Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Demon lord art by WAR

Although I certainly don't feel entitled to it exactly, I miss the days from just a couple of years ago when fairly large, decently hi-res artwork used to be readily available at places like Paizo and Wizards of the Coast. Now, you have to be a paying subscriber at Wizards of the Coast to get most of their art (and you still don't get the Wayne Reynolds covers) and Paizo's really downshifted the rate at which they post their art too. I've got quite a collection of art from those days, and although my acquisition rate has slowed, as new artwork of the kind I like is not quite as readily available as it used to be, I'm still excited to get a nice new piece and add it to my collection, and when I'm running games I like to print off nice color versions of the art and attach it to my GM screen to show the players a glimpse of what they might be seeing.

I've got enough Wayne Reynods (WAR) art that he's got an entire subfolder, and it's nearly as large as the main folder. In many ways, he's become the face of D&D, his covers gracing tons of D&D works over the last decade or so, as well as a lot of interior art. He did all the Paizo adventure path covers for the first two post Dungeon adventure paths, and he still does most of their really major showcase pieces. He's designed and illustrated all of their iconic characters. He did the covers for the new PHB, MM and DMG for 4e. He did covers for most of Green Ronin's Freeport line. And he still does quite a bit of work for card games (for Wizards of the Coast, Sabertooth, and Blizzard, for instance) and more. He's a busy guy. And I like his style. Used to be picking up WAR art was as easy to going to either the WotC site, the Paizo site, or his own site. Now, WotC doesn't have most of it, Paizo only puts up some of it, and his own site is woefully out of date, impoverished compared to the selection he could be showing, and he's downgraded all his gallery images to small, lo-res images where it's often quite difficult to make out the details at all.

In addition to collecting WAR art, I also collect demon-lord art, particularly of Demogorgon and Orcus, my two favorites. I'm not quite sure when or why I started that hobby, but to me, the demons and the demon lords in particular are much more iconic as villains in Dungeons & Dragons even than dragons, despite the title of the game. So, everytime I see a half-way decent version of one of the two of them, I grab it up lickity-split. I've got probably about two dozen versions of each that were good enough for me to keep, and I hope to still stumble across many more.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when two of the better pieces of art, one each of Orcus and Demogorgon, were done by WAR and are not available except in small format, obscured by titles and labels. It's a real tragedy that we can't appreciate these two images as they were meant to be appreciated, in hi-res, big, colorful glory. If I had a copy of either of them (but preferably both), the first thing I'd do is print them out on nice paper, as big as reasonably possible (11" x 17" being a minimum), get them framed and stick them on the wall of the room I play D&D in.


Joshua said...

As an aside, I've managed to extract a lot of WAR's Paizo work directly out of the PDFs, where they are decently hi-res, biggish images. Sure, it means that I have to buy the pdfs, but heck; I've done quite a bit of that anyway. For that matter, with the cost of the "core" rulebook pdfs at only $10, they're worth it for the art alone.

Anonymous said...

There's got to be a way to get this artwork in poster form, or 'collected works' books. I'd think a popular artist like WAR would have those on the market.

Joshua said...

You'd think. I'm not aware of any, though. I do have some of his art in the Paizo book The Art of Dragon Magazine as well as, naturally, having a lot of the pieces where his work originally debuted. But I'm not aware of any art book specifically devoted to his work.

Maybe I'll ask him about it and see if he thinks he'll ever put something like that out. He is, after all, a pretty nice guy in my experience, and will probably at least talk to me about it.