Thomas Novosel

blog for art, writing, and games

Author: TNovosel

Runaway Hirelings

Runaway Hirelings digital and print cover.

Runaway Hirelings is a silly game for those who like to play weak characters who fail, cannot hope to even bruise anyone in a fight, and want to play dungeons as the Demi-Lich intended. Really weird descriptions of rooms that could never be mapped on a grid, and rooms meant to be run through screaming.

In Runaway Hirelings, players take on the role a hireling whose boss has died leaving them in the final room of the dungeon. They now have to make their way out of the dungeon without any heroes to defend and fight for them. Hirelings will die, and other hirelings will be found that were lost along the way.

… what started as Wirdum, the Lost City of Cogs, and home to an unstoppable mechanical army slowly morphed into a multi-millenia-old, ruined theme park with broken animatronics and an unstoppable army of maintenance and cleaning mechanicals.

James F.
Print copy of the game, photographed on haunted staircase.

Game Stats

  • Preparation Required: Game-Master needs to read the rules. Handouts are made available to all Players, and 4 six-sided dice are to be shared at the table.
  • Playtime: 1.5 hours – 2 hours.
  • Players: 1 Game-Master, and 1-5 player characters (as Hirelings).
  • Digital Contents: Rules book PDF’s and Handouts PDF. Rules are 36 pages (with blank pages left in for zine printing). An additional no-art compact version of the rules is also included for easy printing at home.

This game was intended to be read and then played in the same day, picked up and brought to the game table as quick as possible with little preparation.

Where to Buy

  • Print and/or Digital: You can get it from DrivethruRPG here.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase a digital copy through using the button below. Purchasing here is how you can give me tips, as well as on I receive a larger cut of each sale.

MORE for Runaway Hirelings

  • Player Handouts; this includes rules reference pages and character sheets for use in play. They can be downloaded for free from here.
  • Extra Sauce #1; Extra Sauce is additional rules and mechanics for RH. The first includes Dungeon Templates and an updated version of the playtest 0.5 dungeon “The Needlelands”. You can get the PDF for free here.
  • Extra Sauce #2; This extra sauce contains the weirdometer, some rules to help with adding cosmic strangeness and alien old ones to your game. Also contains a new dungeon template “The Temple of Al-Guratt” and a new hireling called the Candlekeeper. You can get the PDF for free here.
Booklet is opened to a page that has a picture of a person falling shirtless with a sword in a splotchy ink art style. The opposite page has the rules for The Dunarch player.
A page from a print copy of the games rules, photographed on my stairs.

Press & Podcasts

Our game involved a lowly farmer creeping along the floor with a barrel over his head pretending to be a worm to escape sentient statues, a torchbearer seducing a red dragon, a fool giving a lecture on the merits of a potato stuck on a stick as a form of art criticism as so much more. It was one the most hilarious games I’ve played in a while. You should all totally go get yourself a copy, and play the heck out of it.

Abigail L.


Text, art, and layout for Runaway Hirelings is by Thomas Novosel. The game full release was edited by Owen Kerr and Jarrett Crader.

Development History

This development history is written so that people who were not around when I talked about this game back on Google Plus can look through earlier iterations of the game before publication. I think, personally of course, that most earlier versions of the game were barely playable. But each version and draft was crucial to forming what would become the end product. My little silly fantasy game about trap pokers in caves.

  • Original Micro Game; Runaway Hirelings was originally written as a micro game for a fantasy game design challenge that involved making a fantasy rpg that didn’t use warriors, swords, or the traditional fare you would find in D&D inspired games. The original micro game can be downloaded here.
  • Playtest Version 0.2; this is the original playable version of the expanded game that was used for the first couple games of play-testing. The quality may be bad, but it is because it is a scanned version of my personal printout that I used. It can be downloaded here.
  • Playtest Version 0.5; this is a publicly released playtest version of the game that was put out as the first post on my Patreon to patrons. It pretty cleaned up, and much better, but still noticeably different from the final version of the game. It can be downloaded here.
  • Unrelated Development Videos; early on in development I started working on notes videos where I talked about some of the early ideas. While I didn’t continue the series throughout all of development, it still might be interesting to watch. You can watch them here.

