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Fans + A-Series = Awesome!
Dragon's-Eye View
By Jon Schindehette

A few months ago, I put out the call for fans who wanted to submit a piece of art for the new Against the Slave Lords A-Series collection. I asked you to send your doodles and sketches in for consideration. In truth, I really did expect to receive just that: sketches and doodles. I expected it so much that I asked staff within the walls of Wizards to kick me pieces that I could use to inspire folks to participate. Due to space constraints, I could not use any of them in my article, and I’m glad I didn’t, because the pieces that the fans submitted far exceeded anything I was given.

We received some really great art, which we added to the back of the book. Because of the limited print run, there may be some folks who weren’t able to get a copy. So, I figured I’d take a few minutes and highlight a few of my favorites. Okay, a “few” might be a bit deceiving. I had to hold myself to task, so I limited the number of pieces I highlighted: I’m going to keep the list to ten entries.

I have no rhyme or reason for my choices other than the simple fact that I enjoyed them. You won’t see any consistent art style or content. In fact, you might say that I’m being really inconsistent—in a consistent manner.

First, I chose a piece by Bryant Paul Johnson. I really enjoyed the whimsical nature of his illustration, and I liked that he played up the party aspect of the adventure. I’ll mention that the wizard forgot the cardinal rule: Stay behind the fighter!

We received a ton of roper images. I was surprised that so many folks took on that particular critter in their image. I think Chet Minton did a great job of making them feel dangerous. The situation is quite dire, wouldn’t you say?

When it comes to underground battles, you get the sense that Hinchel Or has taken on a couple in his time. Loved the lighting and atmosphere!

We had a lot of characters and monsters to look at in the submissions, and a few caught my attention. This minotaur, seething with attitude, was one of the pieces that did just that. James Burton injected so must angst into this guy—it’s oozing from every pore.

It might seem like I’m hooked on battle scenes, and maybe I am, but I really enjoyed the old-school vibe that infuses Luigi Castellani’s piece. The line work pulls off that vintage look. The action is pretty compelling as well!

Just to prove that I’m not totally swayed by epic action scenes, let’s look at another great character piece. JW Paterson did his take on Theg Narlot and brought him to life. You just gotta love bad guys who are always looking for that little bit of an edge.

And while this could be construed as a character piece, what really caught my attention about Mike Lowe’s image was all the great detail. I was convinced that if I would just look a little harder, I’d be able to read the titles on the books in the bookshelves. Okay, the intense stare and all the bad guys lurking in the background caught my eye as well. Great storytelling!

Myconids were also a very popular monster to depict. The next image tapped into the little kid in me. I’m not sure why—it might be the render, it might be the characters, or it might be the stylization—but whatever the reasons, Raymond R Roberge created one of my faves.

Did I mention myconids? I think I did. Well, Tuomas Salmela did a great job making me believe that they could walk and talk(?). Okay, maybe not talk, but I definitely felt like I could get the real sense of what they were.

And my last pick is a piece created by Remi Roundtree. Why? Simple. This image is how I felt half the time when I was going through the adventures in the A-Series collection.

I hope you enjoyed these pieces, and if you want to see more, head on over to your local game store and snag a copy of Against the Slave Lords before they are gone forever.

Jon Schindehette
Jon Schindehette joined Wizards of the Coast in 1997 as the website art director. In the intervening years he has worked as the marketing art director, novels art director, and creative manager. In January of 2009 he moved into the role of senior creative director for D&D. Jon is a long time D&D player (started in 1978), and currently plays in a Tuesday night game and DMs a random pick-up game for younger players. He can be found on Twitter (@ArtOrder) and at theartorder.com.
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