Vote for your favourite TSR Artist
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Poll: Who is your favourite TSR artist?

Poll ended at Tue Dec 10, 2002 11:59 pm
Erol Otus 38%       38%  [ 5 ]
Jeff Dee 15%       15%  [ 2 ]
Dave Sutherland III 0%       0%  [ 0 ]
Jim Holloway 8%       8%  [ 1 ]
Jeff Easley 8%       8%  [ 1 ]
Stephen D Sullivan 0%       0%  [ 0 ]
David S LaForce 0%       0%  [ 0 ]
Jim Roslof 0%       0%  [ 0 ]
Bill Willingham 0%       0%  [ 0 ]
Larry Elmore 31%       31%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 13

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Post Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2002 11:59 pm 
 

Hi all,  After reading Adam Schultz's mention of his favourite D&D artist (Jeff Dee), I thought it would be a great idea to open a forum on this subject. In past couple of years, I have been trying to find out more about the artists from those early days, but there seems to be little information on the 'net.   Personally, I find the artwork of Erol Otus to be fantastic! His surrealistic style really suited the AD&D world at the time. I always had a feeling when the later artists came along (such as Elmore and Easley) that something was missing...   Does anyone know of a place on the web where all these old drawings are located? It would be great to see some of them again (at least, the ones that I don't have in my D&D collection).  By the way, if any of you are wondering why there are only 10 of the numerous artists that contributed to TSR, it is because the polling system only allows 10 options to select, so some sacrifices had to be made. I tried to pick 10 of the most prolific artists so that most people would know a few at least (especially if they come to this website!). However, if you think that I have missed someone important, then post a reply to this forum to let everyone know.  Regards Michael

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 12:29 am 
 

I do not know of any particular website devoted to a comprehensive catalog of TSR artwork. There is one fellow of the name Pat Wilshire who actively trades fantasy artwork. He has plenty of TSR but is not limited to TSR specifically. He used to post images of his collection online but I can not find the website now. His email address is [email protected]. He probably knows of any websites. WOTC was setting up a real art museum at one time but budget cuts killed that project. They were holding all of the available artwork carried over from the TSR days. All artwork done by the artist was automatically property of the company like most illustration in all industries. I understand they gave all of the artwork back to the original artists.  Here is a tidbit of an old email Pat W. sent me some time ago. I hope he wouldn't mind me posting it for public view but it is too interesting...  <<<<<<<<As far as early TSR stuff around, there is VERY very little. I've only seen one early Jeff Dee piece, which I own (I got it from Jeff, and it was the only thing he had). Ditto for everyone else except for Roslof. I just sold a couple of early TSR pieces that I had picked up over the years, including one of only three Trampier rulebook pieces I know of. (It was the "Quetzacoatl" ink from Deities and Demigods, which I just sold for $700. I still have the "Stone Giant" from the Monster Manual, and I know a collector who owns the "Pseudodragon" as well.) I also just sold a Willingham ink, a small non-TSR Jeff Dee (1988 from GDW), and I THINK I've sold my 1978 Dean Morrissey Dragon Magazine ink, but I'm not positive yet.  As far as what's out there -- I know that Erol Otus has a couple of Deities and Demigods pieces available, but only one of them is really nice, and I think Erol wants $1200 for it, which is even more than I'm willing to pay for an ink.  I think Harry Quinn has a few things as well, but I don't know what. Actually, you SHOULD buy some stuff from Harry, because he owes me $350 . . . . :-) I can give you his phone number if you're interested.  I've spoken with Darlene Pekul as well, and she claims to still have some artwork, but after almost two years I have not yet been successful in my attempts to get her to actually look and see what she has . . . .  I know of NOTHING from Tramp, Sutherland, Willingham, or Dee that's currently available. I do have some other earlier TSR that I'm selling, but nothing earlier than the mid-80's, and I think I may have a deal in place to sell all of it to another collector anyhow (I'm waiting to hear).   I know of one TSR person who had a bunch of early stuff that he "liberated" from TSR, but he has fallen off the face of the earth recently and has not answered emails or phone calls from me or any one of several collectors who have tried to contact him, so I suspect that his stuff is either gone or no longer for sale -- I know that some of the artists whose work he had were NOT pleased that he was selling it rather than returning it to them . . . .  Basically, it appears that most of the early TSR stuff was destroyed -- only a handful of things appear to have made it out of Lake Geneva, and then only in haphazard ways. I've been in touch with close to 100 current and past TSR employees looking for stuff, and I've turned up VERY little. I've talked personally with Dee, Roslof, Otus, Darlene, DSL, Truman . . . pretty much everyone except Willingham, Sutherland, and Trampier, whom I've not been able to locate. I do know a friend who has talked with Tramp, though, and he says that Tramp has nothing available to sell, either.  As far as I go, I own Roslof's "Descent into the Depths of the Earth" cover, along with his "Hecate" ink from Deities and Demigods. I have the Tramp "Stone Giant" piece, and a large unpublished Jeff Dee ink that was slated to appear in "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" but wasn't used. I have an unpublished module cover painting by Bill Willingham (an alternate version of "Secret of Bone Hill") and Erol Otus' "Thor's Hammer," from Deities and Demigods, and Harry Quinn's "Siren" and Dave Sutherland's "Thessylhydra," both from the Monster Manual II. I have an early 80's Darlene piece from GDW as well -- nothing TSR, and I've also got three vintage Tim Truman inks. That's about it in terms of truly vintage stuff after five years of searching.  Now, should you be interested in post-1982 stuff, like Easley, Elmore, Parkinson, etc., THOSE I can help you out with -- I know everyone who's been a TSR staff artist since 1982, with the exception of Jim Holloway, who apparently spends most of his time in Japan these days -- and pieces from that era are much more plentiful. Still not easy to locate (with the exception of Easley, who still has TONS of his originals), but doable.>>>>>>>>  Hope this is useful. Adam


