An ongoing project by Blanca Martinez de Rituerto and Joe Sparrow.

Follow us on our offical Facebook page!

Buy Our Books!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Marzanna


The Marzanna appears as an old woman, frostbite-blue and dressed in torn rags of animal hide. Despite its relatively humanoid appearance, the Marzanna is far beyond human - viewed by villagers as a personification of death and winter, she wanders the snowy wastes, tricking stray travellers and feasting on their cold flesh. Tales tell that if you can trick a Marzanna, you can fool death himself.

Merry belated christmas! Both our monsters this week come from the Frostburn book, something of a nod towards the fiendishly chilly climes we currently find ourselves in. Hags are some cool creatures, and the Marzanna is one of my favourites. The name actually comes from an old Russian goddess of winter which in some parts of the world is still venerated each year by burning, then "drowning" her effigy to bring winter to an end. Cool, huh? My picture this week is sort of special in that the inking was actually done with a pen by hand. I still used photoshop to comp it all together but I think i need to at least start more stuff by hand! Using a computer still feels like the quick-and-easy route. Maybe that can be my new years' resolution!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Snow Weird

The Snow Weird is a diviner hailing form the Elemental Plane of Air. Her face is so bright it can't be looked at, and her whirling lower body tapers to pool of rumbling snow. She's is able to predict fortune and destruction, much like an Earth Weird. However, she's more powerful and fickle than her stony counterpart. She sometimes decides to surround her territory in snowstorms and whirlwinds for the sake of it, regardless of who may get trapped in them.

Enjoy your winter-related festivities, y'all.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Fire Giant

video



The Fire Giants are the second smallest of the true giants, next to the oafish Hill Giant, but they don't share their cousin's low intellect. They're a highly organized people, merciless, militaristic, and almost always at war with their neighbours. Their invulnerability to fire leads them to make lairs in volcanoes and use flaming weaponry.


Special treat! A (kinda) animated post!

This was animated in After Effects, which is something I sometimes have trouble coming to grips with. I'm more used to using more traditional methods or Flash. Hopefully there'll be more animated posts in the future. Hopefully they'll be GIFs because this whole having to upload a video thing is pretty tiresome.

Edit:

Also an image, because the quality of that video isn't what it could be.

Rust Monster


The Rust Monster is a squat quadrupedal creature covered in thick chitin of a dirty orange colour. It gets its name from its diet - the two long antennae protruding from beneath its eyes are capable of instantly rusting and disintegrating any and all metals they come into contact with, even those with magical enhancements. The Rust Monster then proceeds to devour the oxidised scraps which are its main food source.

The Rust Monster is an infamous creature and the bane of many an adventurer - that nice, shiny new +2 enhancement sword of impaling you picked up in the last dungeon? Disintegrated in seconds. The funny part is the creature itself isn't even that strong. Trying to go for a more gouache-ish effect in this one. As requested by /tg/!

Defacer


A Defacer is an undead creature formed when the spirit of a shapechanging creature, such as a Doppelganger, is animated by a necromancer. Most ordinary creatures, once risen in such a way, will generally keep the form they held in life. Shapechangers, however, barely having a definite form or identity to start with, are brought back as dark, blank, faceless creatures, and their utter absence of identity compels them to "steal" the faces of those around them, a horrific ability which leaves the victim's face featureless. The many faces they "collect" in this way swim about their body, keening frightfully.

Been working a lot in what I guess would be called pixelart lately, essentially eschewing anti-aliasing of any kind and getting down and dirty with each individual pixel. It's really satisfying, it actually feels a lot to me like painting but there's a really nice, economic feel to it because you can only get so much detail in, every pixel has to be in the right place. anyway, another quick one this week, I'm actually a week behind now so I'll probably be doing another one tomorrow!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Violet Fungus


The Violet Fungus is a man-sized, flesh-eating mushroom that primarily dwells in subterranean caverns. The mushroom can move, albeit very slowly. It's common to find it living among patches of another variety of predatory mushroom, the Shrieker, which can attract prey by emitting a sound like a person or animal in danger. This lures them within striking range of the Violet Fungus' poisoned tentacles.


