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Updates of the important kind.

As I’ve mentioned, I am planning to reengage in a more well-rounded manner with my inner monsters – the ones that I have pop into my head during moments I spend drawing… eating, sleeping, pooping, walking, shopping… remarkably, a lot. So I took a day to get acquainted with NaturalCrit’s Homebrewery, a tool that formats tabletop roleplaying content in the style of the current D&D Fifth Edition ruleset, and converts to .pdf format.

You may have seen the creature I’m going to share here. It was a concept developed during #Orctober (or, #Orktober if you prefer) in 2017. I was sick with flu, home from work leafing through the Monster Manual, and in particular looking at the orc entries. Wandering later into the drow entries, I decided that it was a shame you could find a creature as chaotic and insidious as the drider, but amongst the orc- nothing comparable?

I recall sneezing several times, and then scrambling for pen and paper and feverishly scribbling out a really sad version of what I would later call the “orcorpian”, an orc torso blended with a scorpion’s body. It was a year later that I put together a creature stat-block concept that broke down the key pillars of the monster: orcish savagery mixed with an insectoid predator armored by chitin, pincers and an almost lethal poison. I drew the orcorpian two more times after that. This past weekend, as I started typing up the stat-block out using the Homebrewery toolset, I looked at the art I had done, and realized I needed to accurately reflect my current style, and started drawing it again:

It feels good to look back now and see where I stand today in my art progression (versus the previous version, part of my “#Inktober & #Orktober” post) . As you can tell, this is still a work in progress that I’m weaving into my schedule and weekends around my regular commission duties. I will eventually have something complete and embedded into that Homebrewery document to share with you all as a PDF either through a Patreon Creator account, the DMsGuild, or DriveThruRPG (I still have to look at the metrics before making that decision).

Doing this work has forced me to engage with it as more than just another drawing, but as something that needs story, a reason to skitter across a cieling, or burst out of false walls and covered pits at your player characters. As a long-time dungeon master, I’m thrilled to be doing this.

I can’t wait to finish it and share the link with you.

I’ve been neglecting my baby.

I haven’t been using this site as actively as I could, and I’d like to make today the start of a regular update schedule where I’ll be sharing content with you guys weekly. Hold me to that. I will art-dump all over you guys.

A freakish amount of change occured in late 2018: September 14th marked my last day in retail, officially closing that chapter of my life to begin work doing what I love: full-time, freelance art. I made a bunch of headway getting my art to stand out in front of thousands on my various social media platforms, (FB, Twitter, Instagram), and there I connected with two long-term content creators who seriously loved what I produce, and have been clients since May 2018. One of those creators, Caley McCready, publishes an open beta TTRPG system called “Elemental D6”. In the words of its author: “Elemental D6 is a roleplaying system that allows players to explore the Ardemare galaxy from the bow of their ship, sailing through the deep ocean of space, propelled among the stars by the galactic winds. It features strategic combat and playful, creative experimentation with control over the elements via ki manipulation”. The world has been an expressive, fresh take on the usual TTRPG fantasy campaign setting, with Spelljammer-esque physics and Trek-like discovery. The world is meant to be cerebral, vital and unfamiliar, and Caley has given me a ton of leeway when it comes to the creatures I’ve produced for him.

Supported by patrons, Caley requested a recent piece to reference the face of Krystina Arielle (cosplayer, TTRPG nerd, Sirens of the Realms, Critical Role, Ironkeep Chronicles) depicting the human form of his Nahuali race, an anthropomorphic being that shifts through three different forms (still a work in progress – if you love cats, you’ll appreciate the last picture):

These pieces were produced on my new Cintiq 22HD, purchased just before the Holidays (I wouldn’t want to be without it now). I couldn’t be happier with the responses I recieved from both Caley and Krystina, or the leaps my art has made by taking time for real development. Investing my time into the things I want to do is happily paying off.

I promise to keep you all updated as the weeks progress. #weeklywednesdays


© John Latta