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 10:25 pm 
 

...that David A. Trampier isn't listed on the vote.  I lodge a protest write in vote for Tramp!  His meticulously detailed drawing in T1 of characters walking down a staircase or his "Emirikol the Chaotic" plate in the DMG are classics, IMO.


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 12:09 am 
 

I voted for Erol, but would have had to go with Dave Trampier or Darlene Pekul, had they been listed.... ;->


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2002 7:05 pm 
 

Adam,   That is an amazing art collection you have going.  I am extremely envious.  How long have you been putting it together?

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2002 7:15 pm 
 

Hello Len,  You misread my post. That is an email I received from Pat Wilshire. I am extremely envious of his collection too! He also owned the first edition Queen of the Demonweb Pits painting which he claimed he would "never ever sell" but he did.  I actually own The Ghost Tower of Inverness first edition painting, a Larry Elmore drawing from D&D basic set, and a bunch of lesser known items. I just purchased a Jeff Easley drawing on ebay for less than $20. I have some cool items but there are other guys out there who are very serious indeed.  Adam


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 12, 2003 7:21 pm 
 

Hey, Adam, thanks for the promotion! ;-0) :D   Actually, I sold my entire vintage TSR art collection last May to a guy named David Mandel. Hated to do it, but I got offered a fantastic deal on an 11 x 14 Frazetta oil, and I needed the cash . . . .  My website (The Drow's Vault) is still up at 404 Not Found, but I haven't had time to update it in ages, so it's WAYYYY out of date. I plan to start updating again within the next couple of months, though, at least as far as my collection is concerned.  I still have lots of original TSR stuff (listed in the "RPG Related Artwork" post), but nothing older than the Elmore/Easley/Parkinson/Caldwell days now.   Pat Wilshire


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2003 10:55 am 
 

Hello Pat,  Welcome to these boards. I am glad to pass along your knowledge and trade to this community. :D   Would you have any interest in creating a virtual museum of TSR art? It would be cool to see the images on display with a collector credit like real museums have. It would be even cooler to know what pieces are still in existence. I know it is alot of work but if its out there you surely know of it.  Adam


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2003 12:56 pm 
 

Adam --  Thanks for the welcome!  I've thought about the virtual museum thing before. The problem is that a) I don't have the time any more, and b) I actually don't know the disposition of a LOT of earlier TSR art. I know the whereabouts of a lot of the REALLY early stuff, but there's a sizeable percentage of the Easley/Elmore/Caldwell/Parkinson stuff that is a mystery to me, as far as where it is goes. I know what the artists themselves still have, but other than that . . . . it seems like a lot of that artwork is in the hands of people who are not active collectors, and so I never run across them. I've been trying to locate Keith Parkinson's "Gods of Lanhkmar" cover for a couple of years (so I can buy it), with no luck.  If I ever get the chance to get The Drow's Vault back up and running at full speed again, though, I'll see what I can come up with . . . .   Pat


