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Dungeons & Drawings

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If you're a geek of a certain age and inclination, you remember the Monster Manual -- a compendium of monsters for Dungeons & Dragons, including vital statistics (does the monster breathe fire, resist acid, turn you into stone with its gaze, etc.) and creative illustrations. Depending on your age, you probably have a single edition of the Manual that "seems right" -- for me it's the 1983 Monster Manual II, though I also had the Fiend Folio. In any case, two enterprising illustrators going by "Blanca M." and "Joe S." have created a blog in which they re-imagine the monsters. Their work is called Dungeons and Drawings (though for the record, I think they're really missing out by not using an ampersand). Pictured above, a few Kobolds, which Blanca describe, in part, like so:

Kobolds are a pretty common early-level encounter. They're small and have a very low challenge rating, which means you can throw a whole pack of them at the players without worrying too much about murdering them too early in the game. Even the Monster Manual goes to some lengths to describe how pathetic they are. "Kobolds speak Draconic with a voice that sounds like that of a yapping dog," says the Manual. They're the chihuahuas of the D&D world.

The pair describe their blog as follows:

Two crazy young illustrators take it upon themselves to bring some new creative juice to the multiplicitous monsters of Dungeons and Dragons.

Each Sunday we'll be taking it upon ourselves to create and post an image of a monster of our choice, with a brief description of the creature in question. All the monsters are taken from any one of the so-called Monster Manuals, with a particular emphasis on everyone's favourite 3.5 Edition.

As such all content is technically the intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast, but it's all done in good fun and I don't really see how you can copyright a dragon, anyway.

Well, maybe your favorite 3.5 Edition, ya whippersnappers! Enjoy the illustrations at Dungeons and Drawings -- the latest entry even includes a brief video!

(Via @brainpicker.)

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Art
Artist Makes Colorful Prints From 1990s VHS Tapes

A collection of old VHS tapes offers endless crafting possibilities. You can use them to make bird houses, shelving units, or, if you’re London-based artist Dieter Ashton, screen prints from the physical tape itself.

As Co.Design reports, the recent London College of Communication graduate was originally intrigued by the art on the cover of old VHS and cassette tapes. He planned to digitally edit them as part of a new art project, but later realized that working with the ribbons of tape inside was much more interesting.

To make a print, Ashton unravels the film from cassettes and VHS tapes collected from his parents' home. He lets the strips fall randomly then presses them into tight, tangled arrangements with the screen. The piece is then brought to life with vibrant patterns and colors.

Ashton has started playing with ways to incorporate themes and motifs from the films he's repurposing into his artwork. If the movie behind one of his creations isn’t immediately obvious, you can always refer to its title. His pieces are named after movies like Backdraft, Under Siege, and that direct-to-video Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic Passport to Paris.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

Screen print made from an old VHS tape.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Dieter Ashton

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photography
This Is What Flowers Look Like When Photographed With an X-Ray Machine
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Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Peruvian Daffodil” (1938)

Many plant photographers choose to showcase the vibrant colors and physical details of exotic flora. For his work with flowers, Dr. Dain L. Tasker took a more bare-bones approach. The radiologist’s ghostly floral images were recorded using only an X-ray machine, according to Hyperallergic.

Tasker snapped his pictures of botanical life while he was working at Los Angeles’s Wilshire Hospital in the 1930s. He had minimal experience photographing landscapes and portraits in his spare time, but it wasn’t until he saw an X-ray of an amaryllis, taken by a colleague, that he felt inspired to swap his camera for the medical tool. He took black-and-white radiographs of everything from roses and daffodils to eucalypti and holly berries. The otherworldly artwork was featured in magazines and art shows during Tasker’s lifetime.

Selections from Tasker's body of work have been seen around the world, including as part of the Floral Studies exhibition at the Joseph Bellows Gallery in San Diego in 2016. Prints of his work are also available for purchase from the Stinehour Wemyss Editions and Howard Greenberg Gallery.

Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Philodendron” (1938)

X-ray image of a rose.
Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “A Rose” (1936)

All images courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery.

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