Category Archives: Illustration

Drawing the Monster Manual #10: Doppelganger

Number 10 in my quest to draw the entire 5th Edition Monster Manual: The Doppelganger!

Doppelganger is kind of a weird one, because the whole point is that it’s a monster that takes on the appearance of other people. Its true form is apparently a kind of nondescript, slightly melty purple dude. Different art depics it in different ways — the 5th Edition Monster Manual has it as a very humanoid figure. Other sou rces depict it in a stranger way, often with big “grey alien” eyes, or with an overgrown, misshapen shoulder girdle, and spikes growing out all over.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning on producing paper minis out of this series. I’m looking forward to using this guy in my game soon!

Drawing the Monster Manual #9: Fire Giant

Number 9 in my quest to draw the entire 5th Edition Monster Manual — the Fire Giant! I got a nasty flu last week (and hiccups for almost a week besides) so it’s been a while since I’ve released one of these, but I’m back at it! Can’t stop this train! I’ve actually been sitting on the sketch for this one for months, and it kinda got lost on my tablet. Finally got around to finishing it up. I struggled a little with the armor design — the Fire Giants in the book, and most of the ones you can find on the internet all have that dark, monochrome armor, and I felt like it was a tough to make it look good. To that end, I added a little bit of red cloth, which helped. I guess I don’t have a lot else to say about fire giants. Never used one in game — still far too early in my DM career to be using such high CR creatures. But like I’ve mentioned before, I plan to format all of these as paper minis eventually, and I would like to use it one of these days!

Drawing the Monster Manual #8: Noble

Number 8 in my quest to draw the entire 5th Edition Monster Manual: The Noble!

What’s that you say? A noble isn’t a monster? Well, you’re right about that — arguably. This is D&D after all, and I’m sure many of the nobles that appear in our games are downright monstrous! (In fact, this guy is roughly based on Lord Urien Dumay, an NPC in my game who’s a real piece of work.) But this isn’t a project about drawing just the monsters from the Monster Manual — this is about drawing every damn thing in the book. So I’ll keep rolling dice for page numbers, and drawing whatever comes up!

Dark Sun party hanging out in the tavern!

Here’s another recent D&D commission. This party is hanging out in a tavern in the Dark Sun setting — a classic D&D setting (as-yet unreleased for 5e) of a blasted world ruled over by warring sorcerer kings. I think seeing D&D ads featuring Brom’s Dark Sun artwork in comic books in the early 90s is probably one of my strongest old D&D memories. Very cool stuff, if a bit on the S&M side?

Here’s a very challenging D&D piece I completed recently. The commissioner was a DM running two campaigns for two parties respectively, and he wanted both in the same scene, but with wildly different backgrounds — the desert sandstorm of White Plume Mountain, and the underground tunnels of Forge of Fury — with the DM conjuring a dragon in front of both parties. What’s more, he also wanted two additional versions with just one party and the DM. That required some additional drawing, as well as a lot of planning and experimentation with my coloring process especially, to separate it all out in the end. So like I said, a big challenge! But a very welcome one, which made this piece very interesting to work on.

Here’s a cool Curse of Strahd commission I recently had the chance to do. It was commissioned to commemorate the end of the campaign, and immortalizes the triumphs and epic fails of the party, such as taking over a town, punching your way out of a shambling mound, accidentally burning down a windmill with a bunch of kids inside, accidentally drowning a bunch of ravens who were actually people, accidentally blowing up a wagon, and taking advice from a talking sword.  And of course, Strahd himself looms over the whole thing.

Artistically, it was a big challenge to fit this many characters, with this many bits of “business”, onto the page in some kind of coherent composition, all while giving each character the “screen time” they deserve. I think it ultimately came out very nicely, but it took a lot of messing around to get it there!

Magi-Tech D&D Commission

Here’s a real cool commission I had the opportunity to draw — a D&D party facing off against the Big Bad Evil Guy, all of whom are sporting badass alien power suits with internal weapons systems that cast Magic Missile and stuff like that. Not the typical D&D illustration, but very cool nonetheless!

Eldritch Foundry Employee Portraits

Here are a bunch of portraits commissioned by the people at Eldritch Foundry, a cool new company that makes custom miniatures for D&D and other tabletop role-playing games. They had me do all of their employees as their D&D alter-egos!

 

A Dashing D&D Party

Here’s a recent D&D commission. The client gave me far more specific detail about the characters’ looks and dress than I’ve ever had before, which was great — lots of fun swashbuckling looks — but also challenging. Anyway, I think it came out pretty good!

Duergar Hunting Party

More D&D, more Underdark. These are Duergar, the so-called Grey Dwarves, a clan of dwarves who were driven to by a strange compulsion mine ever deeper, until they broke through into the Underdark, and found the source of their madness — the Mind Flayers, who enslaved them and
drove them insane with psionic experiments! The Duergar eventually escaped their slavery, but they were rejected by the rest of the dwarves, so they stayed down in the Underdark doing Underdark things. Here’s a few of the nasty bastards out hunting!

D&D Curse of Strahd Commission

Here’s a recent commission of a D&D party from a Curse of Strahd campaign. Curse of Strahd is set in D&D’s Ravenloft setting, which is like an old-school Hammer Horror, Transylvania kind of setting, and Count Strahd Von Zarovich is basically Dracula. In this illustration, Strahd is drawn with the likeness of the Dungeon Master, as he pulls the party’s strings!

The only couple of times I got to play D&D back in high school, it was set in Ravenloft, so this was a fun nostalgia trip!