Friday, February 12, 2021

Tracy Lesch

My fondness for dungeon vermin is almost as strong as my fondness for Dave Megarry's Dungeon! boardgame, which was my gateway to the hobby. Yesterday, I was looking at the monster and treasure cards to the original 1975 edition, such as the one depicted above. According to the credits, all the artwork on the cards were the work of Tracy Lesch. The name, though not immediately recognizable to me, nevertheless seemed familiar somehow. I did a quick scan of my early TSR products and discovered that the name appeared in the credits to OD&D's Supplement II: Blackmoor. Here's a good example of Lesch's work.

I know nothing about Tracy Lesch, though I suspect that he or she was likely involved in the Twin Cities scene, given that his or her work appears in both Dungeon! and Blackmoor, two products associated with that area. That may be a mistaken surmise on my part, though, but I don't have much more to go on. If anyone knows any more, I'd love to know it.

6 comments:

  1. Tracy's a regular player in Bill Silvey's Monday night AD&D game that I play in (we're in White Plume Mountain at the moment).

    He's on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracy.lesch and was one of the contributors to the Art & Arcana book, published while you were on hiatus.

    Allan.

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  2. If that Roper didn't predate Star Wars by two years, I'd say she was drawing Chewbacca according to H.P. Lovecraft!

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  3. The teenage Tracy Lesch drew the original illustrations that were shown to players in the tournament adventure at the Origins convention in 1975: Gary Gygax's Tomb of Horrors. The boxed special edition of Art & Arcana comes with a booklet containing that version of the Tomb and all the illustrations by Lesch.

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  4. Your guess that Tracy is from the Mpls. crowd is off, James. Tracy was a Lake Geneva resident who blew through his History classwork in half the time it took anyone else, and would spend the rest of the class drawing in his art notebook. Heidi Gygax sat behind him in that class and one day asked him if she could show his work to her dad. He agreed, Gary invited him over, and when he went to the Gygax household, Gary gave him a woodgrain boxed set to use as reference and set him on the course of doing artwork for Tomb of Horrors and later D&D supplements, as well as all of the art for Boot Hill with his father, who was an enthusiast of westerns (books, films, TV).

    Tracy's work on ToH is interesting because he had 28 days to complete all of the illustrations; he said it was a grind, but fun.

    He'll be on my Facebook livestream again on Friday (I have him on from time to time; he's local to me and we know each other, but the current environment makes virtual hanging out a safer option).

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