Brom joined the TSR staff in 1990, and immediately began producing some of the most original work ever seen in the AD&D world. While at TSR, Brom was responsible for the design and development of the Dark Sun world, a grim setting which was well-suited to his style at the time.
After several years with TSR, Brom left to pursue freelance projects, including numerous gaming and book covers, as well as the Dark Age CCG game which he developed (along with Luke Peterschmidt) at FPG.
Brom returned to the TSR fold and moved to Washington state in 1998. He is currently mainly working on the Alternity line, paperback covers, and magazine covers, including both Dragon and Dungeon.
books include two art books: Darkwerks (Paper Tiger. 1998) and
Offerings (Paper Tiger. 2001) in which he has compiled collections of
More recently Brom has written and illustrated two novels: The Plucker (Abrams. 2005), a fairytale for grown-ups. . . with heroes and villians, good and evil and a bit of scary stuff thrown in for good measure.
and, available now. . . The Devils Rose (Abrams. 2007), a dark western set in Hell.
Both of which are also available in a limited edition format through Brom's website.
Brom has worked on several film projects, bringing his visions through concept art for posters, creatures or make-up SFX . . . including Sleepy Hollow, Galaxy Quest, Ghosts Of Mars, Scooby Doo, Van Helsing.
Brom Interview appearing in InQuest: The Guide to Collectible Card Games Volume 1, issue #13, May 1996
The Dark One Get inside the head of fantasy's darkest artist, Brom. by Andrew Kardon Looking at his paintings, you'd have to think fantasy artist Brom leads a dark and twisted life. The pure eeriness that seeps through his work is evidence that something sinister is going on beyond those paintings. Yet once you get to know the 30-year-old artist, you'll learn that nothing's further from the truth. His gentle and friendly voice quickliy puts you at ease, and whether you just met the man or not, you feel like you've known him for years. Taking real pride in his art, and art in general, Brom, born Gerald Brom, is no stranger to the gaming community. In four years with TSR, his paintings visually defined the dark and desolate world of Dark Sun. After countless other work, including book covers, card sets and calenders, Brom contributed to Friedlander Publishing Group's 1995 collectible card game Guardians. Once the CCG bug bit, Brom just couldn't shake it, and with a little help from his friends, he developed a brand new game called, what else, Dark Age. It's dark. It's twisted. It's eerie. It's... why, it's exactly what you'd expect from the man known as Brom.
InQuest: Before we begin, I've got to ask you something. What's with the name?
Brom: Everybody asks me that first thing. [laughs] I guess, from my point of view, that's always been my name, so it's not that strange. "Brom" is my last name. I grew up an army brat, and in the army, kids have a tendency to call each other by their last names. I still don't know exactly why; it just stuck. Everybody but my parents and my brother call me Brom. Gerald is my first name and I think I fit a "Brom" better than a "Gerald."
InQuest: Has painting always been a part of your life? Brom: Absolutely. It's one of those weird things. I don't know why, but as early as I can remember I've been drawing or painting. I spent the first three years of my life in Japan. That probably had something to do with me getting started, because they're so visual over there. And then it was on to dinosaurs and it just never stopped.
InQuest: Do you remember the first thing you ever painted?
Brom: I've actually got a handful of really early drawings I did before I started school. And believe it or not, it's the exact darn thing I'm painting today. It's always been monsters. I couldn't tell you why, but that's always been the infatuation: strange creatures and weird fighting beasts.
InQuest: How did your family react to all of this? Painting monsters and bizarre beasts: that's not your typical wholesome entertainment.
Brom: Luckily, I never really thought about it as a kid, but looking back, I'm amazed at how tolerant they were. They never said a word. The first time I showed my wife some early drawings I did as a kid, she was like, "Oh man! I would've taken you to a psychiatrist." My dad really liked monster movies and my older brother was really into Edgar Rice Burroughs, so that kind of supported it.
InQuest: So what kind of childhood did you have?
Brom: Growing up an army brat, I pretty much moved every three years. So my childhood was spent in places like Japan, Germany, Hawaii, and several different states. And while that sounds like fun, and it was a lot of fun, it was also, I think, part of the reason I became so focused on art. Whenever you moved to a new school or new place you wanted to be accepted by people. And if you could draw a little bit better than those people they were like, "Wow, this guy can draw!" So it helped me make friends.
InQuest: Okay, so you've always been drawing. But what about painting, when did that come about?
Brom: When I got into high school I was real into black in white stuff. I went to a commercial art school (about a year after graduating from high school) and got interested in airbrush and color work. It wasn't until about seven years ago that I really started painting with oils. That's something that I recommend to most artists- to be able to draw first. You have to be able to put an interesting image down, then you can learn to render it later.
InQuest: So you've had some formal art training. Where was this school?
Brom: A little two-year commercial art school in Atlanta, Ga., and we'll just leave it unnamed because I really feel so little credit towards it. It was mostly focusing on mechanical things, the commercial business end. They did have a couple of air-brush-type classes, but they didn't have any drawing or painting classes. It did sharpen me towards professionalism and help me put a portfolio together, though.
InQuest: What were some of your first jobs?
Brom: When I was still in school at Atlanta I started a lot of commercial work- some work in night clubs. But mostly for the next three or four years, I did straight hardcore commercial artwork. And I mean photo-real, airbrushed, just the most treacherous product illustration. I did a couple of logos for CNN at one time, a bunch of stuff for Coca-Cola. I must say those three or four years almost put me off from illustration altogether because it was so creatively frustrating. I painted a white Dixie cup once for an ad and they kept going back and forth on whether it should be cool gray or warm gray. And I did a warm gray. And then they wanted a cool gray. Then it was cool gray. Then it was warm gray... If you look at the artwork that I do now, and how much fun that looks like- to sit there and go through that for a stinking white Dixie cup! But eventually I did start doing some entry-level comic covers sanity. I did a couple for First Comics, a very little unknown thing called Twilight Man. They're not real memorable and I don't want anybody to go look them up, it's just some early stuff. It was such a breath of fresh air to do after doing the commercial art work.
InQuest: Where did your career go from there?
Brom: After doing that for about three years, I basically went through my old sketchbooks that I did for high school and it's all this fun monster type stuff that I like to do. I realized that somewhere I'd really gotten off track. The commercial art does pay well, and when you first start out in the fantasy field it just doesn't pay well at all, so it's a hard jump to make. But I finally said I have to do this, so I sat down and put together a painted portfolio of several different things- fantasy pieces, science fiction horror. And I started to send the portfolio out and I got really lucky. I sent it to TSR an they just happened to need an artist. They really liked the stuff and they just hired me. It's kind of interesting too, because I was at such a make-or-break point in my career living in Atlanta, which is pure commercial art. Me and my wife were gonna move to New York to try to break into book covers. We had the van loaded up and TSR had shown interest but they hadn't committed yet. And the day we were loading up the van, they called. We had already rented an apartment in Jersey and we were about to drive off when they called up and said, "You have the job!" So we took the van and just took another route to Wisconsin. [laughs] It worked out well. TSR was a wonderful place to work. So much freedom and I really got to develop myself as an artist. Working around the other artists there- Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell, Fred Fields [and later Robh Ruppel]- you learned a lot from each other. It was a very creative environment.
InQuest: How long did you spend with TSR?
Brom: I was there for four years, from 1989 to 1993, and most of my efforts were focused on the Dark Sun world, which was really a fun situation. Once again, I feel like I really lucked into a situation by being the new artist and having a new look to my work. They were starting a new world and didn't want it to look like their other world that the other artists were working on. So I got to focus on Dark Sun. It was so early and they had done so little work that they said, "We really don't have anything to tell you except the basic outline of what the world is. Just start painting and we'll write them into this world." For the first year, with the roughest guidelines, I pretty much just started painting this world.
InQuest: So TSR was really your first taste of fantasy. What were your earliest published fantasy paintings?
Brom: The first couple of pieces I did were for Forgotten Realms and those were pieces I hope never surface again. The funny thing with TSR is once you do work for them, they own the copyrights, and they have a tendency to re-use artwork in different places. So usually when you do a bad cover five years ago, you never have to see it again. But with TSR, I'll go in and pick up a magazine and on the back cover they've used that painting for an ad. And then people'll see it and go, "Gee, Brom's kind of lost it a little bit." [laughs]
InQuest: Which of your works stand out in your mind as the best?
Brom: There's a painting I did for the Elric anthology [Tales of the White Wolf]. Growing up, I read all those Michael Moorcock books. That's one of my favorites. I recently did a painting for Palladium, for a game cover called Night Spawn. It was this sort of scary creature, vixen-type woman, a very haunting nightmarish piece. I tend to like the dark paintings a lot. The other one I kind of like that I did for White Wolf was this undead confederate soldier and he's got his arms crossed with a gun in each hand and he's looking very mournful. Sometimes with a painting, it's not how well it looks technically but it's the emotion that comes across. And that's what I'm always striving for.
InQuest: There seems to be a pattern with your work as far as themes go.
Brom: I definitely tend towards dark and nasty things. And it's not really a concious thing. Whenever I draw something I find myself pushing them in that direction. Once again I couldn't exactly put into words why. It's just an emotional thing. If you can get that "There's something wrong here" feeling across, I enjoy that.
InQuest: So what subjects would you say you hate drawing?
Brom: Well, the opposite. Happy smiley cartoony things are not for me. I did a lot of work on the Guardians project. Luckily, Parkinson realized pretty quickly that I did best with the undead and spooky stuff, so he gave me a lot of that. But that whole game was a little light-hearted.
InQuest: How do you prepare yourself to paint? Do you use models, photos or other references?
Brom: I try to draw and design as much as I can out of my head. If I get in a bind with muscle connections or strange weapons I track down photography and occasionally I shoot models. I enjoy that very much, but often it's just a matter of locating the model and taking the time to shoot somebody. I think what I enjoy most of all is when I can draw and paint something from imagination because it doesn't exist anywhere. And when I can pull that off it's really what it's all about for me.
InQuest: Guardians was not your first experience with collectible card games, though. You had some work in TSR's spellfire game.
Brom: People come up and tell me they love my work in Spellfire and I always have a question mark on my face because at first I'm like, "What's Spellfire?" And it's something (TSR) didn't even do until I left there. It's one of those cases where they take everything that you've done and they cut little pieces out of it and made cards out of it. I was glad that they included my artwork. They have the artwork, they have the rights to it. I'd rather they use it than it sit in a drawer.
Official website : http://www.bromart.com/info.html
is edited by FPG Inc. and Jeux Descartes for the French version.
Guardians TM, a game created by Keith Parkinson and Luke Peterschmidt.
(c) 1995, 1996 Keith Parkinson and FPG, Inc.
Guardians is a trademark of FPG, inc.
FPG and Guardians are trademarks of FPG, Inc. (All rights reserved).
Illustrations (c) 1995, 1996 Brom, Don Maitz, Keith Parkinson, Mike Ploog, James Warhola, Den alias Beauvais, Wilson, Sweet, Shaw, Kelly, Elmore, and Hescox...
pictures presented on this site are and stay propriety of their authors.
This site has been realized with the authorization of Jeux Descartes.