Forty years of D&D artwork

It would be an incredible feat to include a list of artwork that has appeared in Dungeons & Dragons books over the last year and I just want to skim over the brief aspects and familiarise you and I with some works.

40 years old. Happy Birthday Dungeons & Dragons. The game that has stood central in its genre of table-top roleplaying games for that long. Sure we’ve had edition wars, but 4ed was a big brute, can the Next edition surpass the big feat of keeping the crown on D&D.

I wish to stray away, and focus on some artwork. As some of it has appeared in the Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle adventure. Although the artwork isn’t new, I am highly anticipating incredible works of art for the new books released the summer of 2014.

In Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle we can see some visual images that are black and white and in colour. A black and white image by Darlene Pekul is inspired by your German illustrators, and featured in Gary Gygax’s 1979 Dungeon Master Guide¹ while manga illustrations appear for quite possibly the first time (albeit the Japanese Hobby Japan versions on 4ed).

Darlene Pekul’s work included in ‘Dragonspear’ shows a lean towards including old and new depictions of what D&D can become if you set your mind to it. Giantsbridge’s blog entitled “An Open Letter to D&D Next’s Art Department” brings up the core issues of being politically correct, something that’s expected from any commercial entity. Yet something at least half, if not more, of the player’s I have played with lack. But it’s right, and the artwork of 2nd edition often depicted a pseudo-erotic version of fantasy roleplay. I’d think that this is something a different publisher could handle. Dungeons & Dragons should, and needs, to appeal to a wide audience of geeks and alternative open minded groups without causing offence. They’ll leave that to the players!

Inspired by an article “Essence” By Jon Schindehette (Dragon’s-Eye View D&D Column)

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Temple Garden

This Temple Garden card was a card released from the Return to Ravnica set in late 2012. The card compliments the Selesnya guild ( The card is #248) it was also released in Ravnica ( The card # is 284). Both cards are printed with the Selesnya watermark.

The card is Rare, and is known as a shockland, this term is derived, from the cards’ ability which allows a player to pay 2 life to have the land come into play untapped.(1)

Volkan Baga is the artist for the “Temple Garden” from the Return to Ravnica set. He is an award winning German artist. His website can be found by clicking here

"Temple Garden"

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Scatter Arc – Altered Art – Gatecrash

I have just arrived last week back to the UK from Japan. I was really interested to see the merchandise for popular games that they sell in cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. I guess I was suprised how easy it was to find card shops and how much they stocked. Plus, the huge amounts of Japanese TCG that are available. 

I travelled from city to city, and each city I visited I had a look for that ever amazing shop selling whatever cards, board, or roleplaying games I could see. I ended up throwing a few items in my luggage on the way back. Including a few magic the gathering cards. 

Here below, is a Japanese card that I pulled from a booster and worked on today. I have it on ebay for sale now. Obviously to fund my need to buy more boosters and singles and paint and alter other cards.

If you would like to ask question about Japan, or suggest a card for me to alter, then please do so.


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Altered Rules

Magic the Gathering: Often played with altered art work cards, they are legally allowed in Tournaments even Pro Tours, yet it is under the Head Judges adjudication. Officially you can view the wizards of the coast article on this subject, and it is a really good guide for working out what altered cards you can use before even asking a judge. It is noted in other blogs that you should bring regular copies of your altered cards just in case the Judge does not permit your cards to be used. Also, it is worth noting that these rules may not be an issue in regular FNM Standard Tournaments but for Pro Tour Qualifiers it is also recommend not to use Frameless cards, as judges prefer black borders on the cards.


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Art of Dark Conspiracy 2nd Edition

One of my favourite role playing game books is Dark Conspiracy. When I was younger, and part of a role play club on Saturdays, I used to visit Virgin Megastores with my friend Martin, and we used to look through their role playing section, making mental lists of what we wanted to buy and read. Todays digital culture handles role playing game books differently now. But those were golden memories for me, and by far one of my favourite games I purchased was Dark Conspiracy.

It grabbed my attention due to the front artwork, which I now know today, concretely I add, by Larry Elmore. Perhaps its because I was familiar with Larry’s work in Dungeons & Dragons, or because just simply he is a great fantasy role playing artist.

The original artwork in digital format can be viewed directly at Larry Elmore’s website today

After the front cover, there are many great colour interior artworks and black and white illustrations. Some of the artists are producing contemporary hit works, probably all are still passionate about their work from the day they started their careers in Art.

The interior artists listed in the CREDITS on page 2 of Dark Conspiracy core rulebook read as:

Janet Ausilio, Timothy Bradstreet, Steve Bryant, Paul Daly, Elizabeth T.Danforth, Amy Doubet, Larry Elmore, LaMont Fullerton, Earl Geier, Dell Harris, Rick Harris, April Lee, David Martin, Elisa Martin, Timothy Truman, and Kirk Wescom

Janet Ausilio,

has done cover art, magazine art, and interior art for several roleplaying books in the 90s. It is hard to recognise all the art in Dark Conspiracy as 50% of the artwork does not include an artists signature. A real shame.

