There's likely no clearer evidence that the sprawling worlds of fantasy, and the cosmic universes of comics have firmly made a seat for themselves at the 'cool table' of culture than the surge in popularity of Dungeons and Dragons.
I mean, four years ago I was barely aware the game existed, but recently it feels as though I can barely get through a conversation with anyone without them itching to share with me how last Thursday them and their buddies went on a rollicking jaunt through some misty elven woods and nearly died, before the party Bard poly-morphed a dragon into a kitty cat and the Sorcerer 'dimension-door'ed it back into the Fey Wilds.
But don't get me wrong, I'm deep in there too. In fact, I've got three separate campaigns on the go right now (In one of them I'm playing as a jaded old ice man named Henry!)
D&D is this beautiful thing where at first you're just sitting down to roll some dice with some friends, and building a little world of your own collective making. But returning each week, over the course of months - or even years - means eventually you're no longer just catching up with your friends, but also with these characters. And that world you built is suddenly HUGE, and the stakes start to become genuinely 'stakey', whilst the details become so vivid that you can almost see them!
Of course you never DO see them, sadly. But heck, that's when you break out the pencils!
And so, commissioned here by our Dungeon Master, is the family of misfits and monsters I've been running about the world of 'Nveria' with these past few years.
Whether I get lost or bored, I'm never sure, but I don't seem to ever really finish drawings like this these days. However, sketching, lining and colouring these designs took much less time and effort than I am used to! It was just exciting to finally get to see these characters I'd known only in my head and in the voices of the people who play them. And that - along with getting to see the reactions of those players to the finished work - was all the motivation I needed in the end!
The style for these was a sort of mish-mash of the old 2D Disney movies and the comic books I grew up reading, which has ultimately left me dreaming about what a cartoon-network style series starring these folk would look like! But until we get the budget for such a thing, Tales from Nveria will have to stick to its usual Tuesday night slot as a dice-rolling improvised radio-drama between me and some good mates.