AD&D Monster Doodles

I work a lot. Like, six days a week, ten hours a day. I get home fairly late in the day and I have scant few hours to be creative. Lately, the way I’ve unwound after work is to sit in bed with my wife, watch animal documentaries, and draw on my iPad. This has led to, well:

I’ll definitely post collections of swords and other weapons, like I did a little while back over here, as part of my ongoing efforts to post more of the doodles. Today, though, as part of the same efforts, I am going to post some of the old-school monsters I drew from memory over the past couple of weeks.

Grell

The Grell, with its erstwhile companions, a metroid and a dip pen.

The Grell was first conceived of in the pages of White Dwarf magazine by Sir Ian Livingstone and then included in the Fiend Folio, whose pages were truly blessed with an embarrassment of monstrous riches. Like most of my doodles lately, this one was merely a chance to test new brushes. In the post-AD&D1E games, artists tend to depict them as pink and purple, swollen creatures with larger beaks than they were originally drawn by the unbelievably gifted Russ Nicholson. I prefer his version – which would’ve been green, had it been colored!

Rust Monster

Delicious sword-meats!

The rust monster is a famous bane of player characters and a deeply amusing tool of sadistic DMs. They’re also weirdly adorable. I’ve always been fond of them and there was even a trained rust monster pet which a fellow player’s ranger trained in an AD&D2E game I played in as a kid which we all became fond of as it routinely altered odds in our favor. Like the grell above, I was obviously in the mood to ape the inspirational image, this time by David Sutherland. I’ve always favored the early rust monster art, where it is a strange little creature halfway between an ankylosaur and a whiskered owl; modern rust monsters have gotten more and more insectoid and the art is more polished and it loses much of the cuteness of early versions.

Shambling Mound, Kinda? Yellow Musk Zombie Maybe?

Sometimes the shrubbery comes to you.

I was thinking about Swamp Thing awhile back and that took me on a trip down monster lane to the shambling mound. When I was done drawing this guy I went and looked up the shambling mound and realized it was much larger than I remembered, which sort of made it clear I was misremembering. I distinctly recall being accosted by plant zombies as a player back in the day, and we called them vegezombies, and I guess the closest analogous creature in an AD&D1E book was the Yellow Musk Zombie of the Fiend Folio. This one is a fairly “completed” doodle I suppose – it’s got color and baby mode shading.

Xorn

Sketch page; you should see the other layers!

I forgot the Xorn’s arms and eyes. I know this now. Like all these dumb-dumbs, I drew this from memory and only recalled three legs, three sides, and a giant mouth. Radial symmetry is cool and attested to in the fiction of Lovecraft counted among the Appendix N works of Dungeons & Dragons. I reason this is surely the root of the Xorn, though “able to wreak havoc from all angles and annoy players” is a close second. I also doodled a four-winged bird that can spew foul clouds of noxious gas, a mushroom (inverted), and a bug visiting a plant. Like most of these drawings, this was just fiddling with brushes.

Crabman

What if the crabmen of the AD&D1E Fiend Folio were not quite so comical? That’s it. That’s the tweet. I added the stat block after the drawing as you can tell by the very different brush used. This pretty quickly evolved from a crab doodle to a crabman sketch by way of Guyver and tokusatsu media. I wanted to make them a little easier to take seriously and resemble a creature more capable of having a civilization. I also wanted to draw big nasty claws. I’ve been drawing a ton of crabs lately, beginning with a little dungeon I drew while waiting out COVID isolation and most recently resulting in the Throne Crab fanart I drew a few posts back. This crabman fits in somewhere in the middle.

Wolf-in-Sheep’s-Clothing

BIG PICTURE! Take the flower from the kind opossum, won’t you?

Hands down one of my all-time most favorite monsters. I not only think it is hilarious and goofy, but one of my earliest memories in D&D is getting tricked and eaten by one. I love them. Naturally I replaced the bunny with a friendly possum buddy, which I am not ashamed to admit I would absolutely fall prey to in real life. This one is a sort of “monster complex” wherein nearby shrubs are part of the monster as well, or perhaps its roots/vines sprout up all around the central “trunk” with the mouth, acting as arms and independent eyes simultaneously. This was another “complete” doodle, with tons of colors and different brushes and a whole idea and background involved. It did begin as a brush test, though! It’s also one of the very first “new” opossum doodles I’ve done several of now, with slightly different/more realistic aspects such as the coloration and tail texture.

That’s the entirety of this blog post, I suppose! It’s just a silly art collection, a batch of sketchy doodles. Hopefully nobody minds this sort of post. If you have thoughts on it, let me know, either down in the comments below or over on Twitter or Instagram where I can be found as @DungeonsPossums.

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