• Jacob E S Gamm

Tailtu, Paladin of the Woods

With the release of Volo’s Guid to Everything players gained access to a number of new playable races for their Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I as always taught to combine theses races and classes in ways that were not mechanical guid but were interesting none the less. The Lizardfolk Wizard and the Tabaxi (cat person) Warlock.

The one I settled on to actually play in my next adventure league game (Wizards of the Coasts organised play for D&D) was a lovely character. A Firbolg Paladin. Wizards had gone with quite a big overhaul of the traditional Firbolg from previous editions, kilt wearing giants who like to hit things, and instead gone with more elf like hippies who live in the forrest but art afraid to beat to death a dragon if it is interfering with the health of the forrest.

Druid being the default class in most peoples eyes I decided to play a Paladin, but one of the option in 5th edition allows for a kind of Green Knight of the Forrest option from classical mythology. This seemed like very much the way to go and as with most bulky and brutish races people have a tendency to play male characters so I of course wanted to play a female one.

This led to an interesting challenge as the only example in the books for a Firbolg was the male one in the books shown here on the left. I managed to find some of the other original designs shown in the middle, unfortunately myself and google in remiss in that I can’t find the name of the artist to reference them. To the right are designs by Shawn G. Wood after seeing this same art.

Based on this I endeavoured to create my own female Firbolg. You can find the Pinterest image search I did here: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jacob_gamm/oath-of-anciants-paladin-firbolg/


The moth is something of a hold over from an original design. Reading up on traditional D&D law I found that there was an old giant god worshipped by the Firbolgs who would send portents and visions to her followers in the form of a giant golden moth. Unfortunately I discovered that his was no longer cannon alongside the update that changed their appearance. I instead found a Fey god of haute named Skerritt who is worshipped by Centaurs and Fauns. Despite the change I felt there was something very visually eye-catching about the shield with a beaten copper moth on the front that I could not being myself to change.

Note also the symbol for the D&D adventure league faction the Emerald Enclave word about her waist. Again, as I did with my previous bard I wanted to incorporate as much characterful aspects as I could in the image.

I also did rather a lot of research into the classical origins of the Firbolg. Originating from Ireland the Fir Bolg were a group of ancient people who were taken as slaves to Greece and forced to carry bags of clay or soil. They latter returned to Ireland to find it uninhabited by those who were left behind and ruled there until modern humans humans come and go to war with them. How the story ends changes, some say they hide, live on their own smaller island, or simply flee. Through hard to fully convey this heritage in an image heavily divorced from the original mythology I tried to include some aspects of it through the use of an Irish pattern kilt, and giving her the name Tailtu, a figure who appears in the mythology.

Adding a sense of scale in an environment without and man made point of reference is had work. Without other characters and recognisable objects like doors or carts it is very hard to suggest that this character was eight feet tall to viewers. Due to the natural aspects of here character I really did not want to resort of adding anything too manufactured so instead added a Red Squirrel and a Red Deer, the colour to match her hair that I had planned. Both recognisable enough I hoped that people would be able to detain her scale.

Once again I had come to the same problem I had had with my previous painting. All of my lost Photoshop brushes. I was enjoying drawing her and solving the puzzle of repressing her correctly, but how best to paint her was a struggle.

Looking through various artists that I enjoy I found a tutorial from artists Lois Van Baarle.

Viewing her rough and ready painting style in this image reminded me of how I proffer to for when painting traditional and things should be no different when working digitally.

Lois van Baarle photoshop sketch process

Acquiring the rough and ready brushes she often uses and applying a different mentality when painting made quite the difference to me and made painting fun again more importantly.

This post is getting a tad long so for the progression of colour you will have to take a look at my next blog update.


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