Night at The Threshold

Normally I’d not post the following on this art site; however, given I created some original art assets for my group’s D&D sessions I thought it might be fun to share.

For some quick context, this post outlines the first half of a two-shot submodule I created for our ongoing, weekly D&D group. We are presently about to have opening night of our new inn, The Threshold, in the city of Waterdeep. My character, Erel, has gone out and bought some party favors, as it were, to help with said opening night.

Cast of Characters

Erel (me) – Aasimar paladin who was raised as First Fist of the Temple at Earsa. Suffice it to say, Erel is not city-slicker, and is often not entirely in sync with everything a large city has to offer. As explained in more detail below, Erel is a devote advocate for a martial art he calls shadow poetry, which establishes his motivations to create the most epic opening night for their new inn.

Oscar – Feywild ranger with a randy side to him. If it has a heartbeat and is attractive then expect Oscar to saddle up to become buddies with them. In two words, Oscar is a concupiscent trickster.

Sylvia – Goblin mage with a ferret, Thalum, as familiar. While a one-shot wonder of fire and ice, she is not amused by her natural feats in the magical arts. She appears to have an unhealthy relationship with Death.

Lucius “Leo” – human seafaring druid with a passion for ensuring all doors are closed. He also appears to be cursed. He is a granite anchor of the team.

Taryel – Triton fighter who loves shiny things and casually making friends with underwater dragons. She’s also good in fight, although we all know Erel is better at the long-game.


The new owners of The Threshold are just a few days away from a grand opening of their new eating experience establishment.  They’ve hired some eclectic chefs and bartenders to concote food and libation wonderments for anyone bold and adventurous enough to walk through the door.

Erel, erstwhile First Fist of the Temple at Earsa and now fallen Aasimar paladin is a founding member of The Threshold.  He is most excited by an opportunity to introduce shadow poetry to the denizens of Waterdeep, where he knows there is more than ample fertile ground for his martial and literary arts, especially from those who enjoy the operas of Waterdeep that Erel finds enjoyable in the way an adult might enjoy children’s theater.

Erel, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to surprise his fellow adventurers with a grand, elaborate opening debut of both their inn and shadow poetry.  It’s both a ceremony and celebration, an opportunity for each member of the party to be more formally initiated into Erel’s arts and learn more deeply about themselves. For this is the truest expression and intent of his moving poetry: find the truths hidden behind the facades (masks) we all wear in daily life.

Day of Shopping

Notes to DM

This section is meant to be interspersed with other party activities.  These are light vignettes that are largely setup for Opening Night (not included for now due to spoilers).

First Thing in Morning

Erel wakes before everyone else to gather supplies for the celebration.  

For any member of the party, they easily spot a mug with a note underneath it.  It reads:

“hey all! 

I’m off to get opening night materials for The Threshold.  

It’s going to be epic!  

I’ll be back later tonight.  Don’t wait up for me.

yo, erel”

Erel, note to group

If they investigate (5 or better) they flip over the card and discover the poster-invitation on the other side.  Regardless of this discovery or note, members will find larger versions of this side plastered throughout Waterdeep on poles and in the front of shops, et cetera.  Erel has been busy.

Later That Same Day

Notes to DM

The party will not be able to find Erel, but throughout the day deliveries and packages start to arrive at The Threshold.

Feel free to embellish and create your own characters for the merchants, depending on party interaction.


The following items will be individually delivered by different merchants. 

Water Fountain

This will be a large, stone basin that can fit in the courtyard.  There is a pedestal in the middle of it, large enough to hold a large humanoid.


