QUOTE: “All the drinking and spitting, the stabbing and bleeding, the rolling and scraping in the gravel and mud is over. The best ideas have proven themselves through gut punches and grit in the eyes of the lesser concepts.”
Hobonomicon 01 is in layout! More details here.
I know everyone is probably sick of Warduke by now. I you read yesterday’s blog entry, you saw that I was working on an artwork for the charity “Auction of Many Things.” Well, the more I worked on it, the less satisfied I became — it just wasn’t hitting the right look in my opinion. So I did it again… above is the result. This is a bit of a departure from what I usually do — but like most artists, I try to experiment religiously. It will be shipping out today.
If you are in LA on March 2nd, check out The Auction of Many Things. This charity event benefits some of the elders of the fantasy/gaming scene (some of whom have health issues and need a little financial assistance with medical bills) and is being sponsored by Titmouse Inc, The Murder Hobos, Wizards D&D, and Gary Con. There is going to be a ton of artwork there — much of it by scene heavyweights like Skinner, Alex Pardee, Benjamin Marra and others. My little drawing (about 9×12 in size, framed) will also be there, too (sadly, however, I will not).
Above is a “mixed media” drawing of the “Warduke” character done in ink, graphite and colored pencil on toned paper (still a work in progress… there are a few things I would still like to fix). I am drawing this for a charity auction called “The Auction of Many Things” being held in L.A. on March 2nd — check the link for more details. The artwork is framed and 9×12 — all proceeds going to help health expenses for some of the creators of games like D&D. I would have liked to have done something a little bigger and a little more original, but I did not find out about the event until just moments before the deadline.
The title, “Nobody tells me what to do,” is a reference to the mentality I think that I and many of my friends initially had when we started playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. We were immature, powerless, snot-nosed kids who enjoyed the fantasy of becoming feared and deadly warriors or wizards… but when we sat down at the table to play, we slowly discovered that unless all of the players agreed to play together, the game itself fell apart. When I look at the world and all of the harm that comes from excessively aggressive people attempting to force their wills upon others, I find myself wishing that more people in the world had learned that lesson.
What have I been up to? Actually, a lot of things. Above is one of my illustrations for Jason Sholtis’ “Odious Uplands” book for his Hydra Collective Kickstarter (I also had work in the ‘Operation Unfathomable’ book published by the same). I’ve also been working on maps for Goodman Games AND some stuff for Hobonomicon.
The above is a drawing of “Warduke,” one of the TSR/Hasbro characters. I’m too old to have fond memories of seeing Warduke on Saturday Morning cartoons — in fact, I didn’t know who he was until a couple years ago. But I’ve been grinding away on some pretty intense mapping projects and when someone wrote me to ask how much it would cost to draw Warduke, I welcomed the opportunity to do something different. I just sat down and drew it — maybe he’ll buy it, maybe he won’t. Seriously, I enjoyed drawing this so much I think I ought to pay him.
It’s a lot of fun to draw something in a lot looser/expressive manner and I’ve really been getting into using colored inks for my washes/shading in my ink drawings. The colored inks seem to dilute a little better than the black ink on my paper of choice (Bristol – which is shit for ink washes IMO but I like it for its other properties…), and, even if everything converts to shades of gray in reproduction, it gives the original an extra bit of dimension you can’t get in reproduction.
Here’s Warduke in Grayscale:
Another new illustration for Gabor Lux/Melan’s upcoming ‘zine, “Beyond Fomalhaut 04.”
The scene illustrates a public stair in which the walls are decorated with mysterious stone faces. Gabor sent a sketch and a description which led, eventually, to this drawing. A bravo in ring mail climbs the steps, glancing warily over his shoulder… what has he got in that sack? A cultist wearing a bird mask and striped uniform stands watch under a street light, spiky pole arm of questionable efficiency in hand. A member of the “world’s oldest profession” prepares to set a small lamp on her doorstep — perhaps to indicate she is open for business? Another adventurer in Oriental dress swaggers down the stairs, his left hand holding up the curved sword that hangs from his sash (ostensibly to keep it from knocking on the steps… perhaps also to steady it for quick drawing from the scabbard?). An old man in ragged clothes, an empty bottle and begging bowl with a few coins in it at his side, smokes his pipe and surveys the scene. Is he a spy for the local thieve’s guild? A wizard in disguise? Or just a down-on-his luck beggar hoping for better days? Best to tread carefully…
I really enjoy drawing scenes like this with a lot of elements and stories coming together. Melan’s “Fomalhaut” commissions are always a lot of fun because he always requests an interesting cast of characters, usually with specific attributes (bird mask, spired helmet, sack and ring mail, etc.). The illustrations end up with a sense of place I really enjoy.