King Luxon IV – A Sketch

king luxon iv original character dungeons and dragons warlock pact with the raven queen

King Luxon IV was a good king. Many in his land would say he was the best leader their kingdom had ever known.

However, one day, King Luxon welcomed a stranger into his palace. This stranger revealed himself to be a vampire – and the vampire killed everyone in the palace.

Almost everyone.

A loyal advisor to the king led Luxon out through the secret tunnels, allowing Luxon to escape. Luxon attempted to return to the palace, but discovered too late that the vampire had taken over the kingdom completely. The vampire’s legion of monsters overran everything in less than a day.

So Luxon wandered through the countryside, lost, confused…and hurt. Until he came to a graveyard. There, he saw her:

The Raven Queen.

The Raven Queen watched over the souls of the living, ensuring that their transition into the afterlife was peaceful. Luxon soon learned that the Raven Queen hated the undead, and those who would raise the undead, as they are a violation of nature.

So Luxon swore his loyalty to the Raven Queen. She gave him the power he sought to fight the undead – and now he fights to reclaim his lost kingdom.

…So this is an original character I cooked up for Dungeons & Dragons.

The origin for the idea of this character is a long story, but it boils down to this: ultimately I asked myself, “What if an actor, who’s known for playing melodramatic characters, created a character of his own for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign?”

I was surprised that Luxon IV came out. Because I normally don’t play dramatic D&D characters. And I ESPECIALLY don’t play magic users.

Luxon is actually the first warlock I’ve designed.

If you’re curious, I’m using the Unearthed Arcana version of Warlock, specifically the pact with The Raven Queen. This particular subclass gives you benefits that the usual Warlock doesn’t get, and acts a bit more like a cleric with a vengeance.

However, unlike cleric, this is a Charisma-based build (because it’s not like we have a lot of charisma-based magic users in D&D, BWAHAHAHA). This makes sense for his power to be based on charisma, given his background.

As far as the sketch? I’ll polish it up a bit more eventually, but I wanted to share it as-is. I’ll post again when I ink (and maybe even color) this bad boy.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

My First LiveStream (Holy Banana Pants)!

If you missed my first ever livestream on YouTube, no worries! There were a few technical issues when I first got it streaming, but I’ve learned for next time.

However, here’s the stream again for your viewing pleasure as just a video.

The next livestream will air on YouTube next Saturday, November 30 at 1 pm EST. Use this time zone converter to figure out what time that is for you.

(I’ve also learned, after watching the stream back over, that I need to actually share what I’m doing on the screen. So please excuse me for showing mostly my face the entire time. Next stream it will go better.)

Thank you for watching!

You. Are. Awesome.

Oops, It’s Mer-May

I don’t have a lot of updates for you – aside from “Hey, I’ll be at 3 Rivers Comicon this weekend, May 11 and 12 in Homestead, PA.”

So here’s a sketch of an eel girl because I forgot it was Mer-May.

(Yeah, this was sketched before Mer-May, so ssshhhh).

How I Made the RathaCon Limited Edition Print Art

This post does contain affiliate links. Bear with me.

So this started, initially, as a multi-part blog post series.

Then it got complicated.

Specifically, the art got complicated, and I wasn’t able to make a new blog post each week to detail the process of making this thing.

Let’s go into the details, though, so I can show you WHY this art took so long. And also how I make big illustrations like this one.

STEP 1: THUMBNAILS

Thumbnails are what I like to call the really rough sketches of an idea. It’s something I borrowed from animation film language.

I already wrote a post about this step, which you can read here.

STEP 2: PENCILS

I wrote about why I choose this design, as well as the details of it, in the second part of the blog series. Now I’m going to get into the how.

It took a little while for the email chain with the convention staff to start (another reason that the weekly blog post idea had to get pushed). But once it got going, I was able to get feedback and get to work.

Pencils – or, the sketched the version of a thing – is something I do with just one pencil in one go.

When I first started in comics, I USED to do the undersketch with one pencil (usually a 2H), then the top layer in a darker tone (like B).

Now, I do all of my pencilling with just one pencil. Usually a mechanical one. I believe the RathaCon art was drawn with my Tombow monograph mechanical pencil, but right now I am in LOVE with the Zebra DelGuard mechanical pencil.

STEP 3: INKS

This step takes a deceptively long time.

It takes a long time for me because I try to control the line weight as much as possible: making some areas dark with a bolder line, but light with a lighter line.

