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Erol Otus Art! 
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Mogrl

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TLG could use some Bosch or Escher-inspired artistry.
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:07 pm
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Maukling
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Quote:
Akrasia wrote:
Um, exactly what style art is TLG looking for?



The kind that sells a book to the widest population, like any sensible publisher.
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:58 pm
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Red Cap

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Quote:
gideon_thorne wrote:
The kind that sells a book to the widest population, like any sensible publisher.



And you know that 'old school' art would fail to do this? Please. It seems that Goodman Games has done quite well with its 'Dungeon Crawl Classics' line.

Moreover, judging by the response to the Otus cover at a number of different fora, it seems that HM Basic will sell quite well indeed. Just one example:
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=449420

Obviously TLG isn't interested in Otus's work or an 'old school' look more generally. But I doubt you have any solid basis for claiming that TLG's art appeals to a wider audience.
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:24 pm
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I like uniformity of appearance in my product lines (yeah, maybe thats nutty but I do) and C&C doesn't have the Old School look and it would agitate me to see it creep up on covers.

I like some old school art, but not on my C&C. It would look out of place.


Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:28 pm
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Maukling
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Quote:
Akrasia wrote:
And you know that 'old school' art would fail to do this? Please. It seems that Goodman Games has done quite well with its 'Dungeon Crawl Classics' line.

Moreover, judging by the response to the Otus cover at a number of different fora, it seems that HM Basic will sell quite well indeed. Just one example:
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=449420

Obviously TLG isn't interested in Otus's work or an 'old school' look more generally. But I doubt you have any solid basis for claiming that TLG's art appeals to a wider audience.



Just 25 years of experience in the art industry, and watching what sells. And the fact that I am doing this for a living and don't need to find a regular day job. ^_~`

And yes, I know for a fact that old school art doesn't do this. The same way I know for a fact that abstract art, or impressionistic art, or cubism doesn't appeal to the wide audience.

Goodman's sales have more to do with selling product for the current big dog in the publishing industry than the art used. And from listening to various and assorted writers and publishers I know, 4e stuff isn't doing as well as 3e stuff, but the same type of art is being used.

The internet is no barometer for what sells as far as art, or most anything really, goes. Going to conventions and dealing with the 90% of the actual customer base that doesn't lurk on web fora is a much better indicator.

A good majority of those who buy art these days, at conventions and the like, have no idea who the artists, not to mention the writers, of the original D&D game are.
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:52 pm
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Red Cap

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Well, Peter, I guess that we'll just have to see how well Hackmaster Basic sells for Kenzer with its 'old school' Otus cover. I suspect that you may find yourself rethinking what you take yourself to 'know'.

For the record, I'm fine with most C&C art. I'd just like more variety. (And no tieflings on the cover of the PHB.)
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:19 pm
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Maukling
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Quote:
Akrasia wrote:
Well, Peter, I guess that we'll just have to see how well Hackmaster Basic sells for Kenzer with its 'old school' Otus cover. I suspect that you may find yourself rethinking what you take yourself to 'know'.

For the record, I'm fine with most C&C art. I'd just like more variety. (And no tieflings on the cover of the PHB.)



I highly doubt it. Kenzer's numbers have more to do with their distribution and the system they produced. They took advantage of a wave of interest in a type of AD&D reprint. Nostalgia works, to a point. But if you want to go outside a limited market, you need to understand the tastes of the current market, not the one in 1979.
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:37 pm
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Red Cap

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So if a product sells well with art that you happen to dislike, then that must be because of factors unrelated to that art, whereas if a product sells well with art you happen to like, obviously the art helped with sales! Okay, I can see how this is going to go...

Irrespective of its appeal to 'the masses', I find Otus's work to be distinctive and inspiring, in contrast to the generic stuff that is so common these days. I'm glad Kenzer went with it!
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Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:59 pm
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Maukling
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Quote:
Akrasia wrote:
So if a product sells well with art that you happen to dislike, then that must be because of factors unrelated to that art, whereas if a product sells well with art you happen to like, obviously the art helped with sales! Okay, I can see how this is going to go...

