Dragon's Eye View: Art Collections

One of the most common questions I get when I'm on the road is this one: "When are you going to do a cool D&D art book?" Art books ARE cool! Well, they are to an art lover, and we have done a few for D&D over the years. But it's been awhile, so let's talk about art books for a few minutes and discover what you might like to see in one if we did one in the future. Actually, I'm just going to ask lots of questions. Your answers will help inform and educate on what you are really interested in seeing in the world of art books.

Dragon's Eye View: Art Collections

All around helpful simian

I would love a art book (print or digital) with a mixture of old and new arts and with possibly short stories to accompany the images covering a large variety of styles and subject.  My favorite D&D artbook  has always been The Worlds of TSR !

Oh I'd also love to buy my kids D&D coloring books man!

Buy that coloring book in a heartbeat.. got a 7 year old daughter who would love it
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
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Personally, I'd like to see something along the lines of the databooks some of the more popular mangakas release as supplementary material for their manga series, like these books for Bleach.
Art collection book? Sure! Colouring book? Definitely!

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

What I'd really like to see is an entire adventure + ready-to-play party done as an art book.  Have several characters to choose from, character sheets ready to go, and a few paintings to begin to describe the character and their background.  Pick the one you want to play, and then flip to the first adventure page to see what you encounter.  The DM flips through the book ahead of time to see what pictures are coming up.  No text beyond the character sheets, monster stat blocks, and whatever might be ICly visible within the scene (signs, dwarven script, etc.)  Play up scenes from the setting's history: art as exposition.
I would buy D&D coloring books so fast...too fast to make a good metaphor.
My two copper.
I would want to use a D&D art book as a springboard for adventure ideas, and as long as there are pictures that stimulate me, I am okay with whatever level or kind of text in the art book there is.
I would want to use a D&D art book as a springboard for adventure ideas, and as long as there are pictures that stimulate me, I am okay with whatever level or kind of text in the art book there is.

Yeah, on second thought, I agree with this -- with the proviso that each piece of artwork is designed to inspire an entire adventure, rather than just be art that might or might not inspire.  An entire artbook for a single adventure is probably too narrow a vision to sell well, but an art book that launches 50 adventures or even 50 campaigns, now that would be something.
Personally, I'd prefer something like the FR World Bible (that John has mentioned) instead of just a Generic Art Book.  I can look up pretty pictures online, and I don't really have the cash to spend on just a nice coffee table book.  But a book filled with a variety of concept sketches, finished art, art that didn't quite make it into published matieral, some prose describing "here's why we decided to draw people from The Heartlands this way", sketches showing the visual development of various races...  THAT I would totally buy without hesitation.

Not that I don't appreciate the beautiful work and the talented artists WotC employs.  I would just find something like the World Bible more useful.  It showcases art that would never be seen otherwise, and for me at least, provides far more inspiration than yet another painting of a fighter, a dragon, and a mostly naked chick.  So many conceptual artists never get the credit they deserve, they pump out WAY more art than a guy doing single paintings.  And it's stuff you can look at and say "the NPC looks like this guy" or "so this is what architecture in Amn look like" or "you've walked into a halfling village, and these are the sorts of scenes you see" - great, now I can better describe the world my players are in.  That to me is incredibly useful, AND celebrates the beauty and artistry of D&D.

My response...

::Along with my art, I want prose about...::
I'd like to see an art book styled as the "nature show" travelogue of a field scholar who explores the edges of the Known World documenting the various critters, monsters, hazards, and wondrous phenomena he encounters. Very limited prose, like Magic-card-flavor-text short. The prose would mainly be useful and/or evocative observations our intrepid explorer makes while being threatened by the monster-du-jour (i.e., he observed that trolls are only afraid of fire and put that in his book). This would, essentially, be a "real" Monster Manual that our adventurers could reference in character. Hah, boost sales by saying your adventurer can only reference the Manual in game if a player in the group actually owns a copy.

Not just monsters, either. Detailing the time he spent in a halfling shire or the Feywild would be just as evocative, IMO.

::What if we can never figure out a good way to make art books viable in the print form?::
If a printed art book is not viable, I would like to see it done as a recurring monthly or weekly feature in Dragon with the hope of compiling all the artwork into a real art book after a year or so.

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