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OK, I've seen several threads now where SR artwork has been mentioned. The vast majority of posts mentioning keep going on about how much it sucks.

Could someone please do their best to tell me what it is that sucks so bad?

I know art is in the eye of the observer and all that, so its not easy to articulate what it is you don't like, but do me a favour and try?

I've got most of the SR 1, 2 & 3 sourcebooks, minus some printed adventures and the SR1 rulebook and I have to say that with a few exceptions I quite like it. There are a couple - only a couple - where I think I could've done better, and I could well be overselling myself. but I know a thing or two about graphic illustration and quite honestly the artwork in the books seems to evoke the game world quite well. Its not as dark and gritty as CP2020, but then the game isn't as gritty as CP2020.

So if you have a beef about the art work, do me a favour and enlighten me. I really can't see what you're getting at. Give me some examples of genre art/artists/pics that you do like so I can see the difference. Is it just that I happen to like the various styles or am just more open minded about it, or am I missing something?

Why ask the question in the first place? Because I'd love to be half as good as some of the artists in question and it nags at me when I start to get the impression that I'm a philistine...
I have no beef. I like it. Especialy the newer stuff. I like Prescott and MacDougal. I think Baxa was my all time least favorite SR artist followed closely by the dude who did a picture on page 69 of "Cyberpirates", I think it was Kent Burles but I'm not sure. That style is just too funky for me, with all the piping and stuff.

Some of the vehicle illos form SotA:64 and the R3 Revised are very bad. I'm talking about the line illos that look loke the various bits of the vehices were drawn in different pespectives.
The art isn't too bad IMO, but when I compare the SRIII art with, say, the cover of Queen Euphoria... I sorta miss the more realistic style that I've seen back in the High Tech and Low-Life artwork collection.

I'm just the opposite, I like the more Comic-Booky art. Maybe because that's similiar to my own style.
A lot of the SoNA artwork sucked, IMHO. I don't have words for the pictures in the CAS chapter. I so miss Tim Bradstreet and Janet Aulisio...

However, I think a lot of the art has improved (some of the old artwork was, well... less than good). It is different, but better.

Just my two cents,
I generally disliked the 'realistic' art of yore; Either it was too much 80's sci-fi *shudder*, or simply not cyberpunk:
Geier, for example, has contributed greatly to Call of Cthulhu, but most of his SR work looks like it was taking place in the nineties or even earlier.

Thus Im very happy with tha art as it is now. I didn't know Baxa had quite SR though, which is sad. He definitly has shaped my conception of spirits.
John Campbell
My big issue with it is Prescott. I have a general objection to people who think that biologically improbable breasts with decorations to draw attention to them are a substitute for talent, and his goofy, cartoony style is a poor fit for the atmosphere of any Shadowrun game I've ever been in. Some of his stuff is okay, but he's been far more prominently featured than his level of talent calls for.

SSG appears to have no Prescott at all, and there's a lot of good stuff in there by other artists. (Who did the ork woman on p.89? Larry MacDougall? I want more like that.) This is a large step in the right direction, I think. I'd like to see Bradstreet back... he could've used more metas, but he had the atmosphere nailed (Acme Magic Circle Paint!). Mark Zug's color plates in SR3 were great, too... the weapon specialist is one of my favorite pieces of SR3 art.
I like the Third Generation artwork MUCH better. When I reference the NAN sourcebooks, or Awakenings, or The Black Book, the art is pretty cheesy, and all the NPCs have '80s hair. The new books are illustrated much better. My Favorite I guess, is the Cannon, just because the Trolls and Orcs are not SO ugly. I don't like the Metavariants in SRC though...
RE: Prescott. The boobie thing has been mentioned but another thing I don't like about his stuff are the huge thick lips and god, so much teeth...

Although I don't mind cartoony stuff per-se regardless of the atmosphere, but that's mostly because I tend to see any and all situations and inherently silly and absurd regardless of how gloomy they are.

But the expression on the human on the cover of cannon companion just makes me want to kick someone's face in...

