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

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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