Archive for the ‘Sketches’ Category

Monster Manual sketch request redux!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

monster_manual

A couple of years ago I went on a bender taking commissions to draw monsters from the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual and it was so much fun I’m giving it another go.

So here’s how it works:

1. Fill out the form below, telling me what monster you want me to draw.*
2. Click on the Paypal button and complete your purchase (price is US$80 + $5 postage).
3. Over the next week, I will draw your monster (in full colour!) and then post it to you.
4. It arrives at your house, where you put it in a beautiful gilt frame and hang it on your wall for friends, family, fellow gamers and potential future mates to admire and praise.
5. Many years later, you die alone and unloved, cursing with your last breath that hateful cartoonist whose horrible monster drawing destroyed all possibility of romance and happiness in your life.**

*As seen in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual.
**No responsibility taken for purchaser’s future happiness.

Note: the number of requests is limited.

DRAW MY MONSTER!
Monster Manual colour sketch
on A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches) 300gsm watercolour paper

US$80 (+ $5 postage)




The AD&D monster you want:




Sketch: Supergirl

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Supergirl-600px

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Supergirl
(ink, watercolour, coloured pencil on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148.5mm x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 70 (including postage)
SORRY – SOLD

Monster Manual Week: RUST MONSTER!

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

RustMonster

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Today’s 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual Sketch is the extremely irritating rust monster.

What’s great about the rust monster is that it can’t actually hurt you – and yet it’s one of the most feared monsters in the dungeon. This is because the rust monster eats metal and is particularly fond of “ferrous based metals such as iron, steel, and steel alloys (such as mithral and adamantite arms and armor).”

In other words, it wants your armour and weapons – and one touch of its long antennae causes anything metal to rust and corrode, immediately falling to pieces “which are easily eaten and digested by the creature.” Fighting back is not a good idea, because “weapons striking a rust monster are affected just as if the creature’s antennae had touched them.”

Small wonder that a band of tough adventurers will often run at the first sight of a rust monster; unfortunately, most quickly learn that the rust monster moves much faster than they do. The most effective way of dealing with one is to throw a handful of iron spikes (or other easily replaced metal items) in its path and hope it will stop long enough to eat them that you’ll be able to get away with that precious +4 sword.

I’ve never understood quite what’s going on with the rust monster’s tail. In the original illustration by David C Sutherland III, it looks for all the world like a propeller. Later versions tried to turn it into something impressive and insectoid, but if you ask me, Sutherland’s version is the best, because it gives the rust monster a ridiculous – almost nerdy – look. Ol’ Rusty never hurts anyone; he’s the harmless annoying doofus everyone wants to avoid.

Legend has it the rust monster was designed when Gary Gygax found a bag of cheap plastic monster toys in a dime store, including a “figurine that looked rather like a lobster with a propeller on its tail…. [N]othing very fearsome came to mind…. Then inspiration struck me. It was a ‘rust monster.'” I’m sure his gaming group was delighted when Rusty first turned up and started munching on their stuff.

BTW, one day I might buy one of these t-shirts.

This was a commissioned Monster Manual sketch. If you want to commission your own monster drawing, I’m still taking requests (for a limited time) here.

Monster Manual Week: ROPER!

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Roper-600px

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Today’s 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual Sketch is the reprehensible roper.

The roper is found in subterranean caverns. Looking something like a 9 foot long cigar and able to disguise itself as a stalagmite, a pillar or even a “hump” on the ground, a closer inspection reveals what “appears to be a mass of foul festering corruption.”

However, adventurers foolish enough to carry out such a close inspection are likely to encounter the feature which gives the roper its name: six “strong, sticky rope-like excretion[s],” which shoot out to grab (and poison) its prey. The dazed unfortunate is then dragged into the roper’s “toothy maw” and “quickly devoured.”

The AD&D dungeon is full of these ghastly well-disguised monsters, including the piercer (a stalactite that suddenly drops from the ceiling to pierce, kill and devour passers-by), the water weird (which can hide in pools, fountains or even barrels of wine), the lurker above (which pretends to be the ceiling), the trapper (which pretends to be the floor) and my personal favourite, the mimic (which can pretend to be practically anything, but is particularly fond of mimicking a treasure chest).

My advice? Stay above ground at all times.

This was a commissioned Monster Manual sketch. I’m still taking requests (for a limited time) here.

Monster Manual Week: GELATINOUS CUBE!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

GelatinousCube-600px

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Today’s 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual sketch is the Gelatinous Cube. Unfortunately, there’s no illustration for it in the Monster Manual itself, but the gelatinous cube remains one of the iconic D&D monsters.

Essentially 10′ x 10′ x 10′ cubes of jelly-like digestive fluids, “gelatinous cubes are nearly transparent and are difficult to see.” Any unfortunate creature touched by a gelatinous cube risks paralyzation, followed by full immersion and digestion. Metallic and other indigestible objects are left behind, or even carried around inside the body of the cube for several weeks.

Sounds disgusting? National Geographic disagrees

UPDATE: Is this (from David Tulloch’s Character Development) the greatest gelatinous cube comic EVER?

The Gelatinous Cube
(ink, watercolour & coloured pencil on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 60 (+$5 postage)
SORRY – SOLD

Monster Manual Week: I’m taking requests

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

monster_manual

UPDATE: this offer has ended. Sorry!