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 10:54 am 
 

(thx again for the nice site, Scott :))  
tsrart wrote:I've thought about the virtual museum thing before. The problem is that a) I don't have the time any more, and b) I actually don't know the disposition of a LOT of earlier TSR art. I know the whereabouts of a lot of the REALLY early stuff Pat
 That second point is no joke, Pat...  I picked up Elrohir's cover art for Dragon #11 last year on ebay (two bids, only). The vendor (still living in Lake Geneva) only knew about the TSR connection because of their locale/connections and had *no* idea that the artwork had been used on the magazine.  A couple of quotations from their response made interesting reading in the context of any surviving early artwork, especially by lesser known names... "Thank you for sending the picture, too, as my sister worked for TSR for many years. I asked her if she saved anything good, and she replied, she didn't think it would ever amt. to much. Which was the general attitude in this town at the time. Gary Gygax was considered kind of a local nutcase back then. If we had only known.... I cannot remember the exact address, as it was an estate sale so many years ago, but I do remember close to what year, and that it was bought right here in town. Could've even been sold to me by the original artist, they were all poor back then and sold off a lot of the art for grocery money."  Sounds like Lake Geneva would have been a good place to help pay the bills of starving artists, etc., back in those days :)  Would love to know where all the other early cover art, etc., ended up...  Best wishes, David.   p.s. I'd vote Tramp, too... or Elmore... or Foglio, just for fun ;) "Wormy" archive- partially AWOL : The Dave Trampier Wormy Archive.

  


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:59 pm 
 

David --  I've actually done a pretty fair amount of research looking for the early TSR stuff. I've contacted most of the artists (never found Sutherland or Trampier, but I talked to everyone else), and even they had almost nothing, with the exception of Jim Roslof, who still had a bunch of stuff. (I suspect the fact that Jim was also Art Director had a lot to do with that . . .. )  I've also been in touch with probably 50 or 60 current and past TSR staffers. Actually, they had more art than the artists did, but still VERY very little, and none of the key stuff.  I do know where the original Monster Manual and Deities and Demigods covers are, though (the Sutherland and Otus ones), and I know the whereabouts of a bunch of Jim Roslof's covers.   (I don't know about the MM cover, but the Deities and Demigods cover got sold in one of TSR's yearly charity auctions, which is how it escaped from the company.)  I've heard rumors that Gary Gygax owns the Player's Handbook cover . . .. his wife was supposed to send me a list of what he had, but she never did, so I can't confirm that for sure.  The main difficulty was the fact that TSR kept all of the artwork that was done by staffers back in those days -- covers, interiors, everything. Then, sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, they threw away a TON of stuff. (Jeff Easley has told me about seeing a huge pile of old art set out for the trash -- he planned to rescue it the next day, but it was already gone.)   Since WotC has taken over, they have returned whatever art they had to the artists -- so some major covers have come back into play (like Elmore's D&D box set covers), but NOT any of the ancient stuff. It appears that whatever got sneaked out of TSR is all that still exists.  The only occasional bright spot seems to be (as you discovered) Dragon art, which was done on a freelance basis -- so TSR DID return all of that art to the artists . . . .  So -- if you want Easley/Elmore/Caldwell/Parkinson and newer, you have no problem at all. Before that . . . . good luck!  And congrats on snagging the Elrohir cover! I got his address from his brother, but haven't gotten in contact with him yet . . . . need to do that!  Pat


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 2:05 pm 
 

tsrart wrote:David -- So -- if you want Easley/Elmore/Caldwell/Parkinson and newer, you have no problem at all. Before that . . . . good luck!  And congrats on snagging the Elrohir cover! I got his address from his brother, but haven't gotten in contact with him yet . . . . need to do that!  Pat
Thanks for sharing your many researches, Pat.  Should you get in touch, please let him know the original artwork is still around and being enjoyed. Was certainly one of my more favorite early Dragon covers (quirky & humorous!) and I had to blink twice- at least- when I found the auction by accident... If he can provide any more on the painting and when this left his possession, will add that to the info sheet I've put in the back. (Wouldn't want anyone to dispose of it without checking up, in future...). At present, it is in a blue stained wood/silver frame with a label "Potter : Lake Geneva, WI" on the reverse. Much appreciated, if possible.  (Now all I need to do is find out what closet-D&D fan in waste management services stashed aside all that artwork that was "trashed". Sad to hear that...).  Kind regards, David.  (p.s. thanks 2u2, Adam!).

