Sunday, April 10, 2011

Interview With D&D Artist Felipe Gaona

Greetings!  D&D, as I have said before, pulls heavily from the art that surrounds it.  So I thought that nothing would be more appropriate than to interview an aspiring D&D artist, Felipe Gaona.  He is a self taught, self motivated, painter from Chile whose art is characterized by vivid coloration and definition.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to interview this fantastic artist on D&D and his artwork.  To see his works visit his website here or his Deviantart page here. 

[this post is property of Do A Spot Check]
What experience do you have with D&D and how long have you been playing?

I've been playing D&D for a long time now, probably since I was 12 years or so, but I wasn’t introduced to RPGs until College.

My first DM was very bad, but the second one was great! I got to play a second edition Halfling Rogue for the adventure, which ran for a few years, until everyone started to get busier; eventually the campaign was just dropped. Since I didn't get to play my character all the way to the end, I do tend to introduce some random Halfling Rogues here and there in my campaigns as a DM, they're so much fun.

As a DM, I started with a Legend of the Five Rings campaign, but I really didn't like the system.   However, because I'm a big fan of Japanese Culture, I moved to 3rd Edition Oriental Adventures and created my own world.  That campaign was very long and the players actually finished it.  That was a great experience especially because I think a lot of campaigns are just abandoned. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]

I've been playing a lot of games since then.  Nothing too long, but about a year ago I started a 4th Edition campaign that's still running.

What was your most prevalent memory of D&D?

In the campaign with my Halfling Rogue, at one point the party had to face a lich to cross a gate.  Unfortunately, he would have kicked our collective asses and of course my character wasn't good at fighting.  However, the lich was willing to let us go through the gate if a character sacrificed his life.  The only one to step in was Rufus’ (my character's name) friend "Karlak”, a Half Orc.  He sacrificed his life so that everyone could live.  It was kind of sad (kind of, since it's a RPG) because Karlak was my character's only real friend. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]

What made you want to become an artist for Wizards of the Coast/D&D?

I've always been drawing and painting my characters and everyone else's.  I think before that I usually drew things out of videogames and anime, but I really liked making the characters that I’d been playing with in D&D come to life.  I had a great time doing it and I think it's an amazing career.

As for WotC itself, I came across Art Order a community run but Jon Schindehette, senior Art Director of WotC, he has a lot of wisdom to share and I think he's one of the best ADs I've "met" (well, internet meeting that is).

What is the inspiration behind your D&D related artwork?

This is a hard question.  I really get inspiration from all kind of sources.  I think the biggest would be European myths and culture, you know, vikings celts, armors, etc. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature as well.  Movies and animation are also big sources of inspiration also. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]

As for artistic inspiration, some contemporary illustrators such as Jesper Ejsing and Tyler Jacobson, and older ones like N.C. Wyeth and Adolphe Bouguereau.  My paintings look nothing like theirs though!

How would you say D&D has positively affected you/your life?

I've met a lot of people and made good friends through the game.  I also have an excuse to get together with friends and hang out while having a good time. I think that's one of the greatest things about a game like D&D.

I've also learned a lot from the artists that work for D&D.  There's some amazing talent between those pages. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]

Are there any closing comments you would like to make?

I really liked answering these questions; thinking about the answers gave me some insight about myself and where to go next.  It was also fun remembering some good times with the game, thanks a lot!

And there you have it!  Thank you Felipe for your time, energy, and of course your art!  Keep up the excellent work!

Until next time.



  1. I have never played D&D. I think mainly because I have never been introduced to it. But anyway, I found Felipe Gaona's work to be amazing.

  2. Interesting interview. The artwork is amazing!

  3. I agree with Rebecca. The artwork is absolutely wonderful!

  4. I have never played D&D before but this was an interesting interview! The artwork is amazing!