Excellent Traveling Volume #7


Some time ago, I did some cover art for James Maliszewski’s ‘Empire of the Petal Throne’ zine, “The Excellent Travelling Volume.” I just found out that the volume with my illustration will come out next. This portrays some poor sap about to get probed to death by a couple of evil creatures (I can’t remember the name of these villains). I was pretty pleased with how this one came out.

ice giants


work in progress; as I was drawing this I was thinking of David Trampier’s 1970s era artwork for “Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl”

Utzum the Mad Update, plus works in B&W

Pedro Gil of La Marca Del Este send me preview pdfs of the adventure I illustrated which has just been sent to the printers. The final title is, “La Cripta nefanda de Uztum el Maldito,” which I think translates to, “The Nefarious Crypt of Utzum the Mad” (my Spanish is pretty bad, though, so take my translation with a big spoon of salt). Here is the cover — looks pretty swell in a lurid, pulpy way if I may say so:

Uztum-Cover for web

In addition, I’ve been doing some B&W work to practice and develop my skills a little. These are done mostly with crow quill pen and brush on Bristol, with textures added with these fancy schmancy “manga” fine tip pens I bought at the art store. The first is a ‘future woman’ confronting a mutant:

mutant encounter 72

The second is an illustration of a story I am sort of mulling over in the back of my mind… it involves horrible monsters, eunuchs, slaves with exploding torture collars and hair-raising adventures… guess I should start to write this stuff down before I forget it all. What form (if any) this story will finally take is up in the air… I am not much of a writer… maybe it will just be some drawings and a brief outline at first.

cassius and flesh horror 72

Utzum The Mad vs. Our Heroes

catacomb cover v1 72dpi

Here is a color image for Adventuras en la Marca Del Este. It shows the heroes featured in the B&W work (a dwarf, female cleric, human fighter and wizard) confronting the villain, Utzum the Mad, his two mushroom men allies and a golem. The golem is supposed to be a ‘wax golem’ but it gives me a chuckle to think of it as a ‘butter golem’ since it is yellow. Perhaps Utzum is a foodie wizard who will sautee those mushroom men in melted butter golem.

Pedro Gil tells me that these new adventures will be eventually also released in the US.  Aventuras en la Marca del Este (www.lamarcadeleste.com ) is a Spanish retro-clone RPG (also published in Italy and USA, http://xdpublishing.com/). They also work on Walküre (www.walkure.es , http://www.verkami.com/projects/7119-walkure-el-juego-de-rol) and other projects.

New Work for ‘Adventuras En La Marca Del Este’

I recently completed some work for publishers in Spain, ‘Adventuras En La Marca Del Este,’ for a new line of adventures they are publishing. These are eventually to be available in the US (and probably in English), but its great to have some more international credits to my name. I wish I had done better in high school Spanish class so I could understand more of what is going on. Google translate something that is to be desired it does leave. The title of the publication is “La Catacumba nefanda de Uztum el Maldito” which I think translates to English as, “The Nefarious Catacombs of Utzum the Evil Fucker” or something like that.

You can visit the above linked site for more details (providing you understand Spanish!) and more illustration samples. I still owe them a color painting; I will be continuing work on that this weekend. Below is one of my favorites… an old, blind alchemist working in her lab with her scribe and crooked-eyed assistant.

zenobias lab 72dpi

Hey, kids, either learn to write well or this monster will kill you…

Just kidding. I’m working on a poster for a school writing program featuring a ‘dragon’ character (who is the school mascot) and was asked to provide and old-time D&D style lizard (red) breathing fire and waving a scroll and a quill pen around. The final poster will be a tall rectangle; the lower half will be bright yellow with bold text on the bottom telling the kids what they have to do or else the dragon will immolate them (“immolate” is a good vocabulary word, kids, and will appear on the next test). Other text will appear in the scroll and there will be a big headline in the black space on top that the kids will hopefully be able to read, etc.



It’s been a long haul to get to this point, but I’m pretty pleased with the result. The ‘sample images’ I was given to draw from included the old TSR “basic box” that I remember so fondly from my childhood. Hopefully the kids will like it.

MAGIC MAT Commission

My friend Reuben plays ‘Magic the Gathering.’ I don’t know much about Magic (other than it involves cards with pictures of monsters on them), but some players apparently use a ‘place mat’ (sort of like a giant mouse pad) to lay their cards on. Reuben had a blank one and wanted me to illustrate something on it — he had another one that his wife had done for him and wanted to add to his collection. His only request was that the ‘focus’ of the work should be in the upper 1/2 to 2/3rds of the mat — apparently he likes to lay his cards along the bottom side of the mat, so if everything worth looking at is down there, it will soon get covered with cards.

