This week I got a bit behind on the challenges because I was also working on miniatures for the penguin RPG I ran on Thursday and illustrations for an original roleplaying game a friend has been writing. So I did a lot of catching up today, and really enjoyed today’s challenges. I like running city-based adventures, so I enjoyed drawing the first of a number of urban creatures:
I also appreciated the vegepygmy challenge, because it meant I read about a monster that I wasn’t familiar with, and it turned out to be fairly interesting. (They basically start off as a brown mould that could infect an adventurer.)
Another monster that I hadn’t read much about, and appreciated the opportunity reflect on was the redcap, which I’ve already written about here.
I also enjoyed drawing the troll messhall cook, because I like drawing ‘monsters’ in incongruous ways that challenge us to think about them differently.
I came across this video from Nerdarchy, about redcaps, and I think they make a good observation about redcaps’ relationship with violence. Redcaps appear at the location of a murder, if the murder occurs in a place where the regular world and the Feywild overlap. (A bit like the concept of thin space in Celtic spirituality.) Someone who knows what they’re doing might be able to summon redcaps as minions, but the risk is that they will just kill the summoner. They might follow the person who summons them. But if they do it will only be as long as their master provides more opportunities to kill. If their master doesn’t give them more opportunities to kill, they will kill their master. It seems to me that this monster speaks to us about the tendency of violence to keep generating more violence. Just recently one of our government ministers has been suggesting that our country should become a major arms manufacturer, but that we would only sell weapons to appropriate countries. It seems unrealisitc to think that in the chaos of war, we would be able to control who ends up with our weapons or how they are used.
I got some of the challenges mixed up this week – did some on the wrong days and did a stone giant instead of a storm giant. But it’s still been a good disciple drawing something each day.
One of the challenges I’ve enjoyed most this week was the ettercap, because it’s one of the monsters I remember from the computer game Baldur’s Gate, which was my introduction to roleplaying games. They’re kind of creepy because they’re a bit like spiders but they also look disturbingly human.
‘Playing by Post’Nerdarchy – explains the nature of roleplaying online without a ruleset
‘Tomb of Annihilation Clues and Hints’Power Score – SPOILERS! Gathers together a whole lot of details that can be gleaned about Tomb of Annihilation, which may be handy for DMs planning to run this adventure – but could ruin the adventure for players.
‘D&D grung and other monsters are people, too’Nerdarchy – this article describes how the DM has used monsters as non-player characters in an adventure involving conflict between grung and lizardfolk; and in a Spelljammer adventure
‘Ascension’Nerdarchy – has some suggestions about how fey creatures can be made more frightening by digging deeper into mythology. I don’t think this aspect of fey creatures is as forgotten as Mike Gould suggests, but it’s definitely lost in the Disneyfied version of fairies. Also, here’s a fungal dryad I drew:
Sunday to Wednesday I was in a class on Indigenous Theologies and Methods, which NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies) was running here through Whitley College. One of the things we spent a lot of time discussing was the differences between how Western Christians have read the Bible and how the Bible might be read from Indigenous cultural perspectives. One particular emphasis that our teacher Terry LeBlanc (a Mi’qmac man from Canada) noted was the tendency for Western Christians to focus on the rupturing of creation in Genesis 3 and overlook the goodness of creation in Genesis 1-2. His suggestion was that rather than Genesis 3 being an ultimate fall from perfection, it is more like a break in relationship between people, God, spirits and fellow creatures.
At the same time I’ve been participating in the #DungeonDrawingDudes challenge for July. Each day there’s a Dungeons & Dragons creature to draw, and Tuesday’s challenge was a wereshark, which I really enjoyed drawing.
@bodieh, who lives in Western Australia (where the government has encouraged the culling of sharks) is one of the organisers of the challenge, commented on this one. I wondered whether this wereshark might be looking for former Western Australian premier Colin Barnett? I wondered whether we should be paying attention to what sharks may be trying to say to us, rather than culling them? It certainly seems unfair to me that we would venture into their natural environment and then kill them when they attack us.
During February I participated in the #DungeonDrawingDudes challenge. For each day of the month there was a prompt for a D&D themed drawing. I’ve found it to be a big challenge. I’ve been stretched by it. I’ve enjoyed seeing what everyone’s contributed. I thought I’d post a few things I’ve learned and one thing that I would change.
I’ve learned to turn stuff around quick
Earlier in the year I had already set myself a challenge to draw something to each week to use in my own D&D campaigns. The daily challenges really intensified that challenge and meant that I really needed to get into a rhythm of producing daily. I subscribe to the idea that if you want to get creative work done you just need to get into the momentum of producing, even if what you’re producing isn’t the best. The discipline of finishing something sub-par can help you follow through into something decent.
I’ve learned how to draw figures better
In response to someone else’s contribution on Instagram one day I mentioned that I hate hands because I don’t know how to draw them well. In response I was told that I should channel my hatred of hands into learning to do them. I’ve often said that I’m not good at drawing figures acurately, that I’m not good at getting proportions right or drawing arms that look like they would work properly. I’ve hidden behind the fact that my signature style is pretty abstract. The idea that I should put energy into learning these things properly really inspired me. What I ended up doing to improve was downloading a couple of apps that allow you to manipulate anatomical models, and I used this to help me draw more realistic figures for a number of my contributions. (I still did plenty in my regular style.)
I’ve learned to look at earlier editions for ideas
I’ve played a little bit of 3rd Edition, Pathfinder and Labyrinth Lord, but most of my experience with D&D is of 5th Edition, and I doubt I’ll ever go back to early versions of D&D. However, there is so much creative contentavailable in the earlier editions which could be adapted for 5th Edition. I appreciated having the challenge of drawing an arachnomancer from 3rd Edition, and think it’d be intersting to adapt to 5th Edition. I’m also keen to have a look through other content from earlier editions for ideas.
I’ve learned to be creative and not just do stuff like it is in the Monster Manual
I noticed that some some of the challenges got a bit dull. I got up to the drider challenge and was thoroughly uninspired until I came up with the idea of giving the drider many eyes, making it’s elven fact look more mad and spiderlike.
What I’d change: the name
The one thing I’d change about this challenge is the name. I know what some people use ‘dude’ as a nongendered term, but a lot of people do see ‘dude’ as a masculine noun. I think that if a clearly non-gendered name was used, like #DungeonDrawingDorks, we’d see a more diverse range of contributors.
If you’d like to use my illustrations in your game, the files are here. (Please don’t publish them elsewhere without my permission though.)
If you’d like to republish any of the illustrations, or if you’d like to commission some illustrations for your own game, shoot me an email.
I’ve been enjoying the daily #DungeonDrawingDudes challenges and its been great to see how everyone else is approaching them. The best place to have a look is on Instagram. A few weeks ago I noticed four artists were making challenges for each other, to draw various creatures from Dungeons & Dragons, and that’s developed into a daily challenge that’s open to everyone:
(In recognition that ‘dudes’ is generally understood to be gendered language, I’ve also been using #DungeonDrawingDorks.)
Here are my first week’s worth of contributions:
1. Sentient Weapon
2. Kenku Druid
4. Gnome Druid
5. Rakshasa Sorcerer
7. Ice Giant
I’m open to commissions if you’d like me to draw monsters or adventurers for your game. Send me a private message or email me – email@example.com