I have a brief post today to share some preliminary work for a new Dungeon Master Series image I am starting this month!

We have 10 of these in total so far (with a calendar of 12 planned for later this year) The previous three entries featured ever stranger and stranger monster encounters and this new one is no exception with a classic D&D Beholder playing as its central antagonist.   

These scenes always start out as barely coherent scribbles. (If you can make sense of these, then perhaps you too, have been staring into the abyss too long…)


After evolving from scribbles into slashes and circles, they can then be seen growing into stick figures and bobble heads, and finally shedding their vestigial cross-hatching, turning into simple but coherent shapes, as the drawing slowly crawls out of the primordial swamp and toward being a real drawing.

Before moving on to the drawing, I do a clean line drawing to make sure I’ve got places for all my figures well established. There is a lot of nip and tuck surgery to this drawing as I shuffle characters around, or make space for new ones, or fire old ones. From here I dive into a drawing on smooth Bristol paper with 2H and 4B pencils.   It is a strange scene and as with the others, there are a lot of figures that the client has asked to be added in. Because of this, it is important to establish a composition that can accommodate all that information. But I got lucky on this one, and things just seemed to click together. Usually there is more of a fight where I am finding myself looking into 3d software or shooting photo reference of a lego castle. This one just seemed to work, (which makes me suspicious its some kind of trap…) Part of that might be that our primary monster is floating and because of that, I can get away with not worrying about the ground beneath it and how it connects to the rest of the scene. (Oh well, take the freebies where you can!)



As I draw, I am trying to sort out not just the shapes of the figures and environment, but the lighting as well. Working through those problems here will mean so much less headaches in the color phase!

I had a lot of fun with the faces in this one. It’s always nice to add some variety of responses to a crisis (which this would seem to qualify as.) All of these characters are some part of my psyche as it I could see it responding to something like this. Madness, terror, defiance, bravery, hate, panic, resilience, and more panic. There are no bad guys here really, because I could see myself having good reason to be any of them. (But I hope the good ones win out.)

Thanks for joining me for this brief preview. I’ll be sharing a full color version soon!