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

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Nathzarune Rakshasa

 While the standard rakshasa is a pretty formidable spellcaster, the Nazathurne rakshasa is a whole different story. It has no spells of its own, but isn't completely devoid of magical ability. Instead, this rakshasa can meld with the shadows and travel through them. Its lack of arcane knowledge is replaced with physical knowledge, which it uses to inflict devastating damage.

D&D has a few different rakshasas. The standard ones are pretty cool and Anthony S. Water's illustration for the 3.5 rakshasa is probably my favourite illustration in the Monster Manual, if not all of D&D illustrations. Other books added further rakshasas with more specific themes. Instead of being a sorcerer like the standard, the nazathurne is a rogue/shadowdancer.

The rakshasas are a set of demons from Indian mythology. Actually, they're more the Indian equivalent to the Japanese oni than European demons. Since both Hindu and Buddhism believe in reincarnation, sometimes rakshasa are the transformed or reincarnated form of a wicked person. The whole tiger-headed thing, though present is South Asian art, is exaggerated a bit by D&D. In mythology, a rakshasa can have the head of different animals or deformed features. Especially strong ones have multiple heads and limbs.

Book suggestionn du jour is The Ultimate Ilustrated Guide to Knives, Swords, Daggers & Blades by Harvey JS Withers and Tobias Capwell. It's a two volume collection filled with images of edged weapons (some polearms, not that many) that's a good resource and fairly compact. It's pretty Euro-centric, but there's still a decent amount of space dedicated to the swords and knives of Africa and Asia. The knife that the rakshasa is wielding in the image is an Indian pichangatti.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Bluespawn Godslayer

The blasphemous children of the dark goddess Tiamat are more in number and form than man can count. The true chromatic dragons (Red, Blue, White, Green and Black) make up only a portion of their ranks - the rest are lesser monsters, dwarf hybrids of creatures horribly twisted by Tiamat's unholy power.

The godslayers are some of the most feared of these. Mutated from the stock of blue dragons into hideous bipeds, they dedicate their lives to the slaughter of Tiamat's enemies. Godslayers take a barbaric delight in the use of melee weapons, which become charged with electricity by their innate draconic energies. Typically godslayers guard the lairs of venerable blue dragons, but are sometimes encountered abroad, roaming for good metallic dragons to torture and kill.

I tried out a more stark shading on this one, because I couldn't get anything more subtle to look right. It's not something I do too much if I can because it feels like a bit of a cop-out but there are some animations I love like Redline that make it work really nicely.

I tried to really push the "mutant" angle here, which is the one element that I like about dragonspawn - mostly they feel kind of mary-sueish (it's part dragon, part spider, part rhinoceros! super strong, no weaknesses! original character, do not steal!) and also they quite often look a bit silly. So I thought, well, the influence of an evil deity like Tiamat isn't going to produce some perfect man-dragon specimen - it's going to be this weird hybrid creature, something like the pasty human-alien thing in Alien: Resurrection, albeit insanely strong and tough. So I've given the guy two heads (two and a half if you count the little half-formed head poking out in the top right) and a little vestigial wing that isn't going to be flying anyone anywhere.

Alert readers will note that bluespawn godslayers do not, in fact, have a breath weapon but I thought the fire looked cool in the composition. And yay, we're back to no backgrounds again! Lazy art is best art.

- Joe

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sybillic Guardian

The Sybillic Guaridan is a psychic archon, being allies (and occasionally summoned servants) of psionic heroes. Like other archons, they dwell in Celestia, training in the arts of battle to do war with the infernal and abyssal hordes. However, these particular archons and other psionic creatures believe that a different war is coming, though magical divination can't actually confirm this. Perhaps their war will be one with the creatures of the Far Realm, or whatever horrifying races live beyond that.

You know what I always find difficult? Any aspect of graphic design. I'm fine with illustration, laying an image, character design, colour... But when it comes to setting up fonts and similar bits of text, it really gives me a headache. This also applies to things like runes and glyphs, since they're an infuriating combination of illustration and graphic design. It'd difficult to make magical writing look legit.

But I think I finally hit on something, since I'm actually fairly happy with the glyphs in this image, which I generated using a magic square. Each glyph means something, so if anybody wants to figure out what they mean, look to Saturn.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Dungeons & Drawings: BOOK VOLUME 1

So we've got a big announcement that we've kept under our collective hats for a while now!

We made a book.

Now available to buy, Dungeons & Drawings Vol. 1 clocks in at a sumptuous 93 full-colour pages, featuring 40 of our favourite Dungeons & Drawings redesigns. Each picture is accompanied by a description, some simple statistics, and a look into the real-world origins of each creature. Wow! Some illustrations are book-exclusive, too. Zinged!

Waitasec! "Vol. 1", you ask? Why, yes! With over 200 images on the blog, we're looking to make a whole series of these to sell at conventions and expos, as well as through the magical wonder of paypal and the internet.

Just check out some of these super-sweet shots of our handiwork! Pow! Blam!

Is it possible to imagine anything remotely more rad than this? THE ANSWER IS NO


The answer is simple.  By clicking the button below and exchanging just £8 / ~$13 of your yank dollars through the magic of paypal (excl. postage, natch), we will send you a copy of this fine example of illustrative gorgeousness in the mail. It literally couldn't be easier!!!!!

Every purchase helps us keep going and increases the likelihood that we can get more stuff printed in the future. Because we love putting stuff on the internet, of course! But we also love the feel of a really nice print, and we want you guys to have that too!

Dungeons & Drawings: Vol. 1 will be available to buy this weekend at the London MCM Expo and at lots of other conventions across the UK as we attend them. If you see us, come by, say hi and have a look!

