Category Archives: Picture Thursdays

Picture Thursday 45: The Wizard’s Challenge by David Hoffrichter

The Wizard's Challenge by David HoffrichterOften when writing these picture Thursday posts, I wish I had a better vocabulary with which to describe what I’m seeing. Today that is doubly true. Something about this piece is just perfect. The way it looks stylistically similar to the art you might see in a children’s book, juxtaposed with the hard-edged content of a fearsome beast and a man with the intent to kill it. I am entranced.

Absolutely check out David Hoffrichter’s DeviantArt page. It’s filled with phenomenal work. I really like this piece titled “Implements of a Wizard,” as well as “Tales of the Ogre Witch.”

I’m a big fan of digital art, but it’s undeniable that there’s a certain quality to art produced with traditional means. One which is fully evident in this artist’s work. A tangible feeling which makes it seem somehow more real.

Picture Thursday 44: Brother System by Nick Patterson

Brother System by Nick PattersonI’ve kind of got monsters on my mind, if you haven’t noticed.

This is a piece from Nick Patterson, an artist who does a lot of the weird surrealist stuff that I’ve been into lately. Stormwatcher and Tank Thing are both good examples of his recent work, I think. He creates images which are, for lack of any better description, fucked up in the best possible way.

But this particular piece, Brother System, really gets the creative energy pumping in my head. The contrast of black & white ink with the stark red of each creature’s inhumanity gives immediate impact to their monstrosity. The expression on the visible face is frightening, but also vacant and terrified. I think the idea of such a horrible monster being scared is much more unsettling than if it was made to look menacing.

The two appear to be wearing suits over their bodies, with just their face exposed. Are they technologically advanced, or are they the remains of someone who was technologically advanced? They certainly seem to be in control of themselves, given their vulcan mind-meld posture. What are they doing? Perhaps (lacking a tongue or lips) they are forced to communicate via tactile telepathy?

You should absolutely check out more of Nick Patterson’s gallery. It’s rife with ideas for a creepy adventure.

Picture Thursday 43: Oliphek by Heather Gwinn

Oliphek by Heather GwinnCheck out this badass. You’ll be able to buy him and all his friends, with statblocks, in my upcoming book. Doesn’t that sound cool? Of course it sounds cool.

Heather and I only recently started working together, after I stumbled across her work whilst browsing Imgur. She’s a delight to work with, and has a surreal, creepy, fucked-up kind of artistic style which makes my monsters look as strange as I want them to be. She also works fast. Like, wicked fast. I’ve been trying to work faster to compensate.

You should check out more of her work. It’s worth your time.

Picture Thursday 42: The Secret Tower (II) by René Aigner


This is probably true for every fantasy tabletop gamer, but I have something of a fetish for wizard towers. I don’t think we really take advantage of the fact that they can be literally anything and it’s totally legit because a wizard did it. Perhaps the wizard’s tower is a blade of grass which she made enormous, or a lightning bolt from the sky which was frozen in time and had doors and windows carved into it. Fuck if I know, they’re wizards!

While it’s not quite that wacky, this piece by René Aigner represents one of my favorite types of wizard towers. This is the tower of a bush wizard. An eclectic pile of junk which really only makes sense if you understand that rat poo can be used to summon flaming rainbows, and old newspapers are an essential component in time travel spells. Or maybe she’s just crazy and old, you can’t really tell.

René’s deviantart gallery is filled with some marvelous fantasy landscapes of all types. I highly recommend his work. And he sells prints! I find myself really wishing I had a little more wall space for a few of these.



Picture Thursday 41: Teeny Tiny Castle on the Water

Chibi Castle on Water

LOOK AT THE ADORABLE CHIBI CASTLE! Doesn’t it just make you want to design an extensive series of water-themed sub levels for it?

Based on my (extremely rudimentary) research, I don’t think this is an actual period structure. More likely it’s a modern structure made to look like a castle. None the less I can easily imagine something like this existing. A noble lord’s retreat for fishing trips, or the citadel of a hobbit constructed in the human style. One particularly clever Imgurian suggested that it could be the embassy of an aquatic race–a place where humans and mer-folk could comfortably meet.

Picture Thursday 40: Spider Dragon by Dan Merrell


I’ve been a little quiet lately, trying to push myself to use more of my energy on the Monster Book and the Dungeon Moon setting. Fortunately I’ve discovered that sleep is optional, even if procrastination seems almost hopelessly inevitable.

BUT LOOK AT THOSE COLORS! Seriously, this is the most beautiful horrifying creature I’ve ever seen. Blue is such an underused color with monster design, and look at that teal tongue! And you may notice that the artist, Dan Merrell, did not create this digitally. I don’t have the same distaste for digital art that some others have, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cool to see a piece created without them!

I feel like this thing would spin acidic webs which would melt the creatures trapped in it into a pile of edible goo.

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