Dragon Hatchling

The last time I drew a dragon, I was in college working on an independent study of book illustration. I was illustrating the Hobbit and was tasked to draw Smaug over lake town. I haven't drawn a dragon since. Well not really, the awesome Art Order is creating a collection of tiny dragons and not so tiny dragons for a book. I was recently published in the Art Order Invitational Gallery and knew I wanted to create a piece for their next project. 

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As a person who doesn't draw dragons, I had to figure out what my dragons look it. It was a mixture of using reference images for lizards and chickens. Chickens? Well for the wings, my idea was that since baby birds don't fly, maybe baby dragons have the same learning curve and anatomy. 

One of the unusual parts of my normal process for this piece was doing a rough digital sketch in photoshop. Normally, that process is on paper, but this time I pulled all of my references together on one file and was able to look between the two files to create the rough drawing. It's something I want to continue to do for larger, complex pieces moving forward. 

So I learned two things with this piece: digital mock ups and play with texture!

We'll see if it gets into the book!

Ice Giant

Over the past few months, I've been drawing lots of huge creatures compared to the normal bunch of goblins and halflings. So why not add an Ice Giant to the bunch. When I get stomped I like to look back at old work to inspire myself on how much I've improved. 

Let's start with the new Ice Giant:

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and here's the original piece from a few years back:

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I hope it shows improvement! Especially going from ink and digital to graphite and digital. Which both were a huge step for me. And the growth will continue as I start to color the new Ice Giant,

Spector in full color

Digitally coloring my drawings is my preferred method, but that does not mean it isn't a wrestle match to get color theory to be on my side. But when color theory and I get along, we get colored monsters. Behold the Spector that lives in the Dwarfish ruins in the Dragon Spire mountains (yes my friends have already faced this creature in Dungeons and Dragons)

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For me, digital colors lets me experiment with out the constant worry of ruining the drawing like it does when I watercolor. In college I watercolored as my main method, but between working with Chris Gash and Cory Godbey (post college), digital grew on me. Now its mostly a balance of cool and warm, darks and lights, and not loosing the drawing under layers and layers of photoshop. But hey, feel like I'm getting some where now!

K'Varn Revealed

I don't create fan art often because I like to draw my own worlds. But Critical Role will be the only show that constantly inspires me. A D&D game played by a group of voice actors that is honestly better then most TV shows. I'm in!

Here is a drawing of their first major villain for their online stream. K'Varn the evil scientist beholder of the under dark. He controls a vast army of mind controlled denizens of the darkness. Through many battles of war camps, castles, and strange lands Vox Machina barreled into K'Varn's layer and a difficult battle Vox Machina killed the beholder. Returning to the land above with their rescued friend Kima of Vord

Here's the progress towards the color version:

Classic Creatures: The Beholder

A Beholder is a strange monster created in the early history of Dungeons and Dragons. Each eye stalk shoots a different ray of death, not instant death, but enough to put fear into facing a Beholder deep in a dungeon.

I designed this Beholder a few months back and its been sitting on my desk waiting to be finished. Spent a few hours rendering the piece over the weekend as one of the last things I made last year and added to my stack of 2016 drawings. 

If you are interested in owning this drawing. Make sure to check out my shop along with copies of my sketchbooks.

NOTE: I thought it would be interesting to have the Beholder's large eye be a door. And the group of adventures would find a huge key, not knowing what it opens. Turns out at the final battle that the key is the only way to get some relic from the Beholder guarding it literally in its hard.

Classic Creatures: The Roper

Over the past few months as a break from Fablewood, I've been drawing monsters/creatures pulled out of RPG books. From an Ice giant to an Effreet, classic Orcs, and now a Roper. I've been pulling versions of creatures from a variety of games and decades of art to put my own spin on beasts that have been drawn numerous times.

Found in deep caves and the Under Dark, Ropers disguise themselves as rocks then snatch foes with its tentacle arms, dragging it's prey into it's massive maw. Though a Roper isn't nearly as deadly as the other denizens of the Under Dark.

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Efreet of the City of Brass

The past few episodes of Critical Role Vox Mochina has been exploring the Fire Plane for a vestige (to help defeat the Chroma Conclave of dragons.) Matt Mercer (the DM) described the awesome efreeti guards of the city and I knew I had to draw one. So while watching episodes I worked on the design and rendered the final drawing. I didn't want to use the cliche genie (djinn) seen in pop culture, so I pulled from a variety of cultures to create it's own style. That if I decide to draw more beings from the Fire Plane will draw from the same pool of cultural inspirations. The Efreet also joins my growing collection of reimagining classic RPG monsters.

Bog Crawler Drawing

Lately for inspiration I have been flipping through monster manuals and creature codexes looking for interesting beings to draw. Inspired by all the art, I created a Bog Crawler. Able to move quietly in the muddy waters, it attacks with its hooked swords dragging it's prey into the swamp to drown. Bog Crawlers fight in small hunting groups to ambush trespassers venturing into their grounds.

I see bog Crawlers as a low level creature with a much stronger Bog Crawler war chief as the leader. I might have to make some stats for 5th edition to use these creatures against my friends.

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Creatures of the Under Dark

A few months back I bought an old copy of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. I like all the older artwork and strange creatures that span the book. Many of those creatures are reinvented in the newest edition looking polished, fearsome, and not as silly. But I like the strange designs of the past. Here are two creatures that live in the Under Dark, the world beneath the earth filled with beasts. 

Umber Hulk

Xorn

Astakos

I'm a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons and love the amount of creativity the game has. Related to the Dragon Turtle pirate I posted a while back, I add another race from the same world the Astakos. Created by the home-brew D&D community of tumblr/Reddit the Astakos are crustacean creatures that have natural armor and are skilled in enchantments. 

Some of the preliminary sketches:

And the original drawing: