Fabulous Folded Friday Fan Art
I’ve been a fan of paperfolding since my mom bought a copy of Robert Harbin’s Secrets of Origami back in the 70′s.
A couple of years back I wrote an article on how I got my start illustrating role-playing games for Jon Schindehette’s The Art Order. Jon is the Senior Creative Art Director for Dungeons & Dragons and an amazing mentor. His site is loaded with numerous articles and topics aimed at the aspiring fantasy illustrator. I seriously wish a resource like this was around back in 1992 when this art school student graduated. Instead, I decided to listen to the advice of some friends and chase a crazy dream… Read more
A couple of weeks ago I cleaned out a storage closet here in the studio used primarily for holding shipping supplies. Back in the farthest corner, I came across a box full of old framed art prints by Michael Parkes and Brian Froud that had once adorned our apartment (from way back when Ang and I were living in Florida). Amongst these old prints, I found some of my early spec work that I had created in hopes of bridging my illustration portfolio from role-playing games to children’s books. Read more
As you may have read recently, I’ve uploaded all sorts of activity and coloring pages throughout the site and on my facebook page. This had me thinking about coloring books and the artwork created for these treasured tomes. Read more
I hope everyone had a fabulous Fourth of July. I took a weekend off from WondLa 2 and enjoyed some food, fireworks and finding fireflies. Also, I uploaded all sorts of DiTerlizzi-themed downloads to the site. If you read about each title under the BOOKS section, you’ll now find lots of cool FREE stuff, like audio samples from my various audio books (read by the likes of Mark Hamill, Alan Cumming, Andrew McCarthy and the lovely Teri Hatcher), as well as a plethora of coloring pages and activity sheets for use at home or in the classroom. Read more
About a month ago I posted a bunch of old Dungeons & Dragons art from the early part of my career on my facebook page, (which were well received to my utter delight). As I scanned the dingy drawings, I realized that some were pushing 20 years old already…yikes!
This was on the heels of my reminisce of breaking into the RPG industry for Wizards of the Coast’s creative director, Jon Schindehette. On top of that was a revisit to Planescape (sort of) for Black Gate magazine’s series on the history of gaming illustration.
The editor for Black Gate had asked me to create a new piece using the same mediums and tools I had used in my 90′s heyday. However, I was down in Florida at the time working away on the final art for WondLa and had very limited time and art supplies. Instead, I opted to create a piece that was a more modern approach. The result was a hybrid of both art styles found in WondLa and Planescape.
Despite the fact that the drawing style for WondLa was cleaner and tighter than Spiderwick, the inking process for the illustrations involved the usual warm-up exercises. Leading up to the Black Gate piece were a handful of old D&D and Planescape warm-up drawings (something I’ve done before).
Most of the warm-ups I do are a hodgepodge of doodles, usually focused on an aspect of the piece I am preparing to ink (like hair, buildings or plants). Sometimes, I will stick with the warm-up and complete an entire image. However, the drawing is then discarded as I slide right into inking the final art. Its sort of like stretching and jogging in place before beginning a morning run.
Many times these doodles are inconsequential to what I am working on. They can be favorite scenes from books, explorations for possible new characters for a story, life drawing and studies. So here’s an ink warm-up done last summer during the WondLa art session of a D&D goblin.
Recognize the pose? You old timers will, it’s after David Trampier’s goblin done for the AD&D Monster Manual back when boomboxes and Rubik’s cubes ruled. And as many remember, the enigmatic Trampier simply signed his work DAT.
As you can see, I’ve been a fan of this piece for many years.
…and wanted to do a new version 29 years later(!) I hope you like’em. (Click for a larger image)
As I came off of the Black Gate piece and returned to my work on WondLa I thought of the journey I had taken thusfar. Its a journey that I am happy to say I am still traveling on and sharing with my longtime fans.
Jon Schindehette, the Creative Art Director for Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, invited me to participate in his “How I Made it” series over at his blog in hopes that my story may offer up some seeds of inspiration for up-and-coming fantasy artists. In fact, I found his blog to be INCREDIBLY informative for any who are interested in breaking into the field – where was your blog when I was getting started, Jon!?
Of course, there were no blogs in 1992 when I submit my artwork to TSR (the fine publishers of D&D back then). But you can read all about what I did do on Jon’s blog here.
As a bonus, I found a pile of my original submissions that were sent to TSR. Jon posted them on his site, but here they are bigger and with some additional comments:
Preparatory sketches of orcs drawn in the spring of 1992. These orcs were certainly inspired by Brian Froud and Alan Lee’s work as well as the goblins in Rankin & Bass’ animated movie of The Hobbit.
Finished ink drawing of an elven player-character done for my initial submission to TSR in September, 1992. I remember I was looking at a lot of Jean-Giraud Moebius’ work back then and you can see it the overabundance of tic marks done in this one.
Finished ink drawing of a trio of were-rats done for my initial submission to TSR in September, 1992. There was no color work in my submission samples because all of their gaming books were only printed in black & white throughout. It was a well-known fact that the color cover work was done by TSR’s staff artists, a highly coveted position I figured I was not worthy of.
A year later (just prior to Planescape starting) I was offered a staff position but turned it down because I was dating this really cool girl back in Florida…who I eventually married and adore more than ever. Fortunately, there were no hard feelings with the team at TSR and I continued an amazing and prosperous working relationship with them throughout most of the 1990’s.
AD&D Monster Compendium sample mock up with my artwork, done for my initial submission to TSR in September, 1992. (click image for detail)
Sample page layout of a gaming module mocked up with my artwork. This was done for my initial submission to TSR in September, 1992. This harem-inspired medusa drawing actually was colored and used in 1993’s AD&D Monstrous Manual. Of course, the ethics of TSR’s publishing had changed since the 1980’s and a top was added prior to completing. (click image for detail)
Pencil sketch of a dwarven player character done in preparation for my third submission to TSR in 1992. This dwarf was based on one of the player characters in the D&D game that I was participating in at that time.
Ink drawing of a cleric preparing to animate a clay golem done in preparation for my third submission to TSR in November, 1992. The idea here was to illustrate an otherwise unseen action and make it interesting.
Sample page layout of a gaming module mocked up with my artwork. Done for my third (and final) submission to TSR in November, 1992. These illustrations of player characters battling and finding treasure were the images that finally got TSR to take a chance and use me. Looking back on them today I wince at how overdone the ink work is, but at that time no other artists were really working in this style for TSR’s gaming products. (click image for detail)
Snapshot of my workspace in Florida, 1994. I couldn’t find any shots of me working on the initial submission pieces for TSR, but I did find this gem from my Planescape years. The desk was one my parents had bought for me for art school which I held onto for years (my brother owns it now) and you’ll note a few favorite illustrations of mine tacked to the wall including my 1982 Displacer Beast next to my 1993 rendition.
Doing a school report titled “Your Favoritist Book Creator of All Time”?
When is your college term paper on “The Most Stupendous Writer-Artist-Guy of the 21st Century?” due?
Perhaps you want to break into the industry of making books for kids…or perhaps you just need to know more about me than my own parents.
Whatever you fancy, there is lots of questions answered in my FAQ section of the site. And they’ve been updated from some of the insightful questions I was asked from various interviews last year. Read on…