Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art?
Not an RPG, but I have always found the old Dragon Magazine cover art to be inspiring, both as a young gamer seeing it as it was published, and now as a collector finding copies of the older magazines. And I enjoy it in a way I don’t enjoy much of the cover art I see these days, with some notable exceptions. From a layout perspective, I loved that the magazine tried hard for so long to keep as little clutter off the cover as possible. For a good long while it was just the title in one corner, the number of the issue in the other, and then the almost unobstructed art.
And I may be alone in this, but it seems like the pieces were much more interesting because they weren’t necessarily being done as cover art. The artist had created something beautiful, and then it was used as a cover. Not to say that work-to-order can’t also be beautiful; there is very little of Wayne Reynold’s work, for instance, which doesn’t inspire me. But so much RPG art these days is “meh”, and so obviously put in because it fit the space and sort of fit the theme…
Look, I’m not an artist, so obviously I don’t know much about the whole process of creating a piece or getting it our to a publisher for use, or anything about that whole process. I do have experience with layout work, and so I certainly understand how important it can be to get things just the right size and fit for the page. But I do wish there were more artists stepping up with a bit more character to their work. I can tell at a glance if a piece is by Larry Elmore or Jim Holloway, for instance, but with only a few exceptions I can’t tell you who the artists are in most of my games.