  • 5 or better: They will also see The Threshold carved in script on one side. 
  • 10 or better: anyone looking at it will ascertain that it could hold a reasonably sized statue.  
  • 15 or better: they will notice small doors carved all around the fountain near the base. Each door or gateway is different.  Some are proper doors.  Others are archways. You get the distinct impression a lot of thought has gone into each one.  Each doorway can be connected back to a party member.  Each doorway activates a glamor when examined closely by the person it’s related to, whereupon it comes alive and seems like reality in miniature.
  • Sylvia: a smaller door with what looks like smoke, fire and lightning coming from it. Icy wind escapes through the door. There are the markings of Death all around the door, and a hooded skull looking down upon any who might enter. The door is only slightly open. 
  • Oscar: a woodland scene with a door made of two intertwined.  There is a sense of movement in the bushes, and there are thorns such that it is easy to imagine that getting through the entryway without getting pricked is hard.
  • Taryel: This one is only discovered on the inside of the fountain near the bottom of the water.  It’s an underwater cave entrance with gleaming eyes radiating from within.
  • Lucius: This one is discovered on the fountain pedestal.  There are stairs coming up out of the water that goes to a closed door.  It appears locked.  There is a small rodent entry to the side of the door.
  • Erel: There is a round columned entry-way with carved columns toppled and shattered.  Behind is a temple set up in the distance.  It’s not entirely clear whether the temple is abandoned or not.    The columns block further ingress.  Next to the entrance is a single glaive resting against the remains of a standing column.


  • 20 or better: They know Erel and while they do not entirely understand how Erel’s mind works, he is obviously up to something.  They cannot quite put their finger on what or who, but they suspect it has something to do with a party member
Koi Fish

A merchant will arrive and start to fill the fountain with water and koi fish.  The fish will be of varying sizes and colors.  The merchant will add some lily pads to the fountain for the fish to find some shade and protection from aviary sorts.


  • none


  • 10 or better: the number of koi fish coincide with the number of party members and employees of The Threshold
  • 15 or better: each koi fish actually resembles each party member in some way.  Each member must roll independently to discover their own koi
  • Sylvia: There are a pair of koi (one small, one tiny) that always travel together.  The tiny one is constantly swimming around the small one while shuttling to other koi.
  • Oscar: Medium-sized that appears to enjoy playing tricks on all the other koi.  If anyone tries to interact with it, it will squirt water into their face.
  • Taryel: medium- to large-sized koi with iridescent scales, its colors changing from greens to blues to even purples.  Even for a fish, it seems even more comfortable in its surroundings than all the other koi.  It will explore the entire fountain and interact with air-breathers by coming to the surface.
  • Lucius: medium-sized koi that appears to change its color to camouflage itself.  It tends to stay toward the bottom of the fountain wherever there are shadows.
  • Erel: large-sized koi with golden scales that remind members of his eyes.  The fins of the koi come off in long, sweeping strokes and seem to more fly than swim through the water. 

An artisan brings masks, each individually wrapped and a note attached with their names written in eloquent script.

born and bourn
into and by our ignorance

we our masks don and donnée
silent shadows we simper

moved till stumbling
we fall and fallen so arise

Poem on card attached to each member’s mask
  • Sylvia: ferret
  • Thalum (ferret familiar): goblin with a golden star over one eye
  • Oscar: Satyr
  • Taryel: Sea Serpent, its color changing in a fashion similar to one of the koi in the pond
  • Lucius: Rat with its mouth open
  • Lizardfolk chef: lizardfolk (it looks just like them with it on)
  • Magic chef: crystal facemask that refracts and reflects light. When you look toward her with it on, you can see your own reflection
  • Death chef: skull mask that goes down to top of mouth.  His lips and lower jaw are visible, but his skin takes on a pale luster with it donned
  • Robot bartender: human face of nondescript features, it could be male or female, albeit slightly childlike features.  The proverbial blank page for which a persona can emerge.
  • Mute bartender: mouth mask of clasped closed hands.  When donned, their eyes glow.


  • 10 or better: these have no real magical properties other than some fey-like glimmers on them that help enhance some of their aspects


  • None
Crate of Figurines

A large wooden crate is delivered.  Inside the crate are dozens and dozens of hand-sized figurines of a humanoid pirate in a dynamic pose.


