Saturday, August 13, 2016

Inked with Blood From Beyond: An Interview with David Coppoletti

I decided to interview a new artist in the OSR scene +David Coppoletti. Dave's is an old gaming buddy of mine. You can win a custom sketch from Dave by entering my 1000th post contest
Me: Alright sir, for readers who don't know you, who is David Coppoletti?

Dave: He's me! I grew up in Iowa and started getting into tabletop gaming when I was maybe 10 years old. Drawing and gaming are my hobbies and I'm starting to dip my toes in the OSR arena, hoping to self publish some things eventually.

Me: What was your first rpg?
Dave: TSR's marvel super heroes RPG, the yellow box set. I bought it at a church lot sale for a quarter when I was real young. It was a new concept to me. Until then I had only seen rpg ads in the comic books.

Me: Very cool. I honestly expected a version of AD&D or Basic to be your answer.

 D&D was my third love. First was marvel super heroes, which was honestly a little beyond my ability to grasp that early. Second was MERP/Rolemaster, which resonated with me a lot. That was a little later on in life, maybe age 15. D&D came a little while later, and my first game was 2e (I was a halfling thief of course).

Vampire Spawn Warrior
Me: I like to be inclusive and think all versions have their merits, but where do you fall in the great edition wars?

Dave:  Every version has its own merits, you're right about that. My feelings about fourth are pretty strong - I just don't like the way it plays and the art direction never interested me. Earlier editions intrigue me, but 3e is what I have the most excellent gaming memories of.

Me: Alright, you've mentioned you're starting to dip your toes in the OSR. What have you and/or are you working on? 

Dave:  Well first I tried entering a couple OSR-related contests. That was pretty fun. Recently I started doing some artwork for the DCC community-built zine called the Gonfarmer's Almanac. The 2016 version will be available at Gen Con. There is an adventure in there that I wrote that I am kind of proud of.
Reid San Filippo makes a DCC zine called Crawling Under a Broken Moon. His psionics rulebook, Mind Games, has a picture of mine in it, and I did another piece for issue 15 of his zine.
But I'm probably most excited about doing illustrations for Gavin Norman in his revised Theorems & Thaumaturgy spellbook for Labyrinth Lord. It's going to be a really amazing book.

Me:  I really like the preview you gave me, which can be found here. So do you have any projects of your own in the works?

Dave:  Yeah I do! I'm working on an adventure module called "Blood from Beyond." The story focuses on a small isolated village that was built near a vault of dead elder gods. Seepage from the vault has caused the wildlife and people to experience changes and they need help learning how to deal with what's happening.

That's where the PCs come in. It's inspired by a lot of scifi movies pertaining to body horror. My major hurdle is organizing my notes and drawings into something cohesive that other gamers can use at their own table. I've been working on this thing since 2013 and I'm hoping to get it released sometime in 2017.

Me: Would this be the Dungeon Crawl Classics piece I created the bat creatures for?

Dave:  Yes. Those bat critters are an example of some of the mutated weirdos created by the elder god seepage. Byproducts of the alien presence causes a lot of evolutionary stutters and wrinkles.
Me:  The maps and sketches you showed me look awesome. I can't wait to see the final product. Do have a favourite OSR game? 

Incineration Imps
Dave: I have two favorites. For mechanics and character creation and adventures I prefer Dungeon Crawl Classics. It twists all the right knobs for me. For campaign setting and overall feel, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea hits the sweet spot for me. It's right in the epicenter of science fantasy, dark swords & sorcery, and weirdness. That's a winning combo for me.

Me: Any current games?

Dave: I'm currently playing in a Shadowrun game, and that's really fun. My character is basically Jackie Chan but with cybernetic implants. I'm running DCC for some friends, as well as some 5e in a multi-DM game, and I'm also running a solo Rolemaster game for my neighbor.

Me: That all sounds like a lot of fun. So let's switch gears and talk more about your art. Do you find a certain style or medium that dominates your work?

Dave: Cartoon illustration techniques always work their way into my drawings even when I'm going for something very realistic or mundane. More often than not I find myself experimenting with different mediums and surfaces. Right now I'm using illustration pens and that's new for me. It's usually straight up pencil.

Me: Are your Theorems and Thaumaturgy illustrations done with illustration pen?

Dave: Yes. I've been sketching compositions out and then inking over them. I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out so far. By the way, Russ Nicholson is totally going to have an illustration in there. 
Me: Oh, that's very exciting. Roughly how many sketches have you contributed?

Dave: At my last count I've finished 13 illustrations, and I should have 25 or so more to go.

That's an impressive number. Kudos. Who are some of your favorite artists? 
Thanks. Hmmm...let's see. On the graphic novel end I really really really love Geoff Darrow, James Stokoe, and Moebius (and Jack Kirby, but that goes without saying). As for RPG artists, my favorites are Jennell Jaquays, Russ Nicholson, Erol Otus, and Peter Mullen.

Me: A lot of people remember adventures by their cover. Whether you've played it or not, what's your favorite rpg adventure based on cover art alone?

Dave: Damn. That's a hard one. I actually remember really terrible covers much better than the good ones. Pretty much all the DCC adventure covers are great.
Dwarfbuster Coat of Arms

Me: Ok, worst adventure based on cover. And it doesn't mean the art is bad necessarily, but perhaps it's wtf material.

Dave: Role Aids released some adventure modules that had really cheesy covers, there was one called Crystal Barrier. Classic beefcake barbarian buttcheek shot. It looks like Boris Vallejo did it, and maybe he did, I dunno. The adventure itself is really insane. Definite wtf material.

Me: Just looked it up... Yup, I think it's Vallejo.

Dave: His distinctive beefcake mode.

Me: Do you have anything you'd like to share beyond what we've discussed?

Dave: I'd encourage people to check out Mutant Crawl Classics when it comes out. That game is serious fun. I know it's a little late for the kickstarter but there are some previews and adventures available right now that people can check out if they're curious. You mentioned it before on your blog I think.

Me: I did. The post can be found here. You got to play the game with the writer correct?
Dave: YES. Jim Wampler is awesome. Me and my son, Logan, got to play with him for Free RPG Day. It was the first rpg we've officially played together as PCs (we play a lot of 5e but I always DM for Logan). He rolled the first nat 20 and won a leather DCC dicebag. I'm jealous.

Me: Aww, that's a great story. I can't wait to roll dice with my little dude. Thanks for doing this. I think you're a great new artist in the scene and I want others to get used to hearing your name and seeing your work.

1 comment:

  1. Great post; I really like what I've seen of David's work and will keep a lookout for his stuff!