Redesigning the Peryton

Hey folks! Here's a quick look at the process of redesigning another Dungeons & Dragons monster from the newly released Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons. One of the many creatures I got to play with was the Peryton. This creature was first featured in the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 1977. For 5th edition, Wizards pulled from it's rich history of monsters to feature a few old favorites and I had the pleasure of reimagining this one in particular.

The prompt for this design was pretty straightforward: large eagle-like body with the head of an elk. I wanted the new version of the Peryton to feel more like a cohesive creature rather than a chimera with pieces of animals stuck together.

 This was one of the first sketches I sent over to Wizards for approval. I wanted to capture a raptor-like stance, with the head held back and chest forward, as well as keeping the elk apparent in the head design. This monster is known for ripping out the hearts of its victims so its mouth needed to reflect that.

After receiving feedback, I moved on to add teeth and a more aggressive forward facing eye to the final design. I looked to bearded vultures and eagles for reference and ideas. From here it was on to color and a few other poses to better realize the creature. I always strive to add a few additional views and a bit of written information to better showcase what the creature looks like. Because I wasn't sure if I'd be illustrating this monster for the final manual, I needed to make sure the artist doing so would have sufficient information. 

The final monster ended up being a success! The illustration in the manual is gorgeous and I recommend finding a copy to take a look at all of the incredible art. I have lots more to share about the design process of a few monsters from Dungeons & Dragons. Special thanks to Jon Schindehette for Art Directing the concept stages of this monster. 

Re-designing the Kraken

In October of 2013, I was approached by Wizards of the Coast to redesign a variety of classic monsters for the newest incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons. One of those monsters was The Kraken, a legendary sea monster that has been a part of D&D since 1st edition. The Monster Manual has just hit shelves and I am busy sharing all the work I contributed to the project. 

The Kraken has taken many forms but it usually resembles a squid. When working with Wizards on this monster, they made it clear they wanted to take a different direction for this edition. These were the first sketches I sent in for approval: 

They wanted the monster to feel ancient and enormous. I pulled from extinct animals including dunkleosteus and coelacanth. The team at Wizards took a liking to the monster on the bottom right. From there, I was able to flesh out more of the monster.

Even though these concepts were for print and will probably never be animated or modeled, I strived to add a few drawings of the creature in motion as well as written information for the artist who might be assigned with illustrating the monster for the manual later. I felt it would help flesh out the look of the beast.

After a few edits to the head design, the Kraken was later illustrated by Christopher Burdett. He did a beautiful job of capturing the attitude and enormity of the monster. You can read about his process illustrating it here. Special thanks to Jon Schindehette for Art Directing the concept stage of this monster. I have many more concepts to show off in the coming days so stay tuned for more! 



Wizards of the Coast has spoiled more work from the Monsters Manual over the weekend. The Gynosphinx and the Androsphinx were two of the sphinxes I illustrated for the monster manual last year. 

One thing you'll notice as Wizards reveals more more from the Monster Manual, are smaller drawings that accompany the larger, color illustrations. This was one aspect of working on the Monster Manual this time around that I absolutely loved. I can't say much but be prepared to see more of the monsters you've loved.

This project was such a joy to work on and I'm very much looking forward to working with D&D more in the future. The Monster Manual is set to release on September 30th. I'll be sharing more work as it's revealed. You can read Wizards Excerpt on these monsters here