One of the earlier things I dug was in my friend's copy of NAGTNA I believe it was, which had a CAS Elf dressed somewhere between cyberpunk and Andrew Jackson. I really liked that for some reason.
And let us not forget Laubenstein's seeming inability to draw noses anything close to reality.
Fresno Bob
I would like to see less Prescott art, as some people mentioned. He's good, he just not that good. Laubenstein...ugh. Whats with the obscene amount of horizontal lines on everyone in his pictures?
I think the general beef with the SR art is that it is... bad. It is painful to look at some of it. The full color glossy's in SR3 were 'stylistic' which is a nice way of saying they were drawn poorly on purpose. Some of the art is very good, the proportions and anatomy is excellent. Most however is not. Heads should not be larger than chests, hands should not be larger than heads etc... I think the problem is in the first SR they were going for a native american look and it failed. In the new one they are trying for it and it failed. What they need to do (inmho) is get a really good comic book artist to do the work. Someone who can make the people actually look like people.

My 2 nuyen.gif


My other beef is the artist don't seme to use anything from the game. They make up their own vehicles, weapons and armor and use their own ideas on deckers and riggers (really, no one is going to have 25 data jacks). I would like to see art that is inspired by the equipment in the game, not the artist imagination. It's cool to see an elf dual wielding some gun, it would be cooler if they were manhunters.
QUOTE (Shadow)
They make up their own vehicles, weapons and armor and use their own ideas on deckers and riggers (really, no one is going to have 25 data jacks).

So that -was- supposed to be a decker or something? My players and I have debated that before. We just couldn't figure it out.
Anyone know the name of the artist who did the illustrations on p. 21 and p. 50 of SSG? I'd really like to see more from them.
John Campbell
From style comparisons with the other art in the book, I'm guessing Klaus Scherwinski, but I'm not positive.

But, yes, it's good stuff. I have to wonder WTF metatype that guy in the one on p.21 is, though...
I will reiterate what I said in another thread.

Some of the art, just doesn't fit. Granted, maybe it doesn't fit my idea of how sr is. I will give you that. But also, some of it is just well, I just dont dig it.

But I really like a decent amount of it as well. Some of them are exellent, and they also fit pretty well.

But thats how things go, Its not 100% that some one is going to like all the art work in a book. Poeple just have different tastes. But let me tell you this also. Just because I dont like some of the pictures, doesn't mean I like the game anyless.
QUOTE (John Campbell)
Who did the ork woman on p.89?

Unless I'm mistaken, Klaus Scherwinski. His sig, K-ski is in the upper left corner, though I had a hard time decyphering it until I compared it with other artwork (his Rhonabwy in DotSW).

QUOTE (Shadow)
The full color glossy's in SR3 were 'stylistic' which is a nice way of saying they were drawn poorly on purpose.

Open a late WEG Star Wars D6 book. Look at Tim Bobko art. This is stylistic biggrin.gif Seven years later, it's still a running joke with my brother.
Electric Cabbage
I do believe the problem with all the artwork is that everyone has an idea of what Shadowrun should look and feel like. I first encountered the game when I came across a copy of 2nd Ed at a book store. The art in the 2nd Ed core book is what caught my attention and got me to buy it. The art from that particular iteration of the game is what I associate with the atmosphere of Shadowrun therefore any new artist with a different notion of how Shadowrun should look in art was not my favorite. Too me the old stuff has the proper shadowrun feel to it and in a lot of cases the new stuff just doesn't feel right. It started to go down hill with the cal Free State and the aztlan source books. Then again I take issue with the new meta plots that seemed to have emerged at that time as well. It seems to me that the guy who has issues with boobs doesn't capture the feel very well. A comic art style is fine but if your gonna do cyber punk art it shouldn't look so sterile with the artificial grittiness of patches that are thrown on clothing as an after thought and sun flowers on boobs. Plus it just isnt dark enough and Shadowrun should be dark. He just tries too hard. If that made any sense at all.
I hate anything that looks cartoonish or comicbookish. If I want those mediums, I go to them. For SR art, I want gritty and realistic.

I think the art has play off of the style of the game (and the style of game plays off the art). Cartoonish/Comicish art leads to cartoonish/comicish games. You use the art to portray the feel of the game. When we see the cover of Cannon Companion the printers are advertising the game as a cartoonish, over-the-top kind of munchkinized game. That's not how I like my shadowrun.

