Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login

Artists, Win a life-time subscription to Monsters

Journal Entry: Tue Apr 9, 2013, 11:48 PM
Challenge: Paint one of the sample Monsters By Email creatures in a scene, involved in some kind of action, in an environment of your choice. If you have read the descriptions of these creatures you may use your knowledge to come up with an idea. If you have no knowledge about the creatures, you are free to invent a plausible action for the creature, as you perceive it. One or several creatures of the same species should be featured in the scene. If other creatures or beings are added to the scene they should not be MonstersByEmail creatures, and you must have the legal rights to publish them.

Price: The winner will receive a life-time subscription to Monsters By Email. For whatever time Monsters By Email continues, the winner will receive the full contents released for free. The best five entries will be featured in my DA Journal, as well as in the RPG-Creatures blog, and Facebook feed, and will be seen by thousands of creature fans. Links to the artists' portfolios, and their names will be included.

Rules: You must post your own entry (or entries) in one or several of your own social forums (blogs, Facebook, Google+, DeviantArt, or similar), and you must link to, and credit, when you do. Entries should be 1250 px wide and 850 px high (or close to it), and sent to in the JPEG file format. All styles of 2D atwork are welcome. Make sure you add your name and a link to your portfolio in the email.

Judging: I, Nicholas Cloister, is the sole judge of this challenge, and I will look at all aspects of quality and originality when picking the winner (the best render is not necessarily the best piece of art). The winner and four follow-ups will be announced before the end of April, but there will be no other information sent to participants, and emails with questions/complaints will not be answered. If you have questions, use the commenting section below this post, please.

Deadline: April 24, 2013

Use: By entering this competition you allow me to post your entries online. You keep all rights to your artwork, and I will use it in no other situation, than those described above.

Here are the creatures from which you can pick:

CronLychma - creature concept by Cloister   Neverenn - creature concept by Cloister  

Dronhedon - creature concept by Cloister   Nevianaar - creature concept by Cloister  

Ne-Nundar - creature concept by Cloister   Parnirion - creature concept by Cloister

Good Luck!
I'd love to see other artists (of any skill-level) take on these creatures, and hope to see YOUR version in this challenge.
I will not take commercial advantage of your work (like they do in many contests), and come to think of it, I will include as price a PDF copy of my 'RPG Creatures - Bestiary 1' for the best five entries.

  • Listening to: My Dying Bride
  • Reading: The Shobogenzo
  • Watching: Game Of Thrones
  • Playing: with toy horses
  • Eating: moderately
  • Drinking: milk

Creature Set 1 is finished

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 7, 2013, 2:52 AM
Creature set 1 is finished and ready for delivery!

Friday the 15th it will be made accessible to all subscribers of Monsters By Email, featuring five new and original creatures, with thorough descriptions, an extensive and commented 'step-by-step' PDF, high-resolution illustrations in various file formats, and a first PDF chapter of what I call 'The Learning Art Part of Monsters By Email'. Oh, I almost forgot - publishing rights to three of the five creatures are also included.

Can't wait to hear your feedback on it all.

Now, let's market this killer creature deal!
Visit ...for monsters by email. : )

  • Listening to: your feedback and opinions
  • Reading: your comments
  • Watching: your art
  • Playing: around with css for the journal
  • Eating: what's quickly available
  • Drinking: diet coke

Monsters By Email is now LIVE!

Journal Entry: Sat Mar 2, 2013, 7:11 AM
That's really all I want to say. If you are not familiar with Monsters By Email, now is the time to check it out!

As from yesterday, the subscription has begun! You may sign up at the website

Artists, Role-players, Publishers, and Creature fans are joining. If you belong to any of those categories, at the very least, check it out!

Now the real work begins! Here is where my best art will go!


/Nicholas Cloister

  • Listening to: your feedback and opinions
  • Reading: your comments
  • Watching: your art
  • Playing: around with css for the journal
  • Eating: what's quickly available
  • Drinking: diet coke

Monster fans, this way! (update)

Journal Entry: Tue Nov 6, 2012, 10:28 AM

The following creature deal is now LIVE. You can read about it below, but to join, and to get a better overlook, please visit!