Yup, plants can be enemies in D&D. You're never really safe. This is another request, suggested by Slagger the Chuul of the Wizards of the Coast forums.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Century Worm


The Century Worm is a rare giant creature that can appear in any part of the world. It's a mindless creature, uncontrollable, born to eat and moves across the landscape making deafening screeching noises. It's large enough to swallow a horse whole, and anything it eats will be broken down by more than stomach acid; the Century Worm's stomach carries millions of its young.

This creature is one of the more high-level encounters, where a character needs to be at Conan levels of strength and Merlin levels of magic. It's a pretty slow creature, so it's always possible to run away.

Couatl


The Couatl is a legendary winged snake native to warm forests. They are highly magical and innately good, making them excellent creatures to run into in most situations (unless you happen to be evil). High-level spellcasters have Summon Couatl available to them as a spell, which, if learnt, can be used to greatly bolster the magical power of any band of adventurers.

Couatl, is, of course, a reference to the mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl, who (typical of aztec gods) has some really cool primitive artwork of him. I took inspiration from the colours commonly used to depict him (green/blue) but otherwise tried to do something a little more abstract. Also drawing lots of feathers takes a long time D: This weeks' monsters were both requests, this one being the request of giantitp.com forum user Serpentine.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Spirit Naga

Nagas are snakelike creatures, and are, by and large, rather evil. They inhabit the dark and dank parts of the world, using their strength, cunning and magical ability to keep lesser creatures in thrall.

Nagas, like Liches and Beholders, fit in nicely as an enemy in almost any campaign - their predilection for evil and accumulation of underlings serves them well as a "final boss" sort of character. Their name is taken from a variety of snake-spirits in eastern mythology, the
Nāga, which also lend their name to Voldemort's pet snake.

Another relative quickie this week, I have plenty to do! I think next week we're going to be doing some more requests.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Otyugh



The Otyugh is one of the more repugnant creatures of the world. It lives in filth, consumes it, and there are even varieties of the monster where their appearance varies according to the specific kind of waste they're surrounded with. While not specifically evil, they're governed by their stomachs. But they're intelligent enough to strike basic deals; its common for more intelligent beings to use them as guardians or as waste disposal.


This is one of Dungeon and Dragons' classic creatures, appearing in the first Monster Manual and thought up by Gary Gygax himself. They're really bizarre looking creatures, with a tentacle coming out of their head that acts as a visual and olfactory organ.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Lucky the Goblin and Bones the Wolf




Golin "Lucky" Muutdar is one of the most skilled scouts in Willow Vale, and a high-ranked member of the Royal Outriders. With his trusted mount Bones, he guards the western hills of the Vale, watching for enemies.

So this week we decided to do our most recent PCs, which we played with a really nice group in a campaign for the Willow Vale setting. I decided to do a goblin ranger. Normally these guys are evil creatures, but in the continuity of the campaign, goblins had recently become good. In the campaign we were sent back into the past to stop the race of elves to be completely wiped out by prehistoric giants.

I mostly acted as the scout for the party, since when riding on the wolf I had the fastest land speed. I'd go up ahead, make sure everything was fine, and use this house one of the other characters had to teleport back to the party. The other guys did the brunt of the damage, since I only had my dinky little arrows.

We got ambushed while I was scouting ahead. The team did a really good job of defending themselves (barbarian, paladin, cleric, wizard and a rogue), and I helped out mostly by casting spells that could slow down the enemy enough so as to not overwhelm the other guys. At one point the giants shot like 12 arrows at me, and none hit.

It was a really awesome game.

Olaf Ullathorne

Olaf Ullathorne is a fierce warrior of the mountain-clans of Trosk, a sporadic scattering of settlements among the highest and most ferocious peaks of the southern mountains. Considerably stronger and larger than the average warrior (the Ullathorne clan was rumoured to carry giant blood), he has travelled the land working essentially as muscle-for-hire, but is known to be more discerning than his peers when it comes to morals. His weapon of choice is as large and intimidating as he is - a gigantic, two-handed staff bound at one end with a fierce tangle of antlers, mountain-lion teeth and flint blades known as a sugliin - which was once his clan's ancestral totem. His family brutally slaughtered by a neighboring tribe, he now wields it in the name of his ancestors; even though their bloodline has come to an end, the legendary Ullathorne clan will live on through his deeds.

