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Commissioning artists in the pursuit of a common goal is a tricky job, and one that falls to the managing director of Megara Entertainment Mikaël Louys. He has a great many artists and tasks to draw together in one creative whole for the Way of the Tiger gamebook re-release and the forthcoming roleplaying game.
Mikaël is the man in charge of ensuring art and writing come together in an attractive display of ninja awesomeness. He has an established ethos that all the work should be in colour (part of the Megara philosophy), and strives to give the artists enough freedom to make their mark on the art whilst ensuring they have information to include details such as the insignia representing the gods of Orb.
Mikaël is a keen fan of the Way of the Tiger books, so he takes a personal interest in making sure that key scenes from the book are captured on the page and has a considerable knowledge of the source material upon which the artists can draw. Sometimes he commissions the artists to do a colour representation of artwork from the original books, and other times it is a dramatic reinterpretation based on the source material.
Either way his methodology is the same – give the artist guidance, check the draft, give further guidance and repeat this process until the work is finalised. Mikaël will also send drafts of the artwork around the writers to ensure that any discrepancies are caught early in the process.
His artist list includes Dominique Doms (mostly characters from the books), Lise Rafalli (places on the Island of Plenty), Tonio Di Lorenzo (monsters), Mylène Villeneuve (mostly scenes and characters), Aude Pfister (maps and characters), Eric Chaussin (pre-generated characters for the RPG), Faiz Nabheebucus (characters), Motise Musashi (Island of Plenty characters), and Mary Nikol (characters). Mikaël’s artists have a range of experience levels, and he always takes time to develop and improve less experienced artists, and counts them all very much as friends.
The artwork is not just for the books, as Mikaël is very much in charge of the business side of Megara too: T-shirts, jewellery and even a giant cloth map have been the canvas for some of the creative work sold via the Megara website. One of the crowning glories of the early artwork was a new map of Orb, a beautiful hand-painted piece of work by Aude Pfister.
As well as co-ordinating the artists, Mikaël co-ordinates the writers as well, ensuring that they have the assignments needed and that there is creative oversight of the work. On the few occasions where the artwork clashes with the writing or vice versa, Mikaël will get the work redone to ensure it is as true to the source material as possible.
Mikaël has many other parts of his role, including formatting the page layouts for maximum impact, deciding what is in (and out) of the roleplaying game both in terms of chapters and artwork, and also formulating the rules for the RPG from his extensive gaming experience.
Mikaël is known amongst the team for his encyclopaedic knowledge of tabletop RPGs, RPG computer games, boardgames, and casinos. He also runs a music fan club archiving almost all the live recordings from all the career of Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler. He is also a japanime expert, J-RPG expert and former editor at RPG Magazine, RPG Online and Gameplay RPG. He has developed a great love and appreciation for the Japanese culture, but of course it's not mandatory to have that to appreciate the Way of the Tiger gamebooks.
- David Walters
ADDENDUM: As of midday September 27, after just 24 hours live, the Way of the Tiger Kickstarter campaign has reached 94% of its initial target. (Even Mikaël probably wasn't expecting that!) There are a host of stretch goals, though, and plenty of time left to pledge. The campaign will run till the end of October.