For only $2,50 per month you will receive:
4-6 print-resolution, original creature illustrations (48-72 yearly)
+ the rights to publish and sell 50% of them
+ rpg adapted creature descriptions and ideas
+ regular artistic advice on creature design
+ sketches, steps and similar amusements.

..There is even a chance you can get it for free!

Every month you will receive an email which includes access to:

4-6 Original Creature Concept Illustrations:
All creature images will be provided as layered PSDs, PNGs, TIFFs and JPGs - 7000 pixels wide or tall. Additional screen resolution JPGs will also be provided. All concepts and illustrations will be by Nicholas Cloister.
(Sample files available below - scroll down)

Creature Descriptions
All creatures will come with a decent, inspirational creature description, system free stats, and suggestions on how to use them in RPG campaigns.
Many will have highly detailed, well written, rpg-adapted descriptions, thoroughly and elegantly portraying the creatures at hand. All will be presented in a nicely designed PDF, which will also include illustrations of the creatures.
>> Download free sample

Artistic Advice and Tutorials
Sketches and steps of the illustration progress will be provided with every creature, as well as short comments. Some creatures will come with thorough advice, or tutorials on creature design and/or digital illustration, covering with time all the fundamentals of painting and lots of creature design specifics.
I, Nicholas Cloister, will also share a few mental techniques, and notes on creativity and inspiration in general.
>> Download free sample

Publishing Rights
A subscription to 'Monsters by eMail' includes non-exclusive rights to 50% of the creatures received. Creature number 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15... and so on (every odd number) will be yours to use, publish, and commercialize as you see fit, but with the following restrictions:
>> Read if you intend to publish

Exclusive Product (almost)
The creatures you receive will be exclusive to subscribers of RPG Creatures. Subscribers may come to publish them in other products eventually, but not in the same fashion, and only 50% of them. I will post 1 out of 4 creatures online to increase my audience (but those will be low-resolution, screen size images only, and will not include descriptions, rights, or artistic advice). I might initially post a few of them as Stock Art available through online stores, to attract attention, but in such cases they will cost substantially more ($2 per creature, or more). I may also publish a few of the images in a future book on creature design (but that's not certain)

Payment and Conditions
The price will be $2,50 USD per month, paid in 4-month intervals ($10) to to a Paypal account. Subscribers must be 18 years old and have a credit card (Master Card, Visa, American Express or Discovercard) or a PayPal account. You must join for four months minimum, and the payment must be registered two week before the following subscription period. You will receive notice, and the account information well before that.

In case of temporary breaks, due to devastating accidents or life-transforming event, undelivered monsters will be shipped later. If Monsters By Email should stop completely because of dire misfortune, you will be informed on the situation, and receive your money back. 'Monsters by eMail', makes no promises to continue for more than one 4-month period at a time, though it aims to do so.

How can I subscribe FOR FREE?
IF you join now AND subscribe from start (for $2.50/month), and continue to do so until 2000 additional subscribers have joined, your following subscriptions will be free. You will then continue to subscribe for free for as long as that number of subscribers is maintained (or increased). This offer will stand until 1000 people have reported their interest, and it is currently open.
Join now, and with time, free subscription may very well be yours.

Visit and to sign up!

The many unborn creatures of 'Monsters by eMail' wish you well, and ask you to share this offer with friends and contacts.

The creatures will look great!

Join the Monsters, and share this opportunity!

/Nicholas Cloister
A short bio can be found at


PDF: Creatures A-D, stats and descriptions

PDF: The Making of Creatures A-D

Creature A, PSD
Creature A, TIFF
Creature A, PNG
Creature A, JPG
Creature A, JPG web  
Creature B, PSD
Creature B, TIFF
Creature B, PNG
Creature B, JPG
Creature B, JPG web

Creature C, PSD
Creature C, TIFF
Creature C, PNG
Creature C, JPG
Creature C, JPG web

Creature D, PSD
Creature D, TIFF
Creature D, PNG
Creature D, JPG
Creature D, JPG web

Information, TXT

(The samples above together represent the mininum of what a subscriber will receive for $2.)

