DnD Character Art Collection – Ray’s Lovely, Lady Adventurers
July 12, 2022
Ray Smith’s DnD Character Art Collection is truly one-of-a-kind. To date, he has collected over 20 fantastical drawing of his many D&D characters. They are all gorgeous. They are also all females. Let me explain.
This is Ray. He’s a nerd. He lives in upstate New York and plays D&D online with people from all over the world. His headphones have cat ears. He collects character art of each of his characters. Ray has a lot of characters.
Ray, age 57, has been playing D&D for over 25 years. Like virtually all D&D fans, he collects stuff. But while most fans go for the more traditional things – like dice, miniatures and/or books, Ray collects art renderings of his D&D characters. He started commissioning artwork last Christmas as a present to himself. But 6 months later, it has grown into a full-blown nerd collection.
I got the first one around Christmas time. I was thinking that I never really buy anything for myself. I had seen ads for character commissions on Facebook and Twitter, and it sounded like a cool idea. I figured “let’s give it a try.” Now, I have no intentions of stopping. It’s fun!
– Ray Smith, D&D fan and collector of character art
This article’s feature photo shows Mopall Weeble – a rock gnome barbarian gladiator who was created for the Phandelin Arena Games and loves to play to the crowd. The artist is Steph Kelly Designs.
Over the years, Ray has played over 40 D&D characters. All but one have been females. Ray identifies as male but said he discovered early on that he was more comfortable playing females characters.
Playing females started when my roommate and I were playing back in the 90s. It was a very male-dominated game back then, and we wanted to have some variety, some diversity. After that, I just realized I felt more comfortable playing female characters.
– Ray on his choice to play only female characters.
More Comfortable – DnD Character Art Collection
Ray explained D&D role-playing comes more naturally when he is a she. He tried to play a male character once but it just seemed harder to do. Playing females just “feels right.”
His fellow players say it takes only a little getting used to, as far as hearing Ray speak in his male voice and yet needing to respond to him as a female character.
To be honest, it didn’t take long at all to interact with Ray’s Desdemona as though she were a female. She is a kick-ass, very female pirate captain. You need to do what she says!
– Jasper, a crew mate of the Ghosts of Saltmarsh ship where Desdemona serves as captain
This censored version of Lady Desdemona tan Xuriel shows the pirate captain enjoying a hot bath in the royal bath at the lair of the Lizard Folk in The Ghosts of Saltmarsh.
– The artist is Victoria Santos
Censored and Uncensored
Most of this images in Ray’s DnD character art collection are “safe for work.” But he does have a few alternate, NSFW versions. Ray explains the decision as to whether to pose for a nude portrait is left up to each character.
Some of them would never do it, no way! Every one is different. Every one has their own list of dos and don’ts.
– Ray on some of his characters’ decisions to pose for NSFW portraits
A Way to ‘Picture It’ – DnD Character Art Collection
Aside from simply being a cool way to commemorate characters that Ray has worked to bring to life via his D&D games, his collection gives him something he needs – an image to use when thinking about exactly who each of his characters is.
Ray explained he has a form of aphasia – which leaves him unable to mentally picture the physical characteristics of something in his mind. For example, Ray said he can’t close his eyes and picture the red-haired pirate captain when it is Desdemona’s turn during a DnD session. He needs to actually look at an image to “see” her.
When DMs say to me, “ok let’s use ‘theatre of the mind,’ I can’t do that. I need to have a visual image. It is the same as far as picturing characters as it is when I try to picture a battle scenario. I need to see the image.
– Ray on how his aphasia affects his ability to use ‘theatre of the mind’
Finding an Artist
D&D fans who spend any time online have seen the numerous character artists out there who will draw your character/s for a commission. Prices range anywhere from around $30 USD to upwards of $200, depending on how large and detailed an image you want.
Ray’s DnD character art collection currently represents the work of about 6 different artists. He found most by looking through a Facebook group called Looking for D&D Artists. Similar “ads” – where artists show samples of their work and list general pricing – can be found on Reddit, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Prices generally reflect how detailed the artwork is to be. Sketches are generally the least expensive, with fully rendered digital images being the most expensive. A head shot costs less than a full body, etc. The more involved the work, the more it costs. Ray said he is already planning on getting a special seven-character “family portrait” done for Halloween.
No End in Sight
So far, Ray has amassed 23 character art commissions. He keeps them in their electronic version – using them for VTT tokens and as a wallpaper slideshow on his computer. He is currently planning a special Halloween party for seven of his favorite characters – as he will be commissioning a Halloween-themed group portrait.
Readers can see all of Ray’s current character art collection on his Deviant Art site.
[We’d also love to feature more DnD character artists here at Dungeon Cooperative. Know someone who does great work? Let us know!]