Irrespective of its appeal to 'the masses', I find Otus's work to be distinctive and inspiring, in contrast to the generic stuff that is so common these days. I'm glad Kenzer went with it!



Putting words in my mouth isn't an effective discussion tactic.
Art helps with sales to a certain extent. The more popular the style, the more it helps. But its not the most important determining factor.

If old school art sold a book on its own, then the various old school companies would be outselling TLG, and they aren't.

But lets deal with this by one determining factor. Money. Folks like Boris Valleo, Julie Bell, Royo, Kieth Birdsong, Elmore, Easley, Nene Thomas and the like are some of the most well known and highly paid people in the arts industry. They make gobs of money in various degree's. Ergo, their work is magnitudes more popular by the one determining factor that matters.

I find Hawk the Slayer entertaining, but I don't presume my tastes are widely accepted or duplicated. In this case, I happen to know otherwise.
Course as far as taste goes, and this is a discussion that can have no winner; I like art that is both popular and unpopular, some of the stuff I don't like sells books very well, and some I do doesn't sell books at all well. As far as taste goes I like art for the same reason most people do. It appeals to me in some way. Doesn't make me right and everyone else wrong on what constitutes good art.

But the amount one sells does determine what is popular art.

Course, I could go on a tangent on the differences between a fine artist and a commercial illustrator as well. The short of it being that one is in it for the sake of the art, and the other is in it for the sake of getting paid. I'm the former more than the latter, but that's an entirely different subject.
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Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:08 am
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Red Cap

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What do you mean by 'old school companies'? I'm glad that TLG is doing well, but are you claiming that TLG is doing better than Goodman Games and Kenzer?

Anyhow, I'll concede your point that 'old school' art may have a restricted appeal (although some people would consider Easley and Elmore to be 'old school' -- I don't, but that just goes to show how vague the term is).

That doesn't lessen Otus's standing as an artist one bit, in my view. Innovative and creative artists often have limited appeal. Money is not the measure of artistic quality. Van Gogh died a pauper.

One thing is certain. Love or hate Otus, that HMB cover is going to stand out on a shelf of FRPG books that are all emulating the same 'popular' style!
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Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:01 am
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Quote:
Akrasia wrote:
What do you mean by 'old school companies'? I'm glad that TLG is doing well, but are you claiming that TLG is doing better than Goodman Games and Kenzer?



Not sure if Goodman could be considered an old school company or not, with the diversity of their product line and styles. I wouldn't think so.

As for Kenzer, they've been doing what they are doing a fair bit longer than TLG, but TLG is catching up. And, last I heard, C&C is #1 on the market as far as its type of game goes.

Mostly what I am referring too are these companies that make a point of narrowing their focus to a given era of gaming.

Fact is, the folks that are fixed on a given style and set of mechanics are a niche of a niche, and its not a big enough market to aim at.
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Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:14 am
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Gideon_thorne, your points are spot on. I understand what you are saying. Troll Lords should not try to get locked into any pigeon hole. Old school players know what the like and no amount of marketing is going to do much to persuade this set of consumers. It's like folks who swear by Ford trucks. They will have nothing to do with Chevy trucks and vica versa.

But, my question is why would the Trolls not be interested in pursuing Otus' work at all? Is it simply artistic dislike, pricing, or some other combo? Otus is well liked by many old schoolers, but do you think his work is a turn off to those who came on board in the d20 hey days or even younger gamers?

As far as Goodman Games being an old school company, if you focus upon the DCC line, until they switched to 4th edition, the art had many similarities to the old TSR art. I think that was an active and productive choice. While WotC's D&D had a very different artistic flavor (it gave me the jibblies) with their numerous piercings, buckles, and tattoos, the DCC line often had stereo-typical archetype magic-users and fighters.

Your thoughts? Anyway, I've found this thread very interesting.

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Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:48 pm
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I like boobies. Boobies sell.

