Guest Spotlight

Tyler Jacobson

We have the coolest guests! An adventure isn’t just about the itinerary–it’s also about who you share it with. We want to turn the spotlight on some of our guests and what projects they’re working on.

This winter we had the pleasure of exploring the Galapagos with Tyler Jacobson and his ultra-cool wife Kate Welch (you can see lots of photos from the trip here). One of our (many) favorite aspects of leading tours is meeting guests with such a wide variety of interests, passions, and talents. We have to admit, we’d never met anyone in Tyler’s line of work before–nor someone as incredibly humble! Luckily, Kate is his biggest cheerleader and I invited her to write his intro:

“Tyler Jacobson is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been featured in magazines, games, and books. Perhaps most recognizably, he illustrates the covers of many of the Dungeons & Dragons 5e books, including the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide. His work was recently displayed in the Norman Rockwell Museum alongside other legends in fantasy illustration. He gets very bashful when anyone brings any of this up.”

So, now that we’ve thoroughly embarrassed Tyler, let’s get to know him better! 

Hand pouring Shrine candles

Tyler and Kate, hands full of birthday cake on Isabela Island in December 2021. 

Shrine's Mushroom Arch packaging

From Hipsters of the Coast: On Sunday May 23, 2021, the original painting for Drizzt Do’Urden by Tyler Jacobson—from Magic: the Gathering’s upcoming Dungeons & Dragons crossover set, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms—sold for a record-breaking $155,000 via auction on the MTG Art Market.

Tell us a bit about the projects you’ve been working on.

The majority of the work I do is painting illustrations for fantasy tabletop games and video games.  I’ve been working as a freelance artist in this industry for about 12 years now and it’s been a real blast.  Of course, all jobs have their ups and downs, but this work gives me a lot of freedom to travel and work on the road. 

However, I also have home studio that I try to keep nice and cozy, if not too tidy.  One big project I do have coming up is an art book I have been putting together with Flesk Publications.  It is a career retrospective and covers a large portion of my body of work starting from when I was a kid in school, up through my art school years, and most of my professional career.  The book is being printed now and should be ready to ship out to folks soon.  It has been a long time coming and I am really excited it has finally become real.  

How does travel inspire you?  

Honestly, I feel like at this point I live to travel.  I used to go to a lot of conventions all over the world that were directly related to my work.  They were almost entirely work trips, even though I always tried to pin on a few days after the event to do some site seeing.  Those little bits of time allowed me to really take in the art, cuisine, and culture of various places. 

The way architecture and craftsmanship varies from place to place has always been a huge inspiration for my art career.  I always love to take tons of pictures wherever I go so that I can maintain a robust collection of references to work from for my paintings. 

After many trips primarily related to work, my wife and I started just taking trips for us as a way of clearing our heads and relaxing, along with enjoying somewhere we had never been before.  Travel now serves the role of allowing us to enjoy the incredible planet we live on and all its wonders. 

Tyler and one of his many sea lion buddies in the Galapagos. 

Do you have a favorite memory to share from your travels with us?

Every moment of our trip to the Galapagos with Lauren and BJ was incredible but there were certainly a few standouts. One of my favorite days was when we took an excursion to Española Island.  That alone was fantastic but the trip back really was the cherry on top. 

During the boat ride back, out in the open ocean between the islands a massive pod of dolphins began swimming with the boat.  There must have been a least 100 of them and many were jumping out of the water and swimming alongside the boat at incredible speeds.  I climbed up to the front of the boat along with Lauren and some other folks from our trip and we got a view of a handful of dolphins swimming just below us, right off the bow.  

Another great memory was watching baby sea lions return to their families at night on the beaches in San Cristobal. They would call out to their mothers and their mothers would return the call so that they could find each other. We witnessed many of these reunions after having spent the day snorkeling with dozens of baby sea lions, which in and of itself was pure magic.

On top of that, the beaches, streets and docks of San Cristobal’s main dock are simply teaming with sea lions. You have to step over them because they aren’t interested in moving.  But they will give you a fun chase from time to time.  I will certainly never forget watching one lone young sea lion chasing my wife and Lauren down the dock as they screamed with laughter.

Do you have any favorite ‘travel gear’?

One thing that I would totally recommend is a pair of water socks or scuba socks for snorkeling. They really helped keep the fins nice a snug on your feet and made it easier to walk in the more rocky areas, when needed. Also, if you tend to get cold in the water, they keep your feet nice and warm. 

Kate & Tyler dressed to the nines before snorkeling at Kicker Rock. 

Where to learn more about Tyler Jacobson

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