Iâ€™ve scolded the artistic choices of past books before (and also applauded artists of the past), so I thought I would comment on the art (artists) of upcoming books. Dark Sun is fast approaching and the excerpts are being released with artwork, presumably artwork which will be in the campaign setting book. Iâ€™d like to give my thoughts on the â€śfitâ€ť of the art and artists featured in the Dark Sun campaign setting excerpts.
Painting: Iâ€™m not sure who the artist is, but its rough, unfinished look doesnâ€™t appeal to me and the overall image isnâ€™t that interesting.
John Stanko: Iâ€™m just not a fan. I think the work looks like someone took a photo then painted over it. Add bad composition and you have art similar to the 2E Dark Sun expanded edition covers which I think has no place in D&D products. I really like his work on the Shadar-kai though.
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai: Theyâ€™ve done good work for D&D 4E, but in Dark Sun their style is drab and more akin to bible story illustrations (since the sudjects' dress looks like they're from Judea). The colors arenâ€™t vibrant and thereâ€™s nothing telling the viewer that they are looking at a Dark Sun image (even when the second image is suppose to be the death of Kalak).
Kerem Beyit: Karemâ€™s work is detailed, no doubt about it. He brings real looking images to the table which really draws in the viewer. The second one really shows his talent off. The second image is the only work that says it's Dark Sun to me despite the first having a braxat. Maybe other subject matter might bring the Dark Sun feel to his images.
William Oâ€™Conner: Heâ€™s done a lot of the work for the character races and classes and I like the image heâ€™s done for this particular Dark Sun image. I think having him do the race and class illustrations for Dark Sun will give some good artistic continuity with the other 4E D&D books.
Wayne Reynolds: If I was to pick one artist that was the Dark Sun 4E artist it would be Wayne Reynolds. His work tells you that you are looking at a Dark Sun image. His style is sharp, dare I say spikey, and his subjects are always unique and imposing. His work draws me into the world and shows me what I think Dark Sun should play like. Itâ€™s no small wonder then why his work was chosen for the covers of the Dark Sun campaign setting and creature catalog.