Friday, October 31, 2014

OSR Art Friday: Cover of The Dragon #37

The piece is by Darlene Pekul and appeared in the May 1980 issue.

I am fond of it partly because it graced the cover of one of the first issues of The Dragon that I purchased, and thus it helped to define the look of the game for me. Its pastel colors and serenity provided a neat contrast with the usual fare.

Oddly, I never noticed the skulls until now.

Pekul (who legally changed her name to the one-word and capitalized 'DARLENE' in 1984) was one of the most prolific of the early TSR artists. Indeed, that same issue of The Dragon seemed to feature her work on almost every page, from city and wilderness illustrations—'From the City of Brass to Dead Orc Pass'—to calligraphy and background designOut on a Limb, Leomund's Tiny Hut—to the comic strip, Jasmine, which would run for twelve issues.

She also was responsible for the 'fat unicorn' on the title page of the Dungeon Master's Guide, the cover and interior art for a number of TSR adventure modules and perhaps most famously, the full-color map of the Flanaess for the 1980 World of Greyhawk release.

The neat illustration below (also in the DMG), probably contributed to good old-fashioned mutual suspicion among players as much as any other single thing:
Curiously, Image Googling 'Darlene Pekul' or even 'Darlene Pekul The Dragon' or 'Darlene Pekul Dragon Magazine' does not yield this OSR Art Friday's featured piece. Doing a reverse search seems to imply that it has rarely, if ever, been previously discussed or featured. I hope this post, in its small way, helps to redress that.

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