Rollplay: 5 Year Anniversary

Rollplay is a series of live tabletop RPG campaigns streaming on TwitchTV.

I worked with JP, the creator of Rollplay, when I did the poster for Rollplay: Nebula Jazz. He contacted wanting to do something for the 5 year anniversary of Rollplay. This turned into an idea for putting every character from Rollplay history into the poster. I have been watching Rollplay for a couple of years, so I thought "That would be fun!". Little did I realize how many characters there actually were. Good God!

Final Drawing.

Final Drawing.

I started going through show wiki's to find character info from all the shows that came before I started watching. I was quickly closing in on 100 characters. I started to panic. This was going to be a lot of work. Thankfully, JP did come up with the idea of putting most of the characters from West Marches on a list (upper leftish), since there were around 45 characters from that show alone.

Color coded layers

Color coded layers

Usually, when I'm hired for a job, there is at least a short brief of the characters. Clothing, weapons, personality, etc.. But this wasn't your average job. There were no official descriptions to go from. But I knew these characters each had a pretty defined look, from the evolution of the characters during their respective shows, and what the fans of the show expected. 

I quickly realized that I wouldn't have time to watch all of the show intros (where the characters are revealed). Let alone all of the episodes of each show to get the little inside jokes and important changes to each character. Thankfully, there is a dedicated fan base with some talented artists. Some of the shows had wiki's with character descriptions and more importantly, fan art. I started collecting fan art in my reference folder. It was immensely helpful. Especially for the shows that I hadn't gotten around to watching. 

This is just a small sample of all the fan art from the show. I tried to include one from each person. I'm sure I missed some. But that's what I could still find in my reference folder.


At this point, it's just time. We were seriously up against it to get done on time for the Anniversary show. I was putting in 16 hour days just sitting in front of my computer. It's like handwriting. You can only go so fast before it becomes illegible.


Color!!!! I can finally see the finish line when I get to this stage. I started fooling myself that I didn't have that far to go. I could not have been more wrong. I was cursing everyone and everything, muttering under my breath, and talking to myself.

As the last day approached,  JP and I were frantically going back and forth to make sure my sleep deprived mind hadn't forgotten anything, and all the logos were right, etc.. 

Final Render with all the show logos

Final Render with all the show logos

And with a 26 hour day to cap the madness, I'm done. I slept for a day and laid in bed and watched Netflix for the next.

You can pick up the poster over on the Rollplay Teespring store

And if you are curious about what in the hell Rollplay is, you can go to the Rollplay viewers guide, all the shows are archived on YouTube so you can catch up.

Seven Worlds RPG

Seven Worlds is an RPG that I did a couple covers for. I've posted one. It's also in my gallery. The kickstarter is getting ready to start, so I thought I would share it again, along with the other one I did. Both are wraparound covers. 

Here they are and go check out the kickstarter announcement here

Seven Worlds Cover #1
Seven Worlds Cover #2

Star Wars: On The Front Lines Portraits

I forgot I hadn't collected all of the Star Wars portraits from On The Front Lines by Daniel Wallace. So here.

The book came out really well. You can pick one up at your local bookstore, or if you are lazy, go Here: Star Wars: On the Front Lines

Artist Guest of Honor - Gamicon

I've been buried in deadlines for over a month and they aren't over yet. I need beer. But this is happening later this month. I'll be the artist guest of honor at Gamicon. A convention I've been going to for years. Feel free to come out of your house and listen to me talk, possibly do a demo, and then you can buy me beer....and listen to me talk more. I might let you talk too.


Rollplay: Nebula Jazz Poster

I started a huge write up explaining Twitch, how I ended up watching Twitch, what Rollplay is and more importantly what Rollplaly: Nebula Jazz is. Then I remembered, I hate typing up huge posts. And I hate reading large posts, when I really just want to see the pictures. So, if you are interested, go find out for yourself. It's called Google. It's your friend.

If you want to hear my "personal journey" (quotes mean sarcasm) with Twitch, buy me beer sometime. I'll tell you anything you want to know, and some you don't.

Just to be polite, I've added links at the bottom of the post if you want to know more about Twitch, Rollplay, or just Nebula Jazz.

So here are the initial sketches. Two typical poster ideas, and two somewhat inside joke ideas.

We decided on #2. I had to figure out the background and play with values.


The final drawing. Once again, I have gone back to doing my final drawings traditionally instead of on the computer. It just feels better, and it gets me away from the computer.


Then there is the quick and dirty block in.


And on to the final. I used a vector program to create the background, so I could get clean lines, and it's just easier for me when it comes to that stuff. Also, I changed Aurora's (girl on the logo) legs, cause it just wasn't working for me. Plus there were other little tweaks as the process went on.


There you go. Go buy the poster. Because, who doesn't need a huge slime dude on their wall.


Or if you want a poster signed by the Nebula Jazz cast, plus itmeJP, Aureylian and SirScoots 

check out Rollplay Patreon for a limited time offer.

Your twitch and rollplay rabbit hole links:

Itmejp's (creator of Rollplay) website:


Jp's Twitch: Twitch.TV/itmeJP

Youtube Archives:

Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting

This one was a bit crazy. Lots of characters, lots of scale, two dragons, etc.. And not a lot of time. Had to do a quick turnaround due to complications that I'm not privy to.

Thanks to Hal Mangold and Green Ronin Publishing for the opportunity.

The sketches were really rough. Thankfully Hal knew we were just getting things laid out and wasn't worried about it.

