• Jacob E S Gamm

The begining of Shedinn and a new artistic start

For the last year I had worked as a Learning Support Assistant at Uxbridge College on the Western edge of London, assisting students with learning difficulties during their studies. I myself having very profound Dyslexia (please for give any spellings I have missed, I can’t find them all myself), I was able to help students better as I fully understood their own way of thinking. It was also motivational for many to see someone with a Master Degree who had been through the same things as them.

Ina edition to this I had worked for a company named #MiniMonets, a private art club for children aged 5-13 who enjoy art. We ran class on a Saturday and full day camps during the holidays.

Though I was working closely with mainly art students and being creative teaching young children to make clay puts in the shape of Canopic Jars, I get very little of my own artwork done and was not progressing towards my goal of working as an artist full time.

Students, many of which had never heard of David Bowie creating art in memory of his life following his recent death.

I’ve moved back to Gloucestershire, (sorry mum and dad, I need my old rooms back, I won’t be here for long one hopes) and am working to build myself as an artist.

Strangelyangly the hardest thing to get back into was ‘painting for fun.’ This is especially hard to find time for, as while on Universal Credit (income support for job-seerks, for none UK readers) there is little freedom to do the work to help you find a job, build your portfolio etc, rather the focuses is just to find a job, any job.

Fortunetly I eventually found the time and the motivation. And it begins with me finding a new #DungeonsandDragons group!


So what should I play? Well while working in the garden I decided I wanted to play some kind of gardener. Using the various interesting tools for running at different heights, and trimming the hedge I thought it would be interesting to play a character more interested in this aspect of the game.

Wizards of the Coast had released their new Artificer as playlets material through Unearthed Arcana and this seemed the perfect time to make use of it. Unlike most D&D classes there is a heavy focus on crafting skills and mechanical construction.

Personal I like to put unexpected classes and races together in D&D. No Halfling rogues or Wood Elf druids for me. No! It is Half-Orc bards, Goliath wizards and Tiefling barbarians all the way. Preferably with a background that runs against the expect as well. My barbarians are entertainers and warlocks are local heroes.

So what class abilities don’t go with Artificer? What lacks Dexterity and Intelligence? Well it has to be a Dragonborn of course. Now what colour to be? Green would be far too obvious so black it will have to be. Perhaps he uses his own acid spit to aid in his mechanical creations?

Finally a background. There didn’t seem to be any background that directly fit a gardener, and it would be hard to explain why a gardener would know how to use thieves tools (which all artificers get by default), so perhaps the gardening equipment business is not where the money is, especially if one comes from a poor background? So, a criminal, one who resorts to thievery to finance his own business. Working as a gardening on posh nobles lands only to use that information to sneak in and rob from their safes.

But what does he use all this money he has acquired for? Well the artificer has access to ‘Mechanical Companion’ which is a construct with the statistics of a beast, but can be re skinned to look however you want. And so the idea of the S.M.M.T.G.G was born. Shedinns Marvellous Mechanical Topiary Garden Guardian TM. A large fully mobile topiary peacock capable of killing any garden invaders while also remaining a beautiful feature for any nobles garden. Using the statistics for 5th editions Allosaurus this beautiful creation can run about leaping on Shedinns attacks while he shouts “get off my lawn” at them.

Last things last. A flaw…….he is afraid of worms.

Yes I know, but my aunty is a keen gardener and teaches horticulture despite which she is terrified of worms.

So where to begin with the art?

The setting called for Shedinn to be from a very Chinese inspired cultural group in a heavily Dragonborn community. It was very important to me to ensure that the artwork would represent this aspect of him.

Through aspects of artificer class Sheddin would also get to start (as I was joining an existing campaign) with two existing magic items. I had elected Googles of Night, as what self respecting thief would not want to be able to se in the dark, and a Helm of Languages, because if is very useful to be able to tell what people are saying when you listen in, and read documents to asses if they are worth stealing. These two were hard to create as I had never created a helm for a creature with a elongated jaw before, and most of the Chinese style helms were very vertical in their shape. Unfortunately some latter decisions resulted in the helm being heavily obscured, but it was an interesting learning exercise none the less. The rest of his gear also needed to look Chinese so I used references of samurai armour to base the links on.

The final visual aspect that was very important to represent visually was the different aspects of his life an character. Criminal, invented and gardener. I had already decided that a gardening apron would be a good way of representing his green thumbed nature, as well as being and effective place to keep his various tools. In some of the earlier drawings you can see that his side armaments were a hammer and sickle which helped to promote this more industrial feel as well.

Also unlike most character drawings I felt it was important to include Shedinns pack, an important part of the adventuring gear that is normally ignored by artists.

The last problem was how to convert the criminal aspect of this character. A hooded clock was the obvious answer but how to go about it?

I would describe myself more as a line artist and someone who enjoyed the problem solving aspect of an early project far more than creating a final painting. And after a year and a half of not painting anything, and even longer of not painting anything on photoshop the final image would be quite the challenge.

You will find the continuation of this character after you learn more about S.M.M.T.G.G.

Thank you for those who managed to rea this far :)