Table Top RPG Creators Corner — Dice Crafter Tess Of ‘Dreamy Dice’

by Anton Kromoff

Welcome to the table. 

Welcome to another installment of Comicon’s Creators Corner. Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with the ultra-talented Tess of Dreamy Dice. Tess handcrafts some of the most brilliantly diverse and stunning dice in the game.  

Anton Kromoff: Hello Tess, and thank you so much for taking some time to talk to me about your craft. Your website Dreamy Dice showcases some really fun and colorful dice and your Instagram feed is overflowing with dice that can be considered pure art pieces. Tell us a little bit about the creator behind the product.  

Tess: Hello! Thank you for inviting me to chat about dice. My name is Tess, I am a handmade dice maker based in southern California. I started making dice around the end of May 2020 and haven’t looked back since. I am also an avid TTRPG player, am raising two dogs, and recently started trying to learn how to use a bo staff in what little spare time I have.

Anton: Is dice craft your full-time profession? 

Tess: It is now, yes! I decided to go full-time with dice-making at the start of 2022. Prior, I was making dice while going through my graduate program, which was moved online due to the pandemic. After graduating I placed a teaching job at my alma mater community college and taught for the fall semester while continuing to make dice as a side job. However, due to an array of personal, financial, and other factors I made the decision to try a few years completely dedicated to dice making. Six months later and here we are!

Anton: “A bunch of Bunnies Hijacks a Space Ship and Nyoom Around at Light Speed” is easily one of the longest names for dice I have seen come across my desk, the design on these is also really spectacular. What inspired these dice?

Tess: This was a completely random and self-indulgent set. When I was making the “blanks” for the set (the smaller, dice-shaped cores without numbers that form the base of the design) I wanted to do a plain black set. But, upon looking at my casting table I couldn’t resist throwing some holographic glitter and flakes in as well, which then changed my trajectory for decorating the set. I’d had a sheet of the bunny decals used in this set for a few months and recently finished watching Dimension20’s A Starstruck Odessey. Suddenly I had a very funny picture in my mind of a bunch of bunnies taking over a spaceship and just joyriding around, so I decided to go for it! Honestly, I was surprised and delighted by how well received the design was considering it was very spur of the moment. 

Anton: The brushwork on the “Oops All Bees” dice is very precise and you can see that level of detail repeating across the body of your work with “Arizona!” and my personal favorite “The Hawaiian T-Shirt” being noticeable examples, what kind of brushes do you enjoy using? 

Tess: I am so glad you asked about this. These designs are actually not hand-painted! Hand painting on dice is incredibly challenging and time-consuming, especially for folks like me with few traditional art skills. What most makers, myself included, tend to use instead are decals. Some folks print their own from their Cricut, and many of us use nail stickers, which are pretty perfectly sized for dice use! This way the design elements are consistent, clear, legible, and can be highly detailed for a fraction of the price a hand-painted set would be.

I do hand paint some of my sets though. Namely, I paint all of the frames on my terrarium-style dice, but rather than a brush I’ve found toothpicks are my best friend for that task. I also paint some of the inclusions I use, such as the human skulls in my “Death’s Garden” set and the raven skulls in my “Miss Macabre” set. For those elements, I use Princeton detail brushes that serve me well.

Anton: From idea to completion how long does a set of dice typically take you to make? 

Tess: This definitely varies by design. For my processes, considering the time I spend actively working on the dice, preparation and casting a simple set takes between one to two hours. My sanding and polishing process takes around two hours per set. Inking the numbers is about another hour, and clean-up takes maybe thirty minutes or so.

I would estimate at a minimum it takes me around four hours to make a set. For more complicated designs that require additional preparation (such as making resin succulents for a terrarium set, painting inclusions, framing, or decorating blanks) the process is usually around six to eight hours of work.   

Anton: What inspires you to create? 

Tess: I take a lot of my inspiration from nature and the world around me. I have spent many days simply scrolling through different pictures of the sky and thinking about if and how I can try to capture it in dice. Further, I tend to take an approach of making things that I personally enjoy which certainly helps with staying inspired.

Mythology and cosmology are also big sources of inspiration for me. And, of course, I am deeply inspired by what I see other dice makers in the community creating and innovating.  

Anton: How long have you been active in the Table Top Community? 

Tess: I only really became active in the community when I started making dice. I was a viewer prior, I’d watched Critical Role, some Dimension20 shows, some of High Rollers, etc, but I never really engaged with the community. Moving into dice-making spaces, which then expanded me into other broader TTRPG spaces has been a new experience for me. I’m hoping to continue to be more active with the community at large as I’ve grown pretty fond of the segments I’ve been exposed to.

Anton: Are you currently involved in any regular Table Top gaming? 

Tess: Absolutely! I love TTRPGs and am always itching to play more. My main DnD group is just three of us (two players, one DM) and we’ve been happily playing together for three years now. Recently we’ve started to alternate weeks playing DnD and playing Blades in the Dark. I also recently joined a new, larger group and campaign that I’ve been enjoying tremendously.

Last year when I had more time on my hands, I was able to play a number of other systems (a sci-fi system, a system based on the show Supernatural, a superhero system, etc…) and I hope to continue exploring more!

Anton: I really appreciate you taking the time to sit and speak with me. Please our audiences where they can keep up with you and follow your work and your creative journey.  

Tess: Of course. I appreciate you entertaining my rambles about dice! Folks can find all of my social links on my linktree. I am most active on Instagram, followed by Twitter. For video content, I post short-form content on TikTok and longer-form tutorials on YouTube. For financial support, exclusive sales, and some behind-the-scenes content I have a Patreon. Essentially, you can find me almost anywhere as @dreamy_dice 🙂

Until next time, may your dice always roll.

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