  • 10 or Better: They look like Lucius


  • 10 or Better: On the bottom each figure is inscribed “Lucius, Doorman to Heals”
  • 15 or Better: At the bottom of the crate they will discover a set of human-sized clothes that match what the figurines are wearing.  
  • 20 or Better: On top of finding the aforementioned wardrobe, they perfectly fit Lucius and Lucius alone.

30 Years in the Making

30 years ago I tried to create a masterpiece. Discover whether I did or not. Or more precisely, learn how I took that “masterpiece” and made it better. And if not better then at least different.

Some thirty years ago while I was in high school I made a self-portrait using inks and water-colors (see below for this “masterpiece”). At the time, I was very much on a self-journey of a discovery of lines. I believed that all art was the intersection and continuation of lines, and as such my great conceit of that time was that all art was just lines morphing from one shape to another shape.

It’s obvious that this is a decidedly too narrow a view of art, but such are the thoughts of a teen living in a pre-internet day with too little access (or curiosity) of the greater art world, and too much hubris to go out and search for it. We’ll get back to this in a bit. First, a quick re-telling of the first self-portrait.

The Original, A Short History

As for this original self-portrait that I created circa 1992, I ended up giving this to my very best and dearest friend Nils Passion, then an exchange student from Germany. I never quite understood why he wanted it, at least on artistic terms it was not worth much mention. As if any of my art today warrants such mention is another such matter. But I digress and me being who I am, only on reflection I realize it must have been on a more human level of connection with me that gripped Nils to want such a piece; a realization that would never have come to me way back then. But again, I digress.

At some point, Nils or his parents saw fit to frame this work in one far too valuable for such a piece, but nevertheless they did and here we are today. My artwork in a gilded frame, a reminder to me that our friendship was valued far more than the art itself. That in itself is maybe worthy of its own post.

While recently looking at that rather baroque frame and my decidedly abaroque (sic) picture sitting in it, I thought it might make a good example of “progress as an artist” as it were. By doing a then and now comparison, I could capture my evolution as an artist over the last three decades. Albeit, to be fair that while it’s three decades on the clock, it’s really less than six years as an artist. To wit, I had largely been on hiatus to art, at least anything illustrative or painterly for more than two of those three decades. But that is a story for another time.

To Be An Artist or Not to Be An Artist

The short of it is that it was not till the time of my first visit to Norwescon back in 2016 did I entertain seriously getting back into visual arts. To be clear, in the years prior to this I had gotten quite serious into digital photography, and even dabbled with processing my own black and white medium-format photographs. This was while at Amazon when I met Tracy Boyd, part-time UX designer, full-time fine artist. I was loath to call myself an artist, but it was Tracy who insisted on the appellation, seeing in me something I could not see in myself at the time. For the curious, I saw photography as my way to come to terms with color. I hated using color in my teens. Color was magic, it was mystical. It was not meant to be used lightly, and as such I stuck to largely black and white artwork far into my early twenties as evidenced by my own self-portrait from this period. But again, I digress.

Prior to attending Norwescon for the first time in 2016, my partner Marit had recently went to a writers’ retreat where she meet, amongst other luminaries, Mark Ferrari. When she showed me Mark’s work, I arrogantly said (or minimally cowardly thought) I was as good as him. Hubris is something I have a few lifetime supplies of just laying around for times like this.

To be clear, I was not and I am still not anywhere close to Mark’s narrative abilities, visual or otherwise. But for whatever reason, seeing Mark’s work reminded me of my own work from my high school years. While too long to fit the full telling within this post, I had a conflicted relationship with the arts that culminated in me “leaving the arts” in my early twenties. Suffice it to say then that when I saw Mark’s own work it awoke in something I had forgotten I had ever possessed: a passion to be a visual story-teller. I yearned to be like Mark. I ached to be an artist. I needed to do art. Not photography; not that it is not art; but, I wanted to do art like I used to create for the first two decades of my life: with my hands, telling stories that only I could envision in my head.

