Friday, July 22, 2011

Tribute: Peter "20 Dollar" Bradley

I haven't done a lot of artist tributes. There are, admittedly, lots of good RPG artists out there. But I'm currently re-reading the Castles & Crusades PHB, and all the art and layout is the child of the marvelous artist Peter Bradley.


Until I read Castles & Crusades, I had never heard of him. But honestly the first thing I noticed when I bought the book was the art.


And to tell you the truth a digital jpeg doesn't do the overall impression justice. Peter Bradley's art jumps off the page at you. He has a way of conjuring motion and energy that you don't see in many fantasy artists. I mean I don't want to throw names around, but lots of fantasy artists that we think of when we think of D&D art don't hold a candle to him in this regard. As you know, if you read my blog at all, I love C&C's writing. What such writing requires is art that does it justice. The two have to meld seamlessly toegether. As I flip through the C&C books where Bradley is represented the action literally pours out of the page.

Now, I'm not an artist, nor a critic, nor an art historian. But to me Bradley seems to meld the best of Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta. Frank had a way of capturing emotive energy and motion. I've often wondered how much skill he had in water color, because what he does with oils was always amazing to me. Boris painted Gods and Goddesses. His art was more than photographic in its intense portrayal of a person and the archetypes they represented. He never just painted women, or men, or beasts. Boris captured something of their soul. Peter Bradley does full body portraits every bit as good as Boris did. Just check out his site above and you'll know what I mean.

So here's to Peter "20 dollar" Bradley. I have no idea how he got the "20 dollar" nickname. But if I paid $200 for one of his works I would consider myself lucky. $2000 is more like it. But I have a feeling that unless he worked his way through college doing street portraits for $20, it has nothing to do with his art. Check him out. I have included the link to his art site, Ravenchilde Illustrations above for you to peruse his work.

Without a doubt C&C has used some top notch old school fantasy artists. But I wanted to thank them for introducing me to Peter Bradley and his work. And because of what his art does for me as I read through and use the C&C books.

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