D&D Art across the editions

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Dude, neat idea! I'm actually surprised, but it looks like the 5E book has the most full page art??
Every chapter and section includes a piece. So between the PHB and hte DMG there is a lot of it to use. What i never noticed was the unnamed iconics they use. Even between scenes at least one character from what looks like a party is shared in almost 90% of them.

The group examining what look like magic items is the same as the group fighting in the dungeon, and those same characters appear in other pieces individually or as pairs. For example the dwarf in the caravan piece is the same as the one looking at magic items and fighting beasties.
 

dave2008

Legend
2e Monster Manual full spread art:
MM_2e_1.JPG
2e Monster Manual Monster art
(Beholder, Carrion Crawler, Demon-Balor, Devil-Pit Fiend, Dragon-Red, Giant-Storm, Lich, Medusa, & Minotaur):
MM_2e_Beholder.JPG

MM_2e_CarrionCrawler.JPG

MM_2e_Demon_Balor.JPG

MM_2e_Devil_PitFiend.JPG

MM_2e_Dragon_Red.JPG

MM_2e_Giant_Storm.JPG

MM_2e_Lich.JPG

MM_2e_Medusa.JPG

MM_2e_Minotaur.JPG
 
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dave2008

Legend
1e Monster Manual full spread art:
MM_1e_1.JPG

MM_1e_2.JPG

MM_1e_3.JPG

MM_1e_4.JPG

MM_1e_5.JPG
1e Monster Manual Monster art
(Beholder, Carrion Crawler, Demon-Balor, Devil-Pit Fiend, Dragon-Red, Giant-Storm, Lich, Medusa, & Minotaur):
MM_1e_Beholder.JPG

MM_1e_CarrionCrawler.JPG

MM_1e_Demon_Balor.JPG

MM_1e_Devil_PitFiend.JPG

MM_1e_Dragon_Red.JPG

MM_1e_Giant_Storm.JPG

MM_1e_Lich.JPG

MM_1e_Medusa.JPG

MM_1e_Minotaur.JPG
 
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Parmandur

Legend
I think I finally got the difference with 4e and 5e art from earlier stuff.

The later stuff is illustrating things you can actually be and do in the game. They are fighting a black dragon. Those are recognizable dnd monsters.

In the 2e art, while its fantasy, it’s not actually related to the game. The fat wizard with the tiny woman with a tail? What is that? The wizard polymorphing a unicorn? Into what? Some sort of lizard?

Later art seems to be actual illustrations rather than just sort of random pictures.
That's because the artists in more recent times have played D&D.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Funny enough, it’s not Elmore, but Caldwell who did my favorite dragon lance art (DL1)

Also, the interior spreads of the MM 1e are some of my favorite, from any book, from any edition. Why? Not just nostalgia because it caused my imagination to run, but because what it was. And that was what happens in game. Ambushed by kolbolds? Walking into a spiders den? Awestruck when you finally get the treasure? That was D&D to me. And still is
 

dave2008

Legend
I have added the Monster Manual Art, which currently is mostly covers, with links to the individual posts in the OP. On the suggestion of a poster (sorry I don't remember who) I am going to post images of various monsters iconic monsters that appear in each monster manual. Any suggestions? I am currently thinking:
Red Dragon
Balor
Pit Fiend
Beholder

What else?
 

dave2008

Legend
Funny enough, it’s not Elmore, but Caldwell who did my favorite dragon lance art (DL1)

Also, the interior spreads of the MM 1e are some of my favorite, from any book, from any edition. Why? Not just nostalgia because it caused my imagination to run, but because what it was. And that was what happens in game. Ambushed by kolbolds? Walking into a spiders den? Awestruck when you finally get the treasure? That was D&D to me. And still is
Those have been posted now!
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I have added the Monster Manual Art, which currently is mostly covers, with links to the individual posts in the OP. On the suggestion of a poster (sorry I don't remember who) I am going to post images of various monsters iconic monsters that appear in each monster manual. Any suggestions? I am currently thinking:
Red Dragon
Balor
Pit Fiend
Beholder

What else?
Owlbear
Lich
Medusa
Minotaur
Carrion crawler
Giant
(Assuming you’ll skip the common humanoids)
 

dave2008

Legend
Funny enough, it’s not Elmore, but Caldwell who did my favorite dragon lance art (DL1)

Also, the interior spreads of the MM 1e are some of my favorite, from any book, from any edition. Why? Not just nostalgia because it caused my imagination to run, but because what it was. And that was what happens in game. Ambushed by kolbolds? Walking into a spiders den? Awestruck when you finally get the treasure? That was D&D to me. And still is
That is a good one, but my favorite DL work is probably this Easley piece:
DL_1.jpeg
 

Parmandur

Legend
I'd actually kind of forgotten how pretty the 5e DMG is. And, honestly, the 4e one. Although, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the 4e style. There's just something ... off about it. Not sure what.
The big coffee table book Art & Arcana did a pretty interesting analysis of the overall art direction if 4E, and makes the case that during 4E WotC made the concious decision to follow the prevailing trends in fantasy art in the mid-Aughts rather than set the trend. And the visual trendsetter at the time was World of Warcraft.
 

Enrico Poli1

Explorer
I did not recognize the one with the man and woman almost coming to blows. Her chin looks weird though.

As for Elmore, don't forget the wonderful image where Laurana protects Sturms body against Kitiana.
They're young Tanis and Kitiara from a flashback. And, they're not coming to blows...
 

happyhermit

Explorer
Thanks for this thread, I bought Art and Arcana which does some of these comparisons but this has shown me a few things by laying them out by edition rather than side-by-side comparisons.

For instance, one of my biggest issues with 4e art is that; 90% of it was "One or two characters, holding weapons and posing aggressively for the camera", then maybe a quarter was "fighting monsters" and 10% was characters doing anything else (and even that was probably only "exciting things" like dealing with a trap). Math:p. Now I see that it isn't quite so pronounced in the Big pieces, and the DMG even less so.

Still not a fan of the style generally (reminds me of pathfinder and WAR which typically doesn't really do it for me), but there are a few pieces there I like, and one or two that could be in 5e without noticing. And I do get that the 4e PHB art made sense given their overarching focus and initial strategy with the edition "Skip to the "good stuff"" and intentional focus on combat, it just isn't inspiring for me or indicative of what people I play with want out of D&D (and I still listen to a podcast where people play 4e and it isn't indicative of that either).

I find a lot of the pictures people criticize for being "boring" or "lacking action" are some of my favorites, but more that anything I like the variety and I think 5e has struck a really good balance overall. It shows all levels of action from real to epic, large groups to solo, and it shows a good chunk of non-combat stuff that I really enjoy. From an (even more) subjective point of view I appreciate the relative lack of "posing for the camera" and more naturalistic images.
 
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Demetrios1453

Adventurer
Man the 5e PHB is under appreciated.

The guy fighting atop a rock formation is one of my favorite dnd images. The final couple I never even saw before (I never read rpg books cover to cover), but I love the rainbow of lights (color spray?) and the webbed bruiser (ogre, maybe?)!
Prismatic Spray. All the art in the Spells section are close to the spells depicted, other than Magic Missile as the opening art for the chapter.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I do like a lot of the 5e art but I've always thought that the elf ranger with the hawk (or is it an owl) looks like an elf with down syndrome.
 

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