the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

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Gwarh
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the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Gwarh » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:32 am

I've glanced through the Beta paying particular attention to the artwork (I'm assuming the layout isn't in its final form so haven't judged it yet, but that’s really important to me too me) and overall I like it. To me the #1 thing in any RPG book that inspires and captures the mood/tone the game is trying to set if the Artwork 1st, Layout 2nd and writing 3rd.

I lament the lack of good Black and White artwork in todays RPG’s. Colour art is fine and dandy but there is something to be said about a great piece of art in just 1 colour (well yes black isn’t technically a colour but whatever). Sometimes B&W pics are more powerfull visually than colour art. And I’m glad to see the DCC RPG full of it.

I won't name any artists but the pics that have a strong balance between solid blacks and whites are the best/boldest/breathtaking in my opinion.

B&W Art screams old school to me, and the pics that have as much negative space as well as imagery filled with Either Black or White line art are the most evocative of that old school look. No tones or shades of grey in the art. Everything should be a 100% Black or 100% white. Cross hatching and other techniques to create tone and variation of shade is welcome though.

There are a few pics that are very thin/fine line work, and are grayish in hue. These really fail to inspire and impress me. They frankly look weak and anemic next to the pics with Big brash patches of Black and White.

So so far I give the overall look of the art being used a 4 out of 5. The work that is good is great, and the work that isn't so good is really weak in my opinion. I hope you drop the thin line work art from the book and add in some of the best b&w art from the DCC module series to take it's place.

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P.S. I also really like the Solid Black Pages for each chapter header. Nice touch. I like a strong delineation indicator between changes in a book. Something many modern RPG books lack as well.
Last edited by Gwarh on Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Stainless » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:04 pm

I agree that for me B&W art is the way to go. I have commented elsewhere that I think there may be a bit too much art in the book. Also for me, I'd really like to see the attempt at humorous cartoons removed. It does nothing for me, other than to turn me off.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Ravenheart87 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:10 pm

I would keep the cartoons. I like them. One thing I would change about them, is that they're a bit small.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by mshensley » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:10 pm

Stainless wrote:I agree that for me B&W art is the way to go. I have commented elsewhere that I think there may be a bit too much art in the book. Also for me, I'd really like to see the attempt at humorous cartoons removed. It does nothing for me, other than to turn me off.
No way, those cartoons rock! They remind me of the ones in the AD&D phb.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Leopold » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:20 pm

I know this may seem heretical but there almost seems to be an abundance of too much art in this book. Some needs to go as it just gobbles the pages and will make printing this thing a nightmare.

Unless there is a PDF version with NO artwork, my printer will thank you. If I have to use this at the table there is no way under the sun I'll be able to print 1/4 this book before my printer's black toner runs dry.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Gwarh » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:20 pm

I'll have to 3rd a thumbs up for the cartoons. There fun and mostly harmless.

Maybe the Artist who does the Nodwick cartoons could be comissioned to do one.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by jmucchiello » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:03 pm

Gwarh wrote:I'll have to 3rd a thumbs up for the cartoons. There fun and mostly harmless.
+1d24 on the cartoons. And they are too small. Ditch Mullen. (Don't expect that to come about.)

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by blizack » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:00 pm

jmucchiello wrote:Ditch Mullen. (Don't expect that to come about.)
Mullen is probably my favorite illustrator in the book.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by jmucchiello » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:29 pm

blizack wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:Ditch Mullen. (Don't expect that to come about.)
Mullen is probably my favorite illustrator in the book.
Really? Why? The thin lines? The poor hashing? The lazy textures? The lack of other details? (I really don't like Mullen and took the time to figure out why.)

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Talath » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:36 pm

I was really struck by the similarities of some of the pieces fo existing old school art. But I have to agree, I love the cartoons, I love the black and white art, and I love most of the pieces in there. Everyone did an excellent job contributing to the art for this game.

I'm a huge fan of Jim Holloway, and to see his pieces in the game make me happy with glee. The one with the farmer using a pitch fork against a skeleton is priceless!

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Jeffrey » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:27 pm

There was a moment, a scant moment, when I first opened the PDF and saw the B&W art, that I felt like I was 16yr old DM again.

I second the Jim Holloway statement.

And, I've said this before, the art on the adventure covers rock! Maybe I like more color. :lol:

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by finarvyn » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:48 pm

I like the b&w art, and the cartoons are pretty cool as well.

I'm not sure if there is "too much" artwork in the book, I suppose it will all come down to total space. If there is a space crunch, I'd rather get rid of the black page chapter headings than cut out some of the art.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by jmucchiello » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:00 pm

finarvyn wrote:I'm not sure if there is "too much" artwork in the book, I suppose it will all come down to total space. If there is a space crunch, I'd rather get rid of the black page chapter headings than cut out some of the art.
My only complaint is some of the spot artwork that still leaves 20% of the page as whitespace. Page 106. There's a spot picture under the left 40% of the Chill Touch spell and then there's a bunch of whitespace spilling over onto page 107. The page would be better with no art. It doesn't help that the skeleton punching through the door has nothing to do with chill touch. That's not the only place where this weird unbalance exists.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Stainless » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:32 pm

Just goes to show, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

I also wonder if this is all the art that will be in the book. Remember, the text will be increasing somewhat (e.g., levels 6 - 10 info) as Joseph clearly states in the intro. That would help space out the art and not make it seem so crowded.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Gladiator27 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:58 am

jmucchiello wrote:
blizack wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:Ditch Mullen. (Don't expect that to come about.)
Mullen is probably my favorite illustrator in the book.
Really? Why? The thin lines? The poor hashing? The lazy textures? The lack of other details? (I really don't like Mullen and took the time to figure out why.)
While any art/artist is gonna have its fans and those that don't care for it aesthetically, just due to style preference, make no mistake....Peter Mullen is a master cross-hatcher and has excellent skills when it comes to tone and shading using said "thin lines." (He's also an excellent colorist, as well.) While his style is very cartoony (which I happen to like, yet can understand why it may not be for everyone) and the anatomy of his characters tends to be "wonky," I think this is what separates him from a lot of the other current retro-artists working in the field today. Simply said, his style is unique...which, good or bad, depending on whether you like that style or not, makes his art standout amongst the crowd.

