Monday, September 15, 2014

Dungeon & Dragons Monster Manual - Salamander

I will start things off today with saying that this is my favorite illustration that I completed for the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. What monsters is it? Well, none other then the wily Salamander! Even though it stumbled briefly in the design phase it ended up on top of the pieces I produced for the MM (IMHO). Here is my Salamander for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons...
Salamander - Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

One last time, with feeling... we were asked to create additional detail sketches that would be used in the design of the book. Not all of the drawing got used for all the monsters, but they were part of the process. Here are the details sketches that I created for the Salamander...
Salamander - Detail Sketches
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

No cropping this time and around! The Salamander ended up nice and big on the page and appears with several detail sketches. Here is a bad photo of theSalamander page I managed to take at Gen Con...
Handy dandy book version of the Salamander for all your RPG needs!

I am all too familiar with the wily Salamander. I redesigned it for myself a handful of months before I was asked to rework it for 5th Edition. While I was working from the same source material for my version and the 5E version I was taking them in very different directions. The 5E redesign needed to be true the classic D&D incarnation of the Salamander... but spruced up for the new edition. With that in mind I got started on some thumbnails...

Salamander - Thumbnails / Concepts
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

While not bad, looking at these now they leave me a little underwhelmed. I think the real issue was that I was designing them to closely in hand with the Fire Snake... which can be understood since they are different stages in its growth cycle. I think they would have done better to have their own workspace to be explored in... but not to worry, I got there in the end. Option "B" won the thumbnail concept competition and I moved it forward to a more finished drawing...

Fire Snake and Salamander - Version 01
12 x 9
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Hurm... awkward... Bad drawings happen. This is why a good relationship with your art director is so important. They help steer you past the bad ones and point the way to find the good ones. This is also the concept phase of everything and less successful ideas need to be explored too. ...I think. You gotta draw the bad ones so they are out and they make room for the good ones. With notes from Jon I approached the Salamander anew...

Salamander - Version 02
9 x 12
Pencil on paper
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

This was approved without additional notes or revisions. Just needed to get that bad one out and shake it off, the good one was in me. Needed to have some fun with it and not worry so much about it. Now that there was an approved design it was time for some color...

Salamander - Final Concept
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

As mentioned in my Fire Snake post I really expanded upon the initial coloring and patterning on the Salamander when I worked on the final illustration for the book. Wanted to give him a little extra pop.

Well, that concludes the monsters that I painted for the Monster Manual, but there will be plenty more to come. As previously mentioned I redesigned 18 monsters for 5th Edition and I have only shared 4 of those with you so far. Plenty on monsters still to come in the coming weeks! MONSTER OVERLOAD! RAWR!

A HUGE THANKS to Jon Schindehette for all the monsters and direction during the design phase of 5th Edition (and for including me in the process to begin with!) and to Daniel Gelon for the art direction on the illustration!

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

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

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