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70s and 80s fantasy illustration - even 90s - was so much better than today's. Discuss.
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It seemed to hinge between a heavy metal look and a hippie-prog look. All of which was a lot more compatible with fantasy aesthetics than today's Corel Painter Deviantart videogame weeb styles.
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>>4004454
>>4004457
>>4004461
stop making pointless hate threads.
Go and draw or something, just go away!
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Plus D&D had a kind of dark reputation back then, so it had a mysterious, forboding aura around it, a lot like heavy metal bands or psychedelic drugs.
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>>4004463
Calm down there, Nancy, is it that time of the month again?
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>>4004463
I'm more positively praising this stuff. There are a lot of newer styles out there I like, but fantasy-wise I really appreciate the 80s era. I'm wondering if anyone here agrees and can offer better currents in fantasy illustration right now.
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>>4004463
I'm curious what other threads you think are mine?
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Kinda want to just share some of this stuff and maybe attempt to figure out what makes it work.
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Even the more crudely drawn stuff, in the early manuals and campaigns, and in Dragon Magazine, looked really cool. I think one thing is this stuff had a sense of style. Maybe that's more what I lean towards. To me style is even more important than technique. Epic displays of technique with a corny style are worse than sick, cool looking aesthetics even if rendered crudely or sketchily.
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>>4004454
A lot of modern "professional" (as in done by companies or for companies) art is done incredibly fucking fast.
The idea being that you're not selling a skilled piece of work, you're selling a piece of time.
People tend to just reuse stuff over and over because digital has made it far easier to just fuck around when you make a mistake and go back a few steps.

Actual good artists exist but stay away from the mainstream stuff like comics or anime since it's just repeated trash from other artists in the "company style".
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>>4004478
Yeah, definitely. I am trying not to be mean, because I know how personal peoples' tastes are for them, and how insulting it is to be hard on someone's work, but I do think there are a lot of fucking hacks out there in illustration and design right now, partly because companies hire people who didn't get much training beyond copying of Deviantart stuff and How-To books. But also even the cruder drawings in this older stuff showed some discernment somehow. I think a key thing many illustrators in geek genres / media lack right now is style and taste.

Like this older stuff looks like it was made by countercultural types, there's still a bit of hippie influence in there, and a kind of dark underground look. Plus a visionary ambition and weirdness. Newer stuff doesn't try to look 'cool' or interesting.

I believe in trying to be a kind person, but I do think people working in any aesthetic medium should be kind of a snobby hipster about their taste and ideas. Not snobby to people, but with themselves, holding themselves to a higher standard, trying to be next-level and interesting and make kick-ass stuff. I don't feel like many fantasy artists lately think at all about style and aesthetics, and I think that's maybe one of the most important things. Without it, what even is there? Oooh, it was done technically well? So what, it looks dull and corny.
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>>4004505
Another example is old video covers and movie posters vs newer dvd covers. There was so much imagination and mystique in older designs. With the new stuff it's just have some intern with bad Photoshop skills plaster the celeb's face front and center of the cover, for free.

Anyways, I'm being a dick, not intentionally, but there's so much crap out there.
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>>4004454
I think the appeal of older art was that it was less engineered. The artists were not that good or knowledgeable. These illustrations remade by modern artists would look exactly like the same fantasy illustration framed in that specific way with that specific lighting because that's what works best.
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To the anon earlier in the thread, sorry for insulting you inadvertantly if I did. I actually am working on art right now, and studying some of the formal elements in this D&D stuff, so I figured I'd just throw some up here to take a look at it.

But I really don't belong on this board. This is literally only my second post here ever. Will be my last.
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>>4004508
Yeah. There were some fantasy artists like Frazetta, or some of the D&D guys onboard the mid 80s like Larry Elmore who had more proper training, but there is a rougher and more experimental quality to this stuff. But if anything the cruder stuff looks even cooler. Like mysterious scrawls made to guide you half-blindly into some strange realm.
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>>4004507
>>4004505
I'd describe it another way.
The difference between a skilled tradesman and someone who's learning but they don't feel the need to keep learning so they're stuck and not improving but because nobody complains (much) about their work, they feel they did a good job.

Imagine you want a new table. Person A goes to the local DIY store and just gets standard cuts of wood and puts it together. Nice table. New table. But it's all standard, copied from work done before. Sure, you can say make it three inches longer or add in another leg for support in one area but ultimately it's just made with materials that are already picked out.

Person B goes to your house, takes in measurements, looks around at the other things in the room to get an idea of design and how the new table would look, they go to a lumber mill, ask for specific cuts, sizes, types, etc. Sands it down, has particular tools to make it unique for your home.

Person A is done in a day and charges you $100+cost of materials at say $50
Person B is done in 2 days and charges you $600 + materials cost of $200

Just go with person A: it's faster, cheaper and it looks "okay" to a professional but to your friends and family who see it? They just hear "custom made by a professional" and think it looks amazing.
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>>4004513
onboard *by the mid 80s

Like pic related.
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>>4004514
That's a damn shame too because obviously companies in the past were trying to make a profit too, but still hired more inspired and interesting artists, or people who they had to pay a little more, or pay at all. I guess they just started figuring out how they could cut corners on that over time.

The kind of democratication of illustration and design with a lot of software and online tutorials and people working on Photoshop for free... I mean there's a good side to it... a lot of talented people getting a chance to learn and have access to the tools, but it also opened the floodgates for a lot of hacks and there's a lot less discernment and quality control.

I think there's an opposite mechanism on the internet though of a kind of hipsterization of taste at the same time, of people who prioritized cool styles or cultural knowledge, and that filters into some design and productions (like shows or movies with better creative direction, or hipper design firms), but there's also a lot of companies and projects that will just hire whoever, just to throw an image or clip up, fuck how good it is.
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>>4004519
It's gotten to the point where competition is unhealthy but artists tend to want to be in the biggest company possible. It's not actually about money or even fame, it's more of a "just because they're the best".

Wrestling has it too - fake as it is, most wrestlers want to go to WWE which has an insanely fucked up schedule and has very little rights for their workers compared to other companies. But WWE is the "biggest" and "best" so why not wrestle 6 nights a week then drive for 8 hours to the next state to catch a flight? Because it's "worth it".