All that being said, everyone is entitled to not like a particular style of art because like Stainless mentioned, "art is in the eye of the beholder." What I'm basically saying is that while Mullen's style may not be to your liking (which is certainly fine) it's certainly not due to the man's lack of artistic skills. He is quite the artist.

As far as the art as a whole in the Beta dowload, a great hodgepodge of TSR's classic artists (Roslof, Otus, Easley, Holloway, etc...) along with a mixture of today's more popular retro artists was a very nice suprise. I loved looking at the artwork while perusing the rules.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Rick » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:24 am

jmucchiello wrote:
blizack wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:Ditch Mullen. (Don't expect that to come about.)
Mullen is probably my favorite illustrator in the book.
Really? Why? The thin lines? The poor hashing? The lazy textures? The lack of other details? (I really don't like Mullen and took the time to figure out why.)
I really like his work, too. Try not to take that personally, okay? :wink:

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by jmucchiello » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:51 am

R I C K wrote:I really like his work, too. Try not to take that personally, okay? :wink:
I don't take it personally. I was just listing why I didn't like his stuff. If you like his crosshatching (as the guy above you pointed out) good for you. I find his hatching too uniform (the lazy textures above). I think my real problem is not just not liking it but having as the first page after the cover. What is that cockeyed helm on the big blocky character on the left of the taller blocky character on the and why does his left arm have no muscle tone?

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by stefan » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:39 am

As one of the artists who worked on the book, Mullen's work is probably my favorite (yeah, I like it more than my own but most artists have a hard time being objective about their own work). It has a unique look that combines his wonderful pen work and chiaroscuro lighting with really inventive characterizations and situations. There's always a lot of stuff going on in his drawings --- I want to just keep looking at them and figure out what is going on.

I'm delighted to see artists like Otus, Holloway, Easley, Roslof and Diesel taking part, too, but in some ways I already feel like I know their work from having seen so much of it over they years.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by jmucchiello » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:54 am

stefan wrote:As one of the artists who worked on the book, Mullen's work is probably my favorite (yeah, I like it more than my own but most artists have a hard time being objective about their own work). It has a unique look that combines his wonderful pen work and chiaroscuro lighting with really inventive characterizations and situations. There's always a lot of stuff going on in his drawings --- I want to just keep looking at them and figure out what is going on.
His anatomy is weak. Many times he draws stiff muscle-less arms.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Gladiator27 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:31 pm

jmucchiello wrote:
stefan wrote:As one of the artists who worked on the book, Mullen's work is probably my favorite (yeah, I like it more than my own but most artists have a hard time being objective about their own work). It has a unique look that combines his wonderful pen work and chiaroscuro lighting with really inventive characterizations and situations. There's always a lot of stuff going on in his drawings --- I want to just keep looking at them and figure out what is going on.
His anatomy is weak. Many times he draws stiff muscle-less arms.
His anatomy is a style choice, it's not meant to look realistic in the sense of, say, Larry Elmore's anatomy...it's a style that makes his characters his own. In other words, I dare say Peter couldn't draw correct musculature if he wanted to, but his style is a lot more cartoony than, say, Easley's or even Holloway's.

Artists can spend a whole lifetime searching for their own true style. Peter Mullen's is in a class all its own....very distinctual and recognizable upon one's first glance.

I'm not trying to come across as picking on you, jmucchiello, it's just that you keep suggesting that Mullen somehow lacks in skill when it comes to his illustrating when, in fact, he's a very skillful artist. I just think it comes down to a personal choice on your part that you just don't care for Peter's aesthetics, is all.

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by buzz » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:32 pm

I love the art I've seen so far in the Beta!

I could, however, do with fewer helpless maidens, gasping female sidekicks, and bondage-clad wizardesses, though.

You know, more badass, competent PCs like this:
Image
Image
Image

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by jmucchiello » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:31 pm

Gladiator27 wrote:I'm not trying to come across as picking on you, jmucchiello, it's just that you keep suggesting that Mullen somehow lacks in skill when it comes to his illustrating when, in fact, he's a very skillful artist. I just think it comes down to a personal choice on your part that you just don't care for Peter's aesthetics, is all.
And it's not like I would be rude to Mr Mullen if I met him. I've always preferred realism or cartoonism but not whatever Mullen is doing with his figures.

Who idea who drew pages 29 and 45?

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by reverenddak » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:36 pm

Mullen's art is the sh*t! He reminds me of Erol Otus. I f-ing love that stuff.
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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by stefan » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:07 pm

jmucchiello wrote:Who idea who drew pages 29 and 45?
I think those are by William McCausland... another Goodman Games regular:

http://www.mcauslandstudios.com/main.htm

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Re: the Artwork - keep it Black, White and BOLD!

Post by Ravenheart87 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:45 pm

reverenddak wrote:Mullen's art is the sh*t! He reminds me of Erol Otus. I f-ing love that stuff.
Yeah, Erol Otus comes to my mind when watching Mullen's bizarre and weird art. Although I must admit, his colour art is much better, than his black & white. Still, the weirdness is there, and I like it.
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