And, as always, thanks for supporting the site with your views and your interest! Posting has been slow lately due to working on the book & other factors, but the ultimate goal is always to post the highest quality material we can produce.  Keep checking back for updates!

- Blanca & Joe

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Here's our fiiiiiiinal image of Redux Month here on Dungeons & Drawings, the soul-stealing Devourer!

It's a longstanding tradition here at Dungeons & Drawings that anything with the name "Month" in the title typically takes 2 - 3 x longer than a month. A record which remains unbroken! This time the delay is almost entirely my fault (usual moans of work PLUS A CERTAIN SPECIAL SOMETHING WE'LL BE ABLE TO ANNOUNCE SOON). Plus, you know, Pokemon, I guess? Message me on twitter (@torpordust) if you wanna exchange friend codes or something.

Anyway, for our final pair of pics we've reduxed the hell out of each other's least favourite images. I love what Blanca did with the Sphinx, so I had a go at taking the Devourer (one of my favourite undead creatures) and running with the design pretty far from the D&D original. He's pretty different, almost like a construct, with a big birdcage torso housing the harvested essences of his victims (although I really like the creature's "undeath" angle so I tried to keep that feel with the skeletal arms/legs). The victim of his soul-stealing is my wizard character Ovid, who I actually did another picture of over here which I like a bit more than this picture.

I'm trying to push my approach a bit in complexity, this time including a background with several light sources and a sort of twisted perspective + poses. I'm not too pleased with the result, as I think it comes across as busy, but it was a lot of work so I guess having it done is sort of satisfying. Anyway, to hell with it! It's posted. Here endeth Redux Month.

As always, I want to say thanks to everyone for hanging around for our three years of blogging monster redesigns. It seriously means a lot to both of us. Doing Redux Month has really hammered home the ways we've developed artistically through doing the blog and engaging with people like y'all, it's really heartening. So thankyou! Seriously!

Also, we'll be at the following conventions in England over the next couple of months. Come say hello!

- Joe

Sunday, 22 September 2013

REDUX MONTH: Gynosphinx

For the our final entry into Redux Month, we're redoing images that the other person did but didn't especially like. We wrote some lists for each other and picked one creture. I chose to redo the gynosphinx, an image Joe did about two years ago.

The Sphinx we're most common with is a unique Greek creature, famous for her "four legs, two legs, three legs" riddle. Fun fact: some sources say that the Sphinx was actually the child of the Chimera and sister to the Nemean Lion (slain by Hercules as his first task). Historically, the Sphinx is actually a Greek creation, has no wings and has the head of a man.  D&D has that one too, and calls it the androsphinx.

I was originally gonna do this Sphinx in blue as a reference to one of the prettiest sphinxes I've seen, the Sphinx Ambassador for the Magic card. But I couldn't make the blue work and a lot of stuff I've done is blue and I guess it probably would've been more a rip off than a reference. So red it is.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


The flying merchants of Gth'yr are a common sight in most of the cities of the world. An ancient guild of peddlers, they grew from small beginnings in the aviary-towns of the southern mountains, trading wares from settlement to settlement, and have since steadily increased their reach over several hundred years to cover most of the world. As their name implies, the merchants ferry their goods by air, having for many years employed the services of the great Yrthaks - enormous, sightless, crocodilian flying creatures- to aid them. The merchants have tamed the beasts through use of certain combinations of wind chimes and bells (to which the Yrthaks are, of course, highly sensitive), which also serve as a distinctive herald for the traders' arrival!

Wow! This one took a while, but I'm quite happy with it. I'm almost afraid to post the old Yrthak drawing I hate it so much, but for the sake of posterity (and reassuring myself I've gotten better) here it is. Don't laugh.

The creature is modeled a bit off those weird Pteranodons that sort of look like giraffes. It's sort of inspired by the Dinotopia series of books, which I liked a lot as a kid and rediscovered recently.

- Joe

Monday, 2 September 2013


Redux number three is the Will O Wisp. I think that out of all of the images I've done for this blog, that particular one is my most hated. Partially because it's so ugly but also because it feels like the intention I had behind it was pretty strong and was unable to carry it out. I'd been inspired by a book called Art Forms from the Ocean, a collection of prints by Ernst Haeckl of microscopic sea animals and plants. They're all pictures of quite beautifully geometric living things.

Which I guess means I copped out a bit by doing a good deal more typical Will O Wisp: a floating flame. But I'm still more pleased with this one than the older version. At least this is well drawn and kinda cute.

Fun fact: an alternate name for the Will O Wisp is the Hinkypunk. I remember reading that in one of the Harry Potter books (Prisoner of Azkaban, I think), describing the Hinkypunk as a one-legged creature that carries a lantern to lead people into bogs. I always thought that it was a creature that Rowling had made up, but it would seem it's a legit alternate version of the Will O Wisp.

Fun fact number two: a Hinkypunk (i.e. the one-legged dude) appears towards the end of Spirited Away, leading Chihiro to the Zeniba's house.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Here's my second image of Redux Month, the Spriggan! You can see the old version here (if you wanna).

I faffed for ages with this one and I'm sort of lukewarm on it, but I still like it better than the original. I actually hate looking at the old one because at the time I was experimenting a lot with this attempt at scratchy black linework that looks kinda brushy in imitation of artists like Nate Powell and Paul Pope, but I could never get it looking right because my basic drawing skills aren't up to it. I guess I quite like the sheer amount of hair he develops after "hulking out" (Spriggans, in case you didn't know, can grow in size from a small gnome-like creature to a gigantic gorilla monster) - here the change in appearance is less extreme - he just sort of thickens and his hair becomes a little tuftier. Looking between them I think my approach to linework is better in general now, I feel like I don't have to "fake" a lot of the things I used to.