Companies like DC/Marvel/etc are just happy to use and abuse most artists in the name of "we're better". It's not profit, it's just "we're better than the competition".

Japan has a worse situation with the fact their work culture is notoriously grindy for artists.

People are just deluded enough to believe that things are better because they "made it". Making it isn't working at a company that expects 8 hours of drawing a day. Making it is when you're happy with your work. People tend to forget that about artists do it for the art and are happy. The ones that go for the biggest company just are never happy.

another thing to add is that up until the 90s, being a freelancer was more common. Smaller companies started cropping up combining these freelancers into permanent positions which means that ultimately, individual artists have it much harder to pick and choose, hence instead of getting to be free in their creativity (to an extent, of course, client's wishes come first), they're pigeon-holed into specific styles or work and they just stagnate.
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>>4004532
Yeah, I hear you. I care more about the quality of what I'd make. Definitely want to make a living but I couldn't care less about some hackish 'big time' company that puts out formulaic, cynical schlock.
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Lol, I have often felt that a lot of the women in 80s fantasy art, the more magical or elfy ones, are based on New Age aesthetics and specifically Stevie Nicks' look, and looking closer at this image, it was clearly directly modeled off Stevie Nicks.
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>>4004454
What do you have in mind when you think of today's fantasy aesthetic? You mean all the generic concept art that gets churned out daily? Care to give an example?
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>>4004561
I'm probably being too sweeping in my judgments, but the general picture I get of it, and I'm definitely open to the possibility that I just haven't developed a taste for it yet, is the kind of stuff I see on current game modules, and Magic the Gathering illustrations, and across Deviantart and up on Artstation. That kind of Corel Painter look.

I don't think it's all bad, most of it is probably satisfactory... I guess it just seems generally to be merely satisfactorily rendered but lacking a mystique that D&D and fantasy used to have. Plus it seems like there's a slightly softer quality to it. I almost want to say cartoonish, and that's not exactly it, because this older D&D stuff can be really cartoonish, but I mean the newer stuff reminds me more of Warcraft or something. Maybe it's a slight videogame influence. I think also though the designs just seem really generic, and the strangeness and darkness is gone.
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>>4004569
The irony is I do tend to be open to new styles, but maybe just with fantasy I like the 80s stuff so much that I feel the current stuff can't make the same impression. I guess it probably appeals on other levels. But it just feels so toothless, like steampunk art, vibe-wise, or something. Old D&D was vaguely scary.
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>>4004572
And I'm a bit of a closet metalhead too. Maybe I like how 80s D&D was like visual heavy metal. Or alternately, kind of trippy, which I also like.
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>>4004569
>I don't think it's all bad, most of it is probably satisfactory... I guess it just seems generally to be merely satisfactorily rendered but lacking a mystique that D&D and fantasy used to have
I think these old illustrations rely on different tropes than today's, if I had to pinpoint what exactly it'd be more inspired from fairy tales and folk tales and whatnot as opposed to today's incestuous passing of fantasy ideas and general focus on things that look cool.
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>>4004581
Yeah, I see that. I think with the earlier era, Fantasy was still relatively new, and they were making up the RPG stuff as they went along (obviously drawing from Tolkien and Conan and myths/fairytales though), so there was the strange magical quality, and a bit of older book illustration influence, and definitely a lot of psychedelic hippie era bubbly organic forms. And it was emerging literally exactly at the same time as heavy metal music and had basically the same aesthetic. This kind of demonic, dragons and skeleton warriors thing with grim looking heavy metal barbarians and chain mail babes. But it was also coming out of that 70s period of a lot of people getting into new age and the occult so there was a kind of occultic aura around it, which conservative Christians freaked out about and this gave it its kind of scary aura.

By now, as you say, the fantasy tropes are more established so it's cycling through those and more just fantasy-doing-fantasy. The scariness and mystique isn't exactly there, nor is the fairy tale nature mysticism or trippiness. Like looking at old D&D stuff, I can hear Led Zeppelin playing in my head. I don't get that vibe from the newer illustrations. It doesn't feel connected to nature, or drugs, or spirituality. It feels just more connected to gaming in itself and fantasy tropes themselves.
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>>4004454
I feel exactly the same way

sometime in the 2000s fantasy art turned into some weird ugly anime looking crap
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>>4004795
everquest is an example of good fantasy art for me btw
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>>4004581
Alan Lee was in a league of his own. You can't really compare him to the swarm of kitschy fantasy illustrators in the 80s.
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I think it partly comes down to the fact that it was done traditionally. Look at Marco Bucci's traditional art. It looks 10x better than his digital stuff which is his bread and butter.
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>>4004795
>>4004797
compared to a modern eq poster
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check out heavy metal magazine on e-hentai
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original world of warcraft still had old school fantasy concept art.
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>>4004948
pretty sure this is promo art
why the hell would they use that parchment texture
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>>4004820
>>4004795
I think it's clear that a lot less time and care went into the newer pic compared to the older one, it looks very lazy
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Ian Miller is great.
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>>4004454
>>4004511
>>4004551
A lot of the women look too masculine facial wise. Bless asian influence to make women look feminine and cuter.
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>>4005413

Well, you're no art historian, that much I can tell.
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>>4005413
despite what you may think, this is not how women are supposed to look. having an angled jaw line is not a bad thing or inherently masculine
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>>4005046
Yeah, I first knew him from a lot of Tolkien illustrations.
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>>4004945
Yeah Heavy Metal magazine was a world unto itself. There's this particular niche of proggy space fantasy stuff (often with heavy metal elements) like René Laloux, Moebius, Heavy Metal mag, and then bands like Magma and Gong.
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>>4004795
>>4004820

Thank you, exactly. And the thing is I'll admit that a lot of older fantasy art was clearly schlock / kitsch, that you would see on a poster in a geek's basement in Wisconsin, or airbrushed on a metalhead's van, but there was also more allure and coolness to it. A lot of the relatively more 'well made' paintings by D&D artists like Larry Elmore (pic related), Clyde Caldwell, and Jeff Easly, are definitely cheesy, but there's something really awesome and aesthetic about them too. Kind of like the 80s Conan the Barbarian movie or a heavy metal album cover.