  • Listening to: your feedback and opinions
  • Reading: your comments
  • Watching: your art
  • Playing: around with css for the journal
  • Eating: what's quickly available
  • Drinking: diet coke

RPG Creatures - now on facebook

Mon Aug 22, 2011, 2:23 PM
I just set up a facebook page for 'RPG Creatures'.
My intention is to use the facebook page for all updates that are somehow connected to RPG Creatures.

It may be anything from sketches, small tutorials, artistical reflections, ideas, or some insights into the creative process around the creatures.
While I will keep the Bestiary itself clean, and keep the main descriptions and stats there, the facebook page will include the buzz around it.
I will also allow myself the liberty to be more personal and express day-to-day thoughts on the facebook page... things that simply wouldn't fit in the bestiary itself.
I also hope to get to know the users of RPG Creatures a bit better. Blogger is such an akward tool for comments.  

Come join!!/pages/RPG-…


  • Listening to: Midlake
  • Reading: Mud and Water
  • Watching: Darkness hiding melting snow
  • Playing: around with photoshop
  • Eating: some things that I don't really need
  • Drinking: Not much in the house
As we proceed in painting we come realize how everything on the canvas affects everything else. A change to the composition in the upper corner changes how the middle area is conceived etc. Balance is maintained by all parts playing together, and to keep balance we learn how to make sacrifices  (we kill our darlings). What looked cool or good by itself doesn't work in the greater context. We make changes for the sake of the greater whole and single treasures are thrown away for greater harmony.  

Colors are contextual and changes appearance as other colors and values are changed. A gray area may seem green on a red field and bright gray turns dark in the midst of white.  To become aware of how important the whole is for a successful painting is a major step for an artist. When the light is reflected upon the green leaves of the trees and bushes everything around it turns greener. All colors affect all other colors and so a common denominator (a harmony) appears.

Working with this on a frequent basis makes one understand how everything is interconnected, and how every little stroke makes a difference for the whole, and vice versa. The tiniest of brushstrokes can make a major change, but to have that power there must be a scene to alter. Thus we begin to see how the whole is law, and the details are subjects. We learn to understand how the interconnectedness, and the interaction, is of more importance than the objects themselves. As the arm is rotated the fingers must follow, and for that to happen there must be a space where they can fit.

From this we may learn that single objects and phenomena, though cherished, lack significance unless supported by the greater whole. How we perceive the objects and people around us is entirely up to the background we give them - what we compare them to. By themselves, single objects have no meaning - they are void.

This understanding of wholeness, and relativity, is of deep spiritual importance. I'm not talking mainly about theoretical understanding, but of the realization and knowing that comes with experience. In this case - painting.

(This is the first of a series of journals dealing with spirituality and painting. I hope you're relaxed about it, because I'm not trying to save you. I just find the topic interesting, and thought I'd share some opinions and experiences with those who might find it of interest.)

/N Cloister

  • Listening to: Midlake
  • Reading: Mud and Water
  • Watching: Darkness hiding melting snow
  • Playing: around with photoshop
  • Eating: some things that I don't really need
  • Drinking: Not much in the house
Thanks for the feedback everyone who commented on the "Please help me - Comparison" deviation! It was really helpful!
I have already gone over and darkened (edited the contrasts) in most of my latest work, based on your feedback.  

I realise that for some viewers my artwork will now look too dark, but the feedback, and my own experience with flat-screen monitors, tells me that most viewers will now behold a much closer versions to what I initially intended... when making the art in question.

A word of warning to all of you who draw/paint and think the contrasts in my work now look better (and who prefers the darker version of my "Please help me"-deviation.) My experience with printing tells me that my old screen was perfectly calibrated. Whenever I printed posters for personal use, or saw a book cover I designed in print, they would look just as I intended them to. So, it could be that my edited deviations are now too dark for printing. My main priority here however, is web exposure, so I think the edit is in place. If you find some of my deviants a little too dark, try watching them on a black background. If you find them waaaayyy to dark now, please tell me about it somehow...

Anyway - It is time to check out my featured deviations again. Perhaps they now look significantly better on your screen. At least, that's the case on mine. I simply couldn't stand watching the old versions.

Thanks again!

N Cloister

  • Listening to: Your suggestions
  • Reading: Your suggestions
  • Watching: Your feedback
  • Playing: More pages soon.

Why isn't DA working?

Fri Mar 5, 2010, 8:47 AM
Why isn't DA working? What I do is to add artwork to my site here. What then happens is that quite a lot of people add it to their so called Favourites. That means that now I have an increased chance of being seen, right? Since some people scan other peoples favourites, right? Well, apparantly not. My images have been faved 8,612 times, and I have 839 watchers, but I still have a monthly avarage pageviews of 500-600. Not bad, but it's the same as I had in late 2007. The exponential increase that one would expect simply isnt' there.

Either my watchers have no watchers themselves, or people add too many images to their favorites. DA has grown hugely since I joined in 2007. In the beginning I could feel how more people were drawn to my site with every month here, but then it suddenly stopped. I wonder why?

This isn't something I'm bithing about, but I do think it is sort of strange. Does any of you have a reasonable explaination? Even when adding images which I consider rather powerful, and that should catch a wide audience, if only seen by one, not very much happens.

A piece like "Hydra, your days are over" is bound to be liked by quite a lot of the millions of Deviants here, but it has reached a mere 1,234 views since August. So where are those friends of friends that could make my art more widely spread? Did it all change when DA added the 'Display Random Favourite' feature? Did the favs then dissapear in the multitudes instead of remaining in the light for a couple of days?

Still very pleased with DA.

/N Cloister

  • Listening to: Your suggestions
  • Reading: Your suggestions
  • Watching: Your feedback
  • Playing: More pages soon.

Consciousness - Identity - I

Sat Nov 14, 2009, 12:28 PM
Ever since he was born the optic nerves of Living Room had been attached to two cameras in the living room of Michael and Rosemary McLair. His sensory cells had all been biomechanically fused to the top layer of the floor, and the sensitive nerve ends of the inner ear reconstructed to connect with two small microphones, placed behind a beautiful canvas painting. The taste receptors normally found on the tongue had been fused with the table upon which the McLairs usually dined, and was able to pick up a weak flavour from whatever crumbs happened to land on its surface. The brain of Living Room was a human one, but of this he knew nothing. It was placed inside a safe behind a second painting, portraying a silver tray with still life cabbages. The only way into this safe was through a tube in which was bundled together all the nerve cables, and electrical wiring which ran systematically all through the living room walls. Living Room never had the chance to realise, that in his first seconds of life – right before the experiment – he was actually human. In all aspects and levels known to him, he was and had always been a room… Living Room.
But how he yearned to join in on the Saturday night idle conversations, and to make himself known to them. There was no greater desire in the mind of Living Room than to, if for a minute only, participate in the chit-chat and small controversies of the McLair couple… to  to take part, and to express himself.

  • Listening to: Your suggestions
  • Reading: The Upanishads, again.
  • Watching: my thoughts.

A new beginning - again.

Thu Aug 13, 2009, 1:16 AM
More time coming up shortly.

So, since I finished art school some eight years ago, I have spent most of my professional life teaching (art, multi-media, web-design, etc...). Recently however I have started to make some money freelancing. Now again, I find myself in the fortunate situation called unemployment. For me it means a chance of aiming at full time free-lance. So, hopefully you will either see more frequent image updates from me here at DA. But then again, I might be so lucky as to attract a few clients, which means working in secret until the time comes when one is allowed to display the pictures.

In any case I want to improve my portfolio. So if you have any motif suggestions that you think I should put my digital brush to, feel free to suggest them. It is not that I'm running out of imagination, but it is usually better training to bring to life someone elses visions... or trying to. Cmon, what would you have me painting? (No, I will not make nudes or anime, nor will I make orcs looking like bull-dozers with racing flag banners, carrying guns bigger than elephants. But I will do about anything else. If I pick your suggestion I will make available to you a high-res version of your idea for free.

  • Listening to: Your suggestions
  • Reading: Dogen
  • Watching: with great attention and curiosity
  • Drinking: (I admit a few beers now and then...)

Creature Of The Week

Wed Feb 25, 2009, 3:16 AM
The Creativity Of Creating Creatures

Again I find myself painting on my spare time, and having great fun doing it. Why? Because of the 'Creature Of The Week'-activity over at of course. This week the topic is 'Colossus From Hell', a creature idea I simply could not resist trying my wacom on.

