635 – Golden Afternoon

Golden Afternoon

A Golden Afternoon, cover of Dragon magazine #242,
Acryla gouache on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

One of the highlights during my years of illustrating for Dungeons and Dragons was getting to contribute to their editorial publications, Dragon Magazine, and Dungeon Adventures. I even got to paint a few covers for Dragon Magazine, which was a real honor for me because there had been some amazing illustrators in the past like Boris Vellejo and the Hildebrandt Brothers, who had contributed to covers to their magazine.

The rule for Dragon Magazine was very simple. There was only one rule, it had to have a dragon on the magazine, somewhere. Now most people illustrated these amazing, scary, terrifying, fire-breathing dragons wreaking havoc on a village, or facing off with a knight, or a party, or protecting their treasure, and I thought of the dragon in the Reluctant Dragon, and this was many years before I would return to this concept in Kenny and the Dragon. But I love the idea of the boy becoming friends with the dragon because if I had known a dragon that’s what I would have wanted to do. I would want to become friends with it, and ask it all these questions.

So this scene actually depicts a scene conjured from Kenneth Grahame’s Reluctant Dragon, where the boy is hanging out with the dragon and they’re playing boardgames, and if you look closely there’s a dice bag so that potentially there could be a D & D game that will happen. The cover went over tremendously huge, much to my delight and surprise. It remains a favorite to this day.