I think the art is not that great


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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Sorry for the clickbait-y title, but the more I think about it the more I think this is how I feel: art in the Core Rulebook is not that great, bar some exceptions.
Just to be clear, I', not dissing the game: by "art is not that great", I mean to say that "art is only good, not great: I was expecting more given the budget and importance of this flagship product"

First, there's much less Wayne Reynolds that I'd like. And in my opinion Wayne is a big part of the Pathfinder "feel".

Second, some artwork is decidedly low in details in my opinion: for example, I really don't like the image on page 466, it is really basic and with very few details.

Granted, there are some really great pieces too: the culture images on pages 430-432 are fantastic.

In any case, the art does not detract at all from what I consider to be a fantastic second edition!

What are you opinions on the art?

The Concordance

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Personally, the art ranges from great to bleh. Ironically, the bit of art I dislike most, is the front cover of the core book. Which is a bad thing when trying to sell the product. If I didn't already know alot about the game, that cover would make me leave the book on the shelf.

The dragon looks like the moment it closes its mouth, it is going to have the world's largest underbite. (Like, a small creature could crawl back out of the mouth due to the gap between top and bottom jaw.) The rogue looks flat and her silhouette is completely off-target to the rest of the art. Like she wasn't originally in the art, but then, last minute, someone decided to copy-paste another image of her from somewhere onto the previously completed art, because they decided they needed another character. (Which, with the prevalence of 1 enemy, 2 iconics artwork in the book. Lends additional style credence to this.)

Just 2 cents from another artist.


Ehh; it's no worse than PF1; with the caveat that the change to Harsk threw me for a loop. And the dragon on the cover of PF1 CRB has the upper jaw (I went back and checked after I saw a panel where WAR said the design of the dragon hadn't changed); its just at an angle where its more noticable now.

The Concordance

Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Ehh; it's no worse than PF1; with the caveat that the change to Harsk threw me for a loop. And the dragon on the cover of PF1 CRB has the upper jaw (I went back and checked after I saw a panel where WAR said the design of the dragon hadn't changed); its just at an angle where its more noticable now.

It's not just the angle. Figuring in perspective, it's upper jaw actually got worse. But yes, first edition wasn't great cover art either, I don't disagree. However I was hoping for improvement, and it got worse, in my oppinion, instead.


Also do all the iconics look like there looking at not the dragon; like they're all looking at the same thing; but that thing isn't the dragon; as if there is some bigger scarier dragon off to the left. Overall I think the art is fairly good; other than Harsks beard.


The cover is by Wayne if I’m not wrong. His style changed quite a bit it seems: now it’s a bit less cartoony, and more... paint-like?
I prefer The PF1 style.

About dwarves, what creeps me is the wide nose (page 166), they remind me of a bull terrier.


A lot of the pictures look like concept art for a computer game of movie production.


Gamuniga wrote:

The cover is by Wayne if I’m not wrong. His style changed quite a bit it seems: now it’s a bit less cartoony, and more... paint-like?

I prefer The PF1 style.

About dwarves, what creeps me is the wide nose (page 166), they remind me of a bull terrier.

They decided to change the look of various ancestries to be more iconically Pathfinder and codify the difference between halfling and gnome looks and etc. with the new edition

WAR said in a panel somewhere (it was on twitch, will probably be on Paizo's youtube page soon) that the dwarves where changed to have a more T shape in their faces; hence the nose. IIRC it was changing dwarves faces look more like the stylised dwarves in sculptures/armour/etc. I.e. when it came time to change the dwarves look they made them look more angular in the face because in-universe stylisation of dwarves in their own art had them with angular faces; so they probably look like that; if that makes sense.


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While I have not much gripe with the art, I do wish they drew props for each monster's picture which would help visualize their size properly.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I actually think the art is a giant step up from the 1E crb. I'm in love with it. Especially that image of Seoni and some drow (i think) on a rope descending into a treasure hoard!


