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Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 2)

August 11, 2007

Part 2 – I Contribute to Goblindom

Well, not really. My early work for Dungeons & Dragons and even my work on the card game Magic the Gathering is just a regurgitation of goblins I had seen before. Simple, iconic images intended to be instantly recognized for what they were.

D&D Goblin

In the case of the illustration for 1994’s Monstrous Manual, I (very crudely) re-interpreted Trampier’s goblin, however mine fails by lacking any action or movement of its inspiration.

Goblins also made infrequent appearances in the Planescape role-playing game. Though they were pretty close in appearance to their D&D cousins. I think the only difference here is that my technical skill was clearly improving.

Planar Goblin

By the late 90’s, I started contributing regularly to the Magic the Gathering card game. There, goblins seemed to abound, and I was assigned to create them myself…

Goblin Warbuggy

…or use pre-existing designs from the team of conceptual artists. In all cases, I felt the design needed to be simple and immediate due to the function of the art: “This is a goblin and it can cause X to your opponent’s hand”.

Goblin Piker

At this time I was also seriously working on my first children’s books and my sketchbooks began to fill with doodles for kid’s book characters right alongside my fantastical Magic sketches.

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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.