Discovering I’m Not All That

So I got myself an iPad Pro,, and Apple pencil and immediately discovered I sucked. Not like sucked bad from my times from high school, but like sucked bad as if “I had never drawn a line before in my life but still delusional that I was amazing-balls bad”. That kinda bad. In short, bad bad. Insert a line about Dunning-Kruger here.

I was more than naïve about art and my abilities, I was whole cloth ignorant. Even wantonly ignorant. I had forgotten about composition. I had forgotten about values or shapes. I had never learned color theory. I had never seriously studied anatomy, if you can count Marvel Comics guide to drawing figures as anatomy study. In a word, I had forgotten everything and worse, had not really spent the years learning the fundamentals during the first two decades of life; pre-requisites to what it takes to create art or be an artist. I had no real foundation to draw upon, even though in my mind I was a Michelangelo just waiting to put brush to fresco to paint masterpieces. It was humbling in the mightiest of ways, and no amount of hubris (and I had and still have a lot) could anneal me against this truth.

To another person this might be common-sensical. I had spent more time “not riding the bicycle” as I ever had done riding it. It would be natural that I’d not be as good as I had been, but that was not a truth I was comfortable with at that time. In my head, I was a gifted and talented artist. Granted, maybe I was at the time of measurement; as a teenager I was moderately talented, but talent is but a mere accelerant. Talent in and of itself does not make you an artist, and especially not a master. Skill does, though.

Skill is something to be acquired, to be learned through the hard knocks of life unlike talent that is doled at in varying degrees at birth. Skill comes from thousands and thousands of hours of practical study. At the end of it all, talent provides but a thimbleful in comparison to the ocean that skill provides.

Thankfully for myself, I had matured a bit in three decades, and more than any amount hubris I’m maniacally accountable to myself. If I say I am an artist then I ought to get to the work of becoming an artist. And so, starting in 2016, I got started on trying to prove to myself that I was truly an artist – not just some memory of one – by setting out to acquire the skill necessary.

Some six years later and I’m still learning the fundamentals. I do not practice nearly as much as I would like. If I had as much discipline to art as I do to exercise, I’d be light-years further than where I am today. But still, I’m making progress. I have even done some professional work on the side that I’m moderately proud of.

As a consequence, as much for myself, I wanted to try my hand at something I had done in the past. I was curious how I might re-interpret something, both as an artist and as a person, with thirty more years of lived experience to draw upon (bad pun) along with the most recent six years dedicated to improving my craft.

Today’s Self Portrait, A Short Reflection

As I noted above, when I was in teens I saw all artwork as lines. So when I re-created this piece, I wanted to keep that philosophy intact. However, given I was not using linework, I instead tried to use values and color to tie elements together. In this regards, clouds morph into eagle and dragon, my face melts into muscle that flows down to a digital waterfall, and so forth. I’m quite pleased to be keep with the spirit of the self-portrait, even if this new approach is fundamentally different.

I think it’s pretty clear to even a casual observer that the original piece was not just naïve in technique; it was also thematically naïve, too. While I did not want to drastically to change the composition, I did want to reinterpret parts of it to be have a fuller vision of the original theme of the internal aspects of myself flowing out of me as expressed by the aforementioned connection that all things are lines.

On top of just making the piece more complete, I also wanted to incorporate elements that are more emblematic of who I am as I approach my fifth decade. In this aspect, the biggest addition is the dragon in the lower left. If you’ve spent any time on this site then I know I quite love dragons. I otherwise kept most of the other elements in the original, albeit with a few twists.

