Tag Archives: how-to

Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part Three: Inspiration

Infection Is Avoided...
A 1930s WPA job-safety poster. Via x-ray_delta_one on Flickr.

A necessarily brief, personal and idiosyncratic tour through some websites with noteworthy archives of 1920s/30s posters, postcards, luggage tags and other graphics. Some photos, some stuff that’s technically outside our chosen era but still cool, and far too short, but enjoy, be inspired, and get a feel for the graphics of the pulp era!

Part One of this series introduced Inkscape. Part Two talked about design, typography & fonts.

The American Library of Congress WPA Posters collection, part of their American Memory project, is huge but not that easy to navigate. Start with the Collection Highlights tour, then just start hitting random keywords or subjects to find gems like Yellowstone Park posters, injunctions to clean up your trash, and even hippos. The WPA was the Works Progress Administration, part of the whole New Deal aimed at keeping Americans employed and maintaining national morale during the Great Depression. There was a whole wing of the WPA dedicated to encouraging the arts, including the graphic arts. Hence the really cool posters.
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Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part Two: Fonts

This is the second in a series of posts (three or more) aimed at introducing gamers to some of the resources out there they might not be aware of for making their own graphics & such. It’s based on our current areas of interest, the 1920s & 30s interwar pulp period, but should be of interest to anyone wanting to add some graphic design details to their gaming!

Part One was a general introduction to Inkscape.
Part Three is on online sources of pulp/interwar design & other images.

A Quick Intro to Some Pulp Design Basics

van isl golf poster
A 1930s Canadian Pacific poster for the Empress Hotel. Via Boston Public Library's Flickr account (CC BY-NC).

Have a look at the image to the right; it’s a good basic distillation of the design principles shared by many of the 20s/30s graphics we’re trying to replicate for our own uses. There were, of course, a number of different styles and variants in use in the period, this one just happens to be a favourite of mine and also easy to replicate in Inkscape!

There’s no gradients, just areas of solid colour. Shading is done with smaller areas of another solid colour — see the area along the golfer’s inner thigh or around his arms — or not done at all. Notice that the grass and sea are simply solid colours; the sea and sky are even exactly the same shade of blue, with the horizon sketched in with a thin tan divider. No outlines or sketch lines, either, just areas of colour.
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Pulp Design Tools & Resources, Part One: Inkscape

Everytime Corey or I post player aids, faux-vintage ads, building signs, faux magazine covers or similar to forums or elsewhere, there’s always people curious about the tools, fonts and resources we use.

This is the first in a series of posts (probably at least three) aimed at introducing gamers to some of the resources out there they might not be aware of for making their own graphics & such.

Part Two on fonts, typography & design has been published now.

Inkscape

The main tool is Inkscape, an amazing Open Source vector-graphics editor. It’s free to download, available for Windows, Linux, or Mac, and quite possibly the coolest program ever.
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Repainting Commercial Stone Walls

Pegasus produce a range of prepainted plastic 28mm wargaming scenery; all the stuff I’ve seen has been well cast but mostly badly painted. The stone wall sections are good value for money, though, with six 6″ sections for $10 at my Friendly Local Gaming Store.

I picked up a pack, took them home and while repainting them, took enough photos to assemble into a quick, hopefully inspirational, how-to.
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Pizza Box 25mm Skirmish Scenery

PIZZA BOX SCENERY: This 25mm science fiction scenery was inspired by a 25mm pirate tavern from a now-vanished webpage. That one was designed for a tavern-brawl skirmish; mine is designed for SF skirmishing on space stations or other large indoor facilities. The two pizza boxes still fold up for travel & storage, and the various walls, columns & partitions were carefully laid out so they’d mesh together when the box was closed.

The interior walls are mostly matte board, which is strong and thin – and it was on sale very cheap at a local art supply store! The hazard striping, signs & other decorative bits were printed off on my colour inkjet, and created in Photoshop. Some of them are available free on the Sci-Fi Signage post.
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