And dragons. Dragons sell.

Even as an artist who most often suckles at the teat of the ubiquitous old-school style, I have to admit that I'm behind Peter on this one. TLG has a certain style that is extremely successful, and Peter is the one responsible for that. Until such a point (if ever - and I personally hope it never does) that the success flags, I don't really see any point confusing it with injections of a drastically different flavor. There's a time and a place for everything. TLG isn't trying to be Goodman or Kenzer, and vice-versa.

There is plenty of room for everybody.

Peter, I think that you need to add one more tier to your fine artist vs commercial artist example: RPG artist. Personally, I make a lot more money for my commercial/editorial art than I do for my RPG stuff. Then again, I'm not in an RPG company's stable, either. Given my preference, I'd stick with fine art that has nothing to do with either. My fine art style wouldn't sell for squat in the RPG field - though it's starting to sell extremely well on its own merit.

Regarding Otus, I like him way more now than I did back in the olden days. I can appreciate the funky style, and I think the HM Basic set looks like a lot of fun. I'll probably pick one up. Holloway's still my favorite of the old guard, though.
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Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:43 pm
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Mogrl

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I love Otis artwork. Especially when its on something like BFRPG, LL, or OSRIC. I certainly did not, and do not, buy Goodman DCC's for the Otis art. I would consider it a bonus if it happens to be a Goodman 1E style module.

However I don't want Otis art to have anything to do with my 3E, 4E, or C&C art. IF its products I would still buy because they look to be a good product, I would. Otis certainly isn't a deal maker for me, though.

Plus I agree the artist isn't what sells to most people, its whether or not its full color, or not. Like if C&C could go full color their sales might, maybe, jump 20% or more. Hard to say really, because despite peoples shallow claims that they don't buy anything unless its full color, I think they still have to be interested in the substance of what they are buying.

So I think full color, and maybe having an artist you like, is more like having superior frosting on your cake. If the cake still sucks, your not going to eat it. You'll just lick off the good frosting and move on.
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Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:35 pm
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Lore Drake

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hhhmmmmmm I love the older artist- I have found that with many things in my life I need to relax with my art and just take the ride .... I have spent many years just trying to fit a mold and that brings alot of frustration.

I like C&C's artist style- I wish that there had been more attention paid to it when they did the arms and armor guide - but- you do lack a bit in the hard Black and white area- I'd like to see more art like the Illousionist - Peter that is one of your finer pieces of art to be sure, I know you have mentioned that you atre not solid in black and white but I beg ro differ.


Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:02 pm
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Quote:
JediOre wrote:
Your thoughts? Anyway, I've found this thread very interesting.



I'll have to take a raincheck squire. I'm at a convention this weekend and I'm a tad busy for cogent thought at the moment.

In the mean time, here's me channelling my inner Frazetta, and a bit of a preview of the new Barbarian art for the PHB at the same time:
http://www.ravenchilde.com/Barbarian.jpg
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Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:09 am
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Maukling
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That is frigging AWESOME!!!!!


Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:18 am
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Quote:
Quote:
That is frigging AWESOME!!!!!



I can't say it better myself!

Quote:
Quote:
I'd like to see more art like the Illousionist - Peter that is one of your finer pieces of art to be sure,



My vote goes to the cleric, but the Illousionist is a close second!
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Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:15 am
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Mogrl

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Can we keep this about Erol Otus *?
Which, by the way, this is his website.

* And no, I am not saying anything bad about Peter, or his work, but he can show off in his own thread. This one was supposed to be Erol Otus.
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Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:24 am
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Quote:
DangerDwarf wrote:
That is frigging AWESOME!!!!!



He looks a bit more formidable thats for sure.


Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:32 am
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Red Cap

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Quote:
gideon_thorne wrote:
...

But lets deal with this by one determining factor. Money....



As this recent interview indicates, Erol Otus seems to have been successful at making a living as an artist:
http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com ... 25306#more

Perhaps he's not as wealthy as Boris Vallejo (a poor man's Frazetta IMO) or Larry Elmore (the great master of blandness IMO), but obviously his work has adequate appeal to pay the bills.