This is the character I had the pleasure of playing in the recent campaign the guys at the London D&D Meetups group held, DMed by Simon Newall. I'm not particularly characterful with my roleplaying but I certainly enjoyed killing three half-giants in one round of combat in a particularly grizzly fight (pictured above). :3

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Yrthak



The Yrthak is a monstrous flying reptilian creature. They are omniverous, but with a preference for meat, and are well-equipped with some extraordinary features for hunting. Although blind, a special sensory organ on the tongue informs them of the exact location of anything making a noise within around 120 metres, allowing them to swoop in deftly for the kill. For well-armoured foes, they posess the ability to use the large, spiralled horn on their head to emit a concentrated burst of sound, powerful enough to knock down and deafen anyone caught in its path. It is thought that this strange organ is also used in communicating (since the creature does not speak), and echolocation.

To clear up any confusion, the Yrthak is pictured above hunting another odd-looking creature, the bird-horse or Achaierai, with which it shares the environment of "temperate mountains". This week's theme is "flyers", and it took me a few goes to get it right (or at least "okay").

Howler Wasp




This creature didn't happen naturally, as many creatures do, but was the mistake of the paranoid wizard Otiulke. Seeking to protect himself from Slaadi enemies, he sought to create a fierce guardian animal. His initial experiment provided the Howler Wasps, a combination of monkey and hornet. They proved to be too vicious to control, but Otiulke was caught and killed before he could destroy his creation. They escaped and have since been spreading through the world, creating giant nests ruled over by a monstrous Queen.


Really, what do you expect when you try to make a something that combines the cuddlyness of a wasp with the friendliness of a baboon? Fortunately, the howler wasps are fairly small creatures, about the size of a dog (which I guess is still a little too big) and fairly weak. However, killing one means that the body begins secreting a pheromone that attracts other wasps and drives them into a frenzy.

Just set the nest on fire.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Troll




The Troll is a green-skinned, mountain-dwelling monster. They're not very smart, and appear clumsy because of their sloping posture, but they have all their senses tuned to relentlessly tracking down their victims. A Troll can regenerate any damage done to it, even the loss of an important body part either by attaching the lost part to the stump, or just growing a new one a few minutes later. It's possible that their low intelligence is partially because of their durability, that the Troll never felt a reason to be clever enough to avoid damage. Fire is their worst enemy.


Trolls are pretty classic monsters in roleplaying games and out. I'm not familiar enough with the mythology of this particular creature to know whether the regeneration thing stems from legend, or whether its an invention of D&D.

This interpretation of the troll is strangely plant-like. They're mostly green, and sometimes the hair is described as softly undulating, like it has a life of its own. The trolls have a sibling race called Scrags, which are esentially the same only aquatic, and their regeneration ability only manifests itself when mostly submerged underwater. This further empasizes the whole plant thing. Maybe there's a legend somewhere that says trolls came from trees or something.

Earth Weird

Weirds are elemental beings, pure manifestations of elemental matter and energy. They are divining spirits, whose close relationship to the material of the universe allows a degree of foresight concerning events to come - most Weirds being of the four primary elements, fire, water, air and earth.

Earth Weirds are in some ways the most cryptic of these creatures, foretelling success or failure in regards to material posessions. Each Weird is bound to a specific location of its own element - a "pool" - from which is may not leave (except to return to its plane of origin). The pool of an Earth Weird is as startling as it is deadly - a constantly churning, roiling mass of rock and dirt.

This week's theme is female creatures! This is mostly for my benefit, as I need a lot more practice drawing women (read: I am terrible at it). This little number was cooked up with a lot of help from various reference sources (cough) and inspiring artists (Ross Campbell to name one). I know talking about it is kind of perverted but I have a deep physical admiration for a wide variety of female body types, and I want that to come across in my depictions of them without just being all T&A.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Spell Weaver


Spell weavers are enigmatic creatures, encountered alone if encountered at all. Gaunt, six-armed humanoids with owl-like features, they neither speak nor express any visible emotion, whether to humans or (apparently) their own kind. They are known to collect and steal magical artefacts, "raiding" bands of adventurers for a particular magical trinket. Physically weak, they are as dextrous as they appear, having the uncommon ability to cast six spells at once, one with each arm.

