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Kodama Illustration by LordDonovan Kodama Illustration by LordDonovan
The people behind the upcoming tabletop role playing game Mysteries of the Yokai asked me to do this illustration for the first book's kodama entry.

Kodama themselves are enigmatic nature spirits from Japanese legend that can traditionally look like anything from normal trees to small floating lights to people, but the producers were looking for a design in the small and cute ballpark. They also wanted the kodama depicted in their natural habitat, which meant not just designing cute tree spirits with plenty of room for interpretation, but illustrating a forest scene too. For the purpose of being printed in an actual game book no less. Suffice it to say, I was glad for the opportunity. It's pretty much my creative happy place, and as a regular tabletop gamer myself, it'll be cool for my own pictures to finally be there in a book for once. So if you're looking for new gaming systems with a focus on Japanese mythology and/or solving conflicts in more ways than just fighting it out, or simply really like this picture, be sure to keep an eye on 
Mysteries of the Yokai and get yourself a copy when it's done!

Incidentally, this illustration yielded two important lessons over its course-- First, when doing work that needs a final product in CMYK format, REMEMBER TO START IN CMYK. That will really save you a headache and perfectionist torture over how the colors won't transition jjuuuuuusst right. Second, I cannot do a background between "extremely simple" and what you see here. It was originally supposed to be simpler, and then... this happened. It definitely looks nice, if I do say so myself, but this much complexity wasn't the original plan. I just kept adding stuff because the minimal early drafts didn't look good and I knew I was going overboard but I couldn't help it, perfectionism OCD cannot be denied.
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Gelorum Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Outstanding art skills! Awesome piece, man! ;)
QueenSpazDracka Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2016  Student Digital Artist
OH MY GOD welcome back from the dead! :D :XD:

I missed you~! :heart:
LordDonovan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Back? Naw I'm still as dead as ever, I just climb out of my grave on occasion when I must satiate my hunger for bloo- I mean money.

Thanks for the warm greeting though, much appreciated. I'm glad to hear from you too!
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Submitted on
July 8, 2016
Image Size
1.8 MB


24 (who?)