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Fri May 01, 2009 3:35 am
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Also, people, it is 'Otus', not 'Otis'!
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Fri May 01, 2009 3:36 am
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Great site, Erol Otus's art is pretty neat. He seems to be sucessfully

working in Digital Media now too. Its not many of the Old-School artists

made that transition.
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Sun May 24, 2009 11:23 am
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Actually, that's not his website - that's a fan site that acquired his permisson to post his stuff. His real website (the official one, I guess you'd call it) is still under construction. He told me it has been pending for a long time and he expects it will probably continue to do so for awhile longer, but not forever. I'm anxious to explore it when it's up and running. http://www.erolotus.com/
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Sat May 30, 2009 1:56 am
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Maukling
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Quote:
Akrasia wrote:
As this recent interview indicates, Erol Otus seems to have been successful at making a living as an artist:
http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com ... 25306#more

Perhaps he's not as wealthy as Boris Vallejo (a poor man's Frazetta IMO) or Larry Elmore (the great master of blandness IMO), but obviously his work has adequate appeal to pay the bills.



Actually, as I understand it Otus is working in the computer games industry. Which pays very well.

And, I hate to say it, but anyone who calls Elmore bland has no aesthetic sense about art what so ever.
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Sat May 30, 2009 2:48 am
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"And, I hate to say it, but anyone who calls Elmore bland has no aesthetic sense about art what so ever."

Each to his own! I like Elmore's painting skills, its his posed samely content that makes me yawn.

But I can still see the merits of his work. You don't think much of Otus, or Old-school styled or themed artwork, that is clear,

so one could chuck the arguement right back at yourself!

Just because someone does not agree with your own personal, yet

frequently aired opinions on art, does not mean "they have no aestetic

senses about art whatsoever". That Sir, is taking the Artistic debate

to the personal level! (even if you do put a winking smiley at the end )
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Sat May 30, 2009 7:17 am
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I think both are great artists in their own right (Elmore and Otus). Completely different styles, but both still relevent. Speaking as an artist, I think they are both more experienced and skilled than I, so I am not in a position to say who sucks and who doesn't suck. I would be happy just to achieve even a quarter of the success and respect that both of them have achieved in their careers.

I like the softness and the technical skill of Elmore (his sense of realism) and what I like about Mr. Otus's work is his quirky sense of style - it's unique and all his own. There is a fun quality about it. It's unique, imaginitive, and very well-executed.
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Sat May 30, 2009 3:58 pm
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Quote:
ATOM wrote:
"And, I hate to say it, but anyone who calls Elmore bland has no aesthetic sense about art what so ever."

Each to his own! I like Elmore's painting skills, its his posed samely content that makes me yawn.

But I can still see the merits of his work. You don't think much of Otus, or Old-school styled or themed artwork, that is clear,

so one could chuck the arguement right back at yourself!

Just because someone does not agree with your own personal, yet

frequently aired opinions on art, does not mean "they have no aestetic

senses about art whatsoever". That Sir, is taking the Artistic debate

to the personal level! (even if you do put a winking smiley at the end )



*chuckles* If folks want to take it personal, that's their own business. I just find the concept of Elmore as 'bland' to be patently absurd.

And this is the art discussion forum. Frequently aired opinions are not only welcome but encouraged. Doesn't mean I wont make fun of the silly ones.
But feel free to chuck the argument back at me. I won't take it personal.
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Sat May 30, 2009 11:35 pm
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What is it Steve says? It takes all kinds to make the world go round, or to destroy it, or something of that sort.
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Sat May 30, 2009 11:51 pm
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Quote:
marjasall wrote:
What is it Steve says? It takes all kinds to make the world go round, or to destroy it, or something of that sort.



Hey, you wanna hear a really silly discussion, listen in some time when me and Steve argue about the merits of Frazetta. Don't know why anyone would take me serious anyhow, I'm an artist. We're all nuts.
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