Dragon country

A couple of weeks ago, two of my favorite ladies got married. Many congratulations to Ari and Cynthia; you couldn't ask for nicer friends and their reception was one of the all-time great parties.

As soon as I heard that they were tying the knot (they've been engaged for awhile), I knew I had to make something for them. My first inspiration was a Victorian-style portrait, Mike Mignola-style, with the two of them in formal garb surrounded by creepy kitsch like skulls and portraits of the long-dead and velvet curtains.

I had nearly finished the roughs for that idea, but like most things Mignola-style-but-not-drawn-by-Mignola it felt derivative; Mignola's so iconic in the way he works that he's nearly impossible to ape.

I was at a loss when my excellent wife said, "Why not do one of those shots of people surrounded by piles of dead things?" I interpreted this to mean the turn-of-the-century sepia photos of hunters, so that's what I ended up referencing.

So much character in this dude! He looks as dangerous as a schoolteacher but his kills speak for themselves. Since the girls are such avid gamers, especially fantasy, I thought that their prey shouldn't be tigers or bears but something more fantastic; something like a dragon.
 I created the piece using inkwashes, and then I stole a technique from my pal Tim Sale; I used instant coffee to make sepia tones for the final piece. The colours scanned badly; the real illustration looks much jazzier.
 The final piece of the puzzle was a slightly distressed, older-looking frame.

We went over to the girl's place for a BBQ last weekend and they had the piece up on the wall, and I'm still pretty pleased with it. I'd like to do more drawings like this; it was a lot of fun to experiment with media and draw something outside of my comfort zone.

Ari and I were out in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago for the awesome Ottawa Comic Con; I have a lot of photos of my sketches to post, I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Soon!


  1. Hi,
    New here. :) What an awesome wedding present! It turned out really well and I'm curious about using instant coffee for sepia tones. :)

  2. Hi Colleen! I got the idea from a friend of mine when he finished a commission in my kitchen using instant coffee.

  3. Kelly, that came out great and, based on my experience with Tim's coffee colored Oz piece for Bill, probably smells great too.