Inking is also the stage where I have to squint at my pencil drawing and determine what lines will look the best when inked.

Because pencils are when I get real loose. Inks are where things get tight and snappy.

STEP 4: COLORS

Depending on the piece, I’ll make it either traditional-only (usually with Copic markers). Or I make it a combination of traditional and digital. Or I have all the colors be digital.

For the RathaCon print art, I opted to combine the traditional and digital modes. So I colored with my Copics first, then scanned the art, to start the next step…

STEP 6: DIGITAL EDITS

At this stage I go back over the art in Clip Studio Paint and erase any stray marks, fix any color bleeds, and generally just clean the piece up.

I also like to adjust how much the colors pop at this stage. So I play with the levels a little.

STEP 7: DIGITAL COLORS

With the RathaCon art, the only digital color I needed to add was the background tint.

In almost any other piece, I’ll add a layer over the art in Clip Studio Paint in order to add shadows. These make the art pop even more.

STEP 8: FORMATTING

I originally made the art for this print at 11 x 17 inches.

About a week ago, the RathaCon staff asked if I could make the piece an 8.5 x 11 inch one instead.

Pro tip: it’s WAY EASIER to shrink an illustration than to enlarge it.

It took a little wiggling to keep the scale of the piece consistent and not accidentally cut off bits of it. But a new scale was figured out.

And there you have it!

As I mentioned, this art will be available as a limited edition 8.5 x 11 inch print at RathaCon, for $10 a piece.

So if you’re in Athens, OH on April 27, I hope you get it! This is a limited print run, so once it’s gone – it’s gone.

I’ll have these beauties for sale at my table, and they’ll also be available at the RathaCon official table.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Xemnas (A Sketch)

Yes, I finally got a copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 and started playing it recently. (Don’t spoil anything! I’m still only one world into the game).

Kingdom Hearts is a game series I have a lot of fondness for in my heart, despite all of its issues. It was the series that convinced my teenage self that video games could be an art form because it prompted SO MANY FEELINGS (instead of just rage and frustration at the mechanics of whatever game I was playing).

This was the series that helped me get through high school. Not just because of its cool game-play or its silly character moments, but also because of the fandom.

Yes, I was one of those fans who giggled at the idea of rearranging Xemnas’ name into “Mansex.” Who loved all the crack comics comparing Saix to a puppy and having Demyx and Roxas use a laser pointer to torture him. I even devoured so many hours of a video series called “The Stupid Files” where a fan with a LOT of time on their hands spliced comedic audio samples over Kingdom Hearts cutscene footage. It was like a precursor to all the abridged anime series’ out now.

But.

Kingdom Hearts as a game series has a LOT of issues. I am not a fan of the fact that the spin-off titles, or “interquels,” change the core mechanics of the gameplay. I did not like the card system of Chain of Memories, but I ESPECIALLY hated the Tetris-inventory mechanics of 358/2 Days. I could not finish either of those games because of those gameplay mechanics.

As a fan of the series, I feel like a lot of those in-between games could have just been made into movies and be JUST as effective. Most fans of Kingdom Hearts I know only ever watch the cutscenes of the side games and play just the anchor games (the anchors being games 1, 2, and now 3).

That’s the thing that being a fan of Kingdom Hearts has taught me: that you don’t have to consume EVERY FACET of a property to be a big dork for the thing.

I will never play the interquel games. At most, I will watch the cutscenes. Heck, you can watch videos on YouTube summarizing the lore of Kingdom Hearts so far and – ta-da – you’re now caught up to the series without having to touch any of the crap side games.

(358/2 Days, why did you have to SUCK?)

That said, I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts 3 so far – on Proud mode! I haven’t touched a new video game in 13 years and I can play Kingdom Hearts 3 on Proud Mode without dying. That…actually might be more a statement on the game’s difficulty than on my expertise. But that aside…

Playing Kingdom Hearts 3 reminded me why I love this game series in the first place. It’s fun to play (at least the anchor games are). The characters are stilted but they’re still fun. The dialogue is cheesy but it works. And GOOD GOLLY JEEZ, the fact that you can play as a character interacting in Disney worlds is great. I’m looking forward to the Toy Story world the most because those were some of my favorite movies as a kid.

It’s a game series made for people who are young at heart, who need a little light to combat all the cynicism and self-awareness that the video game industry is saturated in. And thank goodness for that.

That’s all I’m going to write for now. I could talk for days about this series.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.