This one is a bit odd. In the past two days of #RPGaDAY, we’ve had favorite writer and favorite publisher, so we’re pointing at specific people (or entities comprised of people), but today we’re looking at Favorite RPG Illustration instead of illustrator.
I’m going to pretend that’s a mistake.
For art direction, I don’t think anyone is doing it better than Zoë Robinson of Fantasy Flight Games. The only games I’m currently getting from FFG are things in the Star Wars Age of Rebellion line (probably I’ll pick up Force and Destiny)1 and the Android: Netrunner card game. Both have a lot of representation of women and people of color2, yet it doesn’t seem to be overt that FFG titles are specifically using women and POC and eschewing white males in their artwork. Instead, they’re just there, and they’re just regular people in the setting. Go ahead, do an image search for star wars age of rebellion. Lots of logos, and there’s a shot of Leia in a shooting stance, protecting Luke.3 And you scroll down and there’s female characters pretty much mixed in with male characters on an equal basis.
It’s not just having a diverse set of figures in the artwork, either. It’s the artwork itself. Take a look to the right. That’s page 49 of Age of Rebellion. When I came across that, I was thinking that it was a nice way to do a full art page and integrate typography with the X-Wing pilot4 trying to pull her R2 unit from her downed craft. But then I look up and there, above the atmosphere, through the atmospheric perspective, the battle rages on. Wow.5
All the artwork is like that in Age of Rebellion (and the other FFG Star Wars products I’ve seen). All this art is original. No mining the publicity photos or movie stills for this product. No, everything — including the images that look like they’re taken from the movie series — everything is created just for the series.
There are few other illustrators that come to mind: Juan Ochoa has been doing some amazing things on the Magpie Games titles I’ve worked on — The Fate Codex and Urban Shadows. I’ve been on The Fate Codex for over a year and a half. Over that time, I’ve seen his work improve. It’s pretty darn near fantastic.
Over on the Firefly RPG, Levon Jihanian has been providing excellent work for the headers to the adventures. This piece of Levon’s is from the “Bucking the Tiger” adventure.
Oh, I just found something on Levon’s site about how that above image was created!
- Must check my store credit at Bullmoose… Oh, they don’t have it yet. Yet. [↩]
- that last one is a bit easier to accommodate in the Star Wars universe, but you’d be amazed at how many SF properties have a whole bunch of white humans running around with their laser swords [↩]
- Which is on the cover of AoR’s core rulebook, no less! [↩]
- Who just happens to be female. [↩]
- This might just be my favorite RPG illustration. Huh. [↩]