Monday, September 29, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Beholder Death Tyrant - Redesign

With Illuxcon over it is now time to get this blog back focused on the monsters...  namely the monsters of the 5th Edition Monster Manual. RAWR! With the pieces that I illustrated for the MM covered already it is time to look at the monsters I redesigned for 5E. Figured I should just do this alphabetically, so starting things off is the wily Beholder: Death Tyrant! Here is how the final concept turned out...

Beholder Death Tyrant - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual - Redesign
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

They wanted a fresh take on the undead Beholder... Beholder Lich... Total Party Killer Beholder... and it was up to me to figure out what that new look and feel for the the Death Tyrant. I got to work on some concepts and thumbnails. My first and favorite idea was bound to get rejected, but I included it anyway as the first concept. I then took that concept and dialed it back a little more and more with the other variations, making it a little safer and more inline with what had already been done with the undead Beholder. Here is how those concept / thumbnails turned out...

Beholder Death Tyrant - Thumbnails
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Needless to say I was more then pleased that my favorite and preferred concept was enthusiastically approved by production. I think this was one of the easiest and quickest redesigns of all my work on the 5E MM. Now that I had an approved concept it was time to get started on the drawing...

Beholder Death Tyrant - Drawing
9 x 12
Pencil on Paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast
Original Drawing - SOLD

The design was pretty much completely fleshed out in thumbnails and the drawing just built off the thumbnail. This resulted in the drawing being approved right away and the go ahead was given to work up a quick color comp...

Beholder Death Tyrant - Final Redsign
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

The final color concept was approved and it was time to move onto the next monster. Like I said, the redesign the Beholder Death Tyrant was quick and painless... something all the helpless adventures will not experience when they encounter it. RAWR!

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition!

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on Wednesday for another new monster! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Friday, September 26, 2014

5th Edition D&D Monster Manual Book Signing

The 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual comes out next week and the good folks at Fallout Comics have invited me out to do a book signing! If you are in the the North Florida / Tallahassee area be sure to come out to Fallout Comics on Saturday October 4th between 12 pm - 3pm @ 1484 Apalachee Pkwy, Tallahassee, Florida 32301 (Facebook event page). I will be signing and sketching in Monster Manuals and will have a whole lot of other surprises!

My illustrations in the 5E D&D Monster Manual
Kraken, Salamander, Fire Snake, Ankheg, and Aarakocra
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Did I mention surprises? Debuting at the signing will be a new set of limited edition signed and numbered monster prints! These 8.5 x 11 signed prints are numbered and limited to an edition of 50 and feature all five of the monsters that I illustrated for the Monster Manual. They can be purchased individually or as a set at a discount. RAWR!

Here is a look at the limited edition monster prints... for all your monster print needs.

The prints are all numbered and only await my signature when they are purchased. RAWR!

In addition to these new prints I will have with me original drawings and paintings, play mats, sketchbooks, Magic the Gathering prints, Magic the Gathering artist proofs, and more! I will also be signing any other items that I have worked on as well.

I hope to see you at Fallout Comics on Saturday October 4th between the hours of 12pm - 3pm @ 1484 Apalachee Pkwy, Tallahassee, Florida 32301.

That is all for another exciting week on the blog, see you back here on Monday for more D&D monsters! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Illuxcon 7 - Day 4

All good things come to an end... and so must Illuxcon 7. The last day of Illuxcon always sees people slowly heading out for their journeys home. Slowly as the day progresses the elbow room increases in the show and the walls become more and more bare as art heads off with its new owner. I know no one wants to see Illuxcon end, but as exhaustion sets in after a truly awesome 4-5 days it is time to wrap things up ...and begin planning for next year.

I had to cancel my trip to Illuxcon last year unexpectedly and it was so great to be able to make it back this year. I will be doubly making sure I return next year for Illuxcon 8. Illuxcon was my best event of the year for so many reason and has rejuvenated me ans has gotten me ready for another year of monsters.

Here are some images from the final day of Illuxcon 7...

Things are still very much hopping on Sunday morning in the Main Show.

Slowly but surely the halls thin out and the walls begin to look more bare.

The Salon was still very busy as well the last day.

But as in the Main Show eventually the halls and walls begin to thin.

