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.