  


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 2:10 pm 
 

David --  Will do! I'll let you know anything I find out . . . .  As for the question of the Lake Geneva waste-management artisians . . . . I know of one ex-TSR person who DID pick up a batch of stuff off the garbage heap. In fact, that's where I got a chunk of the stuff I used to own. However, he has a) fallen off the face of the earth, and b) made several artists who found out he was selling THEIR artwork really mad, so I don't think there will be any more stuff forthcoming from that source. Sigh.  Pat


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 2:26 pm 
 

tsrart wrote:As for the question of the Lake Geneva waste-management artisians . . . . I know of one ex-TSR person who DID pick up a batch of stuff off the garbage heap. In fact, that's where I got a chunk of the stuff I used to own.
So *that* was the "liberation" mentioned in the clipped email, above! Judging by how sue-happy y'all are over in the States, I can understand why they "went to ground". Pity though, if this loses material from artwork-starved collectors.  Cheers, David.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 12:00 am 
 

harami2000 wrote: Was certainly one of my more favorite early Dragon covers (quirky & humorous!) and I had to blink twice- at least- when I found the auction by accident...
 Welcome David,  I must admit I have been sobbing and crying and sulking around here since I read about that cover art you picked up. :oops:  :cry:  I saw that auction while it was going on, I bookmarked it and spent much time trying to figure out where I saw it and if I wanted it. I just couldnt figure it out and decided that I wanted to keep my art collection focus on TSR items so I let it go. I haven't spent much time or bucks in my collection on Dragon Magazines. I have many early ones by picking up cheapies here or there but no Dragon #11 obviously. I think the cover image doesn't do that painting fair justice as I thought it was amazing. If I remember correctly only about 25% of the painting shows up on the cover. Congratulations on that painting and thank you for sharing the story with us. :D I particularly love the part where the Lake Geneva community thought Gary Gygax was a nutcase :lol: . I think you could probably blame his behavior on not washing his hands before eating after playing with all of those lead figurines.    Adam


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 12:50 am 
 

tsrart wrote:I've heard rumors that Gary Gygax owns the Player's Handbook cover
 Gosh....that gives me goosebumps. I think that would be the holygrail of TSR art collecting. :)   Hi Pat,  You might be able to get a gov grant to produce a virtual museum. Gov likes to throw money at the arts. Just a thought......I can sure respect the time factor in building such a site. As far as locating things you might be surprised what might come out of the woodwork once such a site is built. Especially if the collectors get credits. I suppose one tough aspect would be authenticating an item.  Adam


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 2:43 pm 
 

David --  Yeah, it is a shame. On the other hand, the artists were only annoyed that someone ELSE was making money off of their work. In most cases, if the art had been returned to them, I'm sure they would have been perfectly happy to sell it to us greedy collectors. :D   Adam --  The virtual museum thing IS a kewl idea, no doubt about it. The biggest hurdle for me, other than time, is that my interests are largely focused on the later TSR art -- not as nostalgic, but technically much stronger. (As a note, if ANYONE out there knows who owns Keith Parkinson's "Gods of Lankhmar," please let me know!)  If someone else wanted to take up the museum challenge, though, I'd be happy to provide all the info that I have . . . .   Pat


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 3:51 pm 
 

I might be interested in sponsoring this, if the interest (and information!) is there.  I don't think I'd want to delve into trying to estimate worth (the current indexes are enough trouble) -- but similar to the Foreign Editions sections, where the item is described, list any auction history, and any known provenance (is that the word? history of owners?), along with a scan / photo.  Owner could be listed (under an alias if the owner didn't want to be contacted).  Just some thoughts.  I don't have the knowledge to do the section entirely by myself; I'd have to rely on guys like Pat to submit a majority of the info.  The layout, image editing, etc is the easy part, which I can take care of.  Any ideas on this?  Foul

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 3:58 pm 
 

Seems like a plan to me . . . . the only thing is that you won't have much in the way of auction results or pricing index if you stick to the truly vintage stuff. Most of that hasn't been auctioned and has only been sold once -- you'll get a wild swing in pricing from item to item, with one cover showing up at $1500 and one showing at $200.   I'd probably be inclined to stay away from pricing stuff altogether and just go with showing what is extant and where it is.  If you decide to run with the idea, let me know where your cutoff date is going to be in terms of age -- I'd recommend either 1982, which is when Jeff Easley joined the staff, or 1987, which is when Keith Parkinson left, unless you want to cover the whole gamut through 3E.  Alternately, you could do a split -- cover EVERYTHING pre-1982, and then just index cover paintings for later stuff, ignoring interiors (since there would be WAYYY to much).  Pat


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 6:37 pm 
 

Hello Pat and Scott,  May I recommend the museum to be split into 2 galleries. Lets say all 1st edition in one and 2nd and beyond in the other. It is a broad scope but it is tough to not include all. Early first edition, while not as technically tight stylistically, I think it typifies the spirit of the game in its origins. Most of the later edition material is too sweet to not include also.  I would also recommend exhibiting each painting by Artist and Title, overall prepub dimensions, medium, and collector credits. If the collector doesnt want to be listed they can be known as private collector like museums do. Collector credits would be the essence of the museum to hopefully incourage the effort to submit.  Adam


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