Friday, December 12, 2008


Another example of why it is hard to be a Lizardman.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Family time!

I've got lots of holiday things going on today, so a family-themed post seems right. I did this family of Trolls for Fight On #3 for "County of Haghill and Environs" by James Mishler. He posits the idea that female trolls are not quite as hideous as their male counterparts, and also have tails that may or may not give them magical powers.

These were ideas that really have breathed life into the D&D troll for me. I have to admit being a little "Tolkien-centric" and disliking D&D trolls from the get-go. But, after 25 some odd years, they have finally begun to grow on me.

You will also note the homage to the original D&D troll by Dave Trampier. (edit: In my confusion, I have given credit for the D&D troll to the wrong artist. Sutherland, not Trampier, did the original troll illustration. Trampier did a version of it in the PHB, which is what I was looking at.) I may have not cared for the monster, but I have always loved that illustration.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Sometimes it can be better to try to talk one's way out of trouble. Especially when trouble thinks you look tasty...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Original Edition Characters on Grognardia

James Maliszewski of Grognardia fame gives a very good review of Original Edition Characters for Labyrinth Lord over on his blog. It's a product that I'm very proud to have been able to help out with.

These guys are definitely in trouble. I stuck in the guy with the spear and helmet as tribute to Erol Otus, who is the one of the few D&D artists to show his adventurers using spears rather than swords. You get him, fellas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Don't feel too bad for the turkey this Thursday...

After all, some birds are just plain mean!

The Limed Over Skeleton of the Abbott

If you played AD&D, then you remember this guy. This was back in the day when rulebooks had interesting examples of play in them, which are always fun to read. (At least for me!) Now, where's by 10' pole...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fight On #3 is Out!

This is Crazy Clonk, and he appears in the new issue of Fight On! in “Spawning Grounds of the Crab Men”, a dungeon adventure written by the unstoppable Sham! Go buy it right now!

As an aside, I have to admit that after drawing Clonk up there, I ended up at Red Lobster later in the week. I am, if nothing, very suggestible.
Another note: though I am very happy and with Clonk and all the images I've submitted to Fight On!, there is one that I submitted for #3 that I am exceptionally happy with. What is it? You'll have to buy it and see ! (Oh, I'll eventually post it, but I'd like to see it in print first :))

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

No Thoul like an old Thoul...

Further color experimentation with our friend, the Thoul.

Back to Town, again...

I've featured this image already, but I did a color version that I think works a lot better. The elements in the drawing separate out in a more engaging fashion, I think.

More Dungeoneering..

I did "Hall of Doom" as an illustration for Basic Fantasy RPG, and have even seen it as a mildly animated banner ad on message boards, which was a little weird at first. ("Hey, that's me!") It's meant to be reminiscent of illustrations from the old Dungeonmasters Guide, and I think it succeeds on that front. Another drawing where I really got into drawing stone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breaking and Entering....

My first big rookie DM mistake that I remember: Never put a lock that needs to be picked at the entrance to the dungeon! DM: "You fail to get the lock open" CALLER: "Okay, let's go somewhere else then. How about that forest on the edge of the map..."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Evolution of the Bugbear

"Large, hairy, overgrown goblins with a strange, shuffling gait" is how I've seen the Bugbear described, but you don't hear much about the "strange gait" anymore in later editions of D&D. Originally, the Bugbear is shown to look like this character, but that got changed when AD&D hit the market. While the original does strike my whimsy in a fond way, I still end up describing Bugbears in my games mostly as above. Except, maybe, with less armpit hair...

Monday, November 3, 2008

More Tolkien...

It's November, and that is usually the time of year that I bust out "Lord of the Rings" and either re-read it or peruse my favorite sections. So, here is another Tolkien inspired piece: "Earendil".

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I did this a loooong time ago. It is inspired by Tolkien's character, Turin Turambar, who slew Glaurung the Dragon in The Silmarillion. Here he is wearing the Dragon Helm of Dor-Lomin. Do I get any more geeky here?
Note: I rarely draw in this style anymore. I kept getting asked to design tattoos, which got tiring.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

None more bold.....

...than the Kobold. I always liked kobolds as little scaly dog-men; not the kin of dragons and lizards that they are pictured as today. Watch your ankles!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's not easy being green...

Humanoids, by and large, have a rough life. Sit around in dungeons, wait for adventurers to come though, get killed and have your stuff taken. At least this Goblin has stylish shoes for the occasion. I wonder if he shops in the same place as the Gnome...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dragon Attack #3: Well, well, well....

I had a lot of fun drawing stone here. Can't tell, can ya?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dragon Attack #2: The Red Dragon

This dragon is inspired by the drawing in the 1st ed Dungeon Masters Guide of the green dragon fighting a bunch of kobolds. Trampier did that one, I believe. I've always liked that drawing, and so this is my homage to it, as it were.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dragon Attack #1: The Wyvren

I've never been too big on the Wyvren as a monster; they always seemed like a low-level dragon substitute to me. But, I have to admit they are fun to draw. My favorite part about drawing dragon-types is doing the wings. If you can make those look good, the rest is a cakewalk.

There's Gnome place like Gnome...

I've always hated the idea of Gnomes as technologists or tinkerers. I just like little guys in pointed hats. Am I so wrong, am I so bad?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Original Edition Character Options released!

I'm pleased to announce that Goblinoid Games has released "Original Edition Character Options"! Available now from Lulu , RPGnow and Your Games Now!

Daniel Proctor has done a great job really sifting the rules for Labyrinth Lord down into their classic elements and producing a wonderful guidebook to playing the game more in the traditions of the original 1974 ruleset. Plus, it's a much easier read than the originals!

Good job, Daniel! And who the heck did the art in this book? Must have been a genius or something....

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Thoul

The Thoul is probably one of my favorite D&D monsters, even though they really only show up once in the rulebooks (the Basic set) and are never heard from again. Part Hobgoblin, part Troll, part Ghoul; Thouls are created by a mad wizard at some long ago time and sometimes show up in part of a hobgoblin king's bodyguard.

Or what? Clearly, the Thoul is the work of a DM trying very hard to suprise his players with something they don't expect; a hobgoblin who paralyzes with a touch and regenerates damage during combat. But I've always seen them as something a bit more interesting. It seems to me, that being part this / part that / part the other thing would leave the Thoul with somewhat of an identity crisis. Eventually this drives them mad, and they end up a gibbering, ravening thing hiding in the deep dark of the dungeon that does not take kindly to being disturbed.

Anyway, here he is. Crazy as a outhouse rat and ready to eat your character. Yikes!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Adventurer in Town...

I've always thought that Adventurers coming back from the dungeon all laden with treasure would attract a lot of attention from the townspeople. Anyway, that's what's happening here in "Back from Adventure".

Welcome to my Art Blog!

My name is Steve Zieser, and this blog is mainly to showcase my pen and ink drawings. I have been drawing for nearly all my life, and graduated from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa with a BFA in Printmaking. Only recently, though, have I started doing some freelance illustration for many fantasy roleplaying games and rpg magazines available on the web. My work has appeared in many publications from, and is also featured in Chris Gonnerman's Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game. I have drawings in a couple of upcoming projects: Issue 3 of Fight On!, the old-school rpg magazine, and "Original Edition Characters", a supplement for Labyrinth Lord by Goblinoid Games.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my drawings. I certainly enjoy producing them!