I’m having so much fun drawing monsters from the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual, I’ve decided to stick with this theme for another week. But I know you all have your own favourites, and after getting way too many suggestions, I’ve decided to open it up for requests (aka commissions).

So here’s how it works:

1. Fill out the form below, telling me what monster you want me to draw.*
2. Click on the Paypal button and complete your purchase (price is US$60 + $5 postage).
3. Over the next week, I will draw your monster (in full colour!) and then post it to you.
4. It arrives at your house, where you put it in a beautiful gilt frame and hang it on your wall for friends, family, fellow gamers and potential future mates to admire and praise.
5. Many years later, you die alone and unloved, cursing with your last breath that hateful cartoonist whose horrible monster drawing destroyed all possibility of romance and happiness in your life.**

*As seen in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual.
**No responsibility taken for purchaser’s future happiness.

Note: the number of requests is limited.

DRAW MY MONSTER!
Monster Manual colour sketch
on A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches) 300gsm watercolour paper

US$60 (+ $5 postage)

Monster Manual Week: OWLBEAR!

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Owlbear-600px

CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW

By popular demand, today’s 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual sketch is the horrifying (some might say ridiculous) Owlbear! As the Monster Manual explains, “the horrible owlbear is probably the result of genetic experimentation by some insane wizard.” Certainly, any other origin for this cross between an owl and (you guessed it) a bear is best not thought about. But however owlbears first came into being, “they are ravenous eaters, aggressive hunters and evil tempered at all times,” with “red-rimmed” eyes that are “exceedingly terrible to behold.”

The owlbear’s most dangerous move is its Hug attack, when it “grasps a victim and squeezes and bites it to death.” Frankly, once you’d been dragged into that feathery embrace, death probably couldn’t come soon enough.

The original Owlbear illustration was by David C. Sutherland III, who drew more than his fair share of 1st edition AD&D monsters. Here’s an interesting post by Dungeons & Dragons’ current creative director Jon Schindehette on redesigning the Owlbear for 4th edition. And here’s possibly the best Owlbear picture ever.

The horrifying OWLBEARHUG!
(ink, watercolour & coloured pencil on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 60 (+$5 postage)
SORRY – SOLD

Monster Manual Week: BEHOLDER!

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Beholder-600px

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Today’s 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual sketch is the terrifying Beholder (the Eye Tyrant, the Sphere of Many Eyes)!

To be honest, I always found the Beholder more ridiculous than terrifying – but that’s probably because I don’t remember ever actually encountering one in the heat of battle. Their multiple eye stalks may look silly, but each one packs a fearsome power: from Charm Person to Disintergrate and even a Death Ray. As the Monster Manual says, “the beholder is hateful, aggressive, and avaricious.” In short: avoid.

You can see the original Monster Manual Beholder illustration (by Tom Wham) – along with some later versions – here.

The Beholder
(ink, watercolour & coloured pencil on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 60 (+$5 postage)
SORRY – SOLD

Monster Manual Week: the dreaded STIRGE!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Stirge-600px

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monster_manualThis week for my morning sketches, I’m drawing creatures from the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (1977) – one of the first role-playing game books I ever owned.

First up is a monster I’ve always found especially terrifying (despite its low level): the Stirge. They usually attack in groups (of 3-30) and, as the Monster Manual explains, “they lay in wait for warm-blooded creatures, swoop down, and when their long, sharp proboscis is attached, the blood of the victim is drawn through to be eaten” (shudder).

You can see the original Monster Manual illustration (by David C. Sutherland III) of the Stirge (along with later versions) at Bogleech.

BUY THIS SKETCH
Stirges
(ink, watercolour & coloured pencil on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 60 (+$5 postage)
SORRY – SOLD

Sketch a Day (Cartoonist week): Jack Kirby

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Two sketches today. Bear with me…

Kirby-Kid-600px

Jack Kirby (Jacob Kurtzberg, USA, 1917-1994)

Comics Will Break Your Heart
(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 50 (+$5 postage)
SORRY – SOLD

This sketch tells the story behind the quote that opens Hicksville. It was told to me by James Romberger, an artist and cartoonist whose amazing graphic novel Seven Miles a Second (written by activist and artist David Wojnarowicz) has just been reissued by Fantagraphics.

In the 1980s, Romberger met Kirby at a convention in New York. Kirby kindly looked at Romberger’s work and then gave him a piece of advice: “Kid, you’re one of the best. But put your work in galleries. Don’t do comics. Comics will break your heart.”

Romberger followed Kirby’s advice for years, mostly exhibiting in galleries, while drawing comics for alternative and literary magazines – and occasionally for commercial publishers – on the side. When the first edition of Seven Miles a Second was published by Vertigo in 1996, Romberger mentioned in his artist’s bio that he’d once been told by Jack Kirby “comics will break your heart.” As soon as I read that, I knew I would have to use it in Hicksville. I’m grateful to Romberger for later sharing the full story with me and I urge you all to buy his & Wojnarowicz’s extraordinary book.

Anyway, after drawing this sketch, I felt so sad I had to draw Kirby again – but this time the young Kirby, on the eve of World War Two, when American comic books were new and he was one of the people carving its mythology out of nothing, at the beginning of his extraordinary career. So here he is…

Kirby-600px

Young Kirby
(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 50 (+$5 postage)
SORRY – SOLD

There you have it. Having done two today, I’ll probably take a break over the weekend and return with more sketches next week (and, hopefully, some new Magic Pen pages too).