The micro game was released in early 2016, early writing for an expanded version started a few months afterwards. All of the art in the final game was done in October 2017, the original art style that was going to be used was traded in for an art style that I was using while doing Inktober, making use of a Pentel brush pen. Final notes were made and the game was released January 2018.


Runaway Hirelings is a game that plays with the tropes of comedic-ly incapable people who work for mighty heroes. They can’t do much and often fail at whatever they do in tabletop role-playing games. That is where the hirelings come from.

As for game mechanics, Runaway Hirelings was inspired by two games:

Apocalypse World by D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker for its writing style and rules presentation, the idea of writing rules as individual if then statements came from here. Apocaylpse World also lead me to treat the rules book as the GM manual, and to create handouts to act as the core way that players would interact with the game. This turned out to lend itself well to my core design desires for the game. That it be quick and easy to pick up and play, as well as teach.

The tone of the character funnel from the game Dungeon Crawl Classics from Goodman Games was a primary setting influence. My knowledge of the game came from the art in the rulebook which presented chefs stabbing skeletons, and the actual play episode from Role-Playing Public Radio playing through one of the game’s published adventures fueled the main purpose and plot of Runaway Hirelings as a game. Low powered characters dying left and right while fumbling to survive in a comedic dungeon run.

Sales Reports

This section includes my copies sold, and any notable sales events. As of right now (July 2020) the Total Number of Copies of Runaway Hirelings sold is 946 copies.

  • Release month: 30 total copies sold
  • Release month of the One Shot Podcast Actual Play: 22 copies sold.
  • Pay-What-You-Want month: 52 total copies (average: $1.70 ea.).
  • Tabletop Selects Bundle: 495 total copies.
  • Lifetime 509 copies.
  • Lifetime DriveThruRPG: 267 copies.
  • Lifetime Gumroad: 20 copies.

I update this post from time to time with new and updated sales numbers for the game. So if you are curious about how this increases, check back later!

What am I up to, March 2018

It is March 11th! Stuff has happened! I am working hard! This is work. First the quick updates on stuff that I am doing that you can go check out RIGHT NOW!


  • Runaway Hirelings, my short tabletop rpg about hirelings escaping a dungeon after their employers die is out! IN PRINT AND PDF! Print + PDF over on Drivethrurpg, and we also have just a PDF over on Gumroad.
  • Monster Butts Volume 2 is out! You can get #1 and #2 in a bundle pdf purchase over on Gumroad, the second issue has a game by Brie Sheldon in it! So check it out! More monsters, more costumes, etc etc
  • Inktober 2017 zine! Its available in PDF over on Gumroad, go check this outttttt! Its all my ink drawings from 2017’s inktober. It is also in the compilation that is assorted art 2017.
  • Assorted Art 2017, my 2017 sketchbook art book contains a butt load of my sketchbook zines from 2017, monster butts #1, inktober 2017, and just a good 280 pages of sketchbook page scans from 2017. It is available in PDF on gumroad, or you can get a paperback copy over on LULU.
  • White Star Galaxy Edition! I did the layout for this might as well be star wars OSR game, galaxy edition is a big cobble together and revised version of the white star game and its various releases. You can get it in PDF + Print over on drivethrurpg, or pick up a print copy on lulu! Check it out, its pretty.

If your a fan of stuff that I make myself (Runaway Hirelings, Monster Butts, my zines, and art books), I recommend checking out my patreon! I give zines there that I don’t sell anywhere else most of the time. I also give print discounts for books that I made (not white star, not stuff that I get paid to do or am hired to do, just the stuff that I publish). Go check it out, I also give out small packs of for commercial use art on their to patrons. Which at this point the folder is feeling like it is getting bigger and bigger.

