#13 in my quest to draw the entire 5th Edition Monster Manual: The Grell!
Lucky number 13, and I couldn’t have rolled a cuddlier little guy. What the hell is this thing? A beaked brain with barbed tentacles? Gross. But also undeniably awesome. Of course it’s from the Underdark!
I’m struck by how many D&D monsters are just a weird combination of different animals and different body parts. Hey, don’t mess with what works, right?
Here’s a really fun D&D commission I did recently. The party grits their teeth and prepares to fend off wave after wave of babau demons crashing through the wall! I love drawing pieces like this that have some action and story to them.
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!
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!
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!
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 commission of a nice young couple and their pet cats, birds and pigs, in a Super Mario world!
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!
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!
Looks like they’re living the life! Really makes all the dungeon-delving and monster-slaying worth it! You may recognize these guys from another piece I posted a while back. The client was so pleased with that piece, he commissioned another one!
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!
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!
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!