660 – Portrait of a Tiefling

Portrait of a Tiefling

Portrait of a Young Tiefling
Acryla gouache on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

One of my geek badges that I wear very proudly is the fact that I got to illustrate a D & D race that is still used in the game to this day and it’s the tiefling. Tieflings are humans that have fiend blood somewhere in their ancestry and it can manifest in the form of horns or a forked tail or cloven feet. I got to be the first illustrator to do them in Planescape back in the 90’s and I wanted to return and do an illustration of one that was given a very classical treatment.

I looked back at some of my favorite classical painters, Botticelli. Botticelli did a lot of paintings of portraits of young women and Raphael did that amazing portrait of a woman with a unicorn in her lap and I wanted to be able to try to do a painting like that. I used a friend of mine, Madison, who’s posed for me before and she posed as the tiefling. I took a lot of photos. We referenced every aspect of the painting, right down to the jewelry and as a little nod to the fact that she is a character from Dungeons and Dragons, if you look closely in her headdress, you’ll see 20-sided dice woven into with the beads in her hair.