Two interesting characteristics are shared by all Spell Weavers: firstly they all carry a small disc, about a handspan across, which pulses with a variety of colours. As far as non-Spell Weavers have been able to discern, this is some sort of spell-casting device, further boosting the creature's already formidable magical ability.

Secondly, Spell Weavers have a bizarre tendency to leave notes behind for their victims to read - more often than not these are rambling streams of gibberish, and answer no questions about the creatures' motives.

Spell Weavers are some of my favourite creatures ever! I have a fascination with owls' faces and a soft spot for spellcasters. With hindsight the robe here reminds me more than a little of this... uh-oh...

Green Slaad


The Slaadi are hermaphroditic toad-like creatures born of the Everchanging Chaos of Limbo, a highly morphic and dangerous dimension that only the most willful can control. The Slaadi have a parasitic form of reproduction, being born of egg implantations or diseases they inflict on other creatures. If the affected creature is a spellcaster, a Green Slaad is born. It's more intelligent and powerful than its lesser bretheren, has shapeshifting abilities and can summon others of its kind.

The Slaadi are a well-known trademark race of the D&D universe. Despite being creatures born of chaos, they aren't motivated by good or evil, though they are still destructive enough to be cast as villains. They are the only creatures who can effortlessly control the morphing of Limbo, as they're the only true natives of that plane. All Slaadi look like bipedal toads, but that isn't their original form. They are ruled by two Slaad Lords; one is a black skeleton and the other a golden ameoba. They decided to seal the Slaad race in their current form to prevent them to mutate into something more powerful.

Most Slaadi are red or blue, and they're the only two with the ability to reproduce. A Green Slaad is rare, and the longer it lives, the more powerful it becomes. If it lives long enough, it can become a Black Slaad, a creature too strong for the most powerful devils and dragons to destroy. Thankfully, it takes at least 400 years for a green to go through all the steps and rituals necessary to become black.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Reekmurk



The Reekmurk is one of serveral kinds of water-dwelling oozes. They are normally found in underwater caverns in the depths of frigid arctic oceans, but tectonic movement will release them from their normal home and force them to the surface. It is a formless black shape, not unlike a cloud of ink or oil slick, with thin tendrils spreading out. It's practically invisible in the darkness. It's size means it can easily take down ships, its acidic body burning through wood and its foul poisonous vapours weakening life. This creature is weak to sunlight, which can kill it or drive it back to the depths from which it came.


The ooze is an iconic Dungeons and Dragons creature that we've been kind of avoiding. All oozes are pretty much the same thing; a mindless, destructive blob. They vary little in appearance, save for colour and mild size differentes. The best known one is the Gelatinous Cube, which is exactly what is says on the tin. Of course they all have different abilities, but at the end of the day you're still looking at a blob.

But then again I suppose the challenge in illustrating an ooze is to show it in action.

Void Ooze


Creatures of the "Ooze" type are often physically primitive - posessing little in the way of defined organs and rarely maintaining a constant form for any period of time, their bodies are simple, gelatinous masses of chaotic magical tissue.

Void Oozes have no specific origin but "occur" naturally across the planes. They are manifestations of negative energy, the anti-life force which is tapped by magic users such as necromancers who use it to power their spells. As such, a Void Ooze is often found in areas devoid of life, occasionally accompanied by smaller undead who are drawn to the negative magics it excretes as a dark penumbra.

This week's theme was designed to pose a challenge - how do you make a drawing of a formless blob interesting? I enjoyed drawing the Void Ooze, as its appearance bears no small resemblance to a certain Flying Spaghetti Monster. Lighting in in a suitably "negative" way was also fun.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Lemure


The fell armies of Baator, the realm of the Nine Hells, are subject to a rigorously strict natural hierarchy. The devils that populate them range from the unimaginably powerful - such as the indomitable Pit Fiends, who act as lords and generals - to the numerous but pitiful Lemures - who serve as mindless front-line soldiers and lackeys. Standing at five feet tall, a Lemure is a tortured knot of flesh and skin, almost formless from the waistline down, mindless but for its master's telepathic imperative. What Lemures lack in individual strength, they make up in numbers and sheer, thoughtless determination.

