610 – Kobold


Subterranean Kobold (Cobalus gygaxius),
Colored pencil and acryla gouache on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

When I was 12-years-old and playing Dungeons and Dragons in the eighties one of my favorite monsters was the kobold. I used to copy drawings out of the rule books and the monster manual all the time. That’s how I learned to draw actually was emulating and copying artists that I love. This is evident from a very young age and was certainly happening during my years playing Dungeons and Dragons. When Dark Horse Comics collected all of my early gaming work in a book called Realms I wanted to return to some of my favorite things about gaming and do new polished paintings of them. The kobold was one of them because I loved it so much as a kid.

The funny thing is, is that kobolds in Dungeons and Dragons are really nothing like the kobolds of folklore. They’re kind of … they’re a creature unto their own and they’re very lowly, they’re very small creatures. They’re very easy to defeat and so I wanted to kind of paint this very austere, proud kobold. If you look, actually the point of view in this painting is a little lower and you’re looking up a little bit at this ugly monster. The funny thing is kobolds are I think two or three feet tall. I referenced all kinds of things. Every aspect of the painting was referenced.

I looked at all these photos of ugly dog shows and the winners of ugly dog shows to reference the kobold’s face. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this but I wore my wife’s nightgown with a belt tied around me and the reference for the tunic and how the tunic would look so there’s some very embarrassing photos of me from that photo session.