Sunday, October 4, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Warm-up Sketch: Trio v2.0

After some art directorial input from the players after the previous post, here is a digitally reworked sketch of the three!

Click to enlarge

Monday, September 28, 2015

Warm-up Sketches: Adventuring Trio

A few more D&D pencil sketches in the 5E concept art style.  These three are from a much longer running group, who play much less frequently then the group mentioned in the previous post.  The heroic dwarven weapons highlighted a few months back were created initially for this campaign, after a successful stint in Ulek (via a converted "Patriots of Ulek" adventure).

(Link to digital update done in Manga Studio)

Click to enlarge

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Warm-up Sketch: All Four Portraits

I have really enjoyed the 5th edition concept portraits by the D&D art director, Richard Whitters.  So much so that lately I have been fooling around with similar portraits in my sketchbook.  Here are the inspired pencil-and-paper portraits for the previously sketched Sorcerer, Bard, Monk, and Fighter:

(Link to digital update done in Manga Studio)

Click to enlarge

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Practice Image: Michael Barrett's Metalmasher

Dragon magazine's art had more influence on me than I would realize at the time.  A few artists' images always stuck with me.  There is one specific, stylistic image from Janet Aulisio that used to appear in ads for "Amazing Stories" (example: Dragon #141, p. 49, from Jan. '89; dark bazaar, hooded woman leading a shocked boy through the crowd as he tries to comprehend what is just off-page to the lower right) that I have never forgotten.  There were also a few monster images in an Ed Greenwood article titled "The Dragon's Beastiary" that I really loved as well (Dragon #139, pp. 70-74, Nov. '88).  I believe the artist is Michael Barrett, but I am not positive and I have never been able to find anything like a current online portfolio to verify (and ogle).

At any rate, here is a quick pen-and-marker-on-paper practice sketch of something called the Metalmasher, using one of Barrett's images as a direct reference.

All credit for the original reference goes to Barrett and Greenwood.

If anyone knows where I can find more of Michael Barrett's artwork, I'd love the heads up!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Warm-up Sketch: Fabi-orc

More practice in Manga Studio.  No real reference to Fabio, other than what orcs might put on the cover of their fantasy novels.

Click to enlarge

Monday, September 7, 2015

Warm-up Sketch: Last Words

Practicing in Manga Studio again (still using Debut 4.0), this time in an effort to better understand the panel and word bubble creators.  I figured out the panel system well enough, liked the cloud/bubble creator, but I really have to work on in-program trim, text, and line spacing.
Click to enlarge.

The practice image is from one of my D&D 5E groups: the party of 3 (plus an animal companion and a cowardly NPC) is facing off against a banshee and a few scarecrows.  They burn the banshee down (unknowingly) to 1 HP, only to have it drop 5 of the 6 with its wail.  Nervous jokes ensue as I describe the death save mechanics in 5E.  There is a pause.  The wizard, standing alone and face to face with the threat, finally says:  "Do I have any slots left to cast fly, and can it attack me if I fly away?"  Dead silence from the other two until he finally decides to cast Magic Missile and end the fight.  (His plan was to kill it from afar, and then come back and gather everyone up, but intent gets jumbled when nerves are running that high!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Intro to D&D 5E Spells: Animal Messenger

"Animal Messenger" in your 5E campaign:

Click to enlarge

Other typical messages include:

  • "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!"
  • "Ahem.  I know I called you an Owlbear's ass the other day, but I could really use your help."
  • "I seem to have run afoul of a Succubus.  Could you be a dear and..."
  • "Send cash!  P.S. - I am really happy you always wear that shitty grey robe.  It makes this spell so much easier to use."
  • "Brothunder!  Dude!  Check the shack to see if I left the wood stove on!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Qat, the Quasit

Professor Orkington's lil' man...

Click to enlarge

Edit: fixed incorrect angle on lower portion of the front leg, adjusted image size, and uploaded the new pic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Professor Orkington and Qat

Qat's presence during finals has been attributed to more failing 1st year academy students than all other reasons combined.

Click to enlarge

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Warm-up Sketch: Bard with Shatter

Another player in one of my 5E campaigns!

Click to enlarge

I wanted another scene, where the bard is sliding down the back of some scaled beast with flute in hand, but the scales were being problematic.  Quick change to leap and shatter - 85% in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and the rest in Photoshop (very little in the final sketch above was done is PS, most of the time there was trying to get the scales to look right).

Original idea

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hars, Longbow of Flame

Continuing the story of the "Five Cousins":

When the Duchess' weaponsmiths set out to craft the "First Cousin", Argol, Crossbow of Frost, for an eccentric Gnomish tinkerer from the Kron Hills to the north, it was determined that an all metal construction would be detrimental to the magical effect desired.  The Duchess selected her missing son's favorite tree (he was an odd boy, who enjoyed the forest as much as the hill; possibly due to the greater abundance of things he could chop with his axe), and had it cut down to be used for the wood in Argol's construction.  The excess wood was used to create the "Second Cousin", Hars, Longbow of Flame.  All of the excess was needed, dwarven woodworking not being on par with their ancient metalcraft.

