620 – Cat Lord

Cat Lord

Cat Lord from the AD&D Planescape supplement The Monstrous Compendium Appendix
Colored inks, color pencil, and airbrush on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

One of the interesting things that happened during, as a consequence of my re-interpreting of monsters in the Dungeons & Dragons Monsters Manual, was that some of the designers came to me to see how I would do different takes on some of these kind of classic or long-forgotten Dungeons & Dragons monsters. One of them was the Cat Lord. Cat Lord was in the second Monster Manual, which came out in the ’80s, and it was a guy in a turtleneck who had cat-like abilities. When I came to illustrate it for Planescape, I struggled with it a little bit being a man, and I thought, “Oh a woman’s face is more triangular when traditionally depicted, which is more like the shape of a cat”, and so I tried kind of sketching it as a woman.

We had a friend who was very close with my wife, Kim, and Kim took photographs of my wife Angela and a lot of her friends at the time, and Kim would often give me these photos from these photoshoots, and I would use them for reference. And so one of Angela’s high school friends, Marta, had this great pose with her hair on her eyes and it was the perfect shot to use as a reference for the Cat Lord.

I did it in a flurry during an afternoon because the deadlines on Planescape were so tight that I remember doing several finished illustrations per day. And if you look at the Nightmare, you’ll see that I airbrushed some real bright blue ink on the Nightmare. That’s because I then did the Cat Lord right after the Nightmare and used the same blue ink in my airbrush.