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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.

If you’re a dungeon master, and you love orcs, this post is for you.

As many artists realize, this is the month of Inktober. Produce an image per day. Inked. There are some prompt words to jog the imagination (and speaking as a commission artist that draws nearly 100% from description, adjectives go a long way drawing on hidden inspiration). You get to post stuff, and be part of a community that rewards itself with likes, re-tweets, shares, etc. I like those things. All of them, I really do. But I’ve been crafting this website, and there were unforeseen hiccups, and finishing of commissions, and unfortunately, my version of #Intober2017 turned into #whatcanihopetofinishbeforeimexpectedtowakeup2017. Not nearly as catchy, or productive.

I did still produce some work, but more specifically I found out during my twitter time that the word October is missing a letter. A big, fat, “K”. That K is important, especially when you drop it between the Or-tober.

I love orcs. As an artist, they are creatures that might make you stand still, completely absorbed in its structural anatomy, fully missing the almost assured incoming decapitation as it runs straight at you. A while ago I started work on a concept revolving around hybrid monsters, inspired by Dungeons & Dragons infamous driders. “You know what would be cool,” I said. “A drider with the body of a scorpion, like the Xen’drikar scorrow, but with the upper half of an orc.”

Except, I didn’t say that. It was only later that I found out about the scorrow, and only after I had learned of the manscorpion of AD&D fame. Either way, I was super excited, and I drew this piece:

Scorcion? Orkorpian? I can't even...

I’m planning on creating a Dungeon Master’s supplement that focuses on Orcs; monstrosities, variants, etc. Whenever I can find a chance between all the #Inktobering, I’ll keep you guys updated.