Here is an example of for commercial use that Patrons get to use:

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Sketchbooking and Making Art

This year I am hoping to learn more, study more, and just all around get better at what I do. To this end I am filling sketchbooks and drawing as much as possible, I also am looking and absorbing more art around me, through art books and the internet. Just yesterday I went to the frederic remington art museum and did a few pencil sketches quickly of stuff I saw that interested me. So I want to fill my books and learn how to paint. Here is a few pages from my latest sketchbook preview I gave to Patrons (shortened for the blogpost).

And here are some pictures of paintings that are WIP:

Sword Arms and Spellbook Brains

Each player has a character, that character is an adventurer, a collector of magical treasures. A hero with a hoard of treasures so large that their individual strength and power is defined by powers contained in enchanted boots and wizard hats.


To create a character do the following:

  1. Make up a name and choose whether you are a wizard or a hero.
  2. Roll 2d6 for each of your attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma). The higher you roll, the better you are in that attribute.
  3. To determine how many Hit Points a character has, roll 2d6+4.
  4. Each character has 6 equipment slots, each of these equipment slots can only be filled by magic items. Each of your magic items can be selected from a magic item list in your favorite fantasy role-playing game, or you can come up with each magic item as you need to do something. The limitations for magic items are endless, but they must have specific powers, invisibility boots are great, bottles full of wishes won’t work.
  5. For each magic item assign it to a tier, the tier that it is on is equal to the the modifier used for attribute checks when using a magic item. Each character can have the following items for each tier:


Tier 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Number of items 1 1 2 2

Magic Items

You can also just choose items off this list (player chooses what tier each item is):

  • Mini Mimic: A mimic on a necklace, rip it off and toss it onto the ground to have it grow to a full size mimic as your familiar.
  • Unipig the Man: A pet pig who can speak and mystify humanoids with its wild dancing. It can also talk.
  • Tenta-Boot: A single left foot boot that has a sticky tentacle which can stretch and move around on the wearers command.
  • 5 Eye Gauntlet: A glove which shoots lasers, a different laser for each of the five finger tips eyes.
  • Memory Hat: A hat which when activated can record the voice of a monster or character (its loudness, tone, manner, etc), the user may utter a sentence using a voice that was recorded. Once that sentence is uttered, the voice is no longer able to be used unless attained again.

Or items from the Assorted Equipment Art zine (free in PDF here).


  • Attribute checks: If performing an action without the aid of a magic item, roll 1d6+5 versus applicable attribute, roll under to succeed. Rolling over causes failure, in combat this means damage. If you are using a magic item, roll 1d6+(item’s tier) versus applicable attribute, roll under to succeed.
  • Attack rolls: If attacking another character or monster, roll 1d6+(5 if using a non magical weapon, the item’s tier if magical) versus the targets Dexterity. Rolling under the targets dexterity results in a successful attack, a failed attack results in the attacker taking damage, this is how monsters make attacks.
  • Damage: damage done by characters is the margin of success for the attack roll. Damage cannot be done by a character unless it involves a magic item being used. Monsters have magical defenses which cannot be countered without a magic item!
  • Death: a character dies when it has no hit points left, but if someone has a magic item that can resurrect characters…


  • Monster Attacks: monsters make attacks when a character fails an attack, in these attacks monsters do damage equal to a monsters tier+margin of failure. Monsters can do attacks on their own as well, but for those attacks they must roll 1d6+(monster tier {ranges from 1st to 5th}) versus their targets Dex. The damage a monster does with this attack is equal to margin of success.
  • Making Monsters: use monsters from your favorite D&D or OSR book, give each one a set of attributes, trying to make them go from 1-12 for each one. Just eyeball it.

