This is a simple drawing that I drew with a felt tip pen, scanned into my computer, and colored using a software called Photoshop.


I guess I started to become interested in dragons and monsters when I saw the book called "Monster Manual," which is sold as supplementary material for the role playing game called Dungeons & Dragons, in a department store and asked my mom to buy it for me (she actually didn't give it to me then, but bought it in secret and gave it to me as a surprise present later).


Role playing games --- where players get together, assume the roles of characters in a story, and fight against monsters and evil people.


Recently there are a lot of role playing games where the player uses a computer or gaming device to assume the role of the main character in games that incorporate stories, but in the old days role playing games were played with physical objects like dice, rule books, and of course the core of the game: books with stories in them. The players would get together and actually play the game in the same room. That was the fun part of Dungeons & Dragons.


Of course I had liked the monsters that would appear in picture books since I was little, and I read about monsters sometimes during the free library time at school, but I started really focusing on reading about monsters after getting that Monster Manual book. At that time, I had yet to play Dungeons & Dragons, the game that Monster Manual supplements, so I didn't understand the rules at all. But I liked looking at the drawings of creatures in the book and reading the descriptions so much I could look at it for hours on end without getting tired of it.


Sometimes my parents would take me to the public library, and during those days I would spend all day taking books about monsters, fairies, and myth to a table and reading them. According to the books I read at that library, a lot of my favorites among the fantasy creatures that appeared in the Monster Manual, like the Elf, Dwarf, and Troll, were based on the fantastical creatures that appear in Nordic mythology. But I also learned things like the priest-like character called the "Druid" who could use magic is a part of English and Western European tradition, "Leprechauns," who like to cause mischief but who will bestow a fortune in gold coins upon the person who successfully catches them, are fairies who pop up in Irish legends, "Centaurs," who have human torsos and horse bodies, are creatures that appear in Greek mythology, and that there were even dragons that appear in Chinese myth and legend. I came to see that the creatures collected in the Monster Manual came from the traditions and myths of a wide array of cultures.


From those days, I began to develop and interest in fairies, monsters, legends, myth, and even religion. I have never taken that interest to the level of an expert, but the desire to research these subjects on the level of a hobby may have its roots in those times.


When you grow up, it is easy to sort of take off from that beginning point of the pure feeling that "myths are really cool!" and find yourself in the realm of religious studies with its philosophical nature seeming heavy at times or the realm of cultural studies with the historical component taking on a complex feel. I do think those fields are incredibly interesting, but there are times when I want to return to that starting point of "myths are really cool!" and "monsters are awesome!"


I tried to give this dragon picture a simple and cute feel, and I hope that some of that magic from the days when I started getting into monsters and dragons comes through here.