Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More Torchbearer Beasts

RPG author Luke Crane put together a group of my monster drawings as a bestiary for his new game Torchbearer. The first set featured a Devil Boar, Sprikken, a Disturbed Spirit, Gruxu, & an Owlbear. I had so much fun doing the set, that Luke and I talked about making this a semi-regular collaboration.

The new monsters in the Petersen Bestiary are available for a FREE download (fun for RPG players as well as for plain fantasy & world-building lovers) here:

at Luke's Site: http://www.burningwheel.com/store/index.php/torchbearer.html
& at DriveThruRPG: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/browse.php?manufacturers_id=2183

And the original inked pieces are also available in my online store.

Here is a look at the art for this set of monsters: *update-with background info on each piece*

I remember these types of monsters fondly from the 80's D&D cartoon. Neighborhood friends on my block and I would use these as our main bad-guys when playing pretend. Before starting this piece, I looked at a few of the various fantasy game illustrations of them and homogonized them into this. I liked the idea of drawing a mostly read frog head and then playing with the proportions so they didn't look physically as threatening. I then layered in jagged scraps of found-item gear and painfully broken weapons to add the menace these guys need.

Luke suggested I do my take on a D&D Stirge type creature. The jaw gave me a bit of trouble for a bit because the proboscis is rigid and would need to have a moth close around it. Friends suggested something like the Predator...and I must say I straight forwardly ripped off the design. My main regret with this was the crab/lobster-like claws. Seems like a silly design choice now.

"Elder Nixie"
The request from Luke was a merman/nixie. I didn't want to do something so humaniod as all that, and so the creaturey-ness of this creature took over completely. I branded it an Elder Nixie to suggest a variant of the nixie species, so that later either I or another illustrator can give Luke a proper nixie/merman. The mouth is an odd form, and I imagine the lower 'jaw' being all soft muscle tissue...it sort of looks like he's eating several squid, but that IS his lower jaw...which dangles like a beard.

"Cinder Imp"
This was a creature of my own invention. I wanted to do something more fairy-tale looking, but still a good go-to for a GM to use in an adventure. I was influenced in part by the devils from the Jim Henson's Storyteller episode "The Soldier & Death". When deciding not to clad him in clothes, I ran into a problem of how to not show genitals and not make him smooth like a Ken-doll. I opted to pepper his body with stippling to look like ash or the cool spots in a pit of embers.

"Giant Cyclops"
My goal here was to not replicate Ray Harryhausen's Cyclops at all, but to make this more than a big guy with one eye. A basic human proportion coupled with a ton of texture and extra anatomy in the neck make this a successful deviation from both of my initial anti-goals. The human bone necklace just made for a nice way to end the drawing and provide a sense of scale and horror.

I already have a grouping of creatures in mind that I'd like to feature for the next set. I have not yet drawn them, so there is no release date in-sight, but I'll tease that it will be a themed grouping of beasts.

2014 Appearances:
MSU Comics Forum: February 22
C2E2: April 25-27
Comicpalooza: May 23-25
Heroes Con: June 20-22
San Diego Comic Con: July 23-27
Boston Comic Con: August 8-10
NY Comic Con: Oct. 9-12

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