Dragon Magazine Jim Holloway TSR

I love Jim Holloway's art, so much so that I've gone to great lengths to include him in The Folio series because I believe he's that important to the genre.  He graced the cover of Folio #2, and will do so again with Folio #13, but no matter how many times folks gush about cover artists like Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, Brom, Reynolds or Lockwood, they seem to discount Holloway.  Still, Holloway might hold the record for most Dragon Magazine covers by a single artist (but Clyde Caldwell would have to be close!).  So, today on AotG, I'm going to let you all see my favorite 10 Holloway covers from a magazine that meant a great deal to me back in the day.

#10: Dragon 151

Jim got to do a LOT of Oriental Adventures, probably because TSR pigeon holed him since he was of Japanese descent.  Nonetheless, he always did a great job with it, so I have to assume he enjoyed the setting.

#9: Dragon 59

I'm sure many of you didn't realize Jim went all the way back to Dragon #41, which was published in September 1980, but this is a more recognizable cover by him from March 1982.  This does, however, coincide with Jim's hiring into the TSR stable.  Although he didn't last long as an 'in house' artist, his legacy with the company all begins right here.

#8: Dragon 161

Done it September 1990, this was the 'Spelljammer' era for Jim.  While he didn't officially work at TSR, he was instrumental in the creation of the genre, and even if this piece isn't exactly Spelljammer, I always considered it to be a nice representation of the mythos.

#7: Dragon 164

Again with the Oriental Adventures, even if the system had already been pretty much shut down by 1991.

#6: Dragon 117

Included in 'things I dig' about Holloway.  A. He did fantastic adventuring parties.  B. He did great stress in his paintings.  C. His bald dwarves RULE! and D. He always had great knowledge of axes!

#5: Dragon 127

Well, Jim does great humanoids, and he also is a wonderful painter of war scenes.  This one in particular always spoke to me.

#4: Dragon 121

WHAT!? They have Jim painting more Oriental Adventures!?  Still, how about this battle, and check out the armor!

#3: Dragon 74

Although an early piece, this one is probably one of the most technically sound I've seen.  The original is lovely, and the action here reminds me a bit of some Middle-Earth Role-Playing, which he was also hired to do around this time in his career.

#2: Dragon 178

Dwarves, dwarves, dwarves, and frozen dwarves!  What could be better?  One of his last Dragon covers, it is certainly one of the best he did.

#1: Dragon 88

The first ever Dragon Magazine I saw in the flesh.  I've written more words on this than I care to recall, but there is a reason I had Jim do another version of it for Gygax Magazine #6 (which sadly was the final issue).  Still, I will love this piece to the day I die, and credit it with me getting into the game just as much as Elmore's Red Box cover.

I hope you've enjoyed this nostalgia today, and remember, AotG would love your support of The Folio so we can continue to produce incredible fantasy covers like those above.  Help us help Jim and other great OSR artists!  Subscribe today, or come and support our current Kickstarter campaign.

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  • Josh on

    A nice list. Holloway has always been underrated, I think because he overlapped with Elmore, Easley, Parkinson, and Caldwell and that’s just a lot of strong competition!

    is especially strong and the start of a heck of a year for Holloway. #127 has always been a personal favorite, but part of that is a deep love for the content of the issue as well. I have to put those two at the top of the list for me. I like #88, but the color composition is a bit off to me. it’s too easy to lose track of the anatomy with the greens, a choice I expect a more experienced Holloway wouldn’t have made a few years later.

    A lot of Dragon cover artists struggled to convey action, but Holloway was great at it. His covers were really good at showing energy and movement, and it was always easy to “press play” in your imagination and visualize how the rest of the scene would play out once the action resumed.

    A great collection from a terrific era for the magazine.

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