Victoria Clare’s Art

Pleco Locathah

I drew some D&D Locathah. The official Locathah art makes this people look like a kind of catfish, but I decided it would be fun if my Locathah were based on the sailfin, or armoured catfish (or ‘plecos’ – the kind people keep in tanks). So my Locathah are covered in spots and have sucker-faces.

The real life sailfin catfish uses a modified stomach to ‘breathe’ with, allowing it to live out of the water for up to 20 hours. This is better than the fictional Locathah can do: Locathah generally need to return to the water after 4 hours, according to my copy of “Ghosts of Saltmarsh”.

Sailfin catfish can walk on land, at up to 2.3 mph, and their unique gait is called ‘reffling’.

However, they are freshwater fish, so probably not suitable for a saltmarsh environment. I might need to draw some more maritime catfish Locathah!

Thorin, Frerin and the Elvenqueen

It has apparently been ages since I got around to photographing the stuff I painted and actually uploading it, and today I’m only getting my act together because I offered to make some art as a collaboration for Thorin’s Spring Forge on Tumblr -the story that goes with the art should be live shortly, but here’s the art, anyway!

Thorin meeting the Elvenqueen (I cropped this a bit)

And Thorin arguing with his brother Frerin, during their exile in Dunland.  They are wearing woolly jumpers because I imagine that Dunland clothing involves a lot of wool.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Some years ago we decided on the conceit that the Shop on the Borderlands packing was done by orcs.  (really, it’s done by me & PP, but orcs seemed more on brand.  So each year since, I have drawn the orcs doing something vaguely festive, and here they are again.

These are not Tolkieny orcs – or at least, they don’t reflect the popular ‘once elves’ origin story of Tolkien orcs. They are old-school pigfaced orcs, creatures of very little refinement but apparently a great appreciation of Christmas Jumpers.

Pembrokeshire Weather

I haven’t really got going with Pembrokeshire landscapes since we moved – almost two years ago now, heavens!  I keep taking quick snaps of things I’d like to paint, but don’t often get the time to actually paint them.  But this time I have!

Above, Clouds over Cleddau a view from Hobb’s Point in Pembroke Dock, where the sailing ships used to dock when the town was a naval dockyard, across to the current sailing haven of the day, Neyland Marina with its fleet of small white-masted yachts.

I’ve taken several snaps of this avenue of plane trees in the Memorial Park at Pembroke Dock – I love the way you can really feel the prevailing wind direction from the shape of the trees, even when it’s still, and the way that the trees provide a frame for the distant sun.

Rings of Power: Arondir

I’ve been watching the new Amazon Rings of Power series, and I was taken with the character of Arondir, the stern-faced Silvan elf soldier who is captured by orcs.  One detail mentioned about him is that he was born in Beleriand, so I thought I’d paint a few pictures of him growing up there.

The last image is of the war that brought an end to Beleriand and Arondir’s home.

The Hostage Princes


Made a couple of images to illustrate that blink-and-you-missed-the-mention period in the early Third Age when Gondor conquered the South and East, and Harad paid tribute and had to send their young princes to live in Gondor as hostages.

Tribute to Gondor

Wolves of Winter

I made this for the Scribbles and Drabbles 2022 event by @fall-for-tolkien on Tumblr and it came out better than expected, so I ended up doing more detail than I’d originally thought.

It was vaguely inspired by this quote from Gandalf, about Hobbits in the Long Winter, 2758-2759:

“I began to have a warm place in my heart for them in the Long Winter, which none of you can remember. They were very hard put to it then: one of the worst pinches they have been in, dying of cold, and starving in the dreadful dearth that followed. But that was the time to see their courage, and their pity one for another. It was by their pity as much as their tough uncomplaining courage that they survived. I wanted them to survive.”

Although it could also be the later Fell Winter, (T.A. 2911 – 2912), when the Brandywine river froze over, and white wolves invaded across it, and Gandalf and the Rangers helped the Shirefolk by bringing them food.

When I drew this I wanted to put some ornamentation around the two circles, and I chose ice-covered fern leaves for the hobbits, because of their skill in disappearing and the old story about how fern seed magically makes people invisible.

Then I needed something for the Wild Wood Across the River side of things, and I picked holly, because it’s a plant that is green with berries in mid-winter.  But of course, holly is the sign of Eregion too, so it might be that the wolves are possessed by dead spirits out of Eregion.

Or maybe the Rangers use the berried holly in its traditional role as a charm against witchcraft?

Anyway, I don’t know if anyone will pick this one to write for, but if they do, I’ll be interested to see what they come up with!

I also made this one, which is more of a scribble, really!  It’s called Cats! Gorgumoth, and it’s a drawing of the Halls of Mandos, with the Hound of Mandos perhaps rather unusually portrayed as a Yorkshire Terrier.  I am convinced that the Halls of Mandos, where dead elves go, are full of cats, walking through the walls and generally refusing to get involved with the usual laws of physics.

Galadriel in Peace and War : a mini watercolour

Galadriel in peace and war

I’ve been a bit surprised, with all the fuss and discussion over the new Amazon Rings of Power series, that apparently there are people who see Galadriel as someone who would not wear armour or wield a sword.  I’ve seen her as someone who was in her younger days a fighter at least since I read Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales some time in the 1980s.  So here she is: I enjoyed playing with the red colour, which stands for peaceful poppies and the fires of the War of Wrath.

