Characters of Chaos

Over the past year work and study have kept me busy, and I haven’t had much time for creative hobbies.  Recently though I’ve been motivated to draw again – it takes somewhat less time to set up than miniature painting, and I’ve been inspired by some D&D characters in the various groups I’ve played in.  The timing was good too – I entered an art contest on the Oldhammer Forum – the second of its kind – and scooped up first place.

OH_Characters of Chaos_JB

From left to right:  Clanless Balaax, Kronor the Vast, and Balthazar Dhum.

My hand isn’t as practiced as during university days, so I approached these experimentally.  I had started drawing Balaax some time in the middle of last year, drawing and inking small sections at a time where I would normally finish a pencil outline first; for Balthazar I used a thicker nib than usual, and for Kronor I consciously avoided over-using black and hatching, which I tend to use as a crutch.  Despite the differences in technique I think there’s enough stylistic cohesion to group them together.

Kronor the Vast

As the story goes, the northern dwarf tribes have always dwelt in their halls of granite and ice north of Ayrlock pass.  They lit fires in the mouths of caves to keep out Fobaiya the Circling Wolf, who wakes by night to watch the land with ten-thousand twinkling eyes. That was until Do’Nor, the two-faced dragon, sent the arctic hare to steal the seed of spring from Dael the Endless Winter, and Vyk tought the tribes the secrets of forging steel and making war.  Cold and darkness, blood and betrayal, the worship of the four primordial dragons has shaped the character of the northern dwarfs.

DW_Chaos Dwarf

Kronor was a character I played in a game of Dungeon World, a chaos dwarf barbarian who – thanks to the collaborative mechanics of the game – developed a fancy for dragons. Unfettered by social niceties and seriously strong, Kronor was a lot of fun to play.  He ultimately departed the game on the back of his true love, an apocalypse dragon that was probably intended as a final boss.

I had tried to draw him a few times, taking more than a little inspiration from Martin McKenna’s chaos warrior in the Fighting Fantas game book Return to Firetop Mountain (which isn’t available online – the pose is pretty similar, the costume differs though).  The drawing started to work better when I made him shorter, and realised that Kronor wouldn’t have worn too much armour.  I’m particularly happy with the tartan pattern of his cloak.

Clanless Balaax

I like how resigned the cock horn demon is.

DND_Clanless Baalax

A dragonborn eldritch knight clad in inky-black demon armour, decorated with skulls evil, howling faces, and a loosely fastened codpiece, Clanless Balaax is a character played (fantastically well) by my friend Mike in a long-running but episodic campaign.  Beligerant, amorous, and notoriously unlucky, Balaax offered me a lot to work with as both an illustrator and a DM.  Looking forward to more of his misadventures when I get home this summer!

Balthazar Dhum

It was the last day of the festival of Tuvva. Wrapped in ochre silks, the faithful danced or languished around the edges of Haela’s Deep’s small temple. In the midst of it all, Balthazar Dumh sat perfectly still, the orange glow of the torches masking the emerald green of his eyes, as he watched the rain falling into the distant harbour.

Snekman_JB

I’m not sure if this is Balthazar Dhum, yuan-ti warlock of Tuvva, or just a generic snake man.   No-one ever saw  what Balthazar really looked like, and he walked calmly out of a campaign wearing another character’s one-eyed face, leaving a revolution in his wake.  Perhaps after that he travelled deep into some distant jungle south of the Alaki Isles, to crumbling yuan-ti cities, satisfied that balance had been restored and the warm-blooded peoples would be at war amongst themselves again.

Hopefully I’ll be doing some more drawing soon, as off the back of the Oldhhammer Art Contest Sjoerd from evillittlebuggers contacted me about a really interesting opportunity to contribute to one of his projects.

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