It seemed that in minutes the Main Show went from this... this.

Everything seems to move smoothly and quickly as the art left the building.

In the end there were only hanging hooks.

Don't worry Mr. Tortoise... you will be safe under that padded blanket.

The loading dock was a busy place as every shape and size of box and container that could carry art was removed from the museum.

Aaron Miller struts his stuff at an end of another Illuxcon...

After a long day of Illuxcon only one thing to do... drop snakes into our mouths...

The hotel lobby, once a hot bed for hanging out and fun seems bizarrely empty and quiet now.
Another successful Illuxcon comes to a close!

HUGE thanks to Patrick Wilshire and Jeannie Wilshire for all they do to make Illuxcon happen and for all the years of hard work and love they have poured into it to make it what it is today! Many thanks to all the volunteers and staff that assist the Wilshires in breathing life into Illuxcon! We would not have this wonderful event without all that you do.

That is all for another exciting day on the blog, see you back here tomorrow! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Illuxcon 7 - Day 3

Day 3 of Illuxcon 7! Another full day of the Main Show and a healthy helping of demos, lectures, and seminars... and the very first day of the weekend Salon. The Main Show is in the upper floor of the Allentown Art Museum and the Salon is in the basement, which is still very much a nice show space. I had a ton of drawings to get finished up before the Showcase started up again at six o'clock that evening which means at every chance I was scribbling away.

I really like the Salon space and the selection of art and artist was a nice addition to the overall showing of Illuxcon. It is nice to see so many familiar faces in both the Main Show and Salon. As far as the second night of the Showcase I did not know what to expect. Those that were in the Showcase last year mentioned that the second night was just as busy as the first, but you can never predict what the crowds will do. While the second night was not as busy, there was still a ton of excitement in the ballroom and people were still looking for and buying art. Got to talk to a ton of cool people and hand out finished drawings.

Here are images from Day 3 of Illuxcon 7...

RAWR! Started the day off with a little Beholder goodness.

The Salon as seen from the entrance of the exhibit space.

Looking back at the entrance of the Salon. So much wonderful art!

Hey kids, it's Noah Bradley! ...and he has with him some really sizable Magic paintings.

The most excellent Scott Murphy with all his gorgeous work. You can also see some of Mike Sass's beautiful work in the booth next to Scott.

Dan Chudzinski had many pieces to tantalize the eye... this one was far and away my favorite. RAWR!

...time to get back to work drawing...

...and drawing...

 ...and drawing...

This was my favorite I think... the happiest little Beholder of all! RAWR!

...and drawing...

...and drawing...

Looking out at the Showcase as it was about to begin for its second evening of art fun.

Another shot of the Showcase when I had a spare moment to stand on my chair and take another photo. Things stayed busy until the very end of the Showcase. MANY thanks to all that came out!

And at the end of the night Jon Schindehette is the top banana at Illuxcon 7!

That is all for another exciting day on the blog, see you back here tomorrow for a look at the final day of Illuxcon 7! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Illuxcon 7 - Day 2

Day 2 of Illuxcon, for me at least, was all about the Showcase. Yes, there was a full day of the Main Show. Yes, the Salon was being set up and gotten ready for Saturday and Sunday. Yes, there was a full day or workshops and seminars. Even with all this my gaze was singularly set on being at my table from eight o'clock till midnight. Even after five years of setting up at events like Gen Con and Illuxcon I still have this weird combination of dread and excitement in regards to putting my work out on display and hoping that those that come to my table will be receptive.

Set up for the Showcase was to start at six in the evening, but some had been camped out at the door for many hours before then. Not sure I agree with such things, but I got a table I was very happy with and there was not too much hair pulling and biting as we made our way into the ballroom (okay, there was no hair pulling or biting at all). Set up went very smoothly for me and I think I had a very sharp looking display if I say so myself. Since my first Showcase in 2009 I have worked very hard to make my set up better and better. Now, after five years my display in the Showcase was all traditional work, except for one print and my sketchbooks. This is something I have worked very hard to achieve as well.