Timothy Bradstreet,

Notably Timothy Bradsheet’s work in the book is signed clearly, as quite a cool signature too! He did collabrative art in the book with Timothy Truman. His artwork is recognisable, and he is still working at cons today.

Steve Bryant,

An illustrator living in Chicago, has done work with IDW, and nominated in awards and helped win awards for ‘Athena Voltaire’. He accepts commissions as low as $85.

Paul Daly,

Paul is going strong, with his talent in illustrations and his experience in print and promotions. He is ready for hire, and has previous commissions with DC and Image comics.

Elizabeth T.Danforth,

lets call her a librarian, and a fantastic artist ! She has a column and seems a pretty avid gamer! Her credentials include Wasteland and Dark Conspiracy to note She created the colour interior artwork (scary stuff) on page 177 (Beasties Chapter)

Amy Doubet,

Graphic Designer, was art director for GDWs other hit role play game, Twilight 2000, and worked as art director for other GDW supplements. Dark Conspiracy’s’ art was directed by Steve Bryant.

Larry Elmore,

Larry Elmore has produced interior colour artwork and the front for the Dark Conspiracy Core Rulebook. He is known worldwide for his work on Dungeons & Dragons Dragon Lance series.

LaMont Fullerton,

works on the Graphic Design with Amy Doubet in Dark Conspiracy Core Rules Book and supplements such as Ice Daemon. source:

Earl Geier,

he did a major load of inside illustrations and colour artwork for the Core Rule book, and can be identified with his signature. He is a horror and comic artist.

Dell Harris,

reachable on facebook, has completed numerous art work for fantasy games, and has signed his work in the interior art work he has created in the Dark Conspiracy books. He signs his work DH. Another example of his fully signed and dated work is on page 162 of the core rule book.

Rick Harris,

did most the black and white illustrations for the Task Resolution & Skills (page 54) chapter of the main rule book. He signs and dates his artwork.

April Lee,

signs her name APRIL in the Dark Conspiracy rule book, and noticeable created the NPC Motivation (page 167) black and white illustrations to accompany that text.  She also created the artwork for the Character Generation (page 12) chapter.

David Martin,

David Martin has produced interior illustrations for Dungeons & Dragons books since 1990, as well as cover art for Domains of Dread(1997). He has also produced artwork for other games including Earthdawn and Shadowrun (FASA).

He has also illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game.

Elisa Martin,

created black and white illustrations for the Beastie chapter of the core rule book. (page 185)

Timothy Truman,

has a large creditability of art, illustration in westerns, comics, rock and fantasy role playing game art. All his history and also commissions can be seen at his website.

and Kirk Wescom

who was an artist and art director for GDW.

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Mythical Creature Typography

I like to play with Typography with my Photoshop bundle, or, I can take two letters of an initial or even an acronym of a phrase and search the internet for various photographs that resemble various themes. Or search stockart for interesting shapes.

I bumped into this site today after google searching “Griffin mythical creature” as I am working on a Guild site for the top UK Alliance in Might and Magic Heroes Kingdoms.

I was looking for a simple image that would function as a bullet point or a main image center point and show a Griffin, I did learn from this site that Griffins are also referred to as Opinicus.

An Opinicus is a griffin-like creature of heraldry; sometimes it was depicted with ears and a lynx-like body and tail

The series of work drawn by Synnabar. The website is located here and will show you his collection of Typography and the work Sybbabar created in 1991. Its really beautiful, traditional stuff and may someday feature on the pages of a book you pick up.

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J’aime l’art de fantaisie

In two days will be Magic the Gathering Games Day. My Local area is Southampton in the UK, and upon entering the competition entrants can receive a limited artwork card.

Lilianas Specter above cards left Limited by Jaime Jones right Standard by Vance Kovacs

Jaime Jones’ work for the Lilianas’ Specter card has darkness surrounded by a dark violet hex 645775 storm clouds with a false hope of a silver lining. Chaos seems evidently around the corner of the dark riders viewpoint his dominating regal armour sitting astride a dark Dragon. His gaze is non evident through his shroud but suspicions of his where abouts only lead to a plan of defeating the enemy.

View the original Artwork, online,  straight from Jaime Jones’ Online New Section

Whether I make the journey to Southampton to play for a card is another Story…

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Mapping out

I am roleplaying a story online and the world we roleplay in is pretty vague. There are some nice descriptions but we were lacking a world map. So I scrolled the forums and found that some other roleplayers in the same world had created a map with all the cannon locations.

I know about some powerful software, Dundjinni and Campaign Cartographer that can create maps for fantasy worlds with pre-loaded art. I also found a useful site for inclinations towards using traditional Paint software. The site is called the Cartographers’ Guild so opting for the latter (due to price) I got to work.

It was a mix or trial and error with creating a replicant map showing an improvised geographical land rather than a purely geometric land. Although yes, I admit, both are hardly the things you wish to wow audiences with.

I used Paint.NET as it is simple, fast and is basically a PhotoShop with the ends cut off. But the techniques for layers, and applying digital effects are the same.

The map had a lot of layers, as I was creating from somebody elses project and wished to get some of the locations in the correct place.

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