D&D Art across the editions

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's certainly indicative of the somewhat surrealist character design, which can go odd.
Maybe. I think it doesn’t look surreal at all, so my conclusion is that the artist just flubbed the anatomy a bit. Not the end of the world, but some further training in hairlines and tracing the skull before drawing the hair might be in order, there.
That first picture isn't a gnome, it's a halfling. At least, that's what it says when I mouse over the image. Or, did I miss a point ... errr...
One of the few good 5e halflings before the last couple books lol
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Maybe not the warlock one, but the half orc for sure I find awful, like the halfling. ive probably hired dozens of freelancers for hundreds of pieces of art over the years, and if that was submitted to me, I’d assume it wasn’t finished and was just a rough draft. Look at the bard, for comparison shown upthread. So much cleaner and complete.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Maybe. I think it doesn’t look surreal at all, so my conclusion is that the artist just flubbed the anatomy a bit. Not the end of the world, but some further training in hairlines and tracing the skull before drawing the hair might be in order, there.

One of the few good 5e halflings before the last couple books lol
I found this bit from the original artist including some concept art: the head shape was a concious decision, though certainly in terms of final effect YMMV:

5e89224aa81e4a6b967d775dba574f18.jpg
 

Parmandur

Legend
Maybe not the warlock one, but the half orc for sure I find awful, like the halfling. ive probably hired dozens of freelancers for hundreds of pieces of art over the years, and if that was submitted to me, I’d assume it wasn’t finished and was just a rough draft. Look at the bard, for comparison shown upthread. So much cleaner and complete.
Or the Paladin piece:

636272701937419552.png
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Maybe not the warlock one, but the half orc for sure I find awful, like the halfling. ive probably hired dozens of freelancers for hundreds of pieces of art over the years, and if that was submitted to me, I’d assume it wasn’t finished and was just a rough draft. Look at the bard, for comparison shown upthread. So much cleaner and complete.
I disagree that it looks unfinished. Definitely a different style from most of the PHB, though.
I found this bit from the original artist including some concept art: the head shape was a concious decision, though certainly in terms of final effect YMMV:

View attachment 116487
Welp. That is...a hell of a decision.
 

oreofox

Explorer
What do you think of the images posted in this thread? Of all the editions I think 5e as the best art represented in the full page spreads. Also, i think the red dragon image is the best and the storm giant is on par with 1e IMO (as the 2 best). I also really like the carrion crawler and the pit fiend is acceptable. I prefer the 3e minotaur the best and probably the 1e or 3e pit fiend (really don't like the painterly style of the 5e one). I also think the 5e medusa is the best though the 1e image reminds me a Clash of the Titans.

I guess I can understand not liking certain pieces and that turning me off to an "edition" of art, but this projects has pretty much convinced me that 5e has the best art of any edition. I mean it is right here in this post PHB, DMG, & MM. I didn't know what the result would be when I started this and I was honestly surprised how much better, IMO, the 5e art was than the previous editions.

However, what is has also made me realize is that some of the best art of previous editions was not in the core books.
I do like the red dragon for 5e, and of the giants, the one you chose looks good. Compare it to the other giants, and the others look terrible. They kinda look washed out. As for the full page spreads? None in the 5e appealed to me, though the prismatic spray against all the chuul I did like. The rest looked too "artsy" like something a snooty art school teacher would approve of. My tastes are different. I don't like the oil painting style 5e seems to have, which is funny as I am rather certain most are digitally painted, while the ones made before digital painting (2e and 1e) have a more clean and clearer look, and don't look like actual paint.

As for Pathfinder, the majority of that art is closer to the art I enjoy. I prefer the more illustration, comic book, animation style of visuals, which is the opposite of a lot of 5e art. Steve Prescott was one of my favorite artists WotC used in 3e, while Jarvis was one of the ones I didn't care for. https://img.fireden.net/tg/image/1459/45/1459457472253.jpg is an example of his art. Not my cup of tea. And to me, a lot of 5e art resembles that. My sister LOVES DiTerlizzi and the stuff he did for Planescape. I personally hate his art and was one reason I steered clear of Planescape until the end of 3e's lifespan.
 