Example Monsters

  1. Goblin: a man who has an allergic reaction to emerald encrusted collar jewelry, but the jewelry is either locked onto their neck or they have gotten too large to fast to take off the jewelry. Their fingernails and fingertips no longer are there as they have tried to pick at the collar, they have fine bones for claws. HD: 1 DMG: d6


  • Turns: each character and monster when in combat has 1 turn for a round and go in order according to initiative (2d6, highest to lowest).
  • Movement: characters move 20 ft. in one turn, attacks must be made within range specified by magic item or that makes the best sense. It should be pretty obvious if you are close enough. Same goes for regular weaponry.
  • Healing: Characters can heal using magic items that have healing powers or by taking a short rest (returns 5 HP for a 4 hour break).

Episode 2: Altered Histories and Inheritances w/ Slade Stolar

In this episode of Castle Vomit, Thomas (thats me yo!) and the cool Slade Stolar (of Scablands Press and The Indie Hack fame) ramble on about the versioning of history and the various effects of inheriting the world.

This includes some silly examples and very vague adventure concept midway through the episode.

At the end we have Notes:

  • Red Markets by Caleb Stokes (Hebanon Games); zombie apocalypse poverty simulator the tabletop rpg.
  • Somewhere Lane from RPPR; super creepy Delta Green actual play from role playing public radio.
  • Moderndayjames; youtube art channel with the “Draw like a Gi” series. Crazy perspective art lessons.
  • Drawfee; tons of funny drawing videos, including knock off zelda character, knock off pokemon, etc.

Plugs (Thomas’ has a few stuff)

  • White Star Galaxy Edition; I (Thomas) did the layout for this star wars like white box OSR game book (its a pretty good sized tome).
  • Chromatic Soup #2; I (Thomas) did a few pieces of art for this collab zine from the chromatic soup community and Evlyn Moreau. It has hobos in it.
  • Thomas’ Art/Zines Patreon; I recently fixed up and snazzy-d up my patreon. There is also now a $1 tier if you just want to throw a dollar and get some art files to look at oogle.

Plugs (Slades words from Slades Mouths)

  • Dust, Fog, and Glowing Embers will be available to non-backers soon. It’s a sci-fi game set in the past, where all non-science and proto-science is real. And it’s also about defeating fascism.
  • ANNA-X66, a “real” PbtA game that I’m working on. It’s about being a soldier that takes orders from an artificial intelligence. Figuring that out is the key. Figuring out what it wants is key. It’s also about defeating fascism.
  • As-yet-unnamed 90s Vamps game – It’s not about fascism hardly at all! It’s about recreating a very particular 90s vibe of basement gaming without needing a 300 page rulebook and three centuries of lore. I liked Undying a lot, but I prefer collaboration that fails to competition that succeeds. I miss Vamps… Anyways.

The Bleakest Pyramid (Runaway Hirelings Actual Play)

Thomas Novosel and his friend Tony play a game of Runaway Hirelings (soon to be released), a game about hirelings seeking to avoid dying in a dungeon and are trying to escape as best they can. This session created the dungeon “The Bleakest Pyramid” a reawakened mythos pyramid of weirdness and oddities drawn from the imagination and on the go.

The rooms we explored:

  • Oily Nonsense
  • The Shackles of He who could not be named
  • The birthplace of all our sins
  • Echo chamber of the chanters
  • The wilting rose
  • Steps to solitary confinement

Sidenote: We played fast and super loose with the rules, its a playtest version not final release and I had never done a full 1 on 1 game before with the ruleset.

My Tools and Art Supplies

Categories: Blog
Tags: review 

Since having started drawing early last year I have accumulated quite the collection of tools to use for illustrating, painting, drawing fantasy maps, and castles. Here is where I give a rundown and also links to everything I use and where you could get it from (and where I recommend getting it from).