Struggled with this one all week (whilst juggling other commitments, hooray!). Lemures look nothing like other devils (which is interesting) but they also look kind of stupid, so it look me a while to figure out how to depict one. I enjoyed colouring this one, but I wish the drawing was a little stronger.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Hill Giant



The Hill Giant is the weakest, stupidest and smallest of all giants, and the ones whose appearance most closely resembles humans. Their intelligence is too low to form any kind of efficient society. Despite this, they are still skilled in the taming of dire wolves and strong enough to be a threat to villages. One of their preferred methods of attack is to hurl heavy rocks at their opponents, or to trample smaller creatures underfoot. Of the evil giants, they're probably the most open to servitude to other creatures, and are often hired as mercenaries by warlords or spellcasters.


Something that was quite useful for this post was looking at photographs and videos of strongmen --not bodybuilders, but men who build their bodies to perform real feats of great strength, muscles that serve a purpose. These men usually have quite thick torsos, bellies and arms, making them look like giant hairless bears. I also looked at Scottish Highland games, which have the sports such as who can flip a tree the best (caber toss) or throw stones the farthest (stone put). They're really super impressive.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Megaloceros


The Megaloceros is a gigantic deer that wanders in herds over the frozen tundra. Its likeness is found carved out of bone, stone and wood in many towns and tribes, since its commonly used as a totem creature. Atop its skull are two massive horns, its primary means of defence. If you are not trampled underfoot, the deer will gore you with its horns, lift you up with them, and toss you away. Their skulls are coveted as ornaments, and live ones make powerful mounts.


This is the first chance either of us have gotten to do something that properly goes under the animal catergory. Most animal-like creatures in D&D have some kind of magical power; anything that falls under the category of an animal is just your average, mundane critter. Not something that's really meant for a fantasy art blog. We have more interesting things to draw than a dolphin or a badger.

But these guys are pretty exceptional. A megaloceros is an actual prehistoric creature (the Frostburn book has a lot of those) that roamed the world when it was a little bit colder and animals were a little bit bigger. A simpler name for these guys are Irish Elk, even though they aren't really Irish. The skeletons for these are amazing to stand next to.

Shivhad



The Shivhad is a strange creature that will build its nest in cold, mountainous areas. Despite its crab-like appearance it is a being of uncertain origin and immense intellect. While other creatures are compelled to expand their territory, secure wealth, food or a mate with which to reproduce, Shivhads appear to be driven by none of these motives. Where Shivhads have made contact with other races they establish themselves as near deities, ominously demanding a toll of a weekly sacrifice. Whether this is merely to indulge a power fantasy or fulfill some darker function has never been ascertained; Shivhads speak nearly all languages but are so unthinkably dangerous that very few races will dare to provoke them. A Shivhad is usually the size of a large house.

This week's theme (a feature we'll probably instigate with more formality sometime soon) is that both our creatures are from the Frostburn book, one of many "add-on" books for D&D which introduce new weapons, quests, spells and monsters. Frostburn is, as you might expect, focused on creatures that live in incredibly cold environments.

The Shivhad is the first "epic" creature we've illustrated here - "epic" in Dungeons & Dragons being a term that describes very high level play (above level 20, which is initially as high as you can get). Basically, to kill one of these you need a team of adventurers of near demigod-like skill and experience. I really like how inexplicable the Shivhad is - a giant, superintelligent crab that lives in glaciers. I think it's pretty original as fantasy creatures go.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Githyanki

Githyanki are vicious, gaunt humanoids who live in societies strewn across the Astral Plane, the vast, timeless space between dimensions. Long ago bred as slaves to the ancient Illithid empire, the Githyanki were led from captivity by their ancestral leader Gith, in a great war which nearly wiped out the Illithids altogether. Now, wracked by internal conflict, the Githyanki are little more than a race of pirates, adding to the dangers of astral travel. They build their fortresses on the petrified bodies of dead gods adrift in the void.

