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BOOKS: The Monster Manual (part 3)

July 19, 2007


Like I said before, both the original AD&D Monster Manual and the 1994’s Monstrous Manual had a tremendous impact on me both as an artist and a creator of books.

After binging out on D&D, at 13 I spent an entire summer making my own Monster Manual, which was more a field guide full of fantastical creatures from a strange island called “Gondwanaland” (after the ancient super-continent). But instead of giving statistics and game points, I wrote about natural habits, habitats, and even created scientific names for my menagerie.

I never forgot about that idea of a fantastical field guide from a naturalist’s point-of-view and that passion went into every image that I did for Spiderwick’s Field Guide – which was full of goblins, trolls, ogres and faeries – very much like the Monster Manuals.


I still love the Tolkien-inspired world of Dungeons & Dragons. And, even though I don’t do any illustrative work for the game anymore, I still doodle out some of my favorite monsters just like I did back in 1981.


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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.