In regards to the muscle reveal on the right side of my face, it should be noted that this is not inspired by 進撃の巨人 (Attack of Titans), but instead my sister. It’s maybe a reasonable conclusion to make given my long connection to Japan, but it’s one of my older sisters who first introduced me to the concept. She had done pieces during her college years depicting people pulling their skin off like you would removing a shirt or parts, revealing the muscles underneath. I am not sure if she was inspired herself by another artist, but regardless, as an impressionable teen I was literally blown away by this, promptly trying to emulate this in my own pieces from that time.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the results of this re-interpretation. I think it shows a clear evolution in visual story-telling. From the perspective of technique it’s clear that I’ve improved my rendering, along with overall improvement to anatomical correctness with own portrait. I definitely do not suffer from a fear of applying color like I did as a teenager where, as I wrote above, I saw color then as something mystical in nature, aberrant even. I think this self-portrait is a vast improvement, and one that I’m proud of (for now). I will be curious to come back to this in another decade to see what else I might bring to the narrative.


I’m back at playing D&D with a new group of folks, and as such it’s time to create a new portrait for my character. While I considered playing either Stone or Unnis – given this is a more role-play heavy group (versus the min-max tactical approach in my other groups) – I also thought it would be fun to flex into something entirely new(ish). I say new’ish as my sense of role-playing is to play out aspects of myself, so while Erel is new as a character, his traits borrow heavily from aspects of myself. Why? Maybe because I’m autistic, but I find it just easier when I’m not pretending to be someone I am not – both in real-life and in-game, as it were. If you’re interested in learning more about Erel, then I’ve included his backstory at the bottom of this post.

I actually did two pieces for Erel, both a close-up portrait and full-frame view. As you might have noticed, I copied the portrait into the full-figure. I originally started out wanting to draw Erel’s face a second time, but the re-use (aka copy & paste) boils down only partly to expediency, but more to the fact that I’m not convinced I’m good enough (yet) to reproduce an image of Erel a second time and that it would feel convincingly like it was a picture of the same person. So yeah, I cheated.

With Unnis, I play a character who is in many ways closer to who I am today as I near 50. With Stone, I pull from my tendencies toward toddler’ness with his childlike simplicity thus Stone is 3 years old. With Erel, I wanted to return to when I was in that idealistic stage of my life when things were very binary and clear cut, but were ideas lacked nuance that only time and hard-won life experiences can provide. In this way, I arrived at a younger person in what I envision is their early to mid-twenties.

I debated adding wings to Erel. As you can see in an early stage of values Erel has no wings. But as I progressed, I kept struggling to find ways to convey the fact that he is Aasimar. In the portrait, I just added swirling colors and tattoo to minimally convey something ethereal about him. In full figure you’d think that I’d just add wings and call it a day. And while most Aasimar do have wings, how and when they present themselves in context to D&D matters. In particular, Erel is still very much a green level 1 paladin. The use wings, in the strictest sense of the game, does not occur till level 3. And if he is level 3 (he is not) there is debate as to how Aasimarian wings manifest themselves. Actual wings. Skeletal wings. Wings of radiant light. Putting aside all that nuance, or pedantism, I felt wings of some sort were warranted. I happened to be watching Ross Draws while trying to figure out an anatomically correct version of Erel’s wings when Ross said something to the effect, when asked why he had done so and so to a particular picture, “because I liked it even if its not realistic.” So guess what? I listened to wise Ross and just drew what I liked regardless of anatomical correctness. Go ahead and arrest me! In the end, they are just a visual device to convey to the viewer his race. And frankly, I like them so go and bugger off if you wanted to see something from the Auduban.

Like every picture I create, I am both pleased and disappointed in the results. In some ways, I’m happy with the portrait of Erel. It was a relatively quick study, and I think generally has a consistency in execution that makes it feel complete both visually and narratively. On the other hand, I think Erel in full-figure still has places where my choices of where I put hard and soft-edges bother me. For example, I think his left hand holding the glaive needs to be softened some more. And I think some of my values on this left leg’s armor look too flat. That said, I’m happy with how his wings are desaturated and generally only have soft edges, helping frame him as a subject without distracting the viewer’s eye.

