern provide light, which is reflected, from the magically created Treasure Golem. The Golem is constructed entirely from glinting gold coins and sparkling jewels. The treasure hoard it is made up of is now in a humanoid form with most notably two pearls forming its eyes. It is attacking the hero with gem-encrusted fists.


24) Queen Zyteea

It is dusk and the hero is in the centre of the native tribes people’s village on the island. In front of the largest mud hut in the village is standing a lithe, beautiful, dark-skinned woman, wearing a basic cloth loincloth and top but with a fine, feathered headdress, cloak of parrots’ feathers and wooden jewellery. Behind Zyteea are two male warriors dressed in a similar fashion to their queen, one on each side. Beyond the edge of the village is the dense jungle.


25) Jolly Roger’s Coffin

The hero is in a small, dark, underground, roughly hewn chamber. Curiously pieces of shipping tackle have been apparently abandoned here, including a ship’s wheel, a broken oil-lantern, an old tarpaulin and a splintered piece of balustrade from a ship’s forecastle. Lying in the middle of the floor, amidst this nautical detritus, is a plain wooden coffin, draped with a Jolly Roger flag.


26) Two Mask Zombies

The hero is in a roughly hewn underground chamber. In the far wall are several locked, thick wooden doors with barred metal grilles set into them. Standing guard in front of these doors are two Mask Zombies. Their flesh is grey and withered, and their faces are covered by primitive, tribal masks, shaped like an inverted lemon and pointed at both ends, with jagged rectangular features, and decorated with tufts of pampas grass. They are also wearing basic loincloths. The two Zombies are thrusting at the hero with their flint-tipped spears.


27) The Crystal Room Door

The hero is standing before an ornately carved stone door. The intricate carving on the stone forms a puzzle that the hero has to solve. I have included my own illustration for you to copy. The ring of letters and arrow must appear exactly as they do on my illustration for the reader to be able to solve the puzzle.


28) Ramatu the High Priest of Quezkari

The setting for this picture is underground, in the rough-hewn cave-like inner sanctum of the Temple of Quezkari, like the one in the shrine in the Port of Crabs (see illustration 10), only this one is larger and more macabre. In front of the statue is a bare stone altar on top of which is a large, glowing pearl and a tiny fetish of Quezkari. In front of the hero is the voodoo death-god’s High Priest, Ramatu, himself an intimidating figure. He wears scarlet and crimson robe, tied at the waist with a cord and open over his chest, exposing the huge tattoo of a black skull. He is totally bald and on his head he has a fan-like feathered headdress, like that of Quezkari, and a necklace of shrunken human heads. In one hand he is holding a golden dagger with an obsidian blade. The hilt of the dagger has been formed in the shape of a screaming human face. His other hand is also raised and around it is a glowing miasma of dark magical energy. The High Priest is also yelling as he prepares to fight the hero, so we can see he has filed and sharpened his teeth.


29) Cinnabar and Jezebel

It is daylight and finally, on the deck of the pirate’s ship, the hero comes face-to-face with Cinnabar again. He is dressed as he was in illustration 10 only this time he is not rotting and decomposed. Instead he looks like a normal human being. He appears as a handsome man with a neatly trimmed, pointed black beard and moustache, his hair tied back in a ponytail under his hat. He is wielding a gleaming cutlass, ready to strike the hero. Flying at the hero from Cinnabar’s shoulder is a squawking, mangy-looking green parrot. Behind the pirate captain, undead sailors like those in illustration 14, are fighting the other pirates - a motley crew of cutthroats.


30) Quezkari

On the deck of the ship again, and at the hero’s feet are the shattered remains of a small fetish of Quezkari. Rising from this, however, is a cloud of thick, black smoke, which is condensing into the horrifying figure of Quezkari himself – it is no statue this time! Taller than a man, Quezkari is a grotesque creature with a withered, almost skeletal, human body and a grossly over-large skull-like head, adorned with a feathered headdress. (Obviously it looks similar to the statues in illustrations 10 and 28.) The evil spirit’s eyes glow with malevolence and it is reaching for the hero with long-taloned hands, which are surrounded by a black miasma of dark power.



4 Cover Briefs



1) Cinnabar

This cover is a combination of illustrations 10 and 29. It shows an undead, partially decomposed Cinnabar standing on the deck of his pirate galleon the Virago. Behind him is the poop deck where other scurvy-looking pirates can be seen. Cinnabar is wearing the fine gold-braided, scarlet coat of a nobleman, a large tricorn hat and black leather boots. His flesh, however, is a sickly greenish-grey and pus oozes from great gashes and holes in his skin. The pirate-lord’s black hair, beard and moustache are a straggly mess and his jaundice-yellow eyes stare wildly from shadowy sockets. In one hand he is wielding a gleaming cutlass, ready to strike the hero. In the other he is holding a small black fetish of Quezkari (see illustrations 10, 28 and 30), which is surrounded by a miasma of dark energy. Flapping about on Cinnabar’s shoulder is a squawking, mangy-looking green parrot. The overcast sky above the ship is dark and glowering and the sea around the ship is choppy.


2) Ramatu the High Priest of Quezkari

This picture is very much like illustration 28. The setting for this picture is underground, in the rough-hewn cave-like inner sanctum of the Temple of Quezkari, like the one in the shrine in the Port of Crabs, only this one is larger and more macabre. In front of the statue is a bare stone altar on top of which is a large, glowing pearl and a tiny fetish of Quezkari. In front of the hero is the voodoo death-god’s High Priest, Ramatu, himself an intimidating figure. He wears scarlet and crimson robe, tied at the waist with a cord and open over his chest, exposing the huge tattoo of a black skull. His skin is tanned, he is totally bald and on his head he has a fan-like feathered headdress, like that of Quezkari, and a necklace of shrunken human heads. The High Priest is also yelling as he prepares to fight the hero, so we can see he has filed and sharpened his teeth. In one hand he is holding a golden dagger with an obsidian blade. The hilt of the dagger has been formed in the shape of a screaming human face. His other hand is also raised and in it he is holding an upturned human skull containing a steaming, foul green ichor.



Bloodbones Illustrations

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