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JDR Magazine #54: “You are in an Inn…” Episode 2

The Context

🐲 This illustration has been commissioned by a French roleplaying game magazine. This is the second adventure of a parodic roleplaying party described in the Episode 1. Since our wannabee adventurers had not enough money to pay their mere meal, they had been forced by the Innkeeper to wash the insane amount of dirty dishes and plates which rest in the kitchen…

The Illustration

Originally, the article was simply presenting a scene of arguing and bickering between the adventurers where everyone asserted their right to NOT wash the dishes, notably the Wizard who thought that an “Unseen Servant” spell would be enough to finish quickly their chore in their stead.

But since we were in a magical world where unreal excess could serve the comic and absurd tone of the writing which was supposed to come through in the article, I decided to go well beyond what was written. And I literally created a “monster” made of dirty dishes and plates that would extend almost to the infinite. So I created a titanic “Dish Golem” that would epically depict the challenge faced by the adventurers.

The horizontal curves of the stacks of plates help create the mass of the golem’s body, while I chose cooking pots, marmites, chaldrons and rounded dishes to form the mouth, hands and fingers, because their rounder shapes were more suitable for the representation of complex organs, a bit like Giuseppe Arcimboldo did with his pareidolia portraits with vegetables and fruits.

A large fork forms the golem’s tongue to evoke his “evil” intention, as well as his glowing, smoldering eyes that come from the embers of the ovens. However, I added a skimmer and a spoon on his head, forming a sort of “antennae” to give him a comical appearance in order to “de-dramatize” the creature: the illustration had to remain light and not frightening. Sometimes it can just be down to a detail.

I transformed the “Unseen Servant” into a fairy-like “French Maid” who – literally – returns her apron and leaves the Wizard’s service, refusing to work overtime in the face of the enormity of the task… and anyway, she was definitely too low level!

In an Illustration, it is necessary to propose concrete alternatives that effectively serve the “spirit” of the article without ever contradicting it. This makes it possible to establish a “style” which will nourish the graphic trend of the series while creating a narrative which the writer can use later. The illustrator is not just a simple performer : he is the co-author of the story in a collaborative and reciprocal dynamic.

Cover of JDR Magazine #54 in which the illustration appears (click to expand)

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