The Githyanki are a weird sort of race in D&D, looking a little like a cross between orcs and elves (if such a thing is concievable). Not only are they essentially pirates, they are space pirates, which is pretty cool in my book. I inked this one by hand in Photoshop after making some custom brushes, and I'm pleased with the result. I tried to make up for the fact that they're usually depicted as barely clothed humanoids by doing a ridiculous upside-down foreshortening thing, but I think it gets the zero-gravity feel of the Astral Plane across fairly well. Oh, and they use these cool mercurial swords.

Kobolds



The Kobold is considered by many a travelling adventurer to be small and harmless. The more experienced adventurer knows that the kobolds use this to their advantage, to lull others into a sense of security and lead them into traps that'll butcher the enemy. Kobolds are clever and proud, and only serve themseleves or the dragons they believe they're descended from.


These are some of my favourite creatures.

Kobolds are a pretty common early-level encounter. They're small and have a very low challenge rating, which means you can throw a whole pack of them at the players without worrying too much about murdering them too early in the game. Even the Monster Manual goes to some lengths to describe how pathetic they are. "Kobolds speak Draconic with a voice that sounds like that of a yapping dog," says the Manual. They're the chihuahuas of the D&D world.

But that can make them dangerous. They're expert trap-makers and you'll spend more time avoiding them that you will fighting the little creatures themselves. There's the infamous Tucker's Kobolds, a group of completely average kobolds which specialized in guerilla tactics and dangerous traps instead of direct confrontation, designed to challenge players at high levels. There's also Pun-Pun, a demonstration about how the rules of the game can be broken to create a ridiculously powerful character. Wizards later released another book, Races of the Dragon, expanding on kobolds, making them more intelligent and conniving, and listing futher specialties and qualities.

Later illustrations of kobolds in further books and magazines went on to make them a bit more evil looking, but I've always preferred that their cruel minds were hidden behind an adorable, pathetic exterior.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Bronze Serpent




These are ancient guardians of temples dedicated to snake gods, though the secrets of their construction has since spread. Over 20 feet long, capable of climbing and burrrowing and having no need to worry about breathing, a Bronze Serpent can take on most intruders. Its best strategy is to trap its opponent in its coils and bite it with its electrified fangs. Opponents in metal armor or carrying a large amount of metallic objects don't fare well against its attacks.


I'm a sucker for anything with electrical attacks.

Sorry about being late this week. We were busy with other duties and both of us were having trouble with coming up with a drawing we liked.

Special thanks to Joe for helping me out with the background on this one. I swear it just wouldn't come out right.

Runic Guardian


Golems and other constructed mechanical warriors are commonly employed by those smart and wealthy enough to build them. Constructs follow orders unquestioningly and are difficult to kill, making them excellend guards. A Runic Guardian is an inventive variation on perhaps the most typical type of construct, the Shield Guardian. Its creator covers its torso and limbs with spells in the form of carved runes, which can be activated later by the Guardian to fight off attackers or defend its charge. What spells are inscribed on the Guardian is up to the creator.

I like constructs in general, but the Runic Guardian is one of my favourites. I tried for a more painterly look in photoshop, which I think I'd like to try again. at least it has a background this time!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Aboleth


Aboleths are a strange race of giant aquatic creatures. Bearing similarities to whales, eels and even cephalopods, they are among the oldest creatures in existence, but by no means the most primitive. Despite their appearance, they live in sophisticated societies, building huge, alien undersea cities in the deepest oceans. Despite their sophistication, the Aboleths are generally hostile to other younger races (such as humans), and their propensity to dabble in dark magics is good cause to leave them well alone if possible.

Aboleths, like Beholders, have been a Dungeons & Dragons staple since its very first edition. Most pictures show them as three-eyed catfish creatures, so to make it a little more interesting I tried to develop the head and face a little. I feel, again, like I should have made more effort with the background on this one (especially as it'd be interesting to think about what kind of cities these things build), but anatomically I'm pretty happy with it.

Nixie



Living in lakes, rivers and ponds, the frog-like Nixies are primarily cautious creatures. But as members of the fey family, they aren't entirely harmless. It's quite common for them to use their charming abilities to make bigger, stronger creatures take on certain tasks for them. They can also bestow the ability to breathe underwater on their newfound 'friends' to allow them to continue working underwater, at the fey's home. They aren't evil creatures, but they don't follow the rules of good either, so it's best not to cross them lest you end up forgotten at the bottom of their watery home.