The dude here is modeled on a gibbon, which are my favourite apes. 

Sorry about the slow posting this month, I'm working full-time on a commercial job and I'm trying really hard to keep the quality up so I don't feel like I've regressed!!

- Joe

Sunday, 25 August 2013

REDUX MONTH: Frost Giant

My second image for Redux Month, redoing the Frost Giant. This is a case of me liking the design, but not liking so much how the image itself was acually made. I found the image a bit cramped, to its detriment.

So I've still kept the whole vaguely arctic circle thing to it. I like to think this particular Frost Giant retired after a few battles, then he and his favourite winter wolf buddy decided to retire to a comparatively peaceful life on sheep herding.

I know in a lot of fantasy games and some fantasy lit, giants are usually pretty dumb brutes. But in quite a few fairy tales and such, giants tend to own and manage large portions of land. In Cornish stories, they have castles and rich tin mines. Adventurers usually find a way to take this from them. Puss in Boots steals a kingdom from a giant, which includes vast farmlands being kept by various farmers. This goes as far back as the Odyssey (probably even further back), where Odysseus comes across an islands of cyclopes, where they keep great herds of goats and sheep. Odysseus and his crew (the ones that haven't been eaten by Polyphemus), manage to escape by clinging to the underside of the sheep.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

REDUX MONTH: Spirit Naga

Hey! So here I am, finally, with my first choice for Redux Month on Dungeons & Drawings. The Spirit Naga! You can see the old (rubbish) version here.

Something I've learned over the last couple of years is to (as a friend put it) "own my mistakes". I'd like to think I'm fairly critical of my art (like 70% of the time, anyway), and I think it's a good ability to be able to look at the things you do and dispassionately asses what you've done well or badly, and how you can improve. A big part of this that I have to really work at is the acknowledgement of the fact that sometimes I'm going to do things that fall short of my expectations! You have to be able to get over that stuff without freaking out. I used to quite often upload an image here, and then tweak bits of it and reupload it, sometimes for days on end. Nowadays I do feel more confident with my work, and I'm more content to draw a line and say "it's finished" and leave it on the blog and to hell with it.


From time to time it's fun to indulge in some exercises like Redux Month, when we can look back at our past art with a collected, critical mind and see how we might do it differently now! The old Spirit Naga was a panic-upload that I didn't work on for very long - snake bodies are always hard for me to make interesting, so I just knocked it out. Here I've tried to make the design more interesting (and colourful!) whilst also invigorating the pose a bit. Hope you like it!

- Joe

PS If you're wondering, the green bracelet things are what I thought might pass for Naga jewelry. The little dangly bits are supposed to be like earrings, although as I was drawing them I thought it might be cool if they contained bells, or something that would create a disturbing jangly sound as the creature moves around.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


Sup peeps.

Dungeons and Drawings has been up and about as a blog for three years now. And while the blog has 200+ pics of them and we try quite hard to make all of 'em good, the truth is that there's quite a few that we feel we could've done a better job on. But since we like to do a different image every week, that stops us from just doing the same monster over and over until we're satisfied with it.

That's what anniversaries are for.

So for the next four weeks we're gonna be looking at the images we've been unhappy with and redo them.

My first choice for Redux Month is the Satyr, the goat-legged creature of Greek mythology. While I'm not as unhappy with that image as I am with others, it's one I felt I could definitely do better. The old version seemed a little too rough to me (I was using nib pens and real art materials aren't something I'm especially good with) and the colours didn't seem as well thought out, resulting in, I felt, an overall quite dull image.

The newer Satyr is inspired by the Valais Blackneck, a really awesome breed of goat, half black, half white. The kids are especially cute. They look like they're wearing clothes!

Friday, 9 August 2013


Delvers are huge, subterranean creatures known to be relatively placid in temperament. Since they consume earth and stone for sustenance they are of little threat to humans (although homicidal Delvers aren't unheard of). However, their diet is one that unfortunately makes them natural predators of creatures such as Earth Elementals and juvenile Xorns.

An adult Delver can grow to 15 feet in length, and contact with them should be avoided as they secrete an acidic slime to aid their tunneling which is harmful to humans. Delvers can digest metal, but the substance has an intoxifying effect on the creature which is also somewhat addictive. Miners should beware Delver copper junkies!

This was a fun image to make, I feel pleased with it right now. The design is sort of a cross between a star-nosed mole and a slug, and discerning viewers will notice the hapless Xorn cruched between its gummy jaws.

Sorry for the long lack of posts, usual story of sudden freelance work plus summer break delaying things somewhat. I've got another image to post on Sunday and then the next few weeks will feature something a little special! Stay tuned.

- Joe

Thursday, 1 August 2013


Marids are the water based version of genies (with Efreet as fire, Djinni as air and Dao as earth) and in classical mythology are thought of as the most powerful of the genies. They match the other genies in D&D mythology though, with some especially powerful ones (padishah) that may act as rulers. Rulers that don't especially get listened to because marids like to do their own thing, whether it's chilling in a palace, gathering pearls or capsizing ships. Honestly, it kinda sucks to be the padisha sitting on the Coral Throne, since the other marids really want that throne.

Like other genies, marids have a number of magical abilities, some of which are tied to their element, and are able to grant wishes if compelled to, a mood which can last a very short time since they're quite fickle beings.

Post somewhat late due to job responsibilities and being in Spain with my folks for the past week. It is crazy hot down there. My grandma hit the big 9-0 last weekend, though it's surprising how little she shows her age. It was a lovely celebration with absurd amounts of food. Feliz cumple, abuela.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Manchester MCM Expo Update

Just a quick post to say we'll be at the Manchester MCM Expo in Manchester Central all this weekend! We'll be at table CB15 (wherever that is) in the "Comic Village" section.

