Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Role Playing

-By Jesper Ejsing

I am not by far an oracle in what keeps your creative well from drying out. I have one little thing that keeps my juices flowing: it is called role-playing. It is the only leisure that hasn’t been rooted out of my life since I got kids and house and car and mortgage and all that. I meet every Monday evening at my brothers with the same crowd of guys, and we have been at it for about 18 years now. What it do to me is keeping my mind fresh with ideas. It builds up my inner library of scenes and settings, so that when I am asked to paint a Wizards laboratory I do it knowingly. I have been there before: I have search for forbidden books, I have discovered useful herbs for healing, or I have battled and defeated the owner…or suffered maiming or torture there. Shortly; I feel like I have visited most places in the world of fantasy role-playing.

But this is the well I tap into while doing my illustrations. It is the visual vocabulary I have for painting. But there is a huge difference between an illustration you do as a professional and the stuff you do for fun. Fun has no dictated art description. Fun is only what pops into my mind. And to keep myself from drying out I have a little project called Encountering Monsters. It is a bunch of pencil drawings I do that depicts adventures against monsters. I try to capture the moments where the hero kind of regrets what he has gotten himself into, the moment where he realise that this could go very much wrong.

Doodling these small pencils with no publication or audience in mind, makes them free of stress. I have no need for satisfying anyone but me. I think it is extremely important to have a small portion of stress-free drawing once in a while. Actually; thinking about it, makes me want to put the Paladin I am working on right now aside and start on a quick little pencil.

It is just for fun. And that is the sole purpose.


  1. Great to see these - there are some wonderful narratives going on, and even if they are 'sketches' they are still skillfully composed vignettes.

    I especially like the Wizard on the boat, the wake left by the trailing wing is a lovely device - don't suppose it's for sale?

  2. The love of your craft shines through, Jesper!
    All wonderful compositions by the way :)

  3. Very well done, Jesper! Hang onto these, they'll be in a book someday!!

  4. Your facebook post lured me hear and I'm glad for taking the bait. These are great little drawings. I think my favorites are the long shot of the person of the horse and the old bearded adventuror looking down on the castle. There's some great compositions there.

  5. These are great! I love that the heroes are in a bad position. Really refreshing. The last one is perfect. It reminds me of that scene in JAWS, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!". Your guy is like "I'm gonna need some bigger arrows!" Usually we assume the hero will win, of course. Here you create much more tension, as in a movie. Could this be the end of the hero? I don't think this guy is going to win. That monster has to many hit dice! LOL, just brilliant.

  6. Beautiful drawings! I love the one of the lone rider. What are the approximate sizes of these?

  7. these are amazingly beautiful! such pretty stories! thanks for posting them.

    id be interested in what size these are, too.

  8. Hey Guys

    Ralph; I will trade it with you, if you´d like?

    The size is A4. I basicly just used some copymachine paper. that is 29 x 21 cm. The Wizard in the boat an dt he Lone rider is where I experimented with Grahite powder. I rubbed it on with a cloth and used electrical eraser to highlight white areas again. It is something I picked up from a French animator/concept artist, from when that stuff was not done digitally.
    I am truelly glad you guys like them .

  9. Jesper a trade would be sweet :D Email sent.

  10. I agree, you get a lot of mileage out of that graphite especially in the water on the third down.

    Kudos Jesper! You don't have to justify roleplay to us. We totally get it!

    Is it just me or do the French have some great artists, non?