Meet Halfling Ranger Illustrator Shane White!
March 1, 2018
As we mentioned in our Human Wizard artist article, having a separate artist for each of the Munchkin Collectible Card Game Heroes ensured that they would have their own flavor. Shane White is a jack-of-all-art-media who gives everything he creates its own unique flair, so we knew he’d be a perfect fit for this game!
Shane illustrated the Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition, which was his first foray into Munchkin games. In the Munchkin Collectible Card Game, he brought the Halfling Ranger to life along with all of his Allies, Loot, Mischief, and Monsters. He did an amazing job creating these images, so we were curious to find out what inspired his design of the Halfling Ranger deck and what he’s been up to recently.
Read on to get some insight into Shane’s humorous take on the Halfling Ranger deck and why he loved illustrating cards for the Munchkin Collectible Card Game!
You've mentioned on your website that you focus on "image-making rooted in story." With that in mind, what influenced your design of the Halfling Ranger deck?
Thanks for reminding me to be careful about what I say or put on the Internet.
The first image I was asked to illustrate as a test piece was Beagle Scout. It had me laughing so much on so many levels. I love wordplay and the sincerity of the character is what sold the humor for me. I kinda wish I could have drawn him more throughout the deck. The job, however, was about the Halfling Ranger, which took me back to my Cub Scout days for some reason. I was not what you'd call a "good scout". . . in fact at an early age I shunned a lot of dogma that required you to do the “right thing.” Being hyperactive didn't help much either. I think as an artist we always try to find a way to put ourselves into the character so we can relate, empathize, and make them more malleable. Much like my younger self, a small Halfling can easily go unnoticed. I felt that any opportunity to make him noble and sincere was going to keep me interested in carving out his exploits.
What did you do to prepare to illustrate for the Munchkin Collectible Card Game?
Pushups. Lots of pushups and yogas.
Illustrating cards for the Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition was your first experience working with Steve Jackson Games! How different was the experience drawing for the Munchkin Collectible Card Game versus that game? How different was your approach?
Munchkin Pathfinder was such a blast! I'll briefly say, more than anything, I love reworking something that someone else has done to (1) try to improve upon it, (2) make it my own in some small way, and (3) stay true to the essence of the product. John Kovalic had some pretty funny takes and a lot of great ideas. So all the heavy lifting was done. I just had to reinterpret and expand on it. I was able to focus on my cartooning, character acting, and designs.
In regard to the Munchkin CCG, it was night and day. I had a lot less cards to illustrate and even with the option to color them I decided to pass. Having worked in comics and video games it's a lot easier to let go of the work for someone else to add their spin. At least I got to do the logo for the game, which was a lot of fun! Whoever colored it did an excellent job. [Ed. note: Shout-out to Sabrina!]
Were there any challenges illustrating for the Halfling Ranger deck that you didn’t run across with Munchkin Pathfinder Guest Artist Edition or vice versa?
Yes. There were cards that crossed over with other artists' work and I had to wait to find out what they were doing. I felt bad for Shelli [Galey], as I'm sure coordinating all the artists and art was like herding a bunch of cats. From my side of things, she was great to work with. [Ed. note: We think so, too!]
What did you most enjoy about illustrating the Halfling Ranger deck?
Any chance to be funny, I'll take it. Deep down, I wish there was more of a market for my brand of humorous illustration. Andrew Hackard and whoever else worked on the deck has a wicked sense of humor. I just love interpreting stuff like that. If I can work on something that makes me giggle and laugh out loud then that's a pretty cool job to have, right?
[Andrew adds: I can't take the credit for this! Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson did the design, and Devin Lewis, Sam Mitschke, and Randy Scheunemann did further development to take it across the finish line. Shane's right, though; they did outstanding work!]
What was your favorite card from the deck to illustrate?
Beagle Scout most likely . . . because . . . well, that dog was so funny to me. I remember wanting to do more, like having the tent on fire and . . . I don't know, more havoc all around. Maybe it was because I was a fan of comic strips like Heathcliff and the early that were full of sardonic wit.
Was there a card you struggled the most to get right?
There's always one in the bunch . . . okay . . . a few. Here's the thing, from a design POV trying to make a card feel robust and weighty is important to me. The graphics tend to be small. But if you have something like a Reseeding Rifle, well, that's a very thin object; great idea but quite hard to work with. You hope that you can pull it off but you never really know how it's going to land on anyone. Whoever colored it must have felt the same way because they put in some nice background shapes to beef it up. [Ed. note: Thanks, Stephanie!]
From oil painting every day to illustrating comics and creating novels, you have very different things going on! What is your process for getting your head into new material?
ORGANIZATION OF DESIRE.
When you're a freelancer, it's always about the hustle. Well, maybe not always. But if you're smart and you sock away your money and don't spend it then you're essentially BUYING TIME. For me, that time is used in the pursuit of TRAINING in my craft, EXPANSION of my skillset, and the INDULGENCE of my own projects. If you can't organize, then you're probably doomed to fail and should get a more regular job. And, suffice it to say, I'm not planning on doing that any time soon. Though . . . I do miss the sunlight. And art peoples. I miss art peoples, sometimes.
What projects are you currently working on?
ON DECK (nice pun, right?) . . . I'm halfway through a 1960s surf noir comic called Endless Summer that'll be coming out in May 2019 from Insight Editions. I'm a third of the way through writing a second novel, a steampunk horror tale (no publisher, yet). And I'm trying to learn French for this wild idea of a month-long painting trip in May. Somehow I keep my Saturdays open to create videos for THE PROCESS, which covers a wide variety of art styles, techniques, and insight to becoming a working professional artist. Of course, to make money, I'm storyboarding for commercials. Yippee!
The Ranger & Warrior Starter Set is now available at your friendly local game store, so go purchase it and experience the Halfling Ranger deck in all its glory. And if you’d like some helpful tips and tricks on how to thrash your competition with this conservationist, check out our Halfling Ranger strategy article!