Nixies can work pretty well as both allies and enemies, I'd think. Their neutral alignment means you can sculpt an individual nixie's personality into pretty much anything, they could be friendly and helpful, scared and dangerous, or bitter and vengeful. Granted a good GM would make characters with interesting personalities anyway, but a neutral creature is easier to skew into something good or evil. Sometimes making an evil angel, a good demon or a law-abiding gnoll can get a bit corny.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Necronaut


A Necronaut is a terrifying sight. Summoned as servants by Demons of the outer planes, they are formed from thousands of undead souls bound together in a colossal, clambering ziggurat of death from which long, bony arms protrude and hoist them on their destructive journeys. Necronauts are employed as a demonstration of brute necromantic might, requiring a huge amount of dead to summon and inhuman will to control.

A lot of undead creatures are just dead versions of living things - human skeleton, orc zombie, etcetera etcetera. What I really like are the more inventive necromantic creations that only things like Demons can pull off. This was fun to draw - I feel like I could have made it look a little corpsier but I just got to a point where I liked the way it looked.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Drowned



Rising from the depths of cursed water, the Drowned are the unfortunate creatures that met a certain aquatic demise. They are commonly found near ports or beaches, and anybody that approaches this undead creature will soon find that their lungs are filling up with water. They always have about them a cold cloying aura, their death, which will cause living creatures to drown on land.


Undead are a bit difficult as creatures. Not because they're hard to draw, but because they tend to be a lot of the same. Mostly corpses or skeletons of some kind, so you have to find monsters that have something interesting about them if you want to draw them.

Like for example a monster that's basically Samara from The Ring.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Efreeti



The Efreeti are a specific kind of genie; their natural home is the Elemental Plane of Fire, which is ruled by their king in the City of Brass. Most of their magical abilities involve fire and smoke in some way, both with the intent to ham and misdirect. They tower above the average human and can heat up their bodies to burn anybody that touches them. Like other genies, an Efreeti will grant wishes to an non-genie, but the Efreeti are an evil race, so they won't give these wishes willingly. And if they do they'll probably find a way to skew it in their favour.

I really wanted to make the Efreeti more interesting than the illustration in the Monster Manual. The one there is a corpulent red guy with stubby little horns, which is fine, but I just wanted something a little different.

Sorry about the lateness.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Rast





When traversing the elemental plane of fire, there are numerous dangers that face the adventurer. Rasts are by no means the greatest threat to travellers bold enough to explore this unwelcoming dimension, but to the ill-prepared they can prove deadly enough. Rasts are creatures of little more than animal intelligence, floating about in packs and hunting whatever they can find. It is a well-known fact that Rasts have an almost vampiric fondness for blood.

Rasts are one of the sillier-looking monsters in the first monster manual - kind of like the little head spider thing from John Carpenter's The Thing - I went with more of a blood-crazed jellyfish look in mind.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Spriggan



The Spriggan is an unpleasant cousin of the Gnome. Ordinarily it appears as a short, bony, jaundiced humanoid with dirty reddish hair and a wild beard. Size, particularly concerning facial hair, is of paramount importance in Spriggan Society - presumably to this end, Spriggans have gained the uncanny ability to enlarge their bodies to thrice their usual mass, becoming hulking, ungainly ogres in an instant. Their unusual versatility in this way gives them both the dexterity and brawn to be a sizeable nuisance to all around them, and their presence in any respectable society is cause for worry.

Penned with a fineliner by hand, coloured in Photoshop. Massive beards are unhelpfully satisfying to draw.

Pixie


The Pixie is an interesting monster. Small and mischevious, a pixie can turn itself invisible at will, and stay that way no matter what. It's got a large number of innate magical abilities, most of which are geared around disorienting the opponent, including a spell that makes the opponent dance uncontrollably. Its strength isn't combat; the arrows it shoots can cause sleep and memory loss.

It takes four fourth-level characters to take down one pixie. That can't be good for an adventurer's self esteem.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Rakshasa

rakshasa

Rakshasa are a malicious breed of sorcerous shapeshifters. Their natural form is that of a bipedal tiger, but they can take on the appearance of any humanoid creature. They like to place themselves in positions which lets them rule over others. Their one downfall is their hands, which are reversed no matter what form they're in.

