• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is LIVE! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E Monster Art Preview! Also, how important is art to you?

How much does the artwork impact your impression of a game?

  • The #1 impact to me

    Votes: 3 7.0%
  • very important

    Votes: 24 55.8%
  • important, but not a deal breaker

    Votes: 10 23.3%
  • somewhat important. I can ignore it easily

    Votes: 4 9.3%
  • Not important at all. Draw with a crayon if you want; won't bother me

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • other

    Votes: 2 4.7%


As more art is coming in, I wanted to share. Here are just some of the 200 monsters appearing in Twilight Fables, roughly to scale (5e Supplement focusing on darker historical lore rather than modern interpretations of mythology and folklore--Grimm vs Disney). When you pick up a book, how much does the art and/or professional look of the art sway your opinion?

I really wanted to spend the time and money for this project to make it as professional looking as possible (along with editors, etc). I've hired many great artists for this project, including but not limited to:

Eric Lofgren
Ivan Dominguez
Christina Schneider
Simon Zhong
Black Moon Studio
Robert Ardy
Claudio Pozas
Francisco Javier Ruiz Nunez
Jenna Drummond
Ognjen Sporin

I like to think the art these folks have done is outstanding, but I'm biased ;) So I'm putting it to the public. How do you feel about the art (don't hold back) and how important is the art and presentation when impacting how you feel about the product?

monster lineup 1.jpg

log in or register to remove this ad


I didn't want to say it's number 1, but it's 1b. ;)

If I were to publish my own stuff, I would spare no expense on the art.
Oh believe me, it's quite the expense ;) I am super blessed I have a good day job that allows me to do this. 10 years ago, no way I could do something like this. It was a rare treat to get a dedicated commission; most was stock art. Now that's flipped, and the majority of the art is direct commissioned. I am fully aware of my good fortune, and know from experience that there are some well-written products out there where the creator just doesn't have tens of thousands to drop on art.

The good news is that the stock art resources out there are way better than they were 10 years ago, and some of it is outstanding, like Dean Spencer, Forrest Immel, Bryan Syme, and Eric Lofgren.


CR 1/8
"Important, not a deal breaker"

For me, the art is most helpful for really new material for which I don't already have a good reference in my head. So I'm most likely to absorb it for things like brand new monsters (or really fresh takes on old monsters); and unusual or atypical cultural elements in settings (eg, clothing, architecture, striking landscapes, etc).

As for filler art in a rule book, I can take it or leave it. I don't really register stuff like "generic paladin fighting generic dragon" taking up a quarter page of the Equipment: Armor page or whatever. I don't mind such illustration, but straight rules context is typically not where I notice art.

As for the technical quality of the art, I try to be open-minded and keep budgetary constraints of small publishers in mind. Fact is, pretty much any illustration is vastly better than what I could do myself, so I genuinely appreciate artists-- new and established-- willing to put their work out there, and the publishers willing to give those artists a shot.

Thunder Brother

God Learner
While it may sound shallow, high quality art is really important to me when buying a book. Great and evocative art (and art design) can really help sell a game or setting while bad or simply questionable art can be a real turn off.

I may be raked over the coals for saying this, but the art quality of Level Up is one of the reasons why I'm kind of ambivalent about having purchased it. The mechanical stuff is interesting, but the art is, and I apologize to the artists who worked on it, not that great

I know good art takes a lot of time and is a very expensive part of the process, but I think it's worth the investment. Take the somewhat recent Creatures book, the mechanical content is fine, mostly reprints of Basic Rules monsters with some good ideas thrown in, but the art really elevates it into something special.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
To me art is the main selling point. If the art is of low quality or changes to much in terms of style and general presentation, I wont be buying that book. White backgrounds with a floating character in it or character designed with a bad 3D rendering app are a deal breaker.

I dont know why I'm so demanding about this kinda thing....

OTOH, at least, art is generally what pushes me to buy a book, frex: the art on Jon Hodgson is what sold me on Beyond the Wall and AiME (and most of Cubicle 7 and Handiwork porfolio)


For me, its about the extremes.

Most of the time, art is a secondary concern for me, I would much rather have a quality book where the art is just so so.

However, if the art quality is really bad, its very noticable, and does diminish the product. Conversely if the art is AMAZING, it can sell the book on its own, but that is a rare thing for me. Example: Nixlord's MMIII I bought mechanics unseen just because of the art, probably the best selection of monster art in one book I've ever seen.

In terms of the preview you have shown us, I would put it decidedly in the "normal" category for me. The artwork is perfectly fine, it does not blow me away, and it doesn't detract. Aka your art would have no impact on my decision making for that product, I would only focus on the mechanics.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads