Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Graphic Novel A Day: The Art of Dragon Magazine

Artists: Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson, Jeff Easley, Wayne Reynolds, Brom, Todd Lockwood, Tony DiTerlizzi, Tim Hildebrandt, Daniel Horne, Dennis Beauvais, Clyde Caldwell, Kalman Andrasofszky, etc.
Company: Paizo Publishing
Price: $34.95 ($23.07 at Amazon)

OK, technically this isn't a graphic novel, but it is a really nice art book. I read Dragon from probably somewhere in the 70s (issue-wise, not year-wise) to somewhere in the early 120s or so, and then picked it up again for a while when D and D 3.0 came out. I've gotten a lot of use out of the magazine over the years, and seen a lot of great covers too. One of the things that Wizards of the Coast does better than probably any other gaming company is that they use professional artists of the highest caliber and print their work in full color, and you need only look at Art of Dragon to see what a boost that can be to a player's imagination. It was in reading this that I discovered that my favorite Dragon artist, whose images I remembered but name I never knew, was Dennis Beauvais, and they reprint a decent number of his pieces here. There's a variety, from earlier work to the latest stuff, from the classic fantasy paintings to the more comic book and anime-influenced work that we see a lot of in D and D books today from guys like Wayne Reynolds and comics veteran Kalman Andrasofszky. It's loosely organized into themes like dragons, monsters, worlds, etc. but basically the editors get out of the way and let the art do the talking. I would have liked a little more insight, maybe commentary from the artists, but I can't complain about giving the artwork full pages so that you can really appreciate the work. Any fan of fantasy art should definitely pick this one up. I found myself wishing for a DVD-ROM version with the covers of every issue of Dragon and all the interior artwork after reading through it.

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