I knew this thread would be contentious, because I know it's kind of indirectly calling out a lot of artists here, but I just think people should try to do more cooler and more interesting stuff. I like fantasy and scifi and I think it deserves better than shit that looks like sickly, larged-eyed grandma cutesy art.
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>>4005564
Also, was going to say that there was still a lot of really cool stuff in the 90s. A lot of those painted videogame covers and the stuff in the videogame mags were fucking baddass. Even the earliest Magic the Gathering illustrations were pretty weird and cool.
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>>4004799
Yeah Alan Lee and a handful of other fantasy artists, who mostly did Tolkien stuff (like Ian Miller), or then Brian Froud who worked with Jim Henson a lot, were on another level from the D&D schlock. And I love the old D&D stuff but it's definitely schlock.
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>>4005483
cope
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>>4004820
I wonder just how much Corel painter figures into this. Most of the stuff I particularly don't like was done in that program. That painting kind of has that look, even if it wasn't done in it.

There's a particular kind of softened brushwork that people who use Corel tend to use that reminds me of corny homemade paintings you'd see being sold secondhand at a Salvation Army or yard sale.

I almost read that softened look in terms of a softening of geek fandom, making it more sickly and cutesy for a wider and less hardcore audience. Maybe that's overreading it a bit but there just seemed to be something more underground and dark about older D&D stuff... Warhammer still has that dark quality, but most art since Magic the Gathering just looks so safe and normal-person-friendly.
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>>4005413
They were into these strongly-structured faces at the time. Look at the women in all the Sword and Sorcery movies and illustrations. Or even just the love interests in any action movie or I guess even romance.
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I love the classic 80s D&D green 'pig-man' orc design they had for a moment. It was hardly the definitive orc design ultimately but there was something iconic about it for the game imagery in the mid 80s.
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Part of the charm from that erra is coming from the fact that they didn't hire professional illustrators half the time, if you had a guy who said he could draw, you just had him make the art.
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>>4005611
Lol that was awkwardly written, I have a tendency to always dyslexicly change the wording mid-sentence and then be too lazy to proofread and restructure it all.
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Trampier's stippling technique was out of this world.
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>>4005608
it’s also how supermodels look, too. low test beta males want to fuck children while chad goes for a supermodel with superior bone structure
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>>4005615
The thing though is that I feel most illustrators now are really hackish too. They may get 'training' copying from popular Deviantart and Patrion artists, and learning off youtube, but they lack a sense of good design.

When I think of the better 80s schlock art, look awesome VHS covers or the better-painted D&D illustrations, like for Dragonlance, I think a lot of that did demonstrate actual schooling / training, and moreso than the present slew of Corel Painter artists.

But then there were all these cool, more crudely drawn and painted illustrations too, but they looked really creative and interesting. I think as I said upthread, partly is that fantasy books had been around for a little bit, but fantasy games and art were still relatively new so they were still working from their imaginations and coming up with wild, weird ideas. Plus there was still that residual countercultural influence, plus, as I keep mentioning, the dark reputation fantasy and D&D had and the heavy metal associations, so it made for a kind of hidden, mysterious, forbidding look.
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>>4005622
That image is so classic and awesome. Kind of the most iconic, quintessential representation of the dark image and reputation that D&D had then.
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>>4005635
The other iconic 80s D&D image being this one. Kind of perfectly captured it all, down to the type of armor and dragon design.
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>>4005638
Or it really should be seen on the cover we all knew it on.
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>>4005639
This one was a classic too.
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But I love all the weird shit especially.
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>>4005635
And to think it was drawn by a guy who gave up on art work to go and drive taxis for a living instead.
Then he rejected all attempts at contacting him, for work or otherwise, and only considered making a comeback after he got cancer and then he died shortly after.
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>>4005645
For weird you can't beat Erol Otus.
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>>4005647
Wow, didn't know that.
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>>4005629
Digital helps build bad habits.
If I see one more person draw the entire character first and then remember they need a background the last second I might spite quit digital.
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>>4005649
That's so cool. Part of me wishes I had a really massive house where I could have a big library or attic room to store away large collections of this type of stuff. One time recently I was at a used book store that had just gotten in hundreds of copies of old Weird Tales magazines... stuff with first prints of Lovecraft stories and the coolest covers. Snagged a couple but I was so bummed I couldn't just buy them all.
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>>4005651
Quick question, if you happen to know... I just saw a thing someone posted somewhere of one of those hack Corel Painter artists doing bad fantasy and superhero depictions, and was making tons of money on Patreon. Is that a thing if you just make cool geek / genre art that enough people like? Just getting paid because they like your stuff? Or are they paying you to get copies of artwork, or perks or something?

Because I wonder if I should do that as my side gig just for the money.
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>>4005658
Because I can do fantasy art, really well. But I'm working more in 3d lately. And I wonder if there'd be a market for someone that doesn't do it in that cutesy big-eyes style.
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>>4005650
Yeah, Tramp's fairly famous for completely dropping out of the business. Sounds like he was gypped around a bit by TSR too, his one stipulation on his comeback was that he wouldn't have to work with them.
They had been defunct and gone for 17 years at that point.

Kind of amazing how he could do classical artworks in a woodcut style, stippling and in the next some amazing cartoony stuff in Wormy.
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>>4005629
>I feel most illustrators are really hackish now
Oh please take those rose-tinted glasses off. The standards for fantasy illustration are so much higher now than they were back then, even in traditional mediums. When I go to a used book store and look at all of the old fantasy novels 99% of them had terrible kitschy covers by no-name hacks, there were a decent number of amazing artists in fantasy illustration back then but most of them sucked and being a hack was acceptable.

Even lesser known artists today are far more objectively skilled than the common fantasy illustrator back then who wasn't a Frazetta, Jeffrey Jones, Barry-Smith, Boris Vallejo, etc etc.and this thread is basicly proof of that. Just pull up Artstation or flip through a copy of Spectrum and you'll see that's the case.
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>>4005683
I guess I'm not necessarily so interested 'objective skill' in any standardized / formalized sense as much as what they do with it (or lack of it). I just think the older stuff looks cooler. I think everything on Artstation looks like dogshit.
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>>4005683
continuing my post...

