Realms – The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi – art book review

"Realms - The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi".
“Realms – The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi”.

Tony DiTerlizzi is perhaps best known to the general public as the co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, but his creative history goes back much farther than that. Realms – The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi focuses on his work for various fantasy games—especially the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, and the trading card game Magic: The Gathering—showing an evolution of his work along the way.

DiTerlizzi’s interest in art started young, when he began to love and study the works of Arthur Rackham, A.B. Frost, Brian Froud, Heinrich Kley, Ernest Shepherd, Jim Henson, and many, many others. He studied all kinds of art styles and mediums in order to find out how the masters created their works by using the tools they used. Looking at his art, there are so many influences, it is sometimes hard to place all of them.

“If Arthur Rackham and Norman Rockwell had a baby, it would be Tony DiTerlizzi.”
     —Dawn Murin, Art Director, Wizards of the Coast

Despite all of those influences, Realms – The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi shows that DiTerlizzi’s work is all his own. All of the great masters show their influences in their works, and DiTerlizzi is no exception to that. While he might object to being labeled a “great master”, it is very hard to imagine the last 30 or so years without his influence in game art and general illustration in the fantasy world.

One of my favorite parts of the book—leaving aside the lavish full-color reproductions throughout—is all of the quotes and comments from many well-known industry professionals. Christopher Paolini, of Eragon fame, wrote the introduction, and there are a plethora of quotes from such varied luminaries as Guillermo del Toro, Todd Lockwood, Zeb Cook, Jane Yolen, Charles Vess, Neil Gaiman, and Donato Giancola. DiTerlizzi is definitely well-respected, and it it nice to see many people I respect who share my interest in this artist.

I loved the combination of sketches and completed works, from his very first forays into the field to many of his more recent works. Seeing the progression in style and skill through the years is fascinating, and will inspire many future artists by showing them that even the best started off with lesser skill. That is such an important fact: it takes many, many years to develop skill like that shown in Realms – The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi.

This is an awesome book, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in illustration in general, but especially to those fans of DiTerlizzi’s works in all the many games he has illustrated over the years. Realms – The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi is worth every penny, and I recommend getting the hardcover. It will look great next to all your RPG books.

Release Date: June 16, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 161655732X (9781616557324)
Publisher: Kitchen Sink Press
Language: English

MySF Rating: Five point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 90%


Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 0
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (about 4-5 of the images are somewhat sensual)
Violence: 0 (though there are some scary or frightening images)

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