As usual, you'll be able to buy a selection of postcards & prints, and I'll be selling some comics, too. Swing by if you're in the area and say hi!

Thursday, 18 July 2013


This was a blind challenge given to me by Joe.

I'd like to say challenge failed. It was bound to happen.

Which is a shame because this creature has a couple of interesting things going for it. It's essentially a big fat body with three tentacles, three claws and three open eyes (an undisclosed number of them being closed). So far, so aberrationy. But the interesting this about this particular monster is that its capable of creating a copy of any creature that it eats. This creature is completely loyal to it. Its lair is riddled with these monsters.

Which means that it's a good way for a DM to steal someone's character. Oh dang, you got eaten by this monster. Oh wait, your character's back, but he's my character now too bad.

The image that I've made is supposed to be inspired by two things: the female reproductive system and the Key of Solomon, a book about demon summoning accompanied by lots of really nice sigils. The first part is an idea I was proud of coming up with, but disappointed I couldn't rended it as well as I could. The monster is pretty much this bizarre sentient devouring womb. But I couldn't make that into an illustration I could be happy with so I copped out and went for something simpler instead.

The Latin was fun, though.

Sunday, 14 July 2013


"Glimmerskin" is the name given to peculiar entities known, on occasion, to venture to our plane from that of positive energy. Little is known of their origin or behaviour, except that they seem inexplicably drawn to sites of conflict and violence on the material plane. Being incorporeal and thus unable to participate in the destruction they crave, they have been known to conduct semi-formal symbiotic "bondings" with earthly creatures (typically warmongers, or those who experience violence on a daily basis).

When thus contracted, the Glimmerskin encapsulates the "host" in a veil of light, often taking the appearance of a glowing cloak, or a radiant set of armor. The bond is willingly made - in exchange for sating the creature's appetite for blood, the host is bestowed with a portion of the Glimmerskin's magical positive energy - empowering his attacks and bolstering his defence. The Glimmerskin itself exerts no control over its partner, merely communicating its wishes telepathically; after all, it is more than capable of "jumping" to another host if the current one isn't fulfilling his duty!

The idea of Glimmerskins is pretty terrifying, particularly as they exist to further empower the already strong and bloody. I can imagine the presence of just one in any situation would be enough to shake things up considerably - people might try and outdo each other in acts of wanton violence in order to tempt it from owner to owner! It was fun to think of a symbiotic creature that goes in a different, light-themed direction from creatures like Venom. I'm quite happy with the design, although the host ended up going in a sort of Final Fantasy direction, which was... unexpected? I guess it reminds me a little of the centaur I did.

Anyway! This week marks the 3rd consecutive Sunday I've posted an image up ON TIME. WHOA! I even have a buffer. Aren't you guys proud of me?!

- Joe

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Lunar Ravager

Lunar Ravagers are out and about on days where the moon is bright and visible in the sky. They come down riding on moonbeams, nine feet tall and pale, wielding crescent-shaped weapons. They come down in groups and track the first worthy creature they come across, which could be anything from a wolf, a giant hellbeast or just an unfortunate drunk that got lost on his way home. Nature aids them in their grim hunt, leaving no trace more than the blood of their prey. They take their hunting trophies back with them to their hunting lodge on the moon. To return with no quarry would be shameful.

Lunar Ravagers are one of several D&D monsters based off the folkloric-slash-mythological stories of the Wild Hunt. The basic gist of it is that at certain times fairies or devils come out to be jerks and hunt-slash-kill any innocent people they come across. These certain times can be quite variable from story to story. Sometimes they're only out on certain days of the year, sometimes it has to do which the phases of the moon, and sometimes it's just a case of just don't go out at night. The Wild Hunt thing appears in the folklore of many regions of Europe, but I'm sure other areas have stories that follow a similar path.

I've based the design of the Ravager on a couple of things. The costume is based on old Hun warrior outfits. There's something quite reserved and convienient about their clothing, but still looks cool. Also they look kinda cozy and warm, and I imagine it gets pretty chilly on the moon. Then the noseless face, receded hairline and dark eyes are there to make it look alien (specifically, like a Grey). The last thing is the general subject of the image, inspired by photographs of hunters posing proudly on their felled prey.

Sunday, 7 July 2013


Chimerae are strange hybrid creatures usually possessing the heads of several different animals around a somewhat leonine body. Their variety of claws, beaks, horns and fangs make them excellent predators, often further embellished by a dragon-like breath weapon.

Back to lineless again! Quite pleased with the feather/scales on this guy, partly modeled on the Why Bird, a stalwart feature of British kid's show Playdays!

- Joe

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


The Belker is yet another monster that I never paid very much attention to, just kinda going 'ehhh' whenever I came to it's entry and moving on to fire horses and other more traditionally cool monsters. I finally got around to actually reading its entry and I realized, holy canoli, this fella is hella horrifying. You know Scratchtasia? That Itchy and Scratchy version of Fantasia where Scratchy chops up Itchy into powder, then accidentally breathes him in, and then a million microscopic Itchies hack him to pieces from the inside? That's essentially what a Belker can do to you.

These creatures are air elementals assossiated with the more smokey aspects of air. They appear as vaporous devils, though they can turn into actual clouds of smog that can either casually float away or do the earlier mentioned shenanigans to your respiratory system. 

Sunday, 30 June 2013


Ettin are a famously idiotic subspecies of giant, best recognised by the twin traits of being both two-headed and vastly unhygienic. The extra head apparently does nothing for their overall smarts but does allow them to much better co-ordinate two-weapon fighting, as each head governs control of one arm.