Or just look at the artists working for Magic the Gathering today. Fantasy illustration in general today is held to objectively higher standards.

A lot of the older amateurish stuff in this thread has a lot of charm and nostalgia for me, especially the pen and ink drawings. But the paintings are almost always terrible and childlike unless they're by Frazetta caliber painters.

I myself am extremely partial to Jeffrey Jones. He had a far better eye for composition than Frazetta.
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>>4005687
That was harshly worded. I don't think the stuff on Arstation is dogshit, just a bit technical but partaking in stylistic choices that aren't my thing.

And I'm not suggesting we should 'go back' to an older style of fantasy art that falsely attempts to look 70s or 80s, but I just wonder what it is that makes it more interesting and inspiring to me. I'd like to see newer stuff in genre illustration be more compelling. I do actually see a lot of compelling things out there but I don't find myself sharing much in common tastewise with the geek world these days.
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>>4005694
I hear you, and to each his own. I suppose part of this might have to do with what each person judging all these values in their art, and maybe what they focus on in their own attempts. I put a lot of time into technical training years ago but since then I think am more into style and concept and next-level strategies, so stuff that features technicality foremost but is otherwise just kind of a typical classical-lite doesn't hit my pleasure-centers as much. But as I'm saying it's due to the emphasis I've had.

I really should emphasize again that I don't mean to insult or shame anyone with this thread or make them feel bad about their tastes or interests. There are so many different parallel visual cultures and they all subsist fine in themselves.
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>>4005704
part of this has to do with *each person's personal values *criteria in judging art
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There are a select few new school D&D-style artists most of whom are working on the cover and interior art for two products, Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and it's associated modules and similarly for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. DCC covers are insanely good about evoking the psychadelic metal feel and AS&SH covers the dark one a fair bit.

I'd recommend you check out Ian Baggley, Stefan Poag, Tom Galambos, Doug Kovacs, Charles Lang, Del Teigeler and above all, Peter Mullen.
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>>4005704
Style is subjective. Technique and application of the fundamentals are not, they're the only things we can legitimately use to measure how good art is. So saying you like the style and aesthetic of old 80s fantasy art better is fair game, but saying that it was objectively better in general is very questionable for many reasons lol.
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>>4005708
This is incredible and captures the old school feel perfectly.Thank you for the recommendations!
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>>4005715
this isn't a math problem, Perspective + Anatomy dose not = Soul
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>>4005817
This. You can't resort to mathematics or logic to determine some 'objective' value in art. This is partly exactly why I don't really rate the culture of layperson art that puts too much emphasis on technique. It's like those dads who collect expensive guitars and take lessons to play 'proper' blues, but they're not actually making any music of cultural or historical let alone aesthetic value beyond their own enjoyment / satisfaction / hobby / sense of accomplishment (which is totally fine though).
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>>4005708
Thank you, cool recommendations.
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>>4005817
Lol are you an idiot? No shit. "Soul" is just subjective term that no one can quantify. You can however objectively judge an artwork on its craftsmanship and technique. What made the old masters masters of painting? It wasn't that they had the most "soul".

>>4005824
But you can tell the difference between the performance of a godlike blues guitarist like BB King and an amateur. Technique is just as important as aesthetics and always has been.
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>>4005884
Oof.
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>>4005572

Zero factor. Can't recall any noteworthy professional who uses corel painter, it's user base seems to consists of boomer hobbyists. That painting just looks like a generic photoshop illustration to me. Where did you get the idea that corel painter was widely used from?
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>>4005694
>Fantasy illustration in general today is held to objectively higher standards.
there's no doubt about this but it's missing something
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>>4005569
Froud's Dark Crystal drawings have so much soul I can't even describe
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>>4006051
Corny as it sounds what it's missing is 'magic'.

I think that's what I was trying to put my finger on. The older stuff, even at its cheesiest, evokes a fascinating, magical world you feel you could get lost in, places teeming with life and weirdness.

The newer stuff just looks like some geek who's never stepped foot in the woods or understands the notion of the mystical rendered a 'super epic' fight that's maybe technically okay but doesn't really work your imagination. And it's supposed to, it's fantasy. The new shit is just empty anime-ish, videogamey bullshit. Just a trope standing there like a cipher.
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>>4006151
>The newer stuff just looks like some geek who's never stepped foot in the woods
It has to be this. I don't think it's the nostalgia speaking, those old D&D illustrations are objectively shitty and dated but they still have that spark. Even images I haven't seen before have that feel.
It's like these new artists don't really have a curiosity for the things you see in fantasy. One of the things in art is that willing or not you are putting yourself in the drawings, what you love will always show. When I see the new fantasy stuff I just think the artist loves videogames.
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>>4005413
>A lot of the women look too masculine facial wise. Bless asian influence to make women look feminine and cuter.
>Bless asian influence to make women look feminine and cuter.
kek
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>>4004454
but anon, we only remember the good shit.

>>4005413
that's because men today are more fragile and insecure.
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>>4006207
old timey sci fi art was the shit though
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>>4006211
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>>4005413
>Women are just supposed to look cute.
welcome to 1950
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>>4004795
damn that nigga 5head
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>>4005413
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>>4006151
Maybe more and more people are like the hermit scholar that knows ABOUT their subject, but has never actually gone outside to look at it. Like recognizing every high fantasy trope, but not having read Tolkien. Or reading the headlines, but not the article. I have a friend who thought the term ''Druid'' originated in World of Warcraft. Another buddy of mine fancies himself an intellectual and tells me he has listened to lectures on Kafka and could talk about it all day, but has never actually read a book by him. Now I know this is unavoidable and you can't know everything but this is about the things these people supposedly like and are interested in.