Things I have learned while at Illuxcon 7:

• WAY more fellow artists then I ever imagined read this blog.
• All of my recent personal monster work is being very well received.
• The fact that I am making more traditional paintings and drawings is being very well received.
• I need to paint some of my personal monsters.
• I have NOTHING to complain about and need to stay positive and be happy with my work and the things that I am doing.
• My peers and fellow artists really like my work and some now own pieces of my work - which mean so much more to me then I can put into words.
• At some unknown point I went from asking for portfolio reviews to giving portfolio reviews.
• All my hard work has been noticed and is paying off.
• After a really hard year or so with my art I am excited and recharged about it (more on this later).
• Illuxcon is an even more AWESOME and amazing show and event then I ever imagined.

I am sure I am forgetting stuff... but I will post it when I remember it. Here are some images from the first night of the Showcase at Illuxcon 7...

The chaos of setting up. Since I flew to Allentown everything was in suitcases. Once it was all unpacked I could start getting all the pieces put together.

Pete Mohrbacher posing at his table. He had with him a great collection of 5x7 acrylic paintings.

A look out from my table at the Showcase as people got their tables ready.

Just about ready... just got to get a few things taken care of.

RAWR! Even before the Showcase started the purchases began! Yoda was the first to go.

Looking out from my table as things are just about to begin!

A look from the opposite corner of the Showcase from where my table is set up.

The Showcase had been going on for some time at this point, though this photo might not show it, it was SUPER busy and packed with people long after midnight when it was to end for the night.

As the night progressed I built up a stack of cards and books that I needed to sketch in. Thankfully everyone was willing to wait to pick them up the next day allowing me time to work on them away from my Showcase table. Here is a dinosaur sketch on a Magic white back that I did have a chance to do during the Showcase.

Here is another sketch I had a chance to get to, my take on a white knight.

As the first night of the Showcase came to a close my table looks a bit different.
That was an intense four hours! Thanks to EVERYBODY that stopped by!

That is all for another exciting day on the blog, see you back here tomorrow for a look at Day 3 of Illuxcon! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Illuxcon 7 - Day 1

Looks like Illuxcon got away from me this year... too much going on and too much AWESOME happening. I was able to do daily posts of Illuxcon 7 for exactly one day. Now that Illuxcon 7 has come and gone I can catch up and post about all the comings and goings in Allentown...

I attended Illuxcon for four years in Altoona and had become accustom to what Illuxcon was and had to offer. Now that it is in Allentown, for me at least, everything has changed. The venue is larger, the show is longer, there are now three tiers of show, everything is now in walking distance of each other, everyone has upped their game, and everything is more awesome. As mentioned before, I missed last year's Illuxcon so I am unsure how much the first and second year changed, but the move from Altoona to Allentown has been major and noticeable. Yes, there are aspects that were nice about the Altoona show, but as a whole the event is vastly improved.

Day 1... or 2 if you count the preview night as the first day was devoted to the the Main show. The artists were set up and open for business, conversation, and talking about imaginative realism. Folks attending the salon, the showcase, or simply coming for the show were still rolling into town and as the day ticked on more and more familiar faces began to show up. There was a tremendous amount of art to be seen and at every price point.

Day 1 concluded in a life drawing and painting event in the top floor of a restaurant near the event hotel. Aaron Miller was keeping it all going for several hours and the turn out was impressive. The socializing and frivolity of Illuxcon continued in the night and it was indeed a good day at Illuxcon. Here are some images from Day 1 of Illuxcon 7...

The banner make sure everyone knows that this is the place for AWESOME.

There is a very large horse sculpture across the street from the venue...

... VERY large horse and it looks great.

The layout is different and things are a bit more spread out in the Allentown venue. but after a couple of lapse you get a feel for things.

At times it was almost to much to take in. SO much condensed amazing art to be seen and experienced.

And another hall of even more amazing work.

A very impressive and very touchable blunderbuss by Vincent Villafranca.

A new Lars Grant-West for my collection... it is a dinosaur... ON ROLLER SKATES!

Panorama #1 looking around the halls of the main show...

...and Panorama #2...

...and Panorama #3. Hopefully these give a good feel for some of the main show.

Aaron Miller hard at work in the life drawing session. Aaron was painting and making it look easy.

That is all for the coverage of Day 1, see you back here tomorrow for Day 2. Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact me regarding my availability head over to my website: