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Cartouche Press and Christopher Shy: SJ Games Breaks New Ground

Austin, TX – With Ronin: The Art of Christopher Shy, Steve Jackson Games takes a bold step away from 20 years of publishing only award-winning games and moves into fantasy and science-fiction art publishing. To signify this new effort, the company has established a new imprint: Cartouche Press.

The cartouche dates back to ancient Egypt. It is an oval frame containing a person's name – usually a pharaoh, queen, or other high-ranking official – in hieroglyphics. Cartouches appeared on tomb walls to identify the person buried inside, on scrolls as a sort of official seal, and in amulets worn around the person's neck for magical protection. "A cartouche is elegant and beautiful, and of course it has that whole pyramid tie-in going," Steve Jackson said. "These books and other art products will live up to the Cartouche name."

The decision to launch a separate imprint was made to give these products wider exposure. "When something is labeled 'Steve Jackson Games,' people expect it to be a game," Jackson said. "The 'Cartouche Press' imprint will let these books get the bookstore and mass-market exposure they deserve." Cartouche Press products will also be available to the hobby market through SJ Games' normal distribution channels.

The first book from Cartouche Press will be Ronin: The Art of Christopher Shy. Shy is one of the hottest up-and-coming artists around, and his work for Steve Jackson Games, White Wolf, and others has developed a passionate following. Ken Hite said in his weekly game review column, "If Christopher Shy's art gets any better, it's going to jump off the page and cook you breakfast."

Shy described his work this way: "I strive to blend elements of realism with the looseness of the brush. A figure in itself may look photo realistic, but blended with classical techniques it becomes more a work of your own hand. I use 3d, 2d, photos, and many other bits to bring out what I am looking for in a piece. I don't really believe in schools of art, to me the analogy of the Ronin fits more precisely. That each technique would become more independent from its master form, to become Ronin in its ability to adapt to the canvas at hand.

"The more I work, the more the pieces take on independent control. This one may call for the placeholder photo, only to be replaced as progress deepens. It really has become a struggle on the fine line between what I feel to be creative, and what looks technically sound. I think in the future though, that experimentation may win out completely, drastically changing the work. Lines are becoming more loose and radical, examination of fine details becoming less an issue than the balance of the overall body."

Christopher Shy's work is just one example of how far the art used in the game industry has come," Steve Jackson Games art director Philip Reed said. "It's mind-blowing to compare today's work to what was being published 15, 20 years ago – even just five years past. It's going to be great bringing this art to an appreciative audience."

Ronin: The Art of Christopher Shy has been announced as an August, 2001 release from Cartouche Press. The 64-page full-color glossy book is stock #60-1001, and will retail for $24.95.

Future Cartouche Press products include more art books, as well as postcard sets and art prints, from well-known fantasy and science-fiction artists like John Zeleznik, John Van Fleet, Brom, and others.

For more information, contact Philip Reed ( or Scott Haring ( at (512) 447-7866.

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