As a note, I prefer to purchase the majority of my art supplies from either or

My Travel Pouch

I have a small pen pouch white I use for travelling and also just on the go drawing, I fill it with everything I need to draw and get along day to day and on the go. Specifically it is a small pouch which fits in the front of my laptop bag. Inside it are the following:

  • Rapidograph 0.25, 0.35, 0.5
  • Micron 005, 01
  • 3 General’s Pencils
  • 1 Pilot Precise V5 Black Ballpoint Pen
  • Pilot Pocket Brush Pen
  • 2 Pentel Fude Brush Pens
  • 1 Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
  • 1 Zebra Disposable Brush Pen
  • 1 Non-Photo Blue Pencil
  • 1 Pencil Sharpener
  • 1 White Eraser
  • 1 Uni-Ball Signo White Ink Pen
  • 1 Zebra Mechanical Pencil
  • 1 Red Bic Pen
  • 1 Black Bic Pen
  • 1 Bic Ultra Round Stic Grip Pen (Black)
  • 1 Big Ultra Round Stic Grip Pen (Blue)
  • 2 Tombow Dual Brush Pens (N75 and N95)

The total cost to replicate this bag set would be: ~$175

If you use Microns solely instead of Rapidographs: ~$80


Pilot Precise V5 0.5mm Extra Fine Ballpoint Pen: these can be bought at walmart, they are precise and pretty great at quick sketches and I often use them when speed is important, as with my technical pens I cannot move super quick and sketchy without the possibility of bending or wearing down the nib. You can also get them in a multicolor pack. While I enjoy using them for quick sketches and find them great for writing (the ink is super black which is something I generally don’t get with a bic pen), I do prefer my brush pens for mapping. Links: Single Black V5 ($1.90), multicolor set ($11.00)

Pigma Micron 01, 005, 02, 03, 08: at this point if you have looked across the internet or seen people mapping I can assume you have seen these technical pens. They have a felt tip which I have found wears down pretty fast for me (I have too much pressure in my drawing hand), this means that you get different levels of precise-ness over the course of use. They are disposable and probably the best bet for entry level technical pens with archival quality ink. They were the first technical pens I got and I have a drawer full of them (primarily the 005 as that is a 0.2mm tip and great for precise detail work). I got the set of 16 of various sizes for about $20 and would recommend it in a heartbeat as a good sampler of size. They also have different colors too (although I have not got around to trying them). They’re great for hatching too! Links: Various Size 16 set of Microns ($24.00)

Uni-ball Signo UM-153: I use this white ink primarily for adding white highlights ontop of finished ink drawings. It is also good for minor corrections of cleaning up rough edges, however I find the ink to be goopy so I prefer to fix bad edges in photoshop. But I can’t recommend this pen enough as a white highlight tool, I have two and since I use them for highlighting I don’t go through them quick at all. Links: Single Pen ($2.50)

Rotring Rapidograph Technical Pens (.25, .35, .5): These are cartridge based technical pens with a metal tip which means it does not wear down over use! They do require you to be slow and not apply to much pressure though (as bending a metal tip can result in permanent damage which would require buying a replacement pen or a replacement nib). The cartridges are about as expensive as a single micron pen but the actual pens themselves can run up to a pretty penny sometimes $35 a pen. They are a high quality pen that I’d recommend if it seems like you burn through microns quick. I use these now instead of the microns because I find the lines to be consistently precise and the ink actually feels the slightest of a tiny shade darker. I use these for all of my city illustrations. They also make refillable ones which don’t use cartridges, however they do require more cleaning as far as I know, whereas the ones that use cartridges I have to clean only after I go through say 3 or 4 or if I left a cap off (always keep the cap on tightly even while switching between pens as the ink can dry very quickly on the tip). Links: Various Sizes (~$35 a pen)


U.S.A. General’s Cedar Pointe #333-2HB: These are my favorite pencils for everything from sketching to just basic pencil drawings and shading I cannot recommend them enough. They are literally the only basic pencils I will use that are not mechanical or colored. They feel great in your hand due to the wood, the eraser isn’t complete shit and the quality control is high (also they aren’t crazy expensive and I haven’t had lead break while using one, and none of the pencils I have ever bought have ever had cracks or splits). I have a drawer of these and they also don’t make squeaky scratchy noises when I use them which makes them perfect. I use these for sketching and also underlayer lines when I know I will be getting rid of an original ink drawing. Links: 12 Pack of No.2 ($5.30)

