Being as how I’m constantly doing woodworking, and printing/painting D&D miniatures, I opted to combine the two and make painted blocks.
I cut 1×3 lumber into squares, sanded them, and gave them a base coat of watered down acrylic, to add various fun colors while still keeping the wood grain visible. To keep my shapes consistent, I made patterns on graph paper and traced for each one. The lines are outlined with a fine black acrylic paint pen, followed by layers of different metallic acrylic paints and some black for shading. Finally, I added some of the monster doodles I like to do with paint pens, and then let them loose on a table!
I work with kids a substantial part of the time (the argument has been made that I’m just a big kid myself), so it really shouldn’t be surprising that I made a whimsy toy puzzle. As with so much of what I make, I’m firm in the belief that things should be played with, so this is interactive. It’s a puzzle without a solution, or at least without a single solution. I don’t provide directions aside from “Please Touch the Art.” One person might just enjoy fiddling with the resulting pathways, another might strive to use the blocks to create a closed loop, yet another might try to enclose all of the monsters on the inside or outside. Once someone has “solved” the puzzle, it’s meant to be taken apart and reassembled anew.
I found myself enjoying the medium of painting on blocks, so I just didn’t stop. As our Dungeons and Dragons campaign is always on my mind, I started drawing maps onto more blocks, partly inspired by this deck of cards by Inked Adventures.
I suspect I will continue making these kind of blocks. It occurs to me it might be nice to have a wall display for them; I’ll add it to the list of things to make.
That list never gets shorter.