D&D 5E A noteworty gripe for 5e

So the rules are good, the play is smooth(ish) and everything is right withe the world...

Except the artwork. Not that the artwork is bad, quite the contrary, some of it stellar, the problem, who the hell did what? With the exception of the cover art which is tagged in the credits, there is really no way to tell unless you contact the artists themselves, and most of them aren't talking (NDA evidentally). For some reason WotC has removed all the artists tags from the art, which in editions of old was one of the best ways to find out who did that awesome monster, scene, item pic you were drooling over.

Thoughts, comments, explanations. Please enlighten us.
 

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MoutonRustique

Explorer
I was extremely insulted by the lack of direct credit - while I don't particularly like most of the art, I won't deny its obvious quality. Not having the names is quite frustrating.

I'm not sure where the idea came from as WotC usually has a great relationship with its artists (such as the credits on the MtG cards, and etc.) However, I'm pretty sure this falls in the category of things for which companies can never give the truthful answer (lawsuit, fan backlash, rapid -and rabid- infernal otters, etc, etc) so I'm pretty sure we'll never get to know the real reason... which is sad.

On a side note : anyone know the artist for the cockatrice?
 

AmerginLiath

Adventurer
Once again, I can only speak from the experience of a very different publishing field – math and science textbooks, rather than gaming products – but I've personally never encountered interiors credits on non-photo art, having now worked close to eleven years as an illustrator and editor). I imagine that part of the issue under modern laws would be ownership claims if the (some of) published art had integrated signatures while others didn't (the interior photo credits one sees in books is specifically in regards to other-owned art used under license), while extra names in the gutter would be confusing on the page, since a book like a D&D manual had such a non-standard layout. I'd recommend, if anything, an art credit's listing (referencing by page number) at the back along with the index, but WotC isn't known great backmatter in their books; I'd be afraid to see what their backmatter files look like in layout...

So, I agree that the issue is a valid one, but it's a complex one too. I understand personally as a low-end technical illustrator that no one's in fervent demand of the trains leaving Chicago & Denver simultaneously, but having documented credit of this work is important, even IF it's in a work-for-hire project like D&D. Unless I start hearing about the problem from the artists, I'll assume that WotC has done what they can to support those working on their projects (both materially and in terms of professional credit).

Edited to add: BTW, in reference to the signed art in TSR books such the old Trampier pieces in 1st edition: remember that TSR was effectively Gygax's small press shop at the time of 1st edition's release (before AD&D became huge), and part of the artists' payment WAS in ownership of their actual pieces, as far as I've seen discussed in a few places. That policy changed over time as the company came into other hands, such that the only signed art would be those, such as covers and major pieces in the magazines, which could have facing credits. Dealing with interior art of book owned by a HASBRO subsidiary in 2014 is a very different process than that of a small-press operation like early TSR still was in the late 1970s (and like much of the small press and OSR roleplaying publishing industry remains today).
 
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aramis erak

Legend
It's worth noting that AD&D's peculiarities in how it allowed signed art pieces fundamentally changed the gaming industry to be one of the most artist friendly fields in publishing.

I'll note that many textbooks I've worked with do include artist credits... but not in the form of signed art; a block of fine text in the chapter end notes or (for smaller texts) on the credits page, as page number references. A few games have done likewise, and this is really the best compromise, IMO.
 

Gargoyle

Adventurer
Now that you point this out, it annoys me too. I do love how they handled the art for the licensed adventures, you can buy the art directly from the artist. Wouldn't that have been nice for the core books?
 



Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Now that you point this out, it annoys me too. I do love how they handled the art for the licensed adventures, you can buy the art directly from the artist. Wouldn't that have been nice for the core books?

You can buy Mike Schley's DMG art.
 


MoutonRustique

Explorer
Are you one of the uncredited artists?
In absolutely no way, shape or form. I can only attest to my reaction - and it was one of feeling insulted. Perhaps it was in regards to the artists, might be... I'm not sure. I just recognized the feeling as what it was.

Intellectually, I am angered that major contributors to the oeuvre of the books (at least in great part in the case of the Monster Manual) are not given what I feel to be proper reward/acknowledgement for their contributions. Take out the art and the cool typesetting and funky page effects and I'd be ready to wager a very great deal that the reception would not have been as it was. The art (in the broad sense : not just the monster depictions) is an integral part of the books; I feel its creators should have been granted more of a thank you.

You will have gathered that this is a very emotional response. I do not expect others to share it, nor do I consider those who do not to be "lacking" something. In this instance, it is very much a case of : it is what it is.

But it did (and still does) bother me.

...

A lot.
 

chibi graz'zt

First Post
So the rules are good, the play is smooth(ish) and everything is right withe the world...

Except the artwork. Not that the artwork is bad, quite the contrary, some of it stellar, the problem, who the hell did what? With the exception of the cover art which is tagged in the credits, there is really no way to tell unless you contact the artists themselves, and most of them aren't talking (NDA evidentally). For some reason WotC has removed all the artists tags from the art, which in editions of old was one of the best ways to find out who did that awesome monster, scene, item pic you were drooling over.

Thoughts, comments, explanations. Please enlighten us.

It would be cool to know who did what. Overall I think the artwork in 5e, and in particular the MM (which is all that matters to me because I like to 'show n' tell' with it) is award winning. My least favorites are the halfling splat in the PHB and the art by that same artist (whoever she/he is).
 

Part of it for me is that I know a couple of the artists, and I can sort of, kind of, maybe, guess which pieces are theirs, but it would be rather embarrassing to say, "Hey, artist A, loved your pic on pg 211 of the PHB", only to hear, "Uh, that wasn't mine."

And Trampier, Baxa, Dee, Easley, et al were all known to me simply because I could put name to art, otherwise, the artists would be an afterthought. And even Todd Lockwood got his tag in 3.0 and 3.5 (and not just on the covers), so WotC/Hasbro has done it too.
 



lutecius

Explorer
Yeah, I had the same issue.

The 4e books generally had the artist's name on the inner margin of the page.
So did the 3.5 books. Not sure about the 3.0 books but there were also complete (low resolution) galleries with full credits for each 3.x book on the wotc website.
Then the 4e galleries were put behind the subscription paywall but you could still find most pictures on each artist's website.
Maybe that's a behavior WotC wants to discourage with 5e... Fewer people will copy and share hi-res copyrighted art if they don't immediately know where to look.

Not that the artwork is bad, quite the contrary, some of it stellar, the problem, who the hell did what?
My least favorites are the halfling splat in the PHB and the art by that same artist (whoever she/he is).
its obvious that they summoned the art in a dark ritual. what other explanation is there for the halfings?
Or maybe that's the issue. Definitely not all the artwork is "stellar".
As with all editions for me it's really hit or miss (with some critical misses in the PHB race and class sections, which is a shame because these are the pages new players will look at the most. Every single piece should be exceptional). Maybe the art director didn't want an artist to be singled out. I think the one who produced the halfling in question had already received pretty negative comments after some early concepts were shown in an article.
 
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