Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Of This Please

Dear game publishers:
Give us art that's good. I could give a fuck what's in it.














(yes, that's one of mine)
















47 comments:

  1. my opinions on the above pictures are (in order) yes, yes, never, yes, maybe, yes, yes, no, yes, probably not, NO WIMMENS WITH CAT EARS, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, maybe, probably not, not sure, yes, god no, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

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    1. I'm fairly certain those are bunny ears and that she's a Viera from the Final Fantasy RPGs.

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  2. How stereotypically OSR of you.

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    1. For clarification, I was being tongue in cheek about the cat (or rabbit) ears; I don't mind sexy rabbit people, I just don't like how it is drawn. For the Reynolds Character portrait, I just don't like the, "Well, hello, here I am" aspect of it... like she is standing there to have her picture taken.
      I don't want 'a consistent graphic look' in a book but accept that many people do. I look at some of the examples you posted that I don't like and can see that they are 'good' or 'competent' or 'worthwhile' (all three words sort of fail), I just don't respond to them --- but I accept that the people who made it probably didn't have me in mind.
      And I don't think I should HAVE to like every picture to enjoy a book.
      I have come to like the 1e monster manual cover after years of thinking it looked stupid, but the degree of competence with which the monsters and scene were rendered is not one of the reasons I like it --- it just makes me chuckle.
      However, if you search the internet you will discover that it is widely known that my judgement is for shit so take all pronouncements from me as worthless.

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  3. +1 (for post and Zakreply)

    How do you feel about the maintenance of a consistent artistic theme throughout a game-book-thing? A Good Thing, or would it be better to have a whole pile of different guys/ladies do the art for a very eclectic and wonderful look?

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  4. FUUUUUUCK

    AESTHETIC

    CONSISTENCY

    IT

    IS

    STUPID

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    1. Hahahaha...

      I feel like maybe I just stumbled across a topic that you're sick of talking about?

      For the record, I think I agree... It's just that you see it (consistency) so often that I had assumed there must be some virtues that I couldn't find and that maybe a more artistically experienced fellow as yourself could help to highlight them.

      Thanks! Fuck consistency then!

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  5. So, are all of these examples of good?

    I think aesthetic consistency is pretty lame in this sort of RPG (D&D) as well but if you are wondering why you don't get diversity it's probably because some people will view some of the images above as awesome, some of them as suck and no two people will have the same list of either.

    Ergo, publishers nowadays go with 'uniformly adequate'.

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  6. All of these are good.

    I am not wondering why I don't get diversity. I am just requesting it despite the many barriers.

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  7. And yes, i went to art school for a million years, i have heard about the variability of taste from person to person.

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  8. So I assumed. I am just leaving my view of it.

    I would love to see some of this art in a D&D product. Very likely there are several pieces I like here that most D&Ders won't like. I also see a few I don't like or don't feel fit in a D&D book (though all of them could, there are some that just ain't my thing).

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  9. Love these.

    One of the most nauseating things about the OSR is having to pretend that the cover to the AD&D Monster Manual is good. Or that 95% of the art used in the first five or so years of D&D publishing was anything more than bad drawings your friends did.

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  10. @zero

    I may be the OSR's drunk cousin but I've never heard anybody say the Monster Manual's original cover was good or heard any social pressure to say otherwise. That cover is widely acknowledged to suck.

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    1. I'd like to be a movement's drunk cousin. Please advise.

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    2. Sutherland's MM cover technically good? No. The drawings are amateur, the colors garish, and the layout two-dimensional. But, it deserves to be appreciated in the sense of naive art. It's like high-school art drawn on a pee-chee during chemistry class... everyone is like, that is wicked dude! The whole of the piece has a resonance that probably only pertains to folks who actually bought the thing as a kid and used it for years afterwards, but I will never trade mine in for an upgrade. (Besides the fact the binding is fucking solid!) So, yeah, it's good.

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    3. I was one of those people who owned the MM when I was a kid. I loved the book, still do. But I clearly remember thinking that if I turned in a piece of art of that caliber for my 8th grade art class that I would be lucky to get a C+.

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  11. I especially like the Beksinski. I had no idea who he was til you posted this. Always great to discover new things.

    Thanks.

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  12. Totalinspriationaloverkillonmondayisgreat!!!

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  13. I <3 all of this. I remember the oliphant pic was in an artbook I had borrowed from my ex, and sadly had to return after the breakup.

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  14. Always loved that Dragon cover as evocative for adventuring in snowy climes
    Wouldn't have picked that last as being from Hunting of the Snark, but its pretty cool

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  15. If they're trying to make the next edition 'one for everyone', I think they should lose the assumption that they need a unified look. Have a Bosch painting on one page, a Frank Frazetta barbarian on the next, and an Order of the Stick comic on the next.

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  16. That John Blanche running man picture is one of the most fucked up things I've ever seen, in the best possible way.

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  17. I was also quite unsure whether these were examples you thought were good or examples you thought were bad. The only one I'm sure is good is the Henrik Avercamp.

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  18. After the "Reefer Madness"-style Satanic Panic of the 80's, I fear that D&D's visual style will forever be homogenized and neutered. I would love to see Wizards adopt this kind of ballsy art design but they'd probably consider it to be PR suicide.

    P.S. A uniform visual style throughout an entire manual is completely boring to me.

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  19. Awesome art Zak! I love these. I agree. There are too many pictures in the various monster books that are so lackluster, boring, or plain suck that I wonder why they even put them in there.

    I slapped a post on Google+ looking for links for good artists that I'll slap up on my blog. So far I've gotten a few goods ones. Anyone knows anymore send em my way!

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  20. The only WotC D&D 4e book where the art was even close to interesting/visually appealing/diverse was the 4e Player's Strategy Guide, where they outsourced all the art out to a wide range of independent cartoonists.

    That and the bit they did with this http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4dnd/behold

    I really, really wish they would offer more diversity in their illustrations, rather than the uniform style they've adopted. I want my D&D art to be 80s style "Japanamation" on one page, then off of the cover of Heavy Metal on the next.

    Also, because of Hasbro's PG-13 content adherence with all of their products...no nudity, male or female. C'mon...why won't they think of the children?!

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  21. Needs moar Bernie Wrightson and maybe some of the Tony DiTerlizzi stuff from his early TSR days. Ah feck it all, throw us a Rackham bone while you're at it. Otherwise, yes pl0x, More is More. Which is something I done learned from my million years at Art school.

    Kudos though for finding some Wayne Reynolds pieces that don't go completely bonkers. Dude's got skills, but just not my cup o'tee. I dig it though when thrown in with such an excellent eclectic mix.

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  22. Thanks for the intro to Mahendra Singh.

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  23. Funny you posted to all-time favorites of mine:
    I really dig the manga-style gnomen druid and the F. Frazette jungle girl...

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  24. Any day I see Yoshitako Amano and John Blanche on the page is a good day.

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  25. John Blanche, Adrian Sherwood...the pinnacle of GW art from the good old days.

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  26. Your art selections are always phenomenal--naturally, I suppose. These sorts of posts are probably my favorite part of the blog. Which is saying something.

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  27. OK, as an original OSR guy, and since I love playing devil's advocate, I'm going to be THAT GUY and come to the defense of the crappy old art from the early D&Dverse. You young whippersnappers today don't know how good you've got it! -blah blah blah-

    Nobody ever claimed that the old D&D art was good, it was just ALL THAT WE HAD. Unless you wanted to look at the same 12 pictures from your Boris Vallejo calendar, or were lucky enough to have access to Heavy Metal, then if you were to see any fantasy art at all, it was going to be the junk published in Judges Guild and Dragon mag OR you were going to draw it on the inside cover of your Pee-Chee folder.

    I think it's great that fantasy art has come so far and that technique now counts for something - BUT - there are cases where I think the art for a particular release far outweighed the actual content/value of the published material itself. That's all.

    Oh and EROL FUCKING OTUS! ROCK!

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    1. zerohero was referring to D&D's first 5 years.

      There was, at that point, no Otus or Trampier to be found at that point.

      So you might be arguing with nobody.

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    2. I was not criticizing TSR for using bad art, but saying it was odd that many in the OSR suggest that it was good art.

      Things like some poorly drawn picture that was traced from a comic book being held in high regard. Or any compliments aimed at 'artists' like Sutherland.

      Yes, Erol Fucking Otus does 'ROCK!'

      But he came a bit later as Zak mentioned.

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    3. @zerohero

      Sutherand's cover is bad, but his White Dragon is wonderful.

      Anyway, I don't really understand why my page is a place to complain about some people who I don't even know who you're talking about. I can't really offer an intelligent response unless you name names.

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  28. This was my favorite Dragon Magazine cover for a long ass time...
    In fact, it was a great issue in general.

    Dragon Magazine #127
    http://dc172.4shared.com/doc/9Ho33M_R/preview001.png

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    1. that's a great one. holloway gets hated on a lot but when he's on his game he's awesome

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  29. Great selection Zak. But it might just be me or does all the feet Wayne Reynolds paints tend to look like hooves? Maybe it's just the perspective? Or I'm just strange. I'll go back to lurking now....

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  30. Thanks to Frazetta for showing the beauty of a nice thick beaver for all to enjoy! Amen Frank.

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  31. I based an NPC and an encounter and an optional hook on that Dragon cover, but ended up never using it.

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  32. Your asking for to much , when you know the powers that be will keep turning shit out like this:

    http://s1.hubimg.com/u/5478536_f520.jpg

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  33. My favorite D&D art was always the wonderfully weird work of Erol Otus. I had a chance meeting with Larry Elmore last year and he seemed to suggest Otus's art as something that TSR was trying to get away from in its later publications. That surprised me quite a bit, because I always thought that the weird, bulbous creatures surrounded by black ink were the perfect accompaniment to a deep dungeon full of nasty monsters.

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  34. The Trampier tonal piece with the magic mouth in the wall is one of my all time favorites from 1st edition. It's not only is visually brilliant, but also set a great tone for roleplay gaming in general. I love the Emirikol the Chaotic drawing as well.

    I also love the Fiend Folio pen and inks you posted -- there is a lot of fantastic work in that book.

    I have that Dragon magazine as well. One of the best covers that magazine ever had really.

    Today's RPG art is indicative of an over-saturated market of available artists that are mostly inclined to a digital medium (myself included). I'm not saying that contributes to poor art. Just reflecting on what Zak has posted here, you can wonder if there is a lack of traditional media RPG artists today. Of course there's still guys like Dan Dos Santos and Donato Giancola that are stern users of traditional media around.

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  35. I think I used to have the picture of the Oliphaunt/Mumakil in a Tolkien Bestiary that we had at home when I was a kid. That whole book was the shit and pretty much sparked my interest in this kind of art. I must see if my mother still has that book and steal it from her. Nice post!

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  36. "doom, death and black and white illustrations.." - Dyser

    And, yup, it is wonderful.

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  37. Fantastic selections. Have to mention Wayne Barlowe. Look at his version of hell:

    http://waynebarlowe.wordpress.com/artwork/hell/

    and his Alzabo from Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series:

    http://images.wikia.com/aliens/images/0/04/Alzabo.gif

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