If you like designing creatures and take part in a forum full of creativity and constructive feedback I sincerely recommend you to visit the place and join in on the fun. It is probably one of the best places on the web to improve your skills of painting and to witness some wicked life-forms take form, all for free of course.

A guy named Michael Jaecks has just taken over the role as moderator, and I know for a fact that he will keep the activity exciting and happening.

To Creature Of The…

To Michael Jeacks's DA site:

  • Listening to: The I behind the I
  • Reading: Eckhart Tolle
  • Watching: without thinking

The Dark Spectrum

Mon Dec 1, 2008, 3:32 AM

Monitors are starting to annoy me. What can I say... I'm the sensitive type. Something that certainly cannot be said about some computer-screens that I come across regularly. The thing is that I really like my screen at home (one of those bulky things from the first part of the decade). Images look great on it, and when I send stuff to be printed they come back exactly (and I mean exactly) the way I want them. Except for the fact that printed picture doesn't glow, the colours and values turn out splendidly... and I havn't even calibrated the monster.

So, at my present day-job I work on a lap-top.. and when I visit my friends I meet these slim fancy-looking screens. Now, I must tell you, when I watch my images on those flat monitors I'm usually in for a big dissappointment.

I'm sure a lot of you have similar experiences, but as an artist I'm getting increasingly irritated by it. What is the point of sensitivity if people can't see it? Most flatscreens are still totally useless when it comes to the dark values. Starting from the middle tones and going towards the darker, virtually nothing happens untill suddenly: all black! My last deviant - a dwarf on a black backdrop - looks like shit on my lap-top. All those dark tones are gone, and parts that are only somewhat darker then the rest (on my favourit screen) stand out as coal against snow!

Well... now you know. If see sudden strange black spots, and experience my work as being low in contrast, you should tell Santa to get you a more expensive screen. Apparantly there are good flat-screens around. I just haven't met any.. yet.

Anyway. Where I'm sitting there are thick flakes of snow falling right now... so, a nice December on all of you!

  • Listening to: SR Klassiskt


Fri Oct 3, 2008, 4:03 PM
I thought I should give away some close-ups of my work.

These are the parts that the digital art-watcher usually misses,
but that nevertheless have the power to drive artists into
boredom and make wrists complain with pain.

Never mind the details...

I've taken a break from painting. Actually, I had no choice. A "voice" in my head forced me to once more reformulate that which I simply cannot forget. It consumes me. It makes such a simple thing like painting seem ridiculous and silly, and yet painting becomes even more wonderful because of it. Hard to explain. If you have any philosophical interest at all then perhaps you should check it out.

I'm not saying it is everyones cup of tea, or that you should drink it at all. Take a sniff and decide for yourself. Follow the link...
  • Listening to: Primordial - The Nameless Dead
What is this new term 'Digital Artist'? What does it mean? That the artist is a robot controlled by computer interface? So many strange terms these days... Artists can't be digital can they? Now, it might look as if I'm only making silly comments on a term here, but I think there is more to it. Labels are misleading. Since I started working digitally about a year ago I have had several people calling me a 'digital artist'. They probably don't know that I've been working in a most analogue/traditional fashion for ages… and I still do. Using the ways of modern labelling I am also a fantasy artist. But then, I do abstracts too, in acrylics. Am I an acrylic artist during those hours? That sounds weird, doesn't it? I think it is very possible to work traditionally with digital media. And it is possible to carve modern age imagery in rock. …So, where is this leading? Labels and titles confuse. They make us see things in a limited and simplified way, where things are really more complicated (or less).

I am not a digital artist. I never was. I am an artist who prefers painting as a medium, and I happen to like digital tools, alright? No! It is not alright! The thing is I am not an artist at all! That is a very limiting idea of what I am. I am a human being, who's been through art-school and who likes to express himself through images rather often. In fact, it doesn't end there either… but to take it yet another step is perhaps to become too philosophical for a DA Journal. But in my opinion, 'human' is a limiting label as well. I am.

Now...let there be light, so that I can paint! Preferably the digital light from a wide screen monitor.  

  • Listening to: Lake of Tears - "Lady Rosenred"
  • Reading: Traffic theory...
  • Watching: No TV. Must get a digital receiver/decoder