Stranger Things season 4 character portraits

I’ve been enjoying the 4th series of Stranger Things, and decided to occupy myself during the wait for the final episodes with some character portraits in watercolour.  These are all A5 size, in inktense watercolour.  Max, above, is the portrait that I’m most happy with.





Two attempts at Eleven, one with hair and one without:

And Dustin:

Painting Shells

I painted these with inktense watercolours and a Faber Castell small nib ink pen, but I feel that probably acrylic would have worked better than the watercolours.

If you are looking at these on a large screen, bear in mind they appear considerably larger than they actually are.  I am wondering if I should adjust them to look smaller: on my screen, they are 2-3 times actual size, and look terribly clumsy as a result.



Fingon – and Sunflower Auction news


Here’s a little watercolour of Elf prince Fingon from the Silmarillion riding, as an excuse to post a link to a charity auction to raise money for organisations working on the war in Ukraine.   I’m donating a custom artwork to be made just for the winning bidder!

Details here: – the auction ends May 30th!  Please bid.

Legolas and Gimli meeting Aulë and Yavanna

At the very end of The Lord of the Rings, there’s a tantalising mention that when Legolas sailed into the West, he took his friend Gimli with him.

I imagined them in the West beyond the Sea, meeting Aulë, the creator of the Dwarves in Tolkien’s legendarium, and Yavanna, creator of the Ents and effectively Tolkien’s nature goddess archetype.

This is a little A5 watercolour picture, I’m quite pleased with how much detail there is in it!

Rexque Futurus

Sometimes I write!  This is a novel-length story I wrote for fun.  It’s free to read and download.  When I finished writing,  I was pleased with it, so I made it a book cover to celebrate.  Details and links to the story below!


The Once and Future King sleeps in the hills, waiting to return in Britain’s hour of greatest need. This much we know. Arthur’s name echoes down to us out of the Dark Ages. But why? When that terrible hour finally comes, what will happen?

My theory involves an ancient Volvo, a lot of bees, Arthur in pyjamas from Marks and Spencer, a random dog, some very old Anglo-Saxon magic, doom, death and the serpent-spawn of a dark god.

Read online -|- Download epub -|- Download PDF

Merry Christmas from the Orcs!

It turns out that moving house is pretty time-consuming and although the move itself has gone through OK, I’ve been so busy with all kinds of things that I just haven’t had much time for art.  Still, here are three Christmas cards – the first for the Shop on the Borderlands, and the second two inspired by things we can see from our new Pembrokeshire windows!

Multifandom Doodles

These are all quick watercolour and ink doodles.  The first, The Plants Need Me is a doodle of a ghost who still has things she must be getting on with.

This is Transformation, a pencil and watercolour doodle of Léonie de Saint-Vire from Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades, shown, first, as a ragged and fearful boy, and later as a lady in a beautiful eighteenth-century gown.

Shadow and Flame
Far into the blue shadows where strange things lurk, she wanders, fearless and alone…

In the gloom of the deep forest, flame comes to her bidding, holds its fierce golden heart contained for her comfort. She builds a house for herself in an hour.  Who is it here that is strange and terrifying, filled with powers beyond imagining?

Up She Rises
Sailor looks down, merperson comes up.

A Silmarillion doodle with Maglor, one of my favorite characters, and Ulmo, lord of the Sea.

Oh no, another complaint?
Ea-Nasir, the famously dodgy copper merchant of Ancient Ur, adds to his collection. 

Whimsical Walrus Works

Most unusually, since we moved to Wales, so has someone else, a wandering Walrus, who has been dubbed Wally.  I saw him a few weeks ago, quite randomly on a visit to Tenby.  A passing walker said to us as we admired the view: “Have you seen the Walrus?”  And there he was!

By coincidence, the Silmarillion Writer’s Guild challenge of the month was ‘Words of Wit and Wisdom’ – focussing on the words that Tolkien worked on for the Oxford English Dictionary, one of which was Walrus.  I did some drawing for some of the works:

First, this for Words for Wally, the Wandering Walrus of Wales:  a poem by Wander.

The Walrus that Went South, by Himring

A move to Pembrokeshire!

After twenty years in the Tamar Valley in Cornwall, we decided that the middle of a global pandemic was just the time to move house.

Well, it wasn’t quite like that.  I have two day jobs.  One is running a small website development business, Clare Associates. This had a lot of travel / tourism customers, and so did not thrive in an environment where nobody could travel anywhere. The other is helping out with the Shop on the Borderlands, an online shop that sells new and second-hand tabletop role-playing games and accessories worldwide.

The Shop has been really taking off recently, and we’d got to the point where we just couldn’t fit any more stuff in our house, meaning no more room for the shop to grow.  That, combined with a touch of lockdown fever, was enough to make us decide it was time to relocate, and in Pembrokeshire, just outside Pembroke Dock, we found somewhere with more room for the vital stock shelves, and as a bonus, this fabulous view of the Milford Haven waterway which I am sure will inspire many paintings in future.


The Clockwork Frog!

This is an acrylic painting of Lirael and Sameth from the Old Kingdom novels by Garth Nix, with Mogget, and the Disreputable Dog.  They are camping on their way down the Ratterlin at the start of their journey to try to rescue Nick. Sameth’s clockwork frog is catching bugs: an asset to any riverside campsite!

This painting was created for the Fandom for Oz charity auction, thanks to my lovely recipient for being patient about the development in this very odd period of life.

Here are a couple of sketches that I made when I was developing ideas for the painting: