Club Gnome

Your clubhouse for gnome-related stories, puzzles, pictures, free games, and all manner of wee delights! Sign up for the monthly newsletter for more free games and fun — including content not included on this page…

Christmas gnomes

When creating Tomten, I retouched and otherwise adapted public domain illustrations by Jenny Nyström, like those below. For example, many images were low-resolution, so I had to overpaint and fill in colors. In addition, most had been scanned from post-cards, which had damage that I needed to repair. And because the images link to the gameplay mechanics, I needed to edit the content of some images for reasons related to mechanical balance.

Free Gnome Puzzle

I made a 10-minute puzzle for you. The finished puzzle will look like the Gnomadic Gardeners box illustration (below).

Categories of Weefolk

They’re not all gnomes, you know! Here’s a quick rundown of some types of Weefolk known to folklore:

  • Gnomes – what I consider to be “baseline” Weefolk. Some subtypes…
  • Dwarfs – less free-spirited than gnomes, and more focused on creating magic things and structures
  • Goblins – greedier and nastier than gnomes. Some subtypes…
  • Pixies – diminutive visitors from a fairy plane who are more elegant and ephemeral than gnomes
  • Elves – inhabitants of our plane who may have the elegance of Pixies and some of the frolic of gnomes
  • Imps – what you get if you cross a pixie with a goblin (demonic and not entirely of this plane)
    • Abbey Lubber – an imp who lives in a monastery (trickster and tempter)
  • Leprechaun – what you get if you cross a pixie with a gnome (highly individualistic, loves gold)
    • Clurichaun – a leprechaun who lives in a brewery/winery/pub (highly individualistic, loves alcohol)

Nasty Weefolk

Modern culture has largely sanitized the image of Weefolk. As highlighted in the taxonomy above, those cute little gnomes that you see in your local store are just the surface of a very deep and somewhat troubled vein of folklore.

Here are some images of not so nice Weefolk from history…

Here’s my own latest attempt at drawing a goblin. I’ll need a bunch of these kind of guys when I get around to publishing Emblem. This one took a few hours to do, mostly because I couldn’t decide how gaunt and scarred I wanted to make his flesh. In the end, I decided to make him off-putting but not hideous because the goblin civilization in Emblem is still a civilization. I wanted something more humanoid than in the classic portrayal of Goblin Market (below, right), which almost represents them as animals–cunning, but not a People in the same sense as the elves, gnomes, and other Peoples of Emblem.

Games with unfriendly gnomes

Speaking of nasty Weefolk, not even gnomes are always genial or frolicsome, nor are they uniformly portrayed as such in tabletop games. In a review of a dozen gnome games, I ran across examples such as these:

And elves, on the other hand…

At the other extreme, we have the otherworldly elven peoples. It didn’t seem so nice just to make a sketch of a nasty little goblin, so I had to do a quick elf, too…

My little sketch of an elf for Emblem
GPL-licensed illustration of an elf markswoman from the Wesnoth fantasy setting, created by Kathrin “Kitty” Polikeit

Homes for gnomes (and other folk)

I’m starting the design of a game called Hut Trader, in which you’ll buy and sell real estate for weefolk, bigfolk, and everyone in between. The first print-and-play prototype will have black-and-white line art. Interested in playtesting? Email me (ferventworkshop at gmail)!

Gnomes in the News

Somebody in Britain is making surprise deliveries of gnomes. I promise it isn’t me!

A resident of Bushkill Township in Pennsylvania has created a Gnomedom of “approximately two dozen gnomes, miniature houses, animals and accessories” that you can see by driving past his home on Creamery Road. Read more

It’s a shame, but there are some who think garden gnomes demonstrate aesthetic “bad taste,” according to a new article — which also provides a fun and interesting review of gnomes’ history as decorative pieces. Read more

Some clever wag planted a pair of gnomes at the bottom of a Swiss Lake, which startled the diver who found them. Newsweek also mentions another set of gnomes that had previously existed in a UK lake. Read more

Free games: Find the Gnome

Power Sheds, in Finland, posted this brain teaser in 2021. Can you spot the gnome in less than 56 seconds? (Visit NY Post for the answer.)

free games: find the gnome

Likewise, you can also go on a gnome hunt inside the Stranger Things series of game apps. I haven’t tried those games, though.

Gnome Animations

An AI generated these animations from illustrations of the Gnomadic Gardeners card game — taking gnome creepiness a couple levels higher!

AI-generated Art

Based on past examples of art and associated words, Midjourney accepts a textual description including, optionally, the name of an artist or artistic style. It then will try to draw that scene. I can imagine using this tool someday for conceptualizing compositions. Here are a few samples of art that it has generated for me.

Ralph McQuarrie art of Valkyrie enchantress

Phalanx of gnomes hiding under trees

Louison France sovereign oak (upscaled)

Meanwhile, NightCafe does notably better with landscape art than with individual characters.

Gnome house in the woods

Gnome on a toilet

Potatoes held by fairy 

Magic Log cabin floating in a glowing juniper forest

Pumpkin hut atop staircase on mountain with a tree

Stream beside horse & goats, with a fairy flying overhead

Rare Gnomes

Enjoy this collection of gnome pictures gleaned from the corners of the web…

Handmade Gnomes

I’d like to post a collection of handmade gnomes here. If you’d like yours included, please email me.

My friend Erin made these gnomes with a friend of hers. They remind me of gonks.
Tim Pardoe, at Carvers Cabin, says Yedon Lastbrand is a dairy herder and village elder, accompanied by Cheery (who has a hickory face with sapele horns and leather ears).
My mom gave this gnome pillow to me for Christmas.

Enchanted animals

What would the gnomes be without their enchanted animal friends? Sad. They would be sad. And a little lonely.

Here are a few of the illustrations that I created for Gnomadic Gardeners, as we hit the corresponding stretch goal. Cards with these illustrations will replace the tracker mat that had appeared in the base (non-stretch) version.

  • Meticulous Mouse: Ace

June 21 was Gnome Day

Celebrate Gnome Day in your own way! It’s never too early to start planning for 2023…

  • See if your local community garden, like South Coast Botanic Garden, might host a gnome-scavenger hunt.
  • Run your own scavenger hunt by hiding gnome tokens in a public park for other people to find, as one artistic mom has done.
  • Perhaps give some recognition to those gnomes in your life, who do chores that nobody else wants, as Wikipedia has done.
  • Moreover, you can sponsor a gnome-related event at your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Finally, you can always shop for some gnome paraphernalia, if you don’t have enough (can you ever have enough?)

In 2017, little gnome Seneca appeared in this delightful video…