The language typically spoken by Ettin is a crude pidgin of Orc, Goblin and Giant, and actually requires a linguistics skill check (DC 15) for speakers of these languages to even understand them, which I find sort of sweet. There's a sort of sterotype for lumbering two-headed giants (things like Warcraft and Dota come to mind) so I really wanted to use a different body shape - Blanca suggested arranging the two heads vertically rather than horizontally, which seemed a pretty cool idea. Otherwise I was looking at the ever-awesome Wind Waker concept designs for inspiration on this one (I guess because the pig-like description of the Ettin reminds me of a Moblin).

- Joe

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Somehow the Bannelar isn't considered a naga despite its humanoid face and snakey body.

Bannelar are quite large creatures, at least 20 feet in length. They can be found both in water and out of it, and can cast spells to control the water about them. Among their special features are the whiskers about their mouth, which are actually prehensile and can be used to wield small objects, such as wands and rings. However, the whiskers aren't dextrous enough to wield weapons. Not that it needs it since their stingers and bites come with knock-out poison. Good night to you chumps.

Another drawing where the research phase was quite nice. There are lots of pretty eels and sea snakes out there. Also, I'm quite pleased with the way the Bannelar's stinger looks. Very pineappley.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


Achaierai are large (adults can reach 15 feet in height), flightless, diabolic birds that dwell on the hellish plane of Acheron. They hunt intelligently, with a penchant for sadism only found in the most evil of housecats. They can also belch noxious black clouds which send those who breathe them insane. Delightful!

I guess this is another relatively simple one, but I'm happy with the composition and linework so I'm not going to add any more. Achaierai have actually featured on this blog before in another creature's entry, but I really don't like the drawing in question so I'm not going to link it! Ha! The way I've drawn it sort of hunched over reminds me a little of a xenomorph, or the delightfully-named "deacon" creature in Prometheus.

The description doesn't mention a tail, but I felt that adding one gave it more of a catlike feel. The head is modeled off a recoloured Zebra Finch, which I think is a fine-looking bird. I didn't go crazy detailing the feathers because it feels a bit more smooth and alien this way. Like, this creature is not a bird, it's something much worse that happens to look like one.

- Joe

PS - Bosch, anyone? the guy was definitely fond of torturous man-birds.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Large Earth Elemental

Though perhaps the more adequate term for this particular example would be the large malachite elemental.

Though it's understandable why an earth elemental is normally drawn by making them either made out of soil or grey stone, it's a bit of a shame to ignore all the beautiful different kinds of 'earth' there are in the world.  Malachite is probably my favourite stone just because of it's amazing natural floral green patterns. There are a number of other stones in the world that come in really stunning colours and shapes, before even being touched by man. I have to admit that this looks maybe a bit too much like a water elemental in its colours to properly communicate the earthiness of it, though. Though it would be nice to see a caste system with earth elementals. Maybe especially powerful or ancient elementals are made out of pure diamond?

Earth elementals are probably another creature where you can be quite cruel to your players with. How? Because as an earth elemental it can burrow effortlessly --and sightlessly-- though earth and stone. Bam! The ground you're standing on suddenly has arms.

This is the final of the pure elemental four. Perhaps in the future we'll tackle the paraelementals (lava, lightning, etc)? Probably.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Large Water Elemental

Even moreso than other elementals, the Water Elemental's effectiveness is greatly enhanced by proximity to bodies of water. Whilst a Water Elemental can move its body about across the ground it takes a penalty on its attacks - yet, when it moves through water or even across large puddles, its command over the substance allows it to attack much more effectively. Especially for a non-aquatic race such as humans, encountering an elemental underwater is a near death sentence - roughly equivalent to trying to fight an incredibly quick and strong ooze from the inside. Prepare to be exploded.

More elementals! Me and Blanca thought it would be fun to just do all four of the classic types this week. Again the design is less abstract than is usual - I wanted to focus on the idea that if you're a sentient body of water you're essentially a shapeshifter, so you'd probably be taking forms of various creatures as you move about. The little head/core thing is part Morpha (from Ocarina of Time again, the water temple boss) and part the river spirit from Spirited Away. The body is modeled off various deep-sea creatures, most notably the fantastic Vampire Squid.

Stay tuned for the final element tomorrow!

- Joe

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Large Air Elemental

Air Elementals are the fastest of the elementals, faster than their more fiery counterparts, along with not being bound by gravity. While they're the physically weakest of the bunch, they can turn themselves into whirlwinds able to check or fling away smaller creatures. Not so good when you're standing next to, say, a spike-filled pit.

Like Joe said, we're trying to do something a little bit more interesting with our elementals other than 'creature made out of X element' (not that I'm not guilty of that). So I thought of something that was more representatives of currents of air, something that looks like its voice would be high-pitched and whose touch would be cutting. So here's a papery-feathery squid thing. I also really dig the ideas of spirits or deities being visualized with an object that symbolizes them.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Large Fire Elemental

Broadly speaking, "Elemental" is a description that encompasses a range of monsters that are not so much living creatures as manifested forces of nature. These creatures are often almost mindless, or motivated by thoughts so primordial that their actions seem as such. While elementals are as diverse in type as the wide range of forces that give rise to them, perhaps the "classic" four elementals are the best known - Fire, Water, Earth and Air.

Fire Elementals are fearsome creatures of great speed and power, though flighty and erratic by nature. Their bodies burn with perpetual fire, giving their attacks extra damage and punishing adventurers that attack them with natural weapons. Your party monk is probably gonna have a bad time unless he has asbestos hands.

