Okal Rel Contributors: A series of profiles celebrating the people who've contributed creatively to the Okal Rel Universe.
Richard Bartrop got involved in the Okal Rel Universe when a friend mentioned that Lynda was looking for artists for a project. He contacted her, they got to talking, and the rest, as they say, is history. He has been involved with Opus 3 through 5 so far, supplying interior art for all three, as well as cover art for Opus 3. He also created cover art for the Okal Rel Legacy Novellas Mekan’stan and Horth in Killing Reach. Next up is interior art for the upcoming Okal Rel Anthology, Opus 6 (cover by Stephanie Ann Johanson).
When Richard receives each story for an anthology, he starts with deciding which scene to illustrate:
“I like to read through the story a couple of times to get a feel for the characters, and the world they live in. I also try to look for a scene that sums up what the story is about, while not spoiling any important plot points.
“I still like to use pencil and paper for working out the image. I keep the sketches fairly loose at first, trying to get a nice flow to the piece rather than sweating details. The interior illustrations for the Opus series keep this sketchy feel, though for the covers, I feed the sketch into the scanner, then work it up in Photoshop.”
Richard has done some illustrations for other books and magazines over the years. This past year, he did a pair of covers for Copperwood Press, for a revival of the “Ace Double” concept. As for personal projects, he’s been working on the script for a graphic novel.
The upcoming Opus 6 anthology is currently in its writing stages, so Richard hasn’t received any stories yet, but he says, “I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.”