Rakshasas are one of my favourite monsters. I like tigers, I like shapeshifters, and I like mythical creatures that have a tell when they're in different forms (like a vampire's lack of reflection, kitsune's fox shadow or the Devil's horns or hooves). The monster originally comes from Indian mythology, which can open up some interesting story paths. Plus there was always something that seemed strangely honorable about rakshasas, like they might not kill you if you genuinely impress them.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Desmodu


The Desmodu are a race of subterranean bat-men. In contrast to their fearsome, apeish appearance, they are generally good-natured creatures who are more likely to help adventurers than eat them.
Desmodu actually have a sort of reddish hue to their fur (as seen in some bats) but I favoured the bluer end of the spectrum to try and light a creature of darkness more convincingly. I consciously went for a Bruce Timm sort of thing with the style. The colour is obviously all vectors, which can make images look a little flat but is satisfying to be because it's one of the few ways I can "finish" a sketch and not feel like I've lost too much.
Blanca's post will be a little late this week (tomorrow, probably) because she's in Spain.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

APOLOGIES

There will be no Dungeons & Drawings this week! Without seeming like passing the buck, this is almost entirely due to us moving house yesterday only to find half the floor was missing. Lord save us from builders with no sense of time management. We will be back on track next Sunday.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Gnoll




The Gnoll is a hyena-like humanoid. They are brutal, dull-witted carnivores who form small societies together governed by their strongest and most evil.


This is actually an image I made about two or three years ago, of a gnoll character I played. It inspired Joe to start this blog dedicated to D&D monster artwork.

Beholder


The Beholder is one of the most iconic monsters originating in Dungeons & Dragons. Its large, spherical body hovers over the ground, surrounded by a penumbra of snakelike eyestalks. Highly intelligent and utterly evil, the Beholder is one of the deadliest creatures an adventurer is likely to face.

There isn't much anatomically going on with the beholder, so I thought I'd try a more abstract look. I started out going for a Keith Haring kind of thing but it ended up more Tim Biskup.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Kolyarut


A Kolyarut is a clockwork knight from the plane of Mechanus, a dimension of severe, electronic order where magical machines rule. It is an agent of law and order whose sole purpose is the punishment of those who break contracts, oaths and bargains. A Kolyarut, once set in pursuit of an oathbreaker, relentlessly follows him or her across the planes until justice has been meted out.

Traditional D&D lore gives the Kolyarut a romanesque feel, essentially making it into a robotic legionnaire with a bronze breastplate and flowing red capes. I wanted to make it simpler and scarier, paring it down to an almost skeletal form that seems deceptively delicate whilst still looking like something that would keep following you to the ends of the earth.

Influenced by franco-belgian comic book artists like Moebius and Francois Schuiten. Check them out!

Krenshar





The Krenshar is a deceptively intelligent feline creature. It hunts in packs, though its main strategy is for a lone scout to scare the prey towards the larger group by retracting the skin off its face and issuing a terrifying howl of almost supernatural ability.

Deciding on the most appropriate way to display this creature's particular special talent was more difficult than it should have been, mostly because I didn't just want to show a stalking leopard-thing with a skinned face. Its a little bit dull, and the Monster Manual's already got dibs on that. The point of this project is to make illustrations different from your typical fantasy art style (though that's not to say that the typical fantasy style can't be amazing).

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Razor Boar



The Razor Boar is an especially mangled and cruel-looking animal covered in dark fur. It's thick, scarred hide protects it from most attacks, including magical attacks. Large as a horse, the razor boar can trample its enemies and sever their heads using his large tusks.

Doing the wrinkles on his face was probably the most fun part.



Roc




The Roc is a gigantic bird, "almost too big to be believed", that makes large animals such as horses, elephants, and small whales its prey. I love the idea of ordinary creatures blown up to extraordinary sizes, and whilst there isn't anything especially glamorous about the Roc, it's nice in a simple sort of way.

There's this picture of one I find really funny where it's holding a hapless whale in its big claws, so I thought I'd take that idea of this gigantic predator and make it a little more dynamic.