Zebra M0391 0.5mm Lead Mechanical Pencil: These are the mechanical pencils I use for details in pencil sketches prior to inking an illustration. I get them at walmart, they are cheap, and easy to replace. But they also function to the ability I need them too. The only downside is the eraser and that after about 6 months the grip that holds the lead can get worn down enough where you need to swap to a new one. But they are pretty cheap, the metal body and compact form make it nice to hold and easy to throw into a small pen pouch. Links: 2 Pack ($4)

Staedtler Non-Photo Blue Pencil: The non-photo blue pencil is great if you are worried about lifting ink due to erasing pencil marks prior to scanning as the type of blue lead makes it easy to edit out the blue lines in photoshop or gimp prior to final delivery of digital illustration files. When erasing over black ink with regular pencils you sometimes get lift, which means a certain amount of ink just comes off the paper which can cause a faded look, with the non photo blue pencils you don’t need to erase. However, if you do erase non-photo blue after inking, I have found that any ink that is ontop of the blue pencil lines comes completely off so I would not recommend this if you plan on selling the original paper (I find the blue lines make it less frameable). I’ll also mention that I have difficulty getting precise lines due to the the colored pencil lead. Links: Single Pencil ($2)

Prismacolor Colored Premier Colored Pencils: While I don’t use colored pencils often, I do find them useful for adding in lights shades or crisping up edges of watercolor painting. Specifically I have a 24 color tin set and also the 150 color complete box set. I’d recommend using the 24 color set as it has a good amount of variety and is a good gateway to finding out if you’d like to purchase a larger color set. My only complaints with these pencils is quality control, I have a few pencils in my 150 color set with crooked lead (meaning sharpening is goddamn impossible) and cracked wooden casings which mean the pencils can break easy. Luckily I got the 150 color set on sale and you can purchase individual pencils for replacing ones you have used. The quality issue isn’t bad enough that I’d not recommend them, but it is enough that it was worth mentioning. Links: 24 color set ($12), 150 color set ($80)

Brush Pens

Pentel Fude Touch Bursh Sign Pen: These pocket pens are disposable and have a felt tip with enough give that I consider them my thick brush pen (they have a thicker start and finish than all of my other disposables). They are literally tiny brush pens which you could easily carry in your pocket, they also have a variety of colors available. I like to use these for some of my newer item illustrations for the big broad lines as well as for making lines that would have shadows darker by going over them a second time. I also use these for dungeon walls and stones, but not for slight details such as cracks and “doodads”. Links: Available Colors ($2.50 ea.)

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen: This disposable brush pen has a lot of resistance and a small felt tip, it essentially is the micron 005 of brush pens, great for details such as cracks in stone and drawing little plates onto tables, drawing plant life etc. I can’t recommend these highly enough, because sometimes you want some varying weight in super thin lines which technical pens just don’t offer. Can’t recommend these enough for dungeon doodling and drawing details such as shoelaces on equipment illustrations due to the heavy amount of resistance and the thinness of the entire line width spectrum for these pens. Links: Single Pen ($3)

Zebra Disposable Brush Pen – Fine: This is a disposable brush pen I got on a whim to try it out and actually I am quite pleased with it based on the times I have used it, it doesn’t have as rounded a felt nib but a more brush like felt nib (long and slender but still has a good illustrating width). It has by far out of all of the disposable brush pens I have the widest range of width, in that it can go from the smallest of the fudenosuke width to the widest of the pentel fude touch width in the same stroke. The resistance is at a comfortable amount so you won’t accidentally get super wide or super thin lines, however I do have trouble keeping a super thin line super thin. I’d recommend these if you want a more brush like brush pen that is still a felt nib. Links: Single Pen ($2.50)