I've started to do my final drawings with those primitive tools called pencil & paper. I tend to enjoy it more, I take more care with the drawing, and it seems to yield better results for me.

Not to pull a "draw a circle, draw an owl", but there are plenty of step by step paintings out there. My method isn't much different. And I don't save all those steps. So we will jut go to the final.

A bit was added to the right and bottom for bleed. And I had to lose the horns in order to conform to D&D 5E dragons. (I really liked those horns)

Prints are available at my  inprnt store  

Prints are available at my inprnt store 

And the final cover with all the dressings. They adjusted the color, contrast etc.. a bit. 

The update nobody asked for

I haven't been able to reveal a lot of work lately. I've had a project that I've been working on for over a year and a half. And it won't be released from NDA purgatory till somewhere around November. There are a few other smaller projects that are under the same restrictions for the time being.

So in an effort to actually use this blog, I'll catch you up on the last few months.

In November of last year, I moved from Richmond, VA back to my home state of Iowa. I love Richmond, but it had become very difficult to see my friends and family that still live in Iowa. I hadn't seen most of them for 5 or 6 years since I moved to Virginia. So here I am. That covers the personal info. Now on to the art.

First, lets talk about the art annuals. I was nominated for an award in the Expose 12 book from Ballistic Publishing. The image nominated is my cover for Rifts: Tomorrow Legion Players guide from Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

Rifts: Tomorrow Legion Player's Guide

It's an honor to be nominated. And the art that will be in that book looks amazing.  So click the link above and check out the book.

Another surprise was getting accepted into the Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual. I haven't submitted to Spectrum for a few years. There is no political reason or grudge. It just seems that some other expense comes up at the same time every year. This year it was replacing all the brakes on my old truck. I decided not to die in a fiery car accident instead of getting my work into an annual. So how did I get in? The lovely people at Monte Cook Games submit work from their projects for the artists every year. That is incredibly kind of them, and provided a wonderful surprise.

The painting was an interior image for Gods of the Fall.

Revels in Trickery - Monte Cook Games

I always struggle to make work for myself. I work quite a bit, and try to keep a somewhat balanced life. Meaning, I hang out with friends, play video games, watch movies, read, etc.. So my time is limited. 

I've been making an effort to fit some personal work into my daily schedule,  Hence a lot of movie drawings on my instagram. Along with figure drawings, and digital brush experiments.  Here are a few of those.

I've also been getting the itch for traditional media, to give me a break from staring at a computer screen all day. I love working with ink. I am incredibly rusty at it though.

Then there are the t-shirts. This is another effort to stretch my comfort zone a bit. I used to work in T-shirt shops for years. There is something I find attractive in the limitations that screen printing provides. Technology has changed quite a bit since then, and you can get just about anything on a shirt now, but I prefer to keep the limitations in place when I plan the shirts. It makes me come up with solutions I wouldn't typically think of. You can check them all out on my threadless shop.

I have done a few finished paintings. All of them were meant to try out different techniques than what I typically use in my paid commissions and more importantly, just have fun.

I've been upping my geek cred by watching people play roll playing games on Twitch tv. The series is Roll Play by itmejp. They play several different games in different RPG settings. The painting is of Carriless Firm (played by Geoff Robinson) from Rollplay:Blades. All characters play hired killers. It's a lot of fun to watch, or just listen to.

Carriless Firm

Carriless Firm

Also in the the Rollplay family of shows is Court of Swords. The gm Adam Koebel has a knack for killing off the party members. It gave me an entertaining idea for a painting.

Prints are  HERE

Prints are HERE

The final painting started as a study of Gil Elvgren techniques. I've always been a huge fan of his brushwork. During this time, I was playing Fallout 3 (I'm way behind on video games). Anyway, the wonderful Moira Brown runs a shop in the game. She is such a unique and entertaining character. So...the Elvgren study turned into a Fallout 3 poster. 

Craterside Supply

And lastly, I did a podcast interview for The episode was focused on a few artists from the gaming world. My interview is somewhere in the middle, but just listen to the whole thing. It's a good show.

That's it. You are all caught up. I think. 





New Tshirts

I'm so good at business, I forgot to post about my new t-shirts.

There are 3 designs right now. I'll slowly add some more as I come up with new ideas. You can get the designs on nearly everything. Shirts (of course), hoodies, tanks, pencil bags, and uhhh..shower curtains, blankets and several other things I never thought to put designs on, but Threadless did.

You can go here -

Deadlands: The Boneyard

The Boneyard by Seanan McGuire is the third installment of the Deadlands series of books from Tor publishing. The others being Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry and Thunder Moon Rising by Jeffrey J. Mariotte

Here is the link to more on the book. The Boneyard

I've included the sketches. We changed directions after the first round of sketches to better reflect the Circus setting of the book. It definitely fits the book better, even though I liked the original sketches.


The Boneyard_Final-Aaron J Riley

Warhammer 40k Necrons

I had basically quit doing Warhammer cards. However, my AD that I had worked with for a couple years knew the one thing that would convince me to do some more. Necrons. I had been asking for them, the moment we had a relationship that I felt comfortable asking for stuff. And considering recent news that Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight have split, I guess I was in on one of the last sets of Warhammer 40k cards. 

Eldritch Lance
Illuminor Szeras

Gods of the Fall

Interior illustrations for Gods of the Fall by Monte Cook Games. You can read more about the game here

Divine Labor

Divine Labor

Revels in Trickery

Revels in Trickery

The book is really well done. Plus a big ass map.

Contributor Copy

Contributor Copy