I don't think I am exempt from this either, the endless stream of worldwide media makes it difficult to go in depth into anything because you are always distracted by something else. It has been made easier than ever to ignore the underlying structure and history and just reproduce tropes, putting the cart before the horse
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>>4005413
absolute bottom tier shit taste
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>>4006259
>I have a friend who thought the term ''Druid'' originated in World of Warcraft.
if you're trying to trigger me it is working, holy shit
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>>4006308
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>>4006259
The internet made everyone dumber and less attentive, but in fantasy's case I think anime and videogames are to blame. If you grow up on these two and you never expose yourself to literature or good shit in general you are guaranteed irreversible brain damage. This is why no matter how good these artists are they will never develop good taste, and why shonen artists are outstanding at drawing but they can't make anything soulful to save their lives.
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>>4004454
Oh it's nice to see someone feel the same way. I sorely miss 70s to 90s fantasy illustration. today's book covers suck, they couldn't be any more boring and bland.
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>>4006342
>That pose in the Elric cover
Sword triumphantly raised skywards is some of my favorite imagery in fantasy
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>>4006359
The epic one is by my man Michael whelan.
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>>4006320
That's the thing with the geek and gamer world, they have terrible / no taste. I know that taste is a problematized concept by now and a lot of older assumptions of what taste would prefer have been challenged or expanded on, and I'd agree with that, but there are still people with an eye for aesthetics and people who are stylistically / aesthetically clueless. Gamers are profoundly myopic, they get very little life experience to get cultured or develop very interesting taste. I'm convinced this is why geek and genre illustration is so bland now. And I'm not saying there's no good style out there, just that geeks don't have it.
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>>4006259
Good post - makes me glad I did some things the way I had in my life. I'd decided myself, after high school, to quickly drop out of college to get life experience first. Relationships, travel, drugs, etc. How could I know what I'd want to study otherwise, without having experience and knowing myself better?

Then about 10 years later I finally went back to college, after all the adventures, girlfriends, plenty of mistakes, etc. After real world experience, this would be a new phase of paying my dues on the scholarly end, and I took a little extra time with this to really explore everything I wanted.

So I got the life experience thing and then also the academic thing. Which means I'm starting my life's work a little bit later, but I'm glad I got both kinds of formative experiences. Academics in my experience tend to blind to a side of life that real life experience outside of that school / career track gives you. On the other hand, people who don't go through the process of higher education, and at a relatively elite school too, miss out on something crucial too - at least if said education would have been relevant to fields / subjects of interest to them or work they've pursued. Like you can't do fine arts and not go to an art school. One can do commercial art, etc, but certain fields require specific educations. But yeah I wouldn't have wanted that without the life experience too.

Anyways not to write a blog post... but I definitely agree it's crucial to have more passion and experience - in addition to education - in the things you pursue. Like a fantasy artist should 'know' the woods, should travel a bit, try to get in touch with the more 'magical' side of life. A life of videogames and anime couldn't possibly be enough to nourish you for that kind of work.
>>
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>>4006404
It may be because in order to be considered a geek before, you needed to know and delve into quite a bit on your own, whereas now it's a self-professed flanderized identity. Everyone is a geek, everyone is an expert. Compare with a D&D fan from older generations: I'd say D&D was just the tool to explore their varied interests, which they were far likelier to have picked up beforehand because of the difficulty in even getting into it.

Nowadays the audience for (video)games has grown exponentially and the barrier of entry has shrunk. With a group so wide, so much media to consume, and no prerequisites, geek/nerd have become meaningless terms. So the average geek nowadays consumes a huge amount of the cultural and mental equivalent of popcorn, and nothing but that, and can never stop. If culture was food, the requirements for developing good taste (e.g. world literature, history of subject) are the healthy meals that almost nobody takes the time to eat. Like fundies
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>>4004964
Becuase Blizzard think it makes it look cooler
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>>4006461
Yeah for example these newer covers >>4006342

You can tell the publishers went as bland as possible in hopes just any random person walking by at Target might pick it up. They just ironed out all the strangeness or seedier, deeper, more obscure potential aspects of geeky.

And of course there have been many conversations by now of this marketing and rebranding of a new kind of geek, catered to by fake channels like Collider and utterly corporate. Not that there aren't actual deep cultures of geekdom, 4chan kind of being one of them, but you see how companies feel about them in the way game design is approached suddenly and the way articles continually trash them. Not that I even identify with geek culture really but I do like some fantasy and other genreshit.
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>>4006482
Modern non-self published fantasy is gatekept by aging women and aging homosexuals by most accounts so it makes sense they'd pick out unaesthetic bland covers lacking all sense of aesthetics themselves.
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>>4006488
Sure, it's just that it used to be Ursula Le Guin-type hippie women and curmudgeonly, eccentric old hippie-type men. I mean gays were once considered more artistically / culturally adventurous. Now they seem to be the champions of the blandest kind of mainstream schlock. Not to pile on them, there are still art gays who can be cool. And I don't want to get into politics here but I definitely don't think the culture among writers right now is conductive to interesting aesthetics. They lean 'woke', which tends towards popism of a bland, Target-y, Taylor Swift-y variety.

Suffice to say these are just boring corporate fucks and they suck and they produce worthless bland shit.
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>>4006508
>Sure, it's just that it used to be Ursula Le Guin-type hippie women and curmudgeonly, eccentric old hippie-type men.
I generally associate fantasy and sf with conservatives (vance, cas, wolfe, tolkien, dunsany etc) and libertarians (the golden age sf crowd). The hippies seemef to mostly ape them, same with the "new wave" but less interesting imo.
Le Guin is overrated at that, Brackett beats her pre-woke crap stuff any day.
>I mean gays were once considered more artistically / culturally adventurous.
imo they were just shockjockey fanboys who pushed kitsch and crap like pollock/rothko up until aids got most of them.
>Now they seem to be the champions of the blandest kind of mainstream schlock.
More or less. They still like the same "adventurous" stuff they liked 50 years ago. It's as dreary now as it was then but significantly more obvious when it's in every book they publish.
>there are still art gays who can be cool.
Sure but as a collective they're unaesthetic as fuck.
>among writers right now is conductive to interesting aesthetics.
The only way to get something interesting is to look at the self-published and the Chinese webnovel crowd desu.
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>>4006488
lol yeah. brandon sanderson tried to deflect from that in his writing lectures and then came around and said that books who don't quota in women & gays are bad books anyway. shilled publishers over self-publishing too despite the latter being superior now.
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>>4005663
>That title
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>>4006482
It's like, say you love role-playing games. Now the company that produces your favorites is under a new leadership, and the new CEO hates role-playing games and the people who play them. It's bonkers. Did you know this actually happened before with D&D in the late 80s/early 90s? TSR, the original publisher of the tabletop and many fantastic related videogames from the DOS-era, eventually kicked out Gary Gygax, the literal creator of D&D. Who became the new CEO? Lorraine Williams, a shrewd old cunt who professed to hate gamers, and actually unironically changed company policy to disallow playtesting of games, stating that she wouldn't have employees play around during work hours. It was at this time also that changes happened such as Demons and Devils being renamed to ''Baatezu'' and ''Tanar'ri''. Ten years later, the company went bankrupt and was sold to WOTC.

