Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old School Art Podcast

The latest Ninja Mountain podcast includes a round table discussion about old school D&D art, with former TSR staff artists Erol Otus and Jeff Easley. The discussion is promoting the upcoming release of The Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis.

It's well worth listening to, if only to hear the voice of Erol Otus talk about his art, his influences, and what he takes to be the important elements of old school art. It's also quite fascinating to hear -- and I know this will fan some flames in various quarters -- Jeff Easley say that he (and Larry Elmore) had never played D&D before they were hired by TSR, whereas Erol Otus notes that he was a huge D&D player, perhaps too much of one, according to his comments.

In any case, check it out.

9 comments:

  1. Does one really need to play D&D to draw for it?

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  2. No. But here's evidence that you need to play D&D in order to become a legendary D&D artist.

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  3. That's about the size of it, in my opinion. I think it also matters if one values the "hobbyist" element of early gaming. In those days, no one was doing this stuff (solely) for the money and, frankly, there wasn't enough money to attract artists (or writers) for reasons other than the chance to work on games they already loved.

    As TSR became more successful, the hobbyist mentality ebbed, with a greater importance being placed on slick, "professional" presentation. Now, I don't think the two need be exclusive -- Dave Trampier is proof of that -- but I think there is a correlation between love of D&D and memorable D&D artwork.

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  4. That podcast was a lot of fun. I'd never heard Otus before. I'd only seen his work. It was fun to listen to him for the first time. He's lively and interesting. When he said he liked his pictures to have Vancian whimsey, where something horrible but funny was happening at the same time, that jibed with everything I knew of his work and everything this blog has been saying about Old School. I didn't know that B3 Palace Of The Silver Princess was recalled because the art was too risque. Seems Otus had that problem on more than one project. He and Jeff Dee are two of my favourites from that period.

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  5. Fantastic interviews in all. But I can't help how cooler it would of been if they had a podcast with just Erol, Dee, Roslof and Willingham, As they really were the young turks in the art department at TSR from 79-82. None the less ,it was great to hear all those guys talk.

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  6. Fantastic interviews in all. But I can't help how cooler it would of been if they had a podcast with just Erol, Dee, Roslof and Willingham, As they really were the young turks in the art department at TSR from 79-82. None the less ,it was great to hear all those guys talk.

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  7. Hey folks! If you liked the d&d special on Ninja Mountain, and want to hear more talk with artists from the Fantasy/Gaming field, you might be very interested in the episode coming out this Friday, with interviews from top illustrators at Illuxcon, including Brom, Whelan, Giancola, Maitz, and lots of others. In fact there are so many that it might end up being a 2-part episode with part 2 released Monday.

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  8. "It's also quite fascinating to hear -- and I know this will fan some flames in various quarters -- Jeff Easley say that he (and Larry Elmore) had never played D&D before they were hired by TSR..."

    Well, Frazetta never read any of the Conan books:

    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/11/fantasy-art-has-arrived-franzetta-conan-cover-sells-for-a-million-dollars/

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  9. Frazetta is, I understand, somewhat inconsistent on that particular point, having said lots of differing things over the years about the extent to which he immersed himself in Howard, Burroughs, and other authors whose characters he illustrated.

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