D&D 5E Good art and Really bad art in the 5e PHB


I'm a fan of the fact that a major RPG company has deliberately created inclusive art

It's good to see WotC joining the ranks of Paizo, Posthuman, and others in the industry trying to present a more inclusive game via the artwork and more.

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Anyone else think the female warrior on the page across from the weapons table looks like Shae from Game of Thrones?

Regardless, she has a real Arabian Nights look. I'm also glad to see a more diverse array of humans in the artwork.

Sailor Moon

Why all the hate for the 5e halflings? I personally like the way the halflings are done in 5e. Disproportionate? Of course! But, that's what makes them look distinct. I hated what 3e and 4e did with halflings. I could never tell if a 3.5/4e halfling was a halfling or a human unless there was another character in the picture for size reference. Even to this day, I still envision Lidda, the iconic halfling rogue, as a full sized human every time I flip through the 3.5 PHB.

What you don't like about it is actually the way they are supposed to be. They are supposed to look like miniature thin built human. They aren't supposed to be plump with big feet and massive heads.


Dunno what's up with the midget ninja/samurai on page 110. Dunno if that's supposed to be an Asain dwarf, gnome or just some really badly proportioned human.

I really like the item art. It all looks very believable. I like the gnome teaching the volmunetric spells on 201, that's adorable.

Are there two different versions of the PHB? There is no art on page 110, but there is art on 105, 112, 116 and 120. Also, the gnome teaching is on page 204 in my book.

Sailor Moon

When I imagine halflings, this is what I see.



I generally like the art. 3E tried to be edgy and gave us the "bucket of belts" sorceror and porcupine fighters. I prefer my fantasy characters to dress more like real people.

The art for character classes is really well done for the most part. One of my favorite pieces is the dredlock-bearded wizard.

The halflings were designed to be anatomically distinct from humans, and while their feet are indeed tiny I tihnk I can get used to seeing them depicted that way.


The Halfling art is definitely a let down for me. The Halfling Bard on page 26 of the PHB looks like he decreases in scale as you go down his body. The size of his head compared to his hands and then his feet is just silly. I'm definitely no artist, but it just doesn't look anatomically correct.
I look at that piece and I clearly see the artist going for a sort of photographic exaggeration of the halfling's proportions, as if he (she? can't remember without my book) is being snapped with a fish-eye lens.


I generally LOVE the art in the PHB. It's...warm, I guess is the closest word I can conjure. You turn the page, your eye slides over another beautiful piece, and from there into the text. It's just the way it should be.

I'm still reading through the book, but I looked at all the art first. I must say I'm disappointed overall. The halfling and gnome art is horrible, and a lot of the rest of it is just muddy looking. I just can't get over the halfling art, though - it's absolutely hideous. I can't imagine what they were thinking.



Are there two different versions of the PHB? There is no art on page 110, but there is art on 105, 112, 116 and 120. Also, the gnome teaching is on page 204 in my book.

Oh I surfed though it and tried to memorize the pages, I might be off.


Steeliest of the dragons
Anyone want to throw out any theories as to the design thinking that if you're not a Drow, you seem be suffering from hypothermia?

WTF WotC art department?! Not only do you use a DROW as the "iconic elf" character...but then when you DO give us what I can only suppose are supposed to be the "normal" ACTUAL PC RACE of elves that it makes sense for people to use, they're all blue or lavendar!? Yeah, I got the whole reference to the FR "Moon elves" and that some of them have blue-tinged skin...or blue HAIR?! I think there are 2 depictions of a non-blue-skinned elf. One that's that horrifying female elf magic-user (with the long scroll) in the yellow (a FR "sun elf" I guess? But I guess I should just be happy she actually has blond hair) and the other is that horrifying female elf magic-user (with the owl) with BLOO BLUE hair.

WTF?! High elves? Wood elves? I don't see either. I see the book saying, "You can be a drow (which we highly recommend cuz we just HAD to use one as the racial icon)" or "You can be blue! OO or purple! Isn't it just soooo weird n' fantastical n' diff'rent...ya know, cuz they're, like, elves. That's soooo kewwwwlzzzz!"

Next to the halfllings...which there is simply no defense for, in any way. They are an atrocity against the very idea of D&D halflings and a (thankfully sparcely used) stain across the generally well illustrated manual. I didn't think I could hate halflings more than the square-eared flat headed corn-rowed "wandering river people". But KUDOS to you, WotC! You managed it without breaking a sweat. Just horrible...but NEXT TO THEM, the elf artwork is my biggest disappointment.

Also, why all the humans look doughy and frumpy...I do not know. It hardly inspires one to become a human PC. But that is negligible compared to two of the canon four races being horrible. 2 of 4. That's 50% people. That's a big fat "F" for, quite a literal, "FAIL!"

Ya botched the halflings and the elves. How do you...Who...How can you botch the halflings and the elves in D&D?! Big disappointed thumbs down.


First Post
The Halfling perspective

I have a theory about the Halflings, not that I agree with why, but here goes. I wonder if the artists were told that when drawing the Halflings to look at them from a Human perspective, as in looking down at them. The heads are going to appear larger since they are closer to the artist, and the feet will seem tiny as they recede into the distance.

Well it's the only thing that makes sense to me so, eh. It's only a theory.


As always, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Other than the halfling art, I think they did a wonderful job with the artwork overall.

I loved a lot of 4e, but the PHB design was horrible to me. So sterile and clinical, it felt like a reference manual instead of the tome I was used to seeing. The 5e book just feels so much better!

Sailor Moon

The problem with this is, if you didn't have the boar in the picture, how would you tell those from humans, or maybe half elves, since the pointy ears? They're so close to being human, particularly the character on the right, that they lose distinctness.

That is how they've been depicted, as small humans.


i would totally re-buy the phb at full price if they replaced the halflings. it's silly, but they strike a cord with me.

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