The Art of the Dragonlance Saga reveals much of
the design work that went into not only the illustrations, but the world, the
characters and the stories. It is a little hard for me to imagine Larry Elmore,
Clyde Caldwell, Jeff Easley, Keith Parkinson and more doing production work on
the scale that Dragonlance must have demanded. There are hundreds of sketches
and paintings here. The work that went into designing plausible lances for
dragon-back combat is particularly impressive. I’ve picked some faves.
My favorite is “The Last Spell of
Fistandantilus,” by Keith Parkinson (I slightly favor Parkinson over other
artists of this period). There’s such drama here and Fistandantilus is a
picture perfect evil mage. Bonuses for Raistlin’s candelabra staff, the rope
pillar from Sinbad and the tiny Tardis on the shelf by the skull.
Elmore’s painting of my favorite character, the
slain Sturm Brightblade, is an appropriate mix of sadness and steel. It galls
me a bit to realize that Sturm exists and dies largely to propel Laurana’s
story forward. On the other, it is nice to see a guy get fridged for a gal for
Lord Soth’s Charge is a two-page spread, so I
consoled myself with Clyde Caldwell’s “The Hands of Doom.” I still don’t know
how I feel about Kitiara. On one hand, the books seem to punish her for
embracing masculine pursuits (power, promiscuity). On the other, she’s an out
of control jerk. I find I don’t have much sympathy for her here, but Soth looks
I’ve always thought “Dragons of Faith,”
depicting the Perechon’s encounter with the Blood Sea maelstrom, was a great
mood piece. Recent conversation with my pal @SSDillonTattoo has made me doubt
what is going on with the bone structure in the dragon’s wings. My current
theory: not a dragon at all, but a tinker gnome air ship.
Finally, I’ve a fondness for Jeff Easley’s “The
Epic Quest” less because of Dragonlance and more because the portion featuring
Sturm was re-used to front module X10 – Red Arrow, Black Shield.