Mark Neumayer

author of the Valda & the Valkyries series

Tag: dwarfs

5 Artists Rocking it with Dwarfs

You folks know I love Dwarfs and I love art so here’s is a post of 5 artists who are rocking the Dwarven world. They are done in a number of different styles. These just happen to be some of the folks who have posted stuff that has caught my eye lately.  Let’s have at it (in no particular order.)

1. Moh Z. Mukta

This is just a work in progress but it already has a ton of visual impact.  So much going on that just brings the eyes right to the center of the page: the blur on the outer areas; the lighting; the color values. Also has some great use of texture.

2. Alexis Dumortier

Something about this picture was just speaking to me. Maybe it’s because I’d love to have a couple dozen of these printed up in plastic so I could paint them.  It’s interesting how simple shapes can capture so much character.

3. Cwalton73

Check out this artist’s work for a ton of male and female Dwarfs. They have some nice linework and a ton of detail in their work.

Dwarf Guard


4. Conorburkeart

Nice atmospheric work with this one and he made some great choices with the color palette.

Dwarf army


5. Carlos Ancot

Here we have a ton of personality coming through. This is definitely a rugged female Dwarf, yet she still has a feminine quality about her.

Female Dwarf


Do you have any favorite artists you want to share? Give them a shout-out in the comments.


The Heart is Bold that Looks on Gold

I’ve been posting kawaii artwork on Thursdays and I intend to keep on doing that. There is a problem with this week’s artwork – I don’t like it. I’m working on the kawaii version of Sleipnir but so far I haven’t been able to come up with anything I feel is good enough. (Those eight legs keep getting in the way of each other.) But I still wanted to post some kind of art so I did this piece.

I love the artistic style  that Games Workshop uses for the Dwarves in their Warhammer game. It’s kind of weird because although I have read a lot of issues of White Dwarf magazine and pored over websites about the hobby I’ve never actually played the game.

The Dwarves in the game are very attached to their ancestors and frequently decorate weapons and armor with these little iconic representations of them. The GW artists have done a great job of invoking the look of the various carved images that we find on stones and wooden relics from the Norse countries. I did this piece to represent one of these icons before it is attached to a piece of armor.

I’m happy with the art although I do think the lines are too precise. This is a side effect of me creating the base in a vector drawing program. I’ve create my original lines and shapes in Adobe Illustrator and then bring it on over to Photoshop where I add textures and effects. I’ve been using both programs for over fifteen years so it is often easier for me to do something in the program than it is using paper and pencil. The knotwork is so much easier in the digital realm – you got to love that Undo button! If you’re interested in the process I use to create digital knotwork you can check out a tutorial I did. The tute is a few years old but all of the same principles still apply.

BTW, the line in the title comes from JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Posted by Mark Neumayer
This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Norse Mythology Quick Hits

Concept art of a female Dwarf

As you can tell by the book I’ve written, I am a fan of the Dwarves. I’ve always been fascinated with them and enjoyed reading their stories in the sagas and in popular culture. But these guys and gals don’t always get the respect that they deserve. We’re not even going to go into the many times Loki cheated them out of their pay or messed with them while they were creating their masterpieces. Even skipping all of that, here are five times the Dwarves got the proverbial short-end of the stick.

The Beard Thing
While not Norse mythology,  I just felt we had to address this one. None other than JRR Tolkien himself served as the catalyst for this. In the notes to the Lord of the Rings he wrote that the Dwarf women looked just like the men. Some people interpreted this to mean that the women have beards just like the men. In the movie version of LOTR we have Aragorn out and out saying this. (Something he never did in the books.) Terry Pratchett took the ball and ran it even further in his Discworld novels with Dwarf females every bit as bearded as the men. I prefer to stick with the sagas. When the Dwarves construct the magical chain Gleipnir they make it from “six impossible things.” One of those things is “the beard of a woman.” So the sagas say it is impossible for women to have beards. With all due respect to Tolkien and Pratchett, I’m going with the saga’s version.

Toasted at Baldur’s Funeral
The gods were heartbroken over the death of Baldur, it shook them to the very core. Baldur’s widow, Nanna, was so upset that she died of a broken heart right there at the funeral. So we can imagine that Thor was not in the best of moods, either. But does that excuse this behavior?

 Thor then stood up and hallowed the pile with Mjolnir, and during the ceremony kicked a dwarf named Litur, who was running before his feet, into the fire.

We have no idea what Litur was doing there. Maybe he was running around when he was supposed to be quiet, but it still seems like a harsh reaction.

The Origin of the Dwarves
Although there are passing references to the dwarves being made of the blood and bones of a sea-giant, the main reference to the origin of the dwarves reads like this:

“Then the gods, seating themselves upon their thrones, distributed justice, and bethought them how the dwarves had been bred in the mould of the earth, just as worms are in a dead body. It was, in fact, in Ymir’s flesh that the dwarves were engendered, and began to move and live. At first they were only maggots, but by the will of the gods they at length partook both of human shape and understanding, although they always dwell in rocks and caverns.

The four corners of the world are each held up by a single dwarf. This is a powerful race renowned for being master-craftsmen, but we’re told they started out as maggots.

The Stoning of the Bridegroom
Poor Alvis, all the dwarf wanted was a beautiful bride and he had one, too. Unfortunately she was the daughter of Thor. The father of the bride didn’t want his daughter running off with this pale-nosed fellow. What is interesting here is that, instead of bashing him with Mjollnir, Thor says Alviss can marry his daughter if the dwarf can answer all of Thor’s questions about the world. We then get a long exchange between the two where Thor asks what the various races of the Nine Worlds call different things. For instance, we learn that the giants call the sun Ever-Bright, while the Elves call it Fair Wheel. This goes on through the night until finally the sun rises and turns Alvis into stone. Looking for love, he ended up looking like a statue.

Short-changed, Big-time
Dwarves are little people, right? The word has come down to us to mean someone of smaller stature. Well, the sagas say they were created “in man’s likeness.” You think that means they looked human – just smaller? Not quite. When Thor sees Alvis he says “What man is this?” Not what short creature, but what man. Check out this article on Wikipedia for more arguments on the subject. There are other references indicating that a dwarf is just like a man except he lives beneath the ground. Somewhere along the line the word dwarf was changed to mean shorter than normal and the entire race got tagged.

I hope you’re enjoying this series on Norse mythology. If there’s any subject you’d like to hear about, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. You can also check out the other entries in this series.

Five Magical Weapons from Norse Mythology

Loki’s Five Biggest Tricks

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