Hey there and welcome to another TTRPG Community interview! These are low key, prewritten interviews which are available to fill out on this page. If you are a part of the TTRPG space in almost any way at all, there should be something for you!
Today, we’re hearing from Ramona, otherwise known as Alderdoodle!
Please introduce yourself and let us know what kind of crafts you make.
Hello and thank you for having me over in your corner of the interwebs! I’m Ramona, a lettering artist and shiny wares purveyor based in Bristol, UK. I sell D&D paper accessories like spell cards, note cards and spell scrolls. (Though I do want to branch out to other TTRPGs too.)
Oh and I also create design freebies for those who might not have the budget for custom art, but still want to add some pizzazz to their work (think page borders, page dividers etc). Doing it all under the Alderdoodle name. It’s a combination of my last name translated from Latvian to English + doodle.
How did you get started crafting TTRPG accessories? What motivated you to begin?
I started playing D&D right before lockdown hit (we literally got one session in before it happened) so then I was left with a new found obsession and.. a lot of spare time. I decided to make some blank spell & item cards, because I wasn’t a fan of how the official ones looked. Then my husband, who was playing a druid at the time, asked for some statblock ones too to keep track of wildshapes and it just snowballed from there.
Where do you get your inspiration from when coming up with new ideas?
It varies, but most of the time it’ll be while playing games. The first spell scrolls I made came up because I was running Storm Kings Thunder and in that adventure there’s a bit where an NPC gives the characters a box of 6 spell scrolls. So obviously I had to make some spell scrolls to give to my players. (That’s how I learned that my inkjet printer isn’t a fan of printing on dyed paper vellum. A valuable lesson.)
What was the first thing you ever made? Are you still proud of it?
The first thing I made specifically to sell was the spell cards and I’m absolutely still proud. I still sell them 3 years later! They’re the MVP that kickstarted Alderdoodle. I should frame one.
What’s your favourite thing about being a crafter within the TTRPG space?
The people. I know it sounds super cheesy, but since I joined the TTRPG sphere, everyone has been super welcoming and supportive. There is an astounding amount of creativity around, so it’s quite hard not to feel encouraged and inspired (and to be perfectly honest – at times intimidated too.)
What’s the most popular item you craft that people seem to love the most?
It seems to come in waves for some reason. For a little while it was spell scrolls as far as the eye can see. Now the wizards must’ve awoken from their winter slumber, ’cause it’s all about the spell cards.
What is your favourite crafting material to work with?
Paper and ink for sure. Even though these days, I do most of illustration on the iPad, I still looove the feel of paper. It’s why I love creating the handwritten letters so much. From dying the paper vellum to writing the words with ink and hearing the scratching noises of the nib – so good. Makes me feel like an old timey scribe in a workshop.
Is there any specific craft that you don’t know yet but would love to learn?
I really want to have a go at linocut printmaking at some point. I would also love to learn how to make dice. Though I think it’s one of those things that will stay a dream, because I’m fully aware that if i started, I probably wouldn’t stop. I’m a dice goblin already as it is XD
Do you have a dedicated workspace? Tell us about it!
I don’t have one dedicated workspace. I have a little studio room where I keep my art supplies. Then there’s the living room sofa, where I like to curl up with the iPad and draw (usually while watching a rerun of a show I’ve seen a bazillion times already.) There’s the big oak dining room table, where I embellish spell scrolls and write the letters and pack orders. And then there’s the computer in the office for admin stuff as well as finalising any illustration files. So no one space.
Do you sell your crafts on a marketplace (e.g. Etsy) or have your own store, or both? What are the benefits and disadvantages of each?
I sell my wares on Etsy as well as my website. Etsy is great when you’re just starting out. It has a ‘built in’ audience so if you don’t already have a large following, people still find you. It’s how I started. I probably will always have my Etsy store, but I’m putting more effort into my own website these days, because while Etsy has it’s upsides, whooo yowza does it have its downsides too. Namely the fees. So many heckin’ fees. Don’t get me wrong, your own website will have fees too, but they’ll be much more manageable. You also have more control with your own website.
What’s the next project people will see from you?
Currently working on a tarot deck! A few cards still left to draw, but I’m hoping to release it later this year. If I can fight the urge to redraw it all…
Of all of the things you’ve created, which one is your personal favourite?
I think it might be the Dungeon Master jacket I painted for myself. Wasn’t something I’d really done before and I had no idea if and how it would turn out, but came out great! So naturally I then went and painted two more jackets. And I’m now always scouting for more when I pop in charity shops. Though admittedly, with the weather getting warmer, might have to look on vinted or wherever the cool kids shop second hand now.
Tell us about your process when crafting. Do you have any tips or tricks for other crafters in the same space as you?
A lot of the starting steps happen in my head while I’m on the bus to/from my day job. I put in headphones, zone out for an hour and just ‘draw’ in my head and try to figure out how something might look. Then I’ll go sit on the sofa with my iPad and see if I can translate the idea in my head to paper.
I think an important lesson I’ve learned is that what works for one person might not work for you. Don’t be afraid to test different paints, inks, papers, processes until you find your favourites and what suits you. Every product might not be a glowing success (looking at you white & gold cards). It’s ok to abandon it in favour of a new idea or to go back to what worked. Every ‘failure’ is a valuable lesson, even if it might not feel that way at the time.
Don’t be afraid to create what you want to rather than just what you think people want to see. If I did that, this interview wouldn’t have happened because I’d be either in a full time office job or doing wedding calligraphy.
Are you available for commission work? What’s the best way for folks to get in touch with you if they’re interested in getting a custom piece made?
I am indeed. Best way is to email me on [email protected]
Shout out a fellow creator! Who in the TTRPG community inspires you? Why do you admire them/their work? Please provide a link to their website/social media.
At the moment, I’m loving the work of Fistful of Crits. Their work is well thought out and so pretty! I recently used their Fyre Fall supplement in my D&D game and had a blast! And I’m really looking forward to their upcoming game involving browsing charity shops. Steph, if you’re reading this – I NEEEEDDS IT! They’re also lovely humans, which helps. 😀
Are you playing in any TTRPG campaigns at the moment? Tell us about your favourite character!
Will be starting a campaign soon, where I’ll be playing a reborn for the first time and I’m very excited.
What’s your favourite book, TV show, or film?
Favourite film is Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s almost alarming how many times I’ve seen that film.
What is the strangest food combination you enjoy?
Might not be that strange, but – super noodles with gherkins, frankfurters and sour cream. Top tier lunch for me.
If time, money and skill were no object, what would your ultimate cosplay/Halloween costume be?
Either Kate Beckinsale’s character Anna from Van Helsing movie or Nadja from What We Do In The Shadows tv show, because she’s the best and I love her.
Where should folks go to find out more about you, and/or check out your crafts?
www.alderdoodle.co.uk is my little corner of the internets. There you can read more about me/Alderdoodle and shop the shiny goodies too.
Disclaimer: The information and answers contained in the interview posted above represents the views and opinions of the interviewee only and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of myself (gothHoblin). The appearance of an interview on this website does not constitute an endorsement of the interviewee or their statements.