I really want to get back into using lines more! I enjoy actually drawing as opposed to just filling in blocks of colour sometimes. This guy might look a little unlike what you have in your head when you think of an Elemental, but I'm not that big a fan of the usual illustrations of big walking blobs of fire you usually get. I actually really like the elemental type works in MtG, where they appear a bit more like normal (yet weird) creatures, especially in the Lorwyn sets (like this guy, or this guy). You still get the impression they represent primal elemental forces but it's a bit more interesting than "a big buy made of fire/rock/air/water". Plus, you get colours in flame other than red and yellow!

The inspiration for the design is kind of a mix of Flare Dancers from Ocarina of Time and the Susanoo giant-ghost-mecha-things from Naruto. Yes, I still read Naruto. Don't judge me.

- Joe

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Summoning Ooze

Common Oozes are difficult enough creatures to fight; alien in form and movement, often with a host of  more unpleasant qualities to substitute for the effectiveness of teeth and claws - with the Summoning Ooze the problem is compounded somewhat.

Possibly the result of a summoning spell physically manifesting, a Summoning Ooze is a gelatinous mass threaded through with glyphs of calling and binding which swim in chaotic patterns, summoning random creatures which materialise to serve the creature's bidding.

I feel a bit tired of digital painting so here's something a little more on the "graphic" end of the spectrum again. I got a little way into animating this guy (I love animating abstract blobby shapes swirling around) but I thought for the sake of speed for now I'll just post the image. Oozes are, as always, tricky to give some character to - for this guy I went for a weird anemone-style shape, like a many-armed head on a stalk (even if it's obscured a bit by all the stuff going on around it). Make sense to you guys?

- Joe

Monday, 27 May 2013



So these little ladies are about a step away from being werespiders. An aranea is a shapeshifting magical spiders, with a unique humanoid form, one beastly form and a third form being somewhere in between. Though not good, these creatures aren't evil, which is something quite pleasant when it comes to sentient spiders.

I just really dig the idea that the little old lady in the house down the road that makes extra nice sweaters has a bit of a secret. But that doesn't mean she'll eat you. Well, maybe she will. Villagers probably get the ol' torch and pitchfork when they find out about that. They've still got a good bit of poison, spells and sticky webs to gather you up with. So just be a dearie and keep Grammy Spider's secret, okay?

Friday, 24 May 2013


Centaurs are a noble race of beast-men who, as in their appearance, straddle a line between humanity and animal savagery. Their trust is hard to earn; their wrath is cheap indeed!

Sorry for the lateness of this! Busy work and busy weekends make Joe a tired boy. Also apologies for the boobs on display here, I just felt like 99% of the fantasy centaurs I see are bare-chested, muscled males and I felt like switching up the gender - the result is something like Walt Disney's (planned) topless centaurs for Fantasia meets Merle from Escaflowne or some other borderline-furry catgirl cheesecake from my youth. I'm not much fond of furry art (to put it lightly), but for some reason centaurs and mermaids seem to avoid my distaste.

In any case, I've been looking at a lot of drawings of girls lately (Chris Sanders, Alex Ahad) and I felt like trying my hand at a pretty girl - I think the hair is a little boring, but I like the face and the rest of it. Maybe I'll change up the hairstyle later - for now, I'll just post it. Feel free to berate me in the comments for my possible idle sexism / corruption of America's youth etc etc. :)

- Joe

PS be sure to look at it full-size! I might put up some detail images tomorrow.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Cursed Cold One (Gelun)

The Cursed Cold Ones may once have been humans. Once. Now they're translucent humanoid creatures entirely dependant on heat. Any temperature below searing hot causes them to freeze into a block of ice and enter an agonizing state of hibernation.

To counter this, they live primarily in hot deserts, where they're guaranteed long days of extreme heat and sunlight. But desert nights are notoriously cold and the Cursed Cold Ones must find a heat source of risk becoming blocks of ice for the next few hours. Because their bodies are natural heat sinks, their touch is much like the attack of an Ice Serpent, freezing their victims as they drain them of their heat. Even their gaze can cause an enemy to reel with sensations of deep cold.

Tried to get some sketchy shading with this image. Sometimes I really like the scratchy dark shadows I do in my sketchbook.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Nashrou are among the many animalian predators that are scattered about the Abyss. Their intelligence is comparable to wolves, as are their pack hierarchy. They're rarely alone, but a solitary nashrou could be a good or bad thing. Good may mean that it's been separated. Or it could mean that they're a scout and the rest of the pack is shortly behind them.

Though fierce, these creatures have a big flaw: they're extremely vulnerable to specific hit. You hit one in an especially vulnerable point (i.e. score a critical hit) and you've got a pretty good chance of killing one instantaneously.

This was a blind monster (name and image blacked out) given to me by Joe. I'm pretty pleased that the image looks nothing like what's in the book, though I do regret that the one has a way more interesting body in an abstact geometry kind of way.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


Among the demonic hordes of the Infinite Layers of the Abyss, the Dretch is undoubtedly the most pitiful. Small, stinking, blubbery midgets, they are only barely intelligent enough to comprehend speech and cannot approximate it themselves - instead relying on a crude form of telepathy. Which is not to deny that Dretches are cruel, monstrous creatures who seek out murder and destruction for the sheer joy of it; merely that where there is a Dretch, there is also most likely a more powerful demon somewhere behind, goading it into action.

I finally bought a cintiq last week! This makes two entries so far made using a cintiq on this blog - this one and the Rogue Eidolon (which I made at a place where I was working last year). They both have a kind of painterly look, which is something the cintiq helps with. This guy was fun to draw, especially the graphic, simian face. I tried to get a balance between him looking scary/silly, it's a balance I like to straddle. What do you think?

- Joe

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Gray Dwarves (Duergar)

Like the drow, the duergar are a cold-hearted subterranean race of dark-skinned humanoids. Unlike the drow, they put on no airs of aristocratic refinement, despite thinking they're better than anybody else.

Duergar are deep believers that life is nothing but thankless, painful work, as the doctrines Laduguer state. The priests of their religion go through agonizing torture in order to prove themselves worthy. The rest of them are all craftsmen, creating beautiful treasure after treasure. However, they don't seem to indulge very much in them. The dress of the duergar is drab, without embellishment, while their works are locked away in deep trap-filled vaults. Life is work, not pleasure, even if it's the pleasure of artistic accomplishment.

Duergar also have a fascinating origin myth. Laduguer created the grey dwarves and taught them to work. And they did. But there was one dwarf, the Lone Craftsman, who would hide away from deific eyes and commit blasphemies: he created life. The Lone Craftsman made all the other races of the world and when Laduguer found out, he cursed him, transforming him into the first derro, another subterranan race made up of psychotic small man incapable of creation due to their small attention spans. So the Duergar see all other races as abominations and insults against their god. They especially hate other dwarves, seeing them as the Lone Craftsman's ultimate heresy. The only race they almost respect are gnomes, since they're almost as single-minded in their craftsmanship as the duergar.

They're tough to fight as well, with innate size-changing and invisibility abilities. I bet a good many adventurer has been smashed by an underground giant not realizing that they were fighting a dwarf.

There need to be more lady dwarves. Also, the lady dwarves need to be as hirsute as their male counterparts.

Monday, 29 April 2013


Petals are tiny fey creatures who can sometimes prove problematic to adventurers (but rarely intentionally). They inhabit secluded areas in temperate forests, and their chief reaction to travelers of any sort is to sing to them. This would, it has to be said, be less of a problem if the magical voices of Petals didn't put the listener into a drowsy, peaceful sleep.

While this might seem at first mischievous, they consider it in fact an act of utter benevolence - is there any creature alive who doesn't deserve a little more rest in life? Afterwards, they tend to their slumbering "victims" by removing their amour (it can't be comfy to rest in all those silly metal plates!) and weaving them soft garments of leaves, which the hapless adventurers wake up in.

The description of the Petal is so sweet I can't hardly stand it. I struggle a lot with the details on these lately - I want to add lines to define things like the mouth, fingers, but it's hard to make them not jar against the airbrushy shading. I'm pleased with the colours, though.

- Joe

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Slok, Frogwarden

Slok is a PC I created for a comedic-themed campaign some friends of ours are running and is a masterpiece of planning because, despite being a bit of a joke, he covertly manages to be a) sort of a cool idea (for me, anyway) as well as b) possibly overpowered (pending on my reading up on a couple of rules).

He's the first druid I've ever rolled - for some reason I've never been much attracted to the class - and also my first half-orc. Druids are popularly considered overpowered through sheer versatility - their Wild Shape class ability allows them to transform into a host of different creatures which can be useful in many situations.

Slok's gimmick is that I'm using the Pack Lord archetype (actually for the Pathfinder series of games, which we've taken to playing lately) with him, which means rather than just choosing one animal companion (as is the druid's usual allocation) Slok gets to instead have a selection of lower-levelled animal companions (divided up between his druid levels, so at level 4 he can have 4 lvl 1 companions, 2 lvl 2 companions etc). I've accordingly given him four giant frogs as companions (he also has to forgo a domain). Archetypes are fun! You should check out pathfinder if you don't already know it.

The art was fun. Wanted to get it done quicker so went for a more flat, graphic style.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


The Asherati are a race of elfish creatures who live in societies beneath the sands of great deserts. Standing around the height of the average human they nevertheless appear strangely lithe in their gait, wearing fluid, skin-hugging outfits of tanned leather. Their minimal taste in armour is a result of their primary method of travel - they are capable of swimming easily through sand, or other very loose soil, to get from place to place.

I went for a sort of earth-themed-Zora look for this guy, as you can probably see by the nose and the eyes. Did you ever play Majora's Mask? The Zora swimming sections in that are incredibly fun, they got a great feel for the momentum of it. Maybe it's an unconscious coincidence but the chunky golden swords remind me of the big weapons Ganon has in OoT.

This one's a back-and-forth mix of Photoshop and Paint Tool Sai.

- Joe

Jammy Dodger and the Marmelooze

Sorry about the lack of updates. See the previous post for our excuses.

Also sorry about cheating, because this is my new character, rather than a creature. I just finished DMing Paizo's Path of Immortality set of adventures, which ended up with everyone dying (except for one who went mad with power and another person who got trapped in the Astral Plane). Some of the players enjoyed it to the point of wanting to DM there own campaign, which they said would be silly.


So my new character is Jammy Dodger, gnome alchemist/summoner. The Marmelooze is what happens when you make preserves from magical oranges. It would seem I like playing gnomes that probably shouldn't be adventuring.

Dis gonn be good though.

Dungeons & Drawings Update!

Hey! We haven't been uploading stuff very often for a while now, so I just wanted to make a quick post giving some kind of context for the change in pace, as well as revealing some future plans for the blog.

Blanca and I both do most of our paid work as freelance animators. Dungeons & Drawings has so far remained a pretty much non-profit creative vehicle for us - our circulation at the moment is pretty good but we ain't no Game Grumps, and we don't run ads, but we're pretty lucky in that our main method of making money still generally revolves around drawing pictures.