I don't like looking at art like that, and I don't like that style of gameplay. Sadly, at least the later years of 2nd edition, that's the way the game has been designed and the feel that's been produced (in the art, in the writing, etc).

Color choice is important, though there may be limitations to that based upon the materials used for printing the pages. Still bright colors that do not appear in real life should be avoided. Cartoonish. Get realistic colors.

Oversized features is a really big problem. Elven ears and troll horns suffer this most frequently. Big floppy ears that extend to points above the top of the head are just freaking silly. Horns that are bigger than the head are as well. Make metahuman features reasonable in size.

Shadowrun has is a great mix of fantasy the fantasy and cyberpunk genras. But it is meant to have some degree of realism (after-all, it takes place in a slightly modified real world- not in a cartoon world). Suspention of disbeleif is already a problem, the more realistic you can make it, the more comfortable I am with the whole thing.

Shadowrun is supposed to be gritty and to a small a degree desperate struggle . Not the happy-go-lucky, uberpowerful, run around shooting everything that moves and there are no consequences to anything world that it is shaping up to be.

What I do like is grit and realism. I prefer to look at pictures like that, I prefer to play games like that.

I want to see colors that appear in the real world, features that are proportionate to the person, weapons and equipment that is reasonable. Situations that are reasonable (still exciting, but not munchy). I want to see grit, desperation and realism. I want pictures of people that look like people, not cartoons.

I'm more than willing to have less art that is higher quality. Hordes of junk art just makes the books unattractive and more expensive. Stick to quality stuff and leave the cartoon art out.

Good SR art:
-the cover of Native American Nations Volume 1 (Larry Elmore)
-the illustrations in the "Knowledge" section of Survival of the Fittest (that artist goes by SCUD here, I don't know his/her real name).
-"The Order of the Temple" section of Threats 2 (Loston & Yasso)

Bad SR art:
-the cover of Cannon Compainion (Paul Bonner)
-the cover of SR3 (Paul Bonner again, yuck)
-the cover of Sprawl Survival Guide (Jim Nelson)

We've had this discussion at least twice before where a number of people have laid out detailed descriptions of what they like and don't like and provided examples.
I wouldn't say that the Cover of Sprawl Survival Guide is horrible. It isn't great, but I wouldn't say its crud either. I do think SSG had a rather good selection of art in it. For example..

The Picture of the Rock band on page 23.
The Little Advertisement Picture for "Karl KombatMage" on page 26.
That picture of the woman with the suitcase on page 61
The Old Guy in the slums who's floating in mid air on page 73
The first three picutres in the "Life on the Run" section, those being portrayed, Six, Twist, and Fatima

Another picture I liked was from Dragons of the 6th World. That one picture of Lung looming over the Great Wall of China was my favorite in that book. Does anyone know who did that one?
Now that we're at it...

Good art:
-Sprawl Site's cover.
-Shadowtech cover.
-Queen Euphoria cover.
-Double Exposure cover.
-DNA/DOA cover.
-Shadows of Europe cover.
-That fantastic cat shaman by Janet Aulisio in SR3's BBB.
-Weapons Specialist archetype
-Ork Combat Decker
-Prescott's picture of the Draco Foundation members.
-Sprawl Survival Guide's Life on the Run chapter. Some pictures there are well worth the book.
-The datajacl crazed woman in SSG's intro.
-rk post's Wildcat SpecOps
-Harlequin's Back cover
-Some of Tir Tairngire's interior art (the big chapter opening pictures)
-Anything by Tim Bradstreet. Dude, please come back...

Bad art:
-SR3 cover. Nice, but it doesn't have the cyberpunkish/native feel of yore.
-The artwork in SoNA's CAS chapter. What did Szeto do to deserve that?
-Some of Prescott's work. Makes me want to shoot him.
-Some of the Rigger Black Book's pictures.

Enough with the cartoonish art! I want gritty, dark cyberpunk fantasy!
(That or hire Masamune Shirow or Katushiro Otomo as artists)
Otomo would be very interesting to see. He's already demonstrated in Cannon Fodder that he can merge cartoonish and gritty.

I like a lot of the art in Bug City, especially the painted section and the character art at the back.