Aebir-Toril

std::cout << "Hi" << '\n';
I do like the red dragon for 5e, and of the giants, the one you chose looks good. Compare it to the other giants, and the others look terrible. They kinda look washed out. As for the full page spreads? None in the 5e appealed to me, though the prismatic spray against all the chuul I did like. The rest looked too "artsy" like something a snooty art school teacher would approve of. My tastes are different. I don't like the oil painting style 5e seems to have, which is funny as I am rather certain most are digitally painted, while the ones made before digital painting (2e and 1e) have a more clean and clearer look, and don't look like actual paint.

As for Pathfinder, the majority of that art is closer to the art I enjoy. I prefer the more illustration, comic book, animation style of visuals, which is the opposite of a lot of 5e art. Steve Prescott was one of my favorite artists WotC used in 3e, while Jarvis was one of the ones I didn't care for. https://img.fireden.net/tg/image/1459/45/1459457472253.jpg is an example of his art. Not my cup of tea. And to me, a lot of 5e art resembles that. My sister LOVES DiTerlizzi and the stuff he did for Planescape. I personally hate his art and was one reason I steered clear of Planescape until the end of 3e's lifespan.
Oh, I love DiTerlizzi's style, but I understand that his gothic style can be somewhat unnerving, perfect for a horror game!
 

Parmandur

Legend
I disagree that it looks unfinished. Definitely a different style from most of the PHB, though.

Welp. That is...a hell of a decision.
It certainly works better in other cases, such as the Gnome pickpocket, but it is the result of the design Bible on an anatomically alien race being applied unevenly, I think.
 

dave2008

Legend
I do like the red dragon for 5e, and of the giants, the one you chose looks good. Compare it to the other giants, and the others look terrible. They kinda look washed out. As for the full page spreads? None in the 5e appealed to me, though the prismatic spray against all the chuul I did like. The rest looked too "artsy" like something a snooty art school teacher would approve of. My tastes are different. I don't like the oil painting style 5e seems to have, which is funny as I am rather certain most are digitally painted, while the ones made before digital painting (2e and 1e) have a more clean and clearer look, and don't look like actual paint.
I can understanding have a stylistic preference (I also do not prefer the painterly style of a lot of 5e art, but nor do I like anime style of WAR and some other PF artists); however, I can't understand the desire to disparage another as "hot garbage" or "...like something a snooty art school teacher..." I just don't see how that is constructive.

Also, have taken art classes in college and at an art school I can attest that in my experience a good art teacher lets you foster your own style and doesn't have "snooty" preconceived notions about artistic expression. Of course I am sure there a bad teachers in all fields.
 

dave2008

Legend
Maybe not the warlock one, but the half orc for sure I find awful, like the halfling. ive probably hired dozens of freelancers for hundreds of pieces of art over the years, and if that was submitted to me, I’d assume it wasn’t finished and was just a rough draft. Look at the bard, for comparison shown upthread. So much cleaner and complete.
They just seem like different styles to me, but not unfinished. However, I it is not stylistic preference either.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Oh, I love DiTerlizzi's style, but I understand that his gothic style can be somewhat unnerving, perfect for a horror game!
His style isn't gothic. It's children's whimsy. Which makes perfect sense, since before doing the TSR job, he wrote and illustrated children's books. Kinda the opposite of horror books lol.
 

oreofox

Explorer
I can understanding have a stylistic preference (I also do not prefer the painterly style of a lot of 5e art, but nor do I like anime style of WAR and some other PF artists); however, I can't understand the desire to disparage another as "hot garbage" or "...like something a snooty art school teacher..." I just don't see how that is constructive.

Also, have taken art classes in college and at an art school I can attest that in my experience a good art teacher lets you foster your own style and doesn't have "snooty" preconceived notions about artistic expression. Of course I am sure there a bad teachers in all fields.
That's just how it is to my eyes. I hate looking at it, and don't find it visually pleasing. It's the same for a lot of "classical art" you learn about in art history. Not saying they are terrible, as they are really well done and they have more skill than I do when it comes to art. But I hate how it looks.

I agree that a good art teacher lets you foster your own style. There's also those with the snooty attitude that if you don't have still life paintings and nude model life drawings that are hyper realistic filling your portfolio, then you are a terrible person for wasting their precious time. Have any character art in there? Automatic disqualification. That's happened to a number of people I have known.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I agree that a good art teacher lets you foster your own style. There's also those with the snooty attitude that if you don't have still life paintings and nude model life drawings that are hyper realistic filling your portfolio, then you are a terrible person for wasting their precious time. Have any character art in there? Automatic disqualification. That's happened to a number of people I have known.
Dude, if they are demanding still lifes and nudes as the majority of your portfolio, then they clearly not snooty enough.



Speaking of snooty, I was just thinking that the reason I might not fully appreciate 5e art is that some of it wouldn't look out of place in a Thomas Kinkade painting. Look! A cottage! Look! Bad and diffuse lighting! Look! A curiously deformed halfling!
 

dave2008

Legend
That's just how it is to my eyes. I hate looking at it, and don't find it visually pleasing. It's the same for a lot of "classical art" you learn about in art history. Not saying they are terrible, as they are really well done and they have more skill than I do when it comes to art. But I hate how it looks.
Again I can understanding not liking it, but I can't understand the hate for RPG artwork that would drive you to call someone's perfectly good work "hot garbage." I don't understand your inability to separate your opinion and tastes and recognition of objectively skilled work. Once again I will note I don't like the style, but I can also recognize that is my preference and it is indeed good work.

Sorry to keep harping on this, feel free to have the last word, I don't wish to waste any more time on it.
 
Again I can understanding not liking it, but I can't understand the hate for RPG artwork that would drive you to call someone's perfectly good work "hot garbage." I don't understand your inability to separate your opinion and tastes and recognition of objectively skilled work. Once again I will note I don't like the style, but I can also recognize that is my preference and it is indeed good work.

Sorry to keep harping on this, feel free to have the last word, I don't wish to waste any more time on it.
But if they dislike it, doesn't that mean it's objectively bad?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Again I can understanding not liking it, but I can't understand the hate for RPG artwork that would drive you to call someone's perfectly good work "hot garbage." I don't understand your inability to separate your opinion and tastes and recognition of objectively skilled work. Once again I will note I don't like the style, but I can also recognize that is my preference and it is indeed good work.
More and more, I find that many people go overboard in the defense of what they like, and in attacking those things that they don't appreciate (but feel have some "expert merit").

For lack of a better term, call it the Superhero Movie Syndrome, although it exists in all forms of art. "What do you mean, you would prefer to go to some stupid boring arthouse movie? Don't you know that Superhero movies are awesome? I mean, Winter Soldier is an homage to 70s political thrillers???!!??!!!"

You often see signifiers such as "elitist" or "snooty" when these arguments are being made, or terms like, "It's just trash." Whether it's modern art, or a painterly style, the similarity of the argument is telling.

I think it comes from two separate things- the first is the idea of an acquired taste - which is easy to understand when it comes to food. Anyone can enjoy sugar water (soda); but it takes time to appreciate, say, a scotch or the bitterness of Campari. Similar to this is art that requires some degree of engagement or understanding about the process; it is easy to appreciate art that you can immediately understand and is within your wheelhouse; it is much harder to appreciate art that requires some degree of understanding of the artform itself.

Contrast that with the related idea that cultural gatekeepers unfairly marginalized good work; for example, Hitchcock and other genre directors were not considered "real artists" until, arguably, Cahiers du Cinema and a re-evaluation of their work. What is, and is not, good art is maddeningly subject to factors that often seem ineffable to experts, let alone a layperson.

TLDR; it's hard to evaluate style that you don't subjectively like; and increasingly, people conflate their subjective appreciation of something with an objective quality.
 
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