-By Jesper Ejsing
I am not by far an oracle in what keeps your creative well from drying out. I have one little thing that keeps my juices flowing: it is called role-playing. It is the only leisure that hasn’t been rooted out of my life since I got kids and house and car and mortgage and all that. I meet every Monday evening at my brothers with the same crowd of guys, and we have been at it for about 18 years now. What it do to me is keeping my mind fresh with ideas. It builds up my inner library of scenes and settings, so that when I am asked to paint a Wizards laboratory I do it knowingly. I have been there before: I have search for forbidden books, I have discovered useful herbs for healing, or I have battled and defeated the owner…or suffered maiming or torture there. Shortly; I feel like I have visited most places in the world of fantasy role-playing.
But this is the well I tap into while doing my illustrations. It is the visual vocabulary I have for painting. But there is a huge difference between an illustration you do as a professional and the stuff you do for fun. Fun has no dictated art description. Fun is only what pops into my mind. And to keep myself from drying out I have a little project called Encountering Monsters. It is a bunch of pencil drawings I do that depicts adventures against monsters. I try to capture the moments where the hero kind of regrets what he has gotten himself into, the moment where he realise that this could go very much wrong.
Doodling these small pencils with no publication or audience in mind, makes them free of stress. I have no need for satisfying anyone but me. I think it is extremely important to have a small portion of stress-free drawing once in a while. Actually; thinking about it, makes me want to put the Paladin I am working on right now aside and start on a quick little pencil.
It is just for fun. And that is the sole purpose.