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Nearly every bit of art I dislike is the Wayne Reynold's art. Especially character art.

So, subjectivity is a fun thing :P


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Some Kind of Chymist wrote:
Also do all the iconics look like there looking at not the dragon; like they're all looking at the same thing; but that thing isn't the dragon; as if there is some bigger scarier dragon off to the left. Overall I think the art is fairly good; other than Harsks beard.

I don't think they're so much as looking left as they are running left to get out of the way of the fiery breath sweeping from right to left. Notice that Harsk's crossbow is actually IN the fire? If he doesn't move, he's toast. The cleric is the only one who throws it off by standing her ground, possibly keeping the fire off the others with her magic. Maybe.

As an alternative explanation, you can crack the cover open to a two-page spread. They're all clearly terrified of the two-story goblin with horse-sized bombs. :P


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Ravingdork wrote:
As an alternative explanation, you can crack the cover open to a two-page spread. They're all clearly terrified of the two-story goblin with horse-sized bombs. :P

It makes so much since now, the Red Dragon was never trying to hurt anyone, it was merely trying to scare off would-be adventurers from the even greater threat of the Dire-Goblin Alchemist Fumbus. The dragon has been protecting us since the first edition's core rulebook.


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I know what art is, but I don't know what I like.


On a more serious note I think most of the art so far looks at least fine. I really like the art for each of the multiclass archetypes.


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I'M going to disagree with some of you guys and say that I think the art is fantastic and I like the new style.

On a different note have you guys seen the art done by other companies in the same industry???

Paizo is for the most part leagues above 99% of the competition.


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Couldn't agree more. It's not just the art. Everything from the iconography to copy, to page and stat block layouts, the character sheet, et cetera... Coming from D&D, it all feels quite undesigned. My personal dis-favorite art is the chipmunk teeth on the wizard on page 202.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

My favorite art is the Barbearian lady with her bear in the archetype section.


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ograx wrote:

I'M going to disagree with some of you guys and say that I think the art is fantastic and I like the new style.

On a different note have you guys seen the art done by other companies in the same industry???

Paizo is for the most part leagues above 99% of the competition.

What are the contemporaries? Because despite some early failures when they had a smaller budget WotC are doing pretty well.

Conan2d20 by modiphious has awesome art

Numenera2 was gorgeously illustrated.

Symbaroum is one of the gold standards out there.

Forbidden Lands does some really clever things with black and white line work and manages to recapture some of the old nostalgia without the weird proportion issues and gawky looking drawings.

The Mutant Year Zero stuff has a singular comic artist doing most of the internal art and fitting the genre quite well.

Now each of these can have the subjectivity argument leveled at them, but from a technical implementation level it is pretty hard to argue that they aren't at or above Paizo's standards. Both in Quality and Quantity.

jaseX wrote:
Couldn't agree more. It's not just the art. Everything from the iconography to copy, to page and stat block layouts, the character sheet, et cetera... Coming from D&D, it all feels quite undesigned. My personal dis-favorite art is the chipmunk teeth on the wizard on page 202.

My least favourite would be the druid iconic with the snow leopard. The Snow Leopard looks like it had its face smashed in with a goblin's club as a cub and never recovered.

That or someone sat on it.


jaseX wrote:
Couldn't agree more. It's not just the art. Everything from the iconography to copy, to page and stat block layouts, the character sheet, et cetera...

Yes, I find the colour coding, fonts, and icons very unpleasant on the eye (though I do have a condition), and at a glance I have a hard time telling the difference between the 2 and 3 action icon; I mentioned this in the surveys.


There does seem to be a bit of a shift in art styles in the core. Probably has more to do with artist selection than anything else. But I think there might have been a deliberate choice for more vibrant colors. I do appreciate that as far as I can tell, this is all new art, unlike PF1 where most (or was it all?) of the art was recycled. Often very good AP cover art, but still recycled. Commissioning that much new art for one book has got to be tough. They might have been at it since before the new edition was even announced. I did see at least one piece with the PF1 style iconics (pg 442), which might be an early bit.