That all said, Erel in full-figure is, to a trained eye, a great example of where I struggle as an artist: namely; moving from a place of lines and capturing every detail as if I was a camera (aka photo-realistic artwork – which the technician in me admires, and the artist in me cringes at) to a more painterly style that focuses on interesting shape language to convey the subject, with a love of soft and hard edges to “sculpt the form.” As noted, I think the wings show I can execute on this, but the question next is: can I do it for an entire image? Trust you I, I’m going to continue to push myself as an artist to find my limits. That said, the urge to approach art as if I’m holding a pencil and not a brush is very, very strong in me.

Erel is a bit of firsts for me, as an artist. He is the first character where I’ve done two pictures of which is exciting for me, even if I did take some shortcuts to create continuity between both pieces. So go me for trying my hand at building a portfolio around a single character, which is an important skill if you want to work professionally in games or movies. A part of me secretly holds out at getting a job in “the industry” where such production skills are paramount. And for any of those of you who are already in “the industry”, I’ve been around long enough to know that I’m better off as a hobbyist where I’m my own “art director” than working for “the man” in “the industry.” Enough of “those quotes.”

Another first for me is Erel is also done entirely using Adobe Photoshop between my Wacom and iPad Pro. To put this into context, till very recently I relied heavily on Procreate on my iPad for quick studies, and then I’d move to my desktop with Wacom Cintiq for more control and greater detail as I entered the later stages of development. While this is a fine setup, I’ve struggled with Corel Painter’s flakey UX even when I know it’s brush engine is superior to Adobe. On top of this, there is friction sharing files via import and export via Apple iCloud for syncing between devices. It works, but at times I find myself struggling with the whole workflow. And worse, I like to have options on when and where I can work on my art. This workflow means I lose the freedom of the iPad once I lock myself into Corel Painter. A first world problem for sure, but I really like the ability to be a nomadic artist.

So why Photoshop? Especially when one of my favorite artists (Todd Lockwood) is a staunch defender of the superiority of Corel Painter to Photoshop, which he relegates to hacks. And I don’t want to be a hack! But outside of losing the love and respect of Todd (assuming he knew me, which he doesn’t even though he and I’ve chatted – swoon in my head we are totally BFFs. Hey! It’s only awkward if Todd thinks it’s awkward ) is the simple fact that Photoshop is “the 800-lb gorilla of digital art”, and as such I pin all my hopes that driver support is just better than with Corel Painter and Wacom. Sorry, Todd!

More than just trying out Photoshop, I opted to save my PSD files in Adobe Cloud. At first I resisted this even more than just trying out Photoshop since I did not want yet another cross-device file-sharing app. I already have all my artwork on iCloud and I’m very happy with Apple’s iCloud, please and thank you. However, I’m so glad I did because when I found myself with a twisted knee late last week, there was a few days where I couldn’t sit at my desk and work on Erel. So on a lark I decided to download Adobe’s Photoshop for iPad, having recalled reading it was a pretty good competitor to Procreate. Given I’m a died-in-the-whole Procreate fanboy/fanman/fanperson, I did not entirely believe the hype and was disinclined to then to even try it out. Like, how can you be better than GOAT Procreate?

Imagine my shock and surprise, pleasantly so, when I launched the app on my iPad to discover I could just open Erel and off I went into full artist mode, no compromises. Not only could I do complex changes, not just simple touch-ups, but it was an amazing drawing experience on a tablet that is on par, and in some ways, better than Procreate! Sacrilege! I know, right? But wait, like a great ginsu knife, it does so much more. Imagine my greater shock just a few days later when I went back to my desktop setup and just picked up where I left off. All with nary a hiccup. Color me impressed.

Recall my wanton and unmet needs as a nomadic artist with my old setup? Adobe Photoshop coupled to Adobe Cloud means I truly can work anywhere I want, whenever I want, using whatever device suits me best. I absolutely love the possibilities!


Born Erel, First Son of the First House of Temple at Earsa, it was written that he was destined for great things.  Written not just in the stars, but in the very essence and blood of his race of Aasimar, servants to the gods.  But what the gods wrote and what Erel read of it were two different things.

