Monday, 14 October 2013

Bestiary artwork

Over the summer I created 40 spot illustrations for the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary, a Kickstarter project for BRW Games. This has recently become available (via RPGNow), way ahead of schedule and looking very nice indeed!

The brief for the artwork was that it had to follow an old-school D&D line art vibe, and that the images couldn't be larger than 3.5 x 2.25 inches. This in itself was an interesting challenge, as I had to keep things relatively concise and uncrowded visually. The use of greyscale wash wasn't strictly allowed, so I had to make sure that my line work was steered in certain directions. 

Creating 40 illustrations wasn't planned from the outset. BRW's Joe Bloch would send five descriptions to me and the other artists, and we would get a new batch when those were done and signed off by him. I ended up creating 40 simply because I was inspired by the subject matter. I found that some images were much easier to create than others, as I had an idea and then had that flow from pencil to pen to paper. Others took two or more attempts to get right before I was happy to send them along to Joe.

I guess I could have made my life a little easier if I'd not tried to draw each one within the prescribed dimensions, as I could later scale them down digitally. However, that would have made for a variation in line width from image to image and skinny lines in such small illustrations could end up being somewhat illegible. I wanted to try and have the line scale stay consistent. I also tried to work with a few different drawing styles within my own general one, and then tailored that to suit the old-school vibe. Skimming between the Monster Manual and Field Folio (especially Russ Nicholson's work in the case of the latter) helped me to sqaure everything in my head as I was working.

Here are some sample thumbnails:

Clockwise: Blindheim, Titanic Spider, Shambling Mound, and Cave Fisher

Clockwise: Deadly Slime, Flumpf, Jinx Midge, and Mimic

In some images, I tried to tell a bit of a story. In others, I wanted to keep things simple and just show the creature itself. All in all, it was a very interesting project to work on!


  1. I absolutely agree with Andrew. You did a terrific job with your pieces, and I am thrilled at how everything came out (my personal favorites are the blindheim and the flumph, and I love the fact that your mimic wasn't the stereotypical treasure chest). You're a pleasure to work with and I can't recommend your services highly enough.

  2. Thanks chaps! My personal favourite is actually the first drawing that I completed - the Cave Fisher.