I started playing D&D 16 years ago with some friends. In the game I played a human fighter named Gairdeachas, or Gairdy for short. Gairdy was a classic meat shield, being a strength-based fighter. Physically I pictured him as pretty much everything I wasn’t but wanted to be: big, strong, and muscular. By the end of the campaign Gairdy was terrified of shrubberies and heights after being attacked by the former and dying from the latter (he fell from a raised platform while fighting a tentacled brain monster and was raised back to life).
In 2004 one of us came across an online D&D avatar generator and we had fun creating pictures of our characters. The generator offered a variety of torsos, arm positions, weapons, etc. Shockingly, a version of it still exists today!
A couple of months ago I had the crazy idea of having Gairdy re-drawn based on me. After all, today I’m closer to the buff meat-head that I aspired to be 16 years ago. I had a really great experience getting sketched by local artist S. Pettit of Tumbled Heroes back in April and a few weeks ago I commissioned a piece by him based on the original. Yesterday he blew me away with an utterly fantastic reimagining of me as Gairdy. Here’s Gairdy of 2004 and 2018:
I love everything about it, including how the new image retains some of the key visual elements of the original and artfully incorporates — but clearly embellishes — some of my physical attributes.
For over a decade a cropped version of the original has been my online avatar pretty much everywhere, including on Slack at work, Github, and everything that uses my Gravatar. The resolution of the original image was very low making larger thumbnails of it pixelated or blurry, although the smaller versions looked ok:
The new image is super-high-resolution which makes for great images of any size:
The new image is a bit more revealing but some judicious cropping and it’s totally safe for work:
The colors and spirit of the pictures are similar enough I don’t expect it will be a drastic change for people expecting the person behind the “human against the red background” to be me.
I can’t express how happy I am with the new drawing. Many thanks to S. Pettit for doing such an incredible job! All that’s left is for me to update my avatar everywhere.