Now I'd say that this kind of thing is happening on a much larger scale nowadays
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>>4006430
to be fair, going out into the woods or any place any further than your immediate area costs money and time. alot of young people don't really have tons of money these days . though there's no excuse for not reading at least a little

>>4006508
gays are so used to being outside the mainstream garbage by force, they find it enpowering to be in mainstream blandness now. it is what it is
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>>4006488
the artists often don't get to pick the covers. one author wound up with a cover of her book with a pegasus on it. neither the world nor the story even mentioned a pegasus.
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>>4006567
That's not referring to authors (though those are the types who tend to get published) but publisher agents.
It's not much of a secret that if you go to any of the Big Five™ the person deciding if you get published or not is an old woman or old homosexual man and they only pick the stuff that appeals to them.
If Gene Wolfe or Jack Vance wanted to get published today through those channels they'd never stand a chance.
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>>4005708
Gonna drop a few pics from these.
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>>4005663
>>4005664
>>4005645
i think they have a lot of dream like elements.
>>4005584
especially this. it's exactly how i'd picture in my head reading fantasy books as a kid
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>>4006603
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>>4006618
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>>4006619
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>>4006618
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>>4006626
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>>4006628
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>>4006550
b-but why is this happening?
the same thing happened to Star Trek.
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>>4005708
Incidentally the DCC RPG guys are just about the only guys to semi-regularly shell out the money to hire old TSR guys to do their art.

So you get some new covers and interior art from Erol Otus, Jeff Dee, Jim Roslof, Jeff Easley, Sanjulian etc from their stuff.
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>>4006644
For example.
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>>4006646
And done dumping for now.
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>>4006644
is there a good place with lots of good old fantasy art?
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>>4006657
No clue, I generally just save stuff from the RPG pdfs or the few TSR art books that got put out like the Art of Dragon Magazine.
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>>4006642
If videogame ''journalists'' and the comic books industry are any indication, the answer is political ideologues claw their way into positions of power to shit on you and your entertainment in order to create their perfect insectoid utopia where fun and being a man are banned
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>>4006657

ha.com
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>>4006657
I know it has the reputation of being used by dumb women, but seriously try pinterest I find so much good shit on there
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>>4007006
this, pinterest is the holy grail of references
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>>4007006
This is really true. Pinterest has an extremely good algorithm for finding similar art to whatever you're into even obscure shit. Probably the best way to discover new art really.
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>>4006883
rent free

>>4006657
tumblr if you find a good blog for it
https://talesfromweirdland.tumblr.com/tagged/fantasy
http://70sscifiart.tumblr.com
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>>4006657

Used book stores are a good place to dig around; 70s and 80s fantasy paperbacks, rpg game modules and old issues of Dragon Magazine have tons of inspiring, insane stuff.

Pic related came out recently which looks pretty cool. There's also these, most of which I own and would recommend:
https://www.amazon.com/Art-Dragon-Magazine-Including-Cover/dp/0880385375/ref=pd_sim_14_5/132-3563144-0557500?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0880385375&pd_rd_r=96a782cd-a2a3-11e9-b9fa-597a26e8a4d3&pd_rd_w=utCKp&pd_rd_wg=28iiH&pf_rd_p=90485860-83e9-4fd9-b838-b28a9b7fda30&pf_rd_r=E9M4BTBRZNK9MF7NF565&psc=1&refRID=E9M4BTBRZNK9MF7NF565
https://www.amazon.com/Art-Dungeons-Dragons-Fantasy-Game/dp/0880381612/ref=pd_sbs_14_4/132-3563144-0557500?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0880381612&pd_rd_r=9ae15ba6-a2a3-11e9-bc7b-8187b0da1013&pd_rd_w=CeshK&pd_rd_wg=8mMRW&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=7J680PMKA5DT05E4NGDP&psc=1&refRID=7J680PMKA5DT05E4NGDP
https://www.amazon.com/Art-Dragonlance-Saga-Bestseller-Margaret/dp/0880384476/ref=pd_sbs_14_3/132-3563144-0557500?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0880384476&pd_rd_r=be49d798-a2a3-11e9-8443-2f8af3574d69&pd_rd_w=LCmW9&pd_rd_wg=73IWK&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=FNMSCDRPMGH22QQ4BAVG&psc=1&refRID=FNMSCDRPMGH22QQ4BAVG

And you can see in the recommendations in those links some others like Worlds of TSR that look pretty cool, but these links are taking up my post.

Continuing...
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>>4007290
https://b-ok.cc/book/3705836/053619
Ah ha ha. I went to some museum that mentioned that book!
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>>4007290
>>4007290
Continuing

I'll also second anon's recommending pinterest, a lot of the pics in this thread were found on there, just type in '80s dnd' or '70s fantasy art' or whatever and you'll get more results than you can possibly explore.

Definitely these tumblrs >>4007164 , particularly talesfromweirdland, and also this one too:
https://oldschoolfrp.tumblr.com/archive

Throwing some D&D artist names out there:
Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson; Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell for the 'classic' / peak era D&D images.

David A. Trampier, Jeff Dee, Erol Otis, Jim Roslof, and Dave LaForce for the earlier, weird trippy stuff.
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>>4004457
Warduke!
>>
Art directors went out of their way to shit on this style of fantasy art hard in the early 2000s and haven't stopped since.
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>>4007431
That's a good point. There was definitely a concerted decision at the level of company art direction to try to change the image from its previous dweeb and heavy metal / 80s associations and 'update' it (at that point, from to a late 90s / early 00s perspective). I'm actually usually for this, I'm all about embracing the present, but when corporate does this it always just mean making it blander and able to appeal to a wider audience, and maybe just some superficial technical or qualitative changes, like more modern hairstyles or a different sheen.