The same guy that did that character art also did some pictures for Corporate Security Handbook in the archetypes section that was damn good and I think done a few of the better ones in Cybertechnology.

I, personally, like big troll horns. I agree that big elf ears are silly, but I like big horns. That may be because that's how I'm used to seeing them. I think it really shows why people are afraid of trolls instinctivly. They're BIG, they have tusks and they have fraggin' HORNS!

I agree that the cover of SSG was kinda dumb. It wasn't bad, it was just... dumb. Same for the cover of MitS. That troll makes me gnash my teeth everytime. He's just.. just... AUGH!

I did like the one in R3 that had that "easter egg". OF STUPIDNESS. The rest of that image was good. But... why? Why do I need crappy easter eggs that totally demolish the image?
I think my two favorite pieces are the Weapon Specialist in SR3 and Elmore's cover painting for SR1 & 2. Elmore and Bradstreet are definitely at the top of my 'favotite artists' list.
Adolph Hitler said "Those who paint the sky green and the grass blue should be sterilized".

All of those people criticising artwork should think about that before they write reasons such as "The trolls horns are the wrong size" or such.

If there's one thing i've learned from working as a professional illustrator and designer it's that everyone's going to see things differently. The secret is to be respectful of both the artist and of other's tastes. I find that the people with the loudest opinions and criticism are always the ones who know Art the least.

And yes, I'm comparing you to Adolph Hitler. Good Day.
John Campbell
Yeah, hear that, everyone? Anyone who expresses an opinion is a Nazi! It's only one step from disagreeing with someone's "artistic vision" to gassing Jews!
Those of us with a vasectomy can paint any colors we want. wink.gif
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (Prototype @ Jan 29 2004, 06:28 PM)
I like a lot of the art in Bug City, especially the painted section and the character art at the back.

The same guy that did that character art also did some pictures for Corporate Security Handbook in the archetypes section that was damn good and I think done a few of the better ones in Cybertechnology.

Peter Bergting.

I remember that he used to get a lot of crap for his style, which I've come to actually like over the years. I think his style didn't really help a lot in Cybertechnology and VR2.0 the way it worked so well in Bug City, and to a lesser extent CorpSec Handbook.

It was specifically when reading a book that came out around the same time as Target: UCAS (MitS?) where he had a picture of an ork hougan with shading and greys to it on the title page. It looked incredible. I've since gone back all the way to Bug City, and I really like his work in that, especially because it helps capture the mood.

There's also some good art in Corporate Download, specifically in the first chapter (the guy with the M-16 slung from his shoulder inserting a card into a scanner) and the Wuxing chapter (a female runner in a vent(?) looking forward with her gun at her side. I love that one).

Tom Baxa, OTOH, sucks. He uses far too much line and everything is out of proportion and just flat. His work in Awakenings was just awful, and some of his work just makes no f-ing sense (e.g., some thing with no arms bending over and licking the ground in Awakenings, IIRC, that just looks out of place and wrong.) I can't remember if it was him or Laubenstein or MacDougall (whose work in the Mojave chapter of CFS was atrocious) all of whom I dislike immensely for their poor contributions (if they can be called that) to the artwork of Shadowrun who had a page in the original Shadowrun Companion (I think it's still there in subsequent versions) of all these different hideous faces. I would compare them to the grotesque imagery of Goya's black paintings, but that would be a great insult to Goya and misses the probable fact that I don't think those faces were supposed to be grotesque. I was under the impression that they were supposed to be "normal" or "average." Which they are neither.

I will grant one--and only ONE--exception to any of them. The full-page image opposite the first page of the Blood Mage Gestalt chapter of Threats. That was a good picture. I don't care which one did it (assuming one of them is responsible), but it's good. The rest, well, look like my ass.

Bradstreet was incredible. So was the person who did the cover of the Underworld Sourcebook. And I still want those pants from the Survival of the Fittest cover.

BTW, Max--funny movie.
moosegod, what image?
QUOTE (John Campbell)
Yeah, hear that, everyone? Anyone who expresses an opinion is a Nazi! It's only one step from disagreeing with someone's "artistic vision" to gassing Jews!

We were compared to Hitler, not the National Socialists. We're really all just being called really bad artists.
...Ooh, does that mean we get to wear the moustache?

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