Being freelance just means we do work on an as-and-when basis, so a studio will hire us for X amount of days. This means that work comes along in bursts, and sometimes it can be pretty intense! For about the last month or two we've been on and off on a couple of pretty crazy jobs, including a music video that we should be able to post soon - and unfortunately our D&D output has suffered. We both feel kinda bad, but it's just a result of the ebbs and flows of being a gun-for-hire in the art world.

Anyway, enough excuses! Today, we're back on track with a couple of illustrations flyin' at ya straight outta Streatham. But also we're happy to announce a couple of Dungeons & Drawings convention appearances in the UK - firstly

COMIKET at Central St. Martins on Saturday 20th of April

Comiket is a Small Press expo that happens twice every year and features a bunch of amazing artists that make really amazing art and comics.

LONDON MCM EXPO at the Excel Centre on 25th- 26th of May

London MCM is the Big Cheese of British comic conventions. It fills out one whole side of the gigantic Excel Centre and is typically a massive, colourful, hot, sweaty nerdfest that lasts for two and a half days. We'll be there in the Comic Village on Saturday and Sunday! Come by and check us out! Supposedly Shinichiro Watanabe (of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo fame) will be there?!?! Woah!

We'll be selling a selection of postcard prints and stickers at both of these. If you live in England come along, we'd love to meet you! Also Joe will be plugging his new comic, too.

Anyway, back to our regular scheduling. Thanks for sticking with us!

- Blanca & Joe

Monday, 25 March 2013

Carcass Eater

The Carcass Eater is a small animal a rat and a hound. As an animal whose main diet is comprised of carrion, its common haunts are graveyards, battlegrounds, abbatoirs and any other sort of place that would be home to heaps of rotting flesh. The Carcass Eater has a sharp sense of smell and can detect the smallest drop of blood, the scent of which drives it into a shark-like feeding frenzy. Its jaws are especially big, useful for tearing hunks of meat and breaking bones.

This was a blind image, given to me by Joe. I was kinda panicky when he gave it to me when I saw that it was an animal type creature. Animals tend to be, well, actual real creatures that either exist or have existed in the past; creatures of little intelligence and no magical ability. Sometimes there's bigger than usual. I was worried that he'd given me an actual animal and was worried that I was going to represent a real creature in a way that didn't represent it in reality. Which may have been interesting, now that I think about it, like how giraffes were drawn when the description was "camel-like creature with leopard spots".

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Semnurvs are intelligent magical beasts who fiercely serve as champions for goodness and law. They have the appearance of a large dog with enormous, colourful wings in place of forepaws, using them to swoop down on enemies from great heights.

Semnurvs (or Simurghs), far from their rather... interpretation in D&D, are actually a genuine mythical creature from iranian folklore, which makes sense as they fit into the whole "winged mammals" thing that you get quite a lot in the middle east (sphinxes, lamassus etc). Persian myth, as with every other moderately obscure folkloric tradition, has some pretty interesting nuggets in there if you're prepared to look!

Fairly quick one this week, as I still have another to catch up on to bring me up to date. I used a combination of Paint Tool Sai and Photoshop. The first time I used a tablet to draw was using the old Painter Classic when I was a kid, and Sai's a similar sort of thing. Even though paint programs like that are obviously never going to be quite as charming as the real life painting they're trying to emulate, the physical feel of the colour is still really fun. It's nice how colour mixes and drags in ways that you don't get in photoshop. I want to be able to do more sophisticated painting in the program but I started off with something pretty basic and graphic.

We were busy at last weekend's Birmingham MCM Expo and we're gearing up to exhibit at the main London MCM this May! Dungeons & Drawings are working on some big things right now, so if you're in London or even in England at all, do consider dropping by, we'd love to say hi.

- Joe

PS his head is modeled off a Borzoi, which I think is a particularly awesome-looking breed of dog.

Friday, 15 March 2013


A Zeuglodon is a giant marine creature with a great crocodile-like maw and long-flexible body. Despite its vaguely reptilian shape, the Zeuglodon is a real-life ancestor of the whale. Like many whales, these fellas can be found primarily in cold waters. Despite their impressive teeth, the tail of the Zeuglodon is especially dangerous, being used to stun prey and break apart ships.

You know what I find tolerable? Model-building. You know what I find incredibly frustrating? Photography. The raft of the model was especially fun to make, which  is made from various sticks from around where I live. I decided to do this to challenge myself with some different materials, and was a good deal inspired by the model-work of my friend Grethe Bentsen.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Porcupine Cactus

Standing in its ripened state no higher than a halfling, the Porcupine Cactus is so called for its bizarre method of seed dispersion. Rather than relying on its fruit to be digested, rainwater instead causes it to swell to an enormous size, whereupon any disturbance of the plant will result in its body rupturing, sowing the thornlike seeds in all directions. The Porcupine Cactus' detonation also serves a more greusome purpose - should the source of the disturbance be another creature, the volley of thorns may kill it, providing a fresh source of nutrients for the next generation.

This is another "blind" pick - Blanca chose the creature, then gave me nothing more than the text description, with the name blacked out. It's fun! I think I'd have probably gone for something more deliberately cactus-like if I'd known, which might have been a bit predictable. Its face - well, the eye, anyway - is part artistic flourish (ie I just like the way it looks) and part a response to the fact that the plant apparently possesses Low-light Vision. I know this is probably more a representation of the plant's ability to "sense" things around it but I just liked the idea that it would have a big eyeball. WELP

My posts have been pretty few and far between lately. I'm fairly busy! I promise I'll get back into the swing of things, though.

ALSO you can drop by the MCM Anime Expo in Birmingham next week and see Blanca and I! I'll be hawking my lame comics, too. Look for us in the Comic Village!

- Joe