I promised him I would make him a wonderful mat right away and then stuck it in a drawer and forgot all about it for about a year. The other day I decided to get off my ass and make the mat. I soon discovered that the rubbery, synthetic mat material does not take paint at all well — so after some experiments I started painting with the air brush.  The air brush is not a tool I have used very much, but if you can see in this picture, I used a ‘frisket’ (which is a sticky, clear material) to block off parts of the mat that I didn’t want paint to get on, then sprayed one color with the airbrush, cut a new frisket to mask off other parts, painted with another color, etc.  The mat didn’t take airbrush paint very well either, but it was at least better than the acrylic paint.  I also had a lot of trouble getting the frisket to stick to the mat, especially when I was trying to get it to stick to a part I had already painted:

The mat absorbed the paint in unexpected ways, so the flames behind my barbarian didn’t quite turn out how I wanted.  Live and learn. The colors also lost a lot of intensity by absorbing into the cloth.

Here  is the mat with frisket removed. OK – now it’s starting to look like something!

Raaaawr! I’m gonna chop yer head off! Since my other tools did not work very well on the synthetic fabric, I finished it up with magic marker:

Barrowmaze Two now on sale

Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) probably already know that I have been working on illustrations for Barrowmaze Two, the followup to Barrowmaze One by Greg Gillespie (aka Kilted Yaksman). After a successful Indieagogo campaign to fund production and printing, Greg has published the book; PDF copies are available through RPG Now, and I think the word is that books should ship to backers in early late October (just in time for Halloween spelunking!).

I just downloaded my PDF; skimming through, it looks like a lot of fun with cool magic items unique to the Barrowmaze and lots of kick ass illustrations by Zhu Bajie, Alexander Cook, Ndege Diamond, Cory Hamel, Trevor Hammond, Jim Holloway, John Larrey, Scott LeMien, Jason Sholtis, Stephen Thompson and me!  Plus there is a really cool character sheet for Labyrinth Lord in the back created by Zhu Bajie.

I haven’t read it yet… just flipped through the pdf… but what I have seen looks really cool. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are a lot of random tables and suggestions for how to handle repeated forays into Barrowmaze by player characters that many fans of the ‘Megadungeon’ will enjoy, plus maps, unique creatures, etc.

Here are some of my contributions:

Cover Art: Acid breath from undead dragon! The cleric is done for!

A witch cooking what looks like “Player Character Stew!”

For some reason the mope on the left cracks me up every time I look at him.

“Which way do we go next?” The fighter-guy in the middle is kind of a self portrait.

Delayed announcement

Paolo from The Lost Pages Blog commissioned me to do a color illo for a cover for his Adventure Fantasy Game; I shipped it off to him last week but have been distracted by other stuff; I didn’t notice until today that it was up on his site so now I can share it with you.
We see a group of intrepid explorers with pistols, swords and spells fighting their way through a horde of skeletons.  Maybe they are going to that castle in the valley?


Have been working on some more stuff for Goodman’s DCC (looking forward to that stuff getting released so I can go public with it), a cover painting for AFG by Tjoscanth/Paolo (finished but have one tiny thing to fix; hopefully will post tommorow) plus the job hunt and some other things.  Waiting in the wings is another private commission and a few more Black & White illustrations for Barrowmaze 2.

Someone asked, “How do you post updates if you are so busy?”  Three things:

  1.  I sometimes write a post just to relax, last thing in the evening or with morning coffee, and then schedule it to ‘post’ at sometime in the future.  I don’t want them all to post at the same time because I fear that my pearls of wisdom will be lost in the flood of wonderful posts that you have all come to expect from Aldeboran.
  2. There seems to be a delay in when I post something versus when it shows up on your blogger reader or whatever other feed you use.  Sometimes that delay can be hours or days.  Most other bloggers maintain a list of links to other blogs they like; I don’t know how it works or how long it takes for my blog’s new post to show up on other blogger’s ‘links of interest,’ but I am under the impression that most of the traffic on this blog comes from that source. So when you see a new post from me, it might already be hours old.
  3. I like to write as a way of thinking about stuff (I also like to draw as a way of thinking about stuff). Sometimes it is just a way of ‘musing,’ like me wondering, “What would a man’s head on a cat’s body look like?”  I sit down to draw it to answer that question (answer: it looks a lot like a manticore without wings or tail spikes).  What I write (or draw) may not represent my ‘last thought’ on any given matter (including serious stuff).  It is all a work in progress for me.  But if I change my mind, I try to remember to update or post a retraction.