One enduring tale remains regarding Hars.  The elven hero present and the dwarven smiths bickered constantly during Hars' creation, so much so that the smiths begged the Duchess to slight their guest or deny him a weapon.  She weighed the cost of refusal, then acquiesced to them smiths' request in part: Hars was presented to the half-elven hero, and the elf was gifted the more sinister "Cousin", Sairu.

Click to enlarge

5E game info for Hars, Longbow of Flame:

  • Required level for attunement 5th: While the bow will radiate "transmutation" magic when examined by Detect Magic, it will not function as a magical weapon unless wielded by an owner of 5th level or greater (attunement is not required for this feature). 
  • Attuned @ 5th Level: The bow counts as a magical weapon. It also deals an additional +1d4 fire damage when it hits with a ranged attack. 
  • Attuned @ 9th Level: The bow also grants the attuned the ability to cast "Aganazzar's Scorcher" as a 3rd level spell. You must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again. 
  • Attuned @ 13th Level: The bow also grants the attuned resistance to fire damage. 
  • Attuned @ 17th Level and Above: Unknown. Theories include possible sentience, possible increases to damage or damage absorption, and/or possible additional fire-themed abilities.

Monday, July 27, 2015

U'kush, Rapier of Shock

In ages past, the Principality of Ulek was but a spattering of dwarven fiefdoms.  The Great Duke Under-the-Mountain ruled the largest of these holdings with a stern eye, a glorious beard, and a bloody hammer.  His might and and bearing did little to dissuade a group of drow, enthralled by the growing power of elemental evil, from stealing away his only son and fleeing back to the Underdark with some fell purpose in mind.  The Great Duke, unable to recover his sole heir and distraught with grief, feebly perished within the month of the disappearance (though some say that if you found his tomb, you would find his beard perfectly petrified and preserved in his coffin).

The duty to find the Duke's son fell to his noble wife, the Grand Duchess.  Being slight-of-beard, but possessing a keen insight, the Duchess spread word that a great boon of magic would be granted to anyone who would take up the noble quest to find her son, and a piece of the fiefdom would be the reward for his safe return.  Dwarven heroes and heroines flocked to prove their mettle and take up the quest, but the Duchess was shrewd: she knew that any dwarves granted land inside her fiefdom would be a future threat to her family's rule.  With a stroke of cunning, she selected the only heroes that could undertake such a quest but not threaten her line: the only five non-dwarves that offered their allegiance.

And so, "The Five Cousins" were commissioned and crafted.  These five dwarven-forged weapons were to be of the finest quality and imbued with great magic.  Alas, since the wielders were not dwarves, they would not be granted the honor of carrying traditional dwarven armament.  This did not diminish the quality of the weapons however.  Each weapon was magically imbued with a unique element; surely, if the elemental cultists worshiped four elements, a theory of five elements working in unison would be more powerful!  Five is greater than four after all....

History does not tell us the fate of the heir, nor does it tell us what became of the "Cousins" after the heroes' descent into the Underdark.  "U'kush, the Rapier of Shock", was the fifth of the "Five Cousins", and was said to be wielded by a halfling brigand of notorious charm.  Note that in the drawings of U'kush that survive, dwarven-halfling prejudice is evident: while the blade functions as a rapier, it is smaller than a typical model and it is influenced by short sword design.

Click to enlarge

5E game info for U'Kush, Rapier of Shock:

  • Required level for attunement 5th: While the blade will radiate "transmutation" magic when examined by Detect Magic, it will not function as a magical weapon unless wielded by an owner of 5th level or greater (attunement is not required for this feature).
  • Attuned @ 5th Level: The blade counts as a magical weapon.  It also deals an additional +1d4 lightning damage when it hits with a melee attack.
  • Attuned @ 9th Level: The blade also grants the attuned the ability to cast "Witch Bolt" as a 3rd level spell.  You must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.
  • Attuned @ 13th Level: The blade also grants the attuned resistance to lightning damage.
  • Attuned @ 17th Level and Above:  Unknown.  Theories include possible sentience, possible increases to damage or damage absorption, and/or possible additional lightning-themed abilities.

PS: 5E is outstanding.  Yes, I still port everything to Greyhawk, but setting aside, WotC has a winner with this edition.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Warm-up Sketch: Sorcerer

A birthday character sketch for a player in one of my 5E campaigns!  A bit of sorceress + meteor swarm goodness!

Click to enlarge

Monday, May 18, 2015


I found out my office-mate had their 8 year anniversary with the United Way recently.  Obviously, a celebratory balloon was in order!  I am not sure what the proper gift is for putting up with me for 10+ months (in a confined space no less!)...

Getting close to drawing again, but until then, fun picture gifts will hopefully bridge the gap!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One small cupcake...

I haven't drawn a thing in months.  Maybe this will be the dessert version of the pebble that starts the avalanche.

We will not speak of the huge shadow/light issues...

The office where I work forgot the birthday of the woman who always takes care of everyone else's birthday.  I am not sure a 5 minute sketch of a cupcake makes up for it, but hey, I tried.