For the most part I'd say the art is on the rather good side with only a few not so good pieces. Several images of Valeros seem a bit weird to me, not sure why. His face and sometimes body just look... off somehow (like page 147, 273 and 448). And yeah, I'm not a fan of that style on 466 (it's also on 137). It's a stylistic choice that just isn't my thing. The page 4 and 5 spread is pretty cool except for two details, Seoni's face looks odd and (super nitpicky on my part that isn't so much the art) where did kobolds get rubber for slingshots? Sling does not equal Slingshot. The kobolds themselves look pretty awesome, both cute and fierce at the same time, except for the choice of slingshot which goes a bit more towards silly nuisance than deadly monster. I rather like all the various sample characters throughout the character creation chapters. They have a nice varied style with lots of flavor, lots of diversity in concepts, not just Generic Human Fighter #7. The dude on 231 is a standout, 223 looks like he's about to open a whole 6-pack of holy whoop-ass and 184 is a pretty awesome version of a classic roguish type.

My favorite piece of art in the book is probably page 111. Seelah's clearly been through hell (literally and figuratively), dented armor, frayed cloak, and a bloody face, but she's got this look of determination, pushing on through it all, and getting ready to smite the crap out of those devils. I've got my money on her.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think the artwork for Merisiel on 178 is pretty lame and one of the worse.

I definitely love the artwork for Seoni compared to the 1st edition artwork. Definitely my favorite artwork of the core class iconics, on pages 190 and 195. Haven't looked through all the artwork yet, not sure how much more of her there is.

I really like the wolf on page 216. Love the eyes and the black fur.


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I think the art is fantastic!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I don't think I've seen any art I dislike yet, even if I'm not a fan of the Hobgoblin redesign.


Some of the art is really good, especially the half page art scattered throughout the book.

That said, yeah something feels a little off about the cover to me.

Grand Lodge

Someone made a poll regarding the change in styles in regards to the iconics a little while back.

Old Valeros:
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/pathfinder/images/f/f8/Valeros.jpg/revi sion/latest?cb=20080602020111

New Valeros:
https://cdn.paizo.com/image/content/PathfinderRPG/20190514-Valeros.jpg

Poll:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScC-3qS8DicPYQgmAZBxvbgIC6CpS57Mal GEMO5II-mnmjZpw/viewform

They seem to have to gone to a less detailed artistic style.
I prefer the PF1 more detailed asthetic myself.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not a fan of a lot of the art in the book especially when it comes to the new iconic looks (Although Ironicly it has one of my favorite Lini pieces of all time it's of her old style not her new look.)


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Honestly I like the art much better than the PF1 1,000 pockets anime iconics. This is much more my style.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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When it comes to most of the core rulebook, I think the art is pretty good.

I absolutely hate half of the iconic re-designs. And no, it isn't because they 'covered up' characters.


I am ok with the art, although it isn’t an improvement over PF1, I prefer it over 5e. I am not sure why almost all iconic characters have acquired an eating disorder though....


Berhagen wrote:
I am ok with the art, although it isn’t an improvement over PF1, I prefer it over 5e. I am not sure why almost all iconic characters have acquired an eating disorder though....

I was shocked by the illustration of Mavaro on top of pg 572.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Art is a subjective thing. To me the art ranges from good to great. That is me though. Others do not like it. Art is subjective.

The Exchange

Its all over the place honestly, you got excellent pieces but you got some that you go "eh?"


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The demonic sorcerer is wife material tbh

Very little of the Reynolds art sticks out to me as very good (and most of it is bad) other than Seoni who looks great.


I actually liked the sketches in the playtest material better than the final art.


I like the White Dragon cover from the playtest more than the red dragon final one...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Kyrone wrote:
I like the White Dragon cover from the playtest more than the red dragon final one...

Me too. I also really liked the red borders around the pages. Though i can see why they had to go, too much space.

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