Art of the Genre

Sometime in 1987 I purchased the hardcover copy of Games Workshop’s new RPG, Warhammer Fantasy.  Sure, it was anything but D&D, but for a change it worked well to spell a few months of the summer as my friend Mark and I played a single campaign set in the new world.

However, it wasn’t the change in D&D system that drew me to Warhammer Fantasy, instead it was the intriguing piece of artwork on the cover.  This piece somehow resonated with all things NOT American at the time.  In essence, it had that same otherworldly feel of the AD&D Fiend Folio, and little did my teenage mind understand that what that really meant was it was English. 

Ah, jolly old England did have a very unique style of art in the 1980s, and Warhammer Fantasy resonated with the Russ Nicholson feel I’d been enjoying in Fiend Folio for years.  The cover to this new book was done by John Sibbick, and as funny as this may seem today, all other artwork in the book was credited to ‘individual artists’.  If that doesn’t roll back the years, nothing will!

So, I really have no idea who did the interior work for over 360 pages of gaming text, but there are certainly multiple artists, many of which did a fine job of bringing the world of Warhammer to life for role-players.

I was also impressed with the GW’s commitment to art, as the book is filled, and I mean filled, with hundreds of images, from characters, equipment, monsters, and even several impressive maps that lend well to the setting. 

In all, I found the book to be both useful and inspiring, and a part of me wishes I could go back and play another round in The Empire as I try to make my way through dozens of professions seeking the perfect combination to make the ultimate badass character.

However, the sheer volume of images can’t make up for the fact that the bulk seem less then upper level pro quality, and I often found myself wondering about the artists understanding of perspective and movement, something that also comes into play on the Sibbick cover. 

That said, I still find this huge volume [and probably the closest thing to a true ‘tome’ I have in my gaming library] a worthy addition to any gamers collection, and if you love mohawks, this is definitely the game for you!   

Artistic Rating: 3 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — May 16, 2013

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