New OnlineDM avatar, courtesy of James Stowe

If you see me posting in the comments here on the blog or over on Twitter, or on EN World or the like, you may notice a new avatar.

Since shortly after I started the blog, I had been using this image as my avatar:

You may recognize it as the Rune of Terror from the room full of zombies on the first floor of the Keep on the Shadowfell. I used it because it was the first thing I had drawn myself that looked at all respectable (even though it was my attempt at recreating something that another artist had drawn). Ironically, I never got to use that image in-game, as the group that I was running through the Keep ended up not being able to play any more.

I’ve felt for a long time that I’d like something better. I’ve asked a couple of friends of mine who are artists if they would be interested in a commission from me, and none of them really were. Then I saw James Stowe’s offer to do commission work. I really enjoyed the character sheets he had created for his kids, and I like the cartoon aesthetic, so I commissioned him to do a couple of pieces for me.

The first is a portrait of my beloved bard, Factotum. I think James nailed this one.

The second is an avatar of me, Michael the OnlineDM. I sent James the link to this picture of me and asked if he had any inspiration about how to get the “online” part of my name across. I think he came at it in a brilliant way:

So, don’t be confused if you see a little cartoon guy in a computer screen box instead of a rune of terror – it’s still me!

And if you’re an artist who might be interested in commission work for a banner for my blog, I’m offering to pay! Send me an email at if you’re looking for work and think you might be able to come up with something good.

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