history reads the same way; Game designer. Writer. Editor. Corrections
officer. Graphic artist. Web guy. Production manager for some
press publications. Art Director for travel magazine. Project
manager. Hang on, did I read Corrections Officer? On the subject
of that job, he says, "I was using it as a 'see if I like
law enforcement' stepping-stone to join the Royal Canadian Mounted
further about his work as a game designer; "I was on staff
as a designer/developer for Columbia Games, a paper RPG and war
game company. I've written for a fair amount for other tabletop
game companies as a freelancer. Titles and lines I've worked on
include Harn, Wyrm's Lair and Cyberpunk 2020. There is a pile
of other titles I've written for as well."
born while he was working as the creative guy at an ISP, so a
lot of the humor comes from real-life experiences and stories.
"All of my co-workers are funny...in one way or another."
Illiad on Quake III (43k).
take long for the decidedly geeky humor of User Friendly to capture
the hearts of a receptive Internet audience, probably because
we all see a little bit of ourselves, or someone we know, in the
various UF characters.
User Friendly is Illiad's full time work now, a dream come true
for any writer or artist, that recently culminated in the publishing
of the first UF book. The book, titled, User Friendly - The Comic
Strip, collects together the first year's worth of strips. Published
by O'Reilly & Associates, the book has been selling like proverbial
hotcakes through places like Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1565926730/userfriendltheco/002-3326990-4834620),
Borders, Barnes & Noble, B. Dalton, etc. And he still publishes
one comic per day on the US web site (http://www.userfriendly.org),
although his creation timetable is a little more erratic. "Sometimes
I do five in a day, sometimes I do none. I usually do in between
early days UF was drawn with a ballpoint pen onto photocopy paper
and then he moved onto pencil and inking pens on illustration
board. The next step was to a Wacom graphics tablet and UF has
been completely digital ever since.
Yes, it's true - Pitr's a mug (20k).
the case of the [loonygames] cover I spent about 90% of the time
thinking about what I wanted to put on the digital canvas. I just
let my mind wander and something usually comes to me, although
most of the time the results can be strange. Once that's done,
I start with a rough of the image and then I do the real line
work. When the line work is finished I apply color and depth and
all that other stuff that real artists know about and I only begin
Illiad what his relationship with art was - was it a necessary
evil, required to get the joke across, or something he really
enjoys; "I love art, but I have a long way to go as a visual
artist. My real art is in my writing."
of "work" (if you can call drawing cartoons 'work',
Illiad has a number of (unsurprisingly varied) interests, including
playing both computer and tabletop games (there's always another
Quake reference just around the corner in the UF universe, and
rumor has it that there may well be a UF reference in Quake III:
Arena!), reading (science-fiction to historical to philosophical),
writing (prose to poetry), long distance running and even rollerblading.
of the future? "I want to learn and get good at: horseback
riding, scuba diving, and watercolor painting. I also want to
write a few books and get them published - I'm not too far from
the first one."
we couldn't finish this off article without finding out who (or
what) Illiad's favorite UF character is?
He's a freak."
Rowan "Sumaleth" Crawford is loonygames' Supervising