Art of the Genre

Today I’m going to take a look at the art of I10 Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill by Tracy and Laura Hickman.

Produced by TSR in 1986, the second coming of Strahd is another very cool addition to the I series of modules. It features David Cook, Jeff Grubb, Tracy & Laura Hickman, as well as Harold Johnson on the design team and comes in a 41 pages of cool content. I think it is a great precursor to the Ravenloft Boxed Set which would appear only a year later.

Artwork for the adventure is standard for the time period, with a cover by Clyde Caldwell, interior very rushed black & white illustrations by Jeff Easley, and maps by Diesel LaForce.

Caldwell’s work is another iconic piece, although his heroine is overblown even for him and Strahd seems to have hit the gym a bit since we last saw him creeping around in I6. Certainly not Caldwell’s best work, but still highly enjoyable and provides his go-to naked hip which is always a bonus.

Easley’s work is a tad uninspired in this module [especially considering his love of classic horror] and the weight of four years of harsh deadlines, a dwindling company art team, and the stress of layoffs are showing. I find no piece in this entire module that I’d hold up as a great example of his illustration, and it is sad to see how far he has ‘fallen’ since his initial pieces from the Red Box of S4.

Diesel, however, comes out the best in this as his 3D maps add another dimension [see what I did there?] to the project as a whole.

In the end, it isn’t a ‘classic’ from an art point of view, but it does have enough positives to make it memorable.

Artistic Rating: 3 [out of 5]

 

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Written by Scott Taylor — December 08, 2014

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