I love creating! I love making art and I frequently marvel over how amazing it is that we, human beings, can come up with something in our heads and bring it into existence. With just a pencil and a piece of paper I can bring something to life that was merely a passing thought before, truly, it is incredible what we’re capable of as humans.

Despite this joy of making things, during 2018 I found my creative well slowly draining and because of it, my drive waning. I have been working long hours for a long time, frequently giving up weekends and evening to work. As fun and incredible as it is to create, you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long.

As many before me, I had to learn the hard way the importance of taking time off and refilling my creative well.

At my Cintiq, working on an illustration of Locke.

In an effort to reclaim my weekends, I joined my small group of friends in a weekly Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game, every Saturday evening. Now you have to understand Dungeons and Dragons were part of why I first dreamt of being an illustrator. I have always had the mindset of a dreamer, and when I was introduced to the world of roleplaying in a medieval-inspired adventure world as a teenager, I was sold. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a warrior oe wizard that can fight dragons and cast magic?! And the books were so beautifully illustrated.

Who doesn’t want to be a warrior or wizard that can fight dragons and cast magic?! And the books were so beautifully illustrated.

Locke The Legend: In the Brig of the Azure Kraken

Locke The Legend: In the Brig of the Azure Kraken

D&D portrait of blonde female fighter

Locke The Legend: The Calm after the Fight

At first I kept my cool with our campaign because I know I tend to obsess over that game, but then our Game Master (If you’re unfamiliar with the game, the Game Master is the one who creates the storyline) thought I wasn’t enjoying the game a whole lot so he urged me to start a new character. One I might enjoy more, possibly recreate one of my older characters from an old online Neverwinter Nights served called Dragon Coast – and that’s when I fell hard.

I remade a character named Locke, who I had played many years ago and really enjoyed back then. She is a fist fighter and a fighter, heavily scarred from the many fights she has been in but with a cheerful demeanor and a happy go lucky attitude. I adjusted her background story to fit our new game and I was sold! It was interesting because with the deep emotional connection I suddenly formed to the story being told in our D&D game my creativity reignited and burned bright again, so I started painting and painting and painting…! 

It was interesting because with the deep emotional connection I suddenly formed to the story being told in our D&D game my creativity reignited and burned bright again, so I started painting and painting and painting…! 

Prior to this, I had only made a few personal paintings during 2018, everything else was client work.

Illustration of D&D characters hanging out in a fighting pit. Female warrior facing an orc.

Locke The Legend: In the Fighting Pits

If you’re a frequent reader you may have seen some of the artwork around, both here on the site but also on my social media. It’s become its own project called Locke the Legend. We started sharing some of the artwork along with short stories and found that many people really enjoyed and responded so well the characters and story we had built. This has only inspired us further.

We are working to set up a website for the project, but until then you can follow along here on my blog on the Locke The Legend Hashtag, there are already a bunch of short stories and art for you to enjoy. I’ve roped the Game Master (Who is also an artist, and my partner in life) into joining me in turning one of the questlines of our game into a full-fledged illustrated story.

I learned a valuable lesson during 2018, that it’s important to take time off and enjoy life, engage with things you enjoy, rekindle your creative fires and use that as fuel for your work.

Links:
RPG Illustrations
Locke The Legend Art & Stories
Dungeons and Dragons