Kuretake No.8 Fountain Brush Pen: I bought this brush pen after watching a youtube video (this one exactly), it creates some pretty sharp lines and I actually have drawn a few things using it, but besides an orc face, I generally use it as a ink filler or brush sketcher. I don’t use it enough that I could recommend it as necessary, but I think I would recommend it as a small ink filler because of the synthetic bristles means you can walk right up against your technical pen lines then do big strokes to fill in with black. I should use it more, but it hasn’t been in the front of my carry all toolkit lately. Out of all my pens it does have the longest body if that would be a selling point for the sythetic part of it, also when used quickly you can get a sort of dry brush effect which is pleasant and gritty, whereas the pentel pocket brush pen has a higher flow rate. Links: Pen and Two Cartridges ($12)

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen: This is the common recommendation for brush pens, its a small body making it super portable, it uses cartridges which means you do have to buy extras in anticipation of it running dry. It has a fast flow rate meaning you always have heavy black and consistent coverage. I don’t use it a lot, but I do like having it in my travel pouch for quick gesture drawings. Links: Pen and Two Cartridges ($13.50)


Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers: They are great, end of sentence. If you want to add depth prcisely to your maps without muddying it up to much with tons of black lines, these water based colored markers are great (add some nice shadows to those dungeon hallways yo!). I purchased the Grayscale 10-pack and have my eyes on getting the 96 color set when it economically convenient for me to do so. But, the ten pack of grayscale is pretty awesome although you do have to worry about bleed when used alongside the brush pens (the technical pens I listed do not bleed when next to the water maters but the brush pens definitely do to a violet wash which I actually made use of in the John Silence zine illustrations). I also recommend these for hatching outside of the dungeon walls if you want tight hatches that don’t distract too much from the dungeons layout. Links: Grayscale 10-pack ($15), 96 color megapack ($140)

Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers: They were on sale at walmart for $10 so I grabbed a 100 pack of crayola thin tip markers. They are great for just doodling with bright colors and I don’t feel bad if they get wrecked because they were pretty darn inexpensive. I wouldn’t recommend them for professional drawing, but if you want to have fun with colors at the game table or on your own its worth it if they are on sale. Links: Amazon Link ($30 there, but probably cheaper in Wal-Mart)

Paints and Brushes

Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box from Sakura: This is my favorite watercolor set that I have, its small enough to throw into the front pocket of a backpack and even has a waterbrush that goes inside the plastic field box. Links: 30 Color Field Box ($25)

Pentel Aquash Water Brush Set (3 pack): Water brushes are awesome for watercolors! They have the water in them and make clean up as easy as just squeezing the brush to flush out the color. Great for travel watercolor drawings and just low prep watercolor painting. I use these every time I paint with watercolors. Links: 3 Pack ($19)

Mudder Water Brush Set: A relatively inexpensive water brush set that also has flat synthetic brushes in the set, I actually have an india ink wash in the smallest tip one for india ink wash type drawings. When used with a water brush of just water alongside it, it makes india ink washes fun and quick to do on the go. This is probably the better starter set of water brushes in the money side of things. Links: 6 Pack ($10)

Simply Watercolor Tubes: This was my first set of watercolors which I bought from wal-mart, their fun to use but I definitely prefer the koi for color vibrance, variety, and portability. Links: 24 set of tubes ($20)

Simply Acrylic Tubes: A set similar to the simply watercolor but for acrylics, again another 24 set of tubes which I got from wal-mart.

Watercolor and Acrylic Brushes: at the moment I has a drawer full of brushes which I got from wal-mart. So cheap brushes which I don’t feel bad about burning through. I would like to try out higher quality ones at some point, but not at the moment because of my current ability level with acrylic and watercolor.

Hair Dyer: This isn’t exactly a paint or anything, but I find it incredibly useful for when I’m doing both watercolor and acrylic painting to speed up the drying process so I can just work on the same piece for hours across multiple paint layers without the huge amounts of time generally needed to wait for things to dry.

