One of my favorite things to have happen while preparing this series of posts is to be surprised. Having done a lot of modern art and planning to do more this week I got a surprise in my inbox.
Steve Poke runs a great public domain art blog and his latest post hit my email today. He presents some plates from a 1907 book A Children’s Book of Warriors. Even better, he provides a pdf of it.
If you like sea battles between Vikings with horns (or wings in this case) on their helmets our first image today is a grand choice for inspiration. Add in the Christian overtones (see the caption) and I see a great battle. Even better, write an adventure or area using this picture’s imagery with the story and settings of Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (one of the great D&D movies of all time) and you’ve got a winner. Though not quite as inspiring the black and white sea battle is also interesting.
I really recommend heading over to Steve’s site and grabbing the entire book. It’ll be the subject of next week’s Inspirational Art post as well. I think children’s fantasy from the late Victorian and Edwardian eras is a great untapped source of inspiration for D&D and other games.
This week we return to Deviant Art to find a source of inspiration. A first, however, for the Inspirational Art series is actual RPG art.
Natalia Pierandrei says At the End of the World is “Concept art I’m doing for a RPG set in Victorian Age.” Certainly it’s enough to make me want to check out the project, but then again I have a weakness for Steampunk/Neo-Victorian/Neo-Edwardian settings, especially the kind often seen in anime that unselfconsciously mix magic and multiple technical levels. It’s probably the airship thing.
While she is at Deviant Art I’d suggest following up with Natalia at her own website, A Forgotten Night Tale. She notes she is available for freelance and specifically mentions RPGs. My friends in the OSR who find her work compelling might contact her for that next big thing you’re working on.
I found this by a Google Image search for art nouveau elf. While this image isn’t the one I found I think it’s a great inspiration for D&D.
This image is titled “Sacred Weeds” and to me invokes the The Wild or a Mythic Wilderness.