In the long run it's definitely meant a lot of modern haircuts (short-haired bro-dudes with soul-patches in the 00s), integrating that more post-Warcraft approach to body types and armor (those particular proportions and faces and goofy baroque designs that suggest a lack of study on the part of the designer), maybe larger, slightly anime-ish eyes, a more photoshop-y surface quality, and that kind of superficially 'painterly' brushwork that caught on arbitrarily with geek artists online copying from other geek artists who copied from generic painting lessons wile practicing on Corel Painter.

Part of why I started this thread though is that I do actually regularly encounter compelling features popping up in newer approaches, and have seen a lot of fanculture visual strategies that are interestingly strange, but think there's so much bad schlock to wade through I just wonder about the mentality and approach behind so much stuff, plus other factors in why professional commissions are so bland in genre and game illustration presently.
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>>4007465
That is to say, I'm not remotely interested in 'retro' anything. I like a lot of older stuff, as anyone does, but I also enjoy the present, and always like to see approaches in the present try to offer their own compelling contribution. Every once and a while though a particular form is better served by a particular era and confluence of influences. I definitely think fantasy was poised between a lot of helpful, converging factors then that suited its aesthetic.

Frankly I'm not straightforwardly a fantasy enthusiast right now as in it's my main interest, but it's been a lifelong pet interest among many others and I've found myself and several friends have use for some of its devices and aesthetics sometimes. So I mean I misuse it myself, but I'd differ a lot from what I think current fantasy illustrators and gamers do with it, and my emphasis isn't retro but just that I'm more into an emphasis on style and certain energies and concepts rather than just gaming as an enthusiasm in itself and uncritical consumption. I washed my hands of the geek world and its marketing a long time ago, in my early teens.
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>>4007465
>and that kind of superficially 'painterly' brushwork that caught on arbitrarily with geek artists online copying from other geek artists who copied from generic painting lessons wile practicing on Corel Painter.

You seem really hung up on Corel Painter. Can you name any prominent illustrators who use it?
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>>4007472
>I definitely think fantasy was poised between a lot of helpful, converging factors then that suited its aesthetic *in the 80s.
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>>4007474
Perhaps I'm wrong in making the association, and I haven't memorized artist names... my reason for mentioning it is having been spending a bit of time digging through Deviantart and Artstation to check out fan / geek / genre art, partly because I'm learning 3d modeling and figured as an exercise I'd just scope out different approaches and tropes, and have continually encountered a look that from what I can tell is digitally painted... I think it's mostly Corel and maybe Photoshop too. I understand the reason, paints are expensive and often toxic, but I think I've noticed certain approaches to painting, in a kind of soft brushwork, associated with it, and I'm not sure yet if it's a property of the medium or just a set of styles preferred by people who do that kind of art. Probably mostly the latter, but I imagine the software can't help but favor certain approaches and qualities.
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>>4007481
>and figured as an exercise I'd just scope out different approaches and tropes

That is, to jog my memory of things related to what you'd do in 3d modeling or sculpting jobs, as well as pick up on some of the aesthetic trends at large in fantasy art / game design / concept art, etc, see what I like and what I'm not so into. Hence this thread... just trying to get a little feedback on peoples' views on fantasy art and what the differences are between some of the current stuff and peak era D&D stuff or 90s game illustration or whatever.
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>>4007481
>>4007488
Also, I'm meaning to get around to practicing with Corel myself to get a more informed opinion on it. See what potential it has.
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>>4007472
>Frankly I'm not straightforwardly a fantasy enthusiast right now as in it's *not my main interest
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>>4004469
Come back when you are not underage, stupid
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>>4007481

The industry standard is Photoshop, virtually all prominent digital painters use it. I think you are overstating the influence of Corel Painter. Not sure exactly what kind of brushwork you are thinking of but pic related fits the bill for the soft quality you are describing. Personally I find the card art style to be very unappealing.
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>>4007507
Ah, good to know. That's definitely the look I'm referring to. I think part of it is a product of the medium, the way the digital paintbrushes make clean strokes and blend colors, etc. Similar to the way in the 90s you could tell something was air brushed, there's just certain qualities about it, not necessarily something the artists are going for but traits of the medium. Which is okay, but I haven't found uses of that more traditional application of digital painting that appeals to me yet, beyond a few weird outliers. Just my own preference though.
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>>4007507
I suppose superheros/capeshit are a factor in that aesthetic too. Even the fantasy stuff there just comes across visually and atmospherically more like superhero stuff.
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Shit like this is what I'm talking about. I can't believe there are people in this thread saying this is preferable to the 80s stuff. Every aesthetic decision is bad.
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>>4007337
>Erol *Otus
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>>4007337
Also this link for Erol Otus stuff:

https://otusshrine.tumblr.com/
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>>4006320
And you know all about having irreversible brain damage
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>>4005578
Russ Nicholson illustrated half of the AD&D Fiend Folio. He also did some early stuff for Games Workshop. It's neat to see where his pieces were influenced by actual models in Citadel's Warhammer 40,000 miniatures range.
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In between working on comic books, Tim Truman illustrated stuff for TSR, including some Gamma World products. This one is for "Famine In Far-Go".
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>>4007337
>David A. Trampier
RIP.

Here's a link to all the "Wormy" strips he did for Dragon Magazine:

https://sites.google.com/site/wormycollected/Home
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>>4008237
>It's neat to see where his pieces were influenced by actual models in Citadel's Warhammer 40,000 miniatures range.
Brother Longun!
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>>4007337
Bill Willingham is one of my old-school D&D favourites. If you look at his early work, he was already pretty good, but he got better and better as the years went by.