Paper and Sketchbooks and Canvases

Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal Sketch 6″ x 4″ (160 pages): This is a good pocket sketchbook for technical pen drawings, also tons of pages which is nice for a pocket sketchbook. I often do little doodles in the ones I have or draw little maps in them with notes. The pages accept ink pretty well and while there is a little bleedthrough, it isn’t enough to make it unusable. Definitely not for painting in though. Links: Sketchbook ($8)

Canson XL Paper: These are sketchbooks I get at wal-mart (no art supply store nearby sadly) and I tend to like them for watercolor and mixed media stuff. I specifically get the watercolor pads and the various sized mixed media spiral sketchbooks. I wouldn’t recommend using the micron pens on the mixed media paper though as I feel like it just burns through those felt nibs with how much tooth the paper has. Links: Watercolor Pad ($7), Mixed Media Pads ($6.50)

Cardstock: This is the paper I use for just about all of my ink illustrations! Its cheap, it comes in giant packs, and it works well for the technical pens and brush pens I use. The big thing is I can buy alot for a little and it is available at wal-mart which means when I run out its only 5 minutes to get more. I even have a binder full of sheets which I use as a inking sketchbook. I actually plan on getting a nice wire binding machine at some point so I can just make my own sketchbooks out of this paper so its portable and cheap. Links: 150 Pack ($5)

Canvas: Essentially I get what I can find for canvas board and prestretched canvas from wal-mart or random shops. If its on sale it works for me! Gesso generally fixes any problems I have with a canvases tooth.

Software and Equipment

Epson Perfection V600 Photo (Scanner): This is the best scanner I could find online and I love it dearly. I scan everything using it at 1200 dpi .tif before opening it in Photoshop for editing. Links: Amazon ($200)

Adobe Photoshop: Some people love Gimp, but I prefer photoshop since I also use indesign for all my layout needs.

Wacom 13HD Cintiq: This is the wacom I use for when I want to paint draw or edit digitally in photoshop. It’s super nice. Links: Wacom Store ($800)

Kyle Webster’s Photoshop Brushes: These brushes are the bee’s knees and are great if you use photoshop to paint or draw. Links: Webstore ($varies)

Reference Zine: Volume One (PDF)

Categories: Downloads, Art
Tags: releases, zines

I have recently been looking at a ton of different art styles that involve pens, or things that I could replicate using technical pens. So I have been looking at old woodcuts and engravings, the type I remember finding in the school libraries copy of Dante Aligieri’s “Divine Comedy”. Specifically the first book, Inferno.

After looking across the internet, I downloaded a bunch of free to use images (found using google’s advanced image search of course), and assembled them into a zine. A art reference zine, which I could flip through whenever I need some inspiration quick or need to “oh yeah that’s how it looks” a specific things such as waves and water or fat pudgy clouds while working on a drawing or a piece.

Feel free to download this short zine, print it out even, and keep it by your desk too! Perhaps it may be useful to you too.

Click here to download

art reference volume 1


John Silence 1.5: Ritual for Retrieving the Third Madness

Categories: Downloads, Blog
Tags: releases, zines

Here is issue 1.5 of the John Silence series of zines, a co-creative endeavor where Josh T. Jordan comes up with the words and I come up with the art for the weird detective and his various adventures (although this one is more of a game you see?).

The Ritual for Retrieving the Third Madness is meant to hold you over until the release of the second issue is upon us all! Josh described it to me as a “trancelarp”. So be sure to enjoy it!

Click here to download

There are still a few copies left of the first issue of the series, which can be purchased over at my webstore here.


Form Fillable Alternate Character Sheets for The Indie Hack

Categories: Downloads
Tags: resource

The Indie Hack is this cool game by Slade Stolar that I can easily say I am a pretty big fan of. So it only makes sense that I make some cool and easy to use character sheets right? RIGHT!

These character sheets are bookmarked, have all the character info on each sheet for each character, is form-fillable so that they can easily be used on the computer or to type in and then print out at home, etc. etc. etc.

Anyways, here is a download link to this 8 pages of delicious.

There are also some alternate versions of the pdf now:

Also here is a link to Slade’s website where you can purchase the game 🙂

If there are any problems with the character sheets, give me a shout over on Google+ or Twitter.


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