Earlier this week my friend, consumate artist, and Force of Nature Bryan Gibson died. Bryan was a fellow Traveller artist, back in the '80's, part of a brotherhood including Rob Caswell and myself, who tried to bring consistency to the illustrations found in the game. More than that, Bryan was a HUGE, boisterous and enthusiastic soul, brimming with ideas. I remember as some of my very best art memories, sitting late into the night at cafes at Gencon,busily sketching with Rob and Bryan, talking, challenging each other and trading off sketchbooks.
He defined the visual essence of many of the Traveller alien races-the Droyne, especially. His tech designs were unique and well-thought-out, and almost always triggered an urge to go PLAY the game we spent so much time thinking about. He took the rather bewildering concpt of Traveller's Powered Armor suits-Battledress- and gave it a functional, elegant but utilitarian visual design which instantly defined it, and much of the higher tech military visual design.
I've heard, and can well believe, he was the game creator, Marc Miller's favorite character artist. I can well believe that. Bryan had an uncanny ability to define a unique, interesting, and ALIVE character with just a few pencil strokes. He was fast, too. He'd have a rough finished usually before I could wrap my head around the concept of what I was supposed to be drawing.
On top of all his skills, he was also a huge, friendly, funny and enthusiastic soul. And that is what I will probably miss the most.
So farewell, Bryan. I will strive to take some of your spirit, and artistic insight, forward.
This past weekend was the 34th Capricon in the Chicago area- a big science fiction convention which encompasses gaming, anime, film, filk, and SF literature. I was this year's Artist Guest of Honor, and the convention was incredibly fun and amazing. I'll post soon with some stories about the Con.