Since childhood he trained arduously as first acolyte then attendant to hem-netjar of the temple at Earsa, overseen by his family for the past seven generations.  While devoted to his studies, his tendency to question scripture led the hemet-netjar-tepi (high priestess), his mother, to believe he would best serve the temple by joining the ranks of the protectors to the temple.  It was hoped he would someday rise to the rank of hem-asim-tepi (high proctector).  In this capacity, he would stand side by side his younger sister, who it was believed would eventually replace their mother as hemet-netjar-tepi.  In this way the gods would be served, siblings securing their family position as the First House of Earsa for an eighth generation.

Following a decade of intense martial training as a protector and joining the temple garrison, Erel showed no signs of stopping his challenge to scripture.  While exemptions were made given his relation to the temple’s hemet-netjar-tepi, Erel struggled to stay silent as decades of dissatisfaction mounted around the scripture’s deepest truths: that all of existence is but to serve the gods, and more so that all of existence — all that was, is, and will be —had already been foretold by the first god, known only as the “the unseen god”.

As Erel’s questioning grew argumentative, less as questions and more as posits, many in the temple feared that his words would come to corrupt others, if not outright bring the wrath of gods upon the temple to destroy it.  He argued heretically that the Aasimar were not servants of the gods, but in fact their slaves.  He argued that the suffering on the lower planes was not preordained, but instead a direct consequence of the indifference of gods.  For Erel, the gods’ place in the greater cosmos and across all planes were not to be served, but instead to serve.

He only relatively recently left his onclave, albeit truth be told, it was either leave voluntarily or quickly find himself facing a tribunal for beliefs and acts unbecoming an Aasamir.  He would be stripped of all rank and privileges, and forced to live a life of an ascetic until he atoned for his sins. His accuser was none other than his very own aunt and hemet-asim-esun (protector, second order) of his protector regiment, where they had witnessed Erel burning sacred scripture while arguing to his trainees that what they had been taught since birth was wrong.

Erel, now marked as a pariah amongst Aasimar, is outcast amongst his people.  He goes only by his given name, having otherwise left behind everything that he has ever known.

He has been wandering darker roads in the Underdark under Waterdeep, believing that his true purpose must exist upon a path only he can divine.  While he has never broken his vows to protect, for it is one of his core values, he has no reticence to harm those who prey upon those weaker than themselves.  In the past week, he has found himself in Waterdeep proper, continuing to seek answers to questions for which he knows to ask but can find no answer. 

Fey Eladrin in Four Seasons

I created these set of portraits of a Fey Eladrin for a character in an online D&D campaign. Given that these creatures, relatives of elves, change their appearance to one of the four seasons per game session, I thought it would be nice to have the portrait changeable to match the current game session’s season.

I’m pretty pleased with the series, albeit I wished I had nailed some issues I see with the anatomy earlier in my process; I just learned to accept these to ensure consistency and avoid having to redo everything.

I already wrote about creating Indrith in her Fall form in a previous post, if you’re interested in reading more on the initial process.

Viking & Thirsty Buck

I’ve been following The Tavern of the Thirsty Buck on Instagram for awhile now. I’ve found a lot of the photo shoots they take are a great place for inspiration and reference. While I do not do fanart per se, I nevertheless thought it would be fun to take one of their photos as foundation for a simple project.

Originally I want to basically do a quick study without a lot of embellishment, but as I progressed I realized I wanted to change the time of day to early morning with the sun rising off to the left. And because of its namesake, I added a deer (or buck) to the image.

I’m not entirely happy with the inclusion of the buck, though. As I watching Shadow & Bone on Netflix, the stag in that series influenced elements of the buck here. That all said, there is something off about it that I cannot entirely place.

I cannot entirely pinpoint it, but this image is less dynamic than I would like. I need to spend a bit more time analyzing some of my most recent works as I’m noticing a pattern, especially with images that include more of the body just do not have the same punch and execution as close-ups.