He later wrote and drew a comic book series called Elementals that I thought was pretty interesting.
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Alvaro Tapia has imo a really nice comfy old school feel to his illustrations
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>>4008254
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>>4007337
Erol Otus is another one that I have always liked. His cover illustration for "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" - not to mention so much of the work inside - is fantastic!
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I love Earl Norem's work.
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>>4007636
>>4007507
I definitely agree that illustration lately has become *too* polished and technically sound, and with everyone using the same tools and same tutorials to learn the same tricks, it all has boiled down to every piece of art looking the same. Looks good technically, but very similar and thus boring and uninspired. The charm and uniqueness is lost

Would a book publisher even accept a cover done in traditional media any more, regardless of the quality?
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>>4008393

Sure thing. Joe Jusko is working right now on producing all new covers for the complete Edgar Rice Burroughs library, and he works ecxlusivily traditionally. Greg Manchess recently released a book with cover and illustrations all made in oils. Karl Kopinski also works traditionally although I can't recall what he is doing at the moment.
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>>4006205
This image supports his point
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>>4005046
>Ian Miller is great.
I agree. Ralph Bakshi weaseled Miller into working with him on Wizards. Many of the background paintings - particularly those in Skorch, the domain of the mutant wizard Blackwolf - were made from Miller's paintings.
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>>4008738
I never realized that. Can totally see it now.
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>>4010157
>I never realized that.
I didn't either. He talks about it in this book, though:

>It was whilst my wife and I were wandering penniless around San Francisco in the early 70's that Ralph Bakshi tracked me down via London and New York and offered me a job working on his forthcoming animated feature Wizards in Los Angeles. This was all on the strength of a Gormenghast castle scene I had drawn for a fantasy calendar back in the UK.
...
>The actual experience of working for Ralph was in every sense star shell bright, and overwhelming. He demanded a great deal of me, but in turn gave me immense artistic freedom. More freedom than I'd ever had before or since bar Luck in the Head. It doesn't get any better than that. I will always be grateful.

Prior to reading that, the thing that stuck out to me - besides the rotoscoped war footage - was the character designs. They're dead-on Vaughn Bodē. I'd heard that Bodē and Bakshi knew each other, but as Ralph is still alive, and I've never heard him clarify on this point, I really don't know what to think. He's a pretty wily character.
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>>4010305
>this book
Here's the full version of the dragon that appears in the triptych on the cover.
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classy thread
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>>4007337
>Jeff Dee
I really liiked Jeff Dee's illustrations for White Plume Mountain and the Village of Hommlett (pic related). After playing and replaying Temple of Elemental Evil with the Circle of Eight mod installed on it so many times over the years, I know exactly where on the map this attack is taking place!
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>>4012000
>Jeff Dee's illustrations for White Plume Mountain
... and here's one of those.
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Middle Earth CCG had some really nice artwork. much better than the more recent Lord of the Rings cardgame
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>>4007337
>Larry Elmore
I followed Snarfquest in Dragon Magazine as much as I could, and I'm kicking myself for not picking up the collected book when I saw it Half Price Books a couple of years ago. This weekend is 40-50% off weekend, though, so who knows? Maybe I'll find something else cool.
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>>4013419
God I wish Wormy had a proper physical collection along with the stuff that wasn't published.
Trampier was looking into doing it but kicked the bucket before it happened.
Shame no one has AFAIK contacted his brother about doing it.
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>>4005615
>make the elf black and you're instantly protected against being called a hack for your shit art
politics ruin everything.
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>>4006151
The internet also makes things worse. Artists of the 80's had to half-imagine most of their reference out of things they had avaliable, now you just google shit and throw it into your composition.
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>>4006404
It doesn't help they just want to regurgitate. They don't want to make their own version of the eclectic 70's Arturiana which was equal parts historical, victorian and psychodelic. They just want to copy past and get upset when you introduce flavors other than what they're already gorging on.
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>>4006342
I noticed that western stuff is more reluctant to stylize now. If you look at the bottom, everything is pretty much photos, photobashing, and CG. At most, it's a photo that's been painted over. Similar stuff is happening in western videogames as well.
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It would suck if this thread fell off page 10 without mentioning Chris Achilleos.
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>>4004477
A lot of the art that is posted here and held up as great lacks style i would say. Technical virtuosity is not style
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>>4006342

Why did you put the other Michael whelan cover in the bottom? It belongs in the top row.
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>>4007290
I bought that book and it rules.
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>>4015959
Technical virtuosity or lack thereof directly affects and is part of an artist's style, two sides of the same coin that is their art. Case in point, Alex Ross' style is that he draws and paints powerful and dynamic comic covers with incredible photo-realistic rendering in gouache. Frazetta's artwork would be completely different if he worked in watercolor instead of oil, or if he wasn't technically proficient in painting. Its not that hard to understand.
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>>4016000
Yea those guys are great. But i see way too many people here drooling over generic ass shit
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>>4016000

Frazetta did a lot of work in watercolor though.
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>>4005638
look at the stupid fucking single horn on its head. Id never draw something like that, no professional concept artist would ever draw that it looks to fucking stupid. I love it and i wish people still just drew dumb designs competently. Everything now days has to be "cool" or "sexy", i like how weird and ugly a lot of old designs were
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>>4005413
>not seeing the value in both
How does it feel to be such an autistic weeaboo?
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>>4016168
>look at the stupid fucking single horn on its head. Id never draw something like that, no professional concept artist would ever draw that it looks to fucking stupid.
I'm not sure which came first - the egg or the chicken - but Elmore used similar designs in Snarfquest for Willie (the red dragon who is cursed to think he's a duck) and Telerie Windyarm.
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>>4005649
>For weird you can't beat Erol Otus.
He illustrated some of the best parts of the early printings of Dieties and Demigods - including the cover!
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>>4005668
Anyone got a better resolution of this coverart? Shit is pure ace.
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Stumbled across this when I was image searching foe something else. I love pen and ink work.
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>>4004454
No, it sucks. Have you ever read Sandman? Its an amazing set of comics because Neil Gaimain is a genius but the artwork is trash at least half the time.
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>>4020343
Sandman, like everything Gaiman, is incredibly overrated.
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Don Lawrence

Trigie and Storm, Do i need to say more?.

YOU. are all commie fags for not even mentioning him.
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>>4021583
Cost shitloads at his site. Art reminds me of the metabarons though.
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>>4015964
because I didn't try to cherry pick, I went to amazon and collected old and new book covers.
the way of kings is a relatively new book.
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Somewhere I have Unearthed Arcana. It had rules for AD&D that were long overdue!
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>>4020348
amen, you can tell someone is a teenager if he likes sandman
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>>4021583
interesting stuff
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>>4022212
Me on the right
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>>4020348
Sandman is the best thing he's written
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>>4008393



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