Illustrators Todd Lockwood and Sam Wood and Art Director Robert Raper spent a few moments to share their thoughts about the art for Fzoul Chembryl, a cleric villain of the Realms; how Faerûnian clerics are depicted; and some of the holy symbols of the gods of the Realms -- all reflections of how the gods of the Realms are reflected in the art for the Realms.
Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.
Fzoul Chembryl: "This is the original concept art for the 3rd edition version of Fzoul," explains Todd. "I don't know much about Fzoul's god or the specifics of his faith, but he's one of the more colorful villains in the Forgotten Realms setting and can't be mistaken with that gem stuck in his forehead. I got to paint him once before for the cover of the 2nd edition AD&DVillain's Lorebook and enjoyed his flamboyant, macho evilness. He's even more evil now, with his spiffy new armor. This guy is all about attitude -- a total stud."
Clerics of the Realms (Mystra, Selûne, Shar, Torm, Talos): "I was certainly influenced by the great priest illustrations from Faiths and Avatars," says Sam. "I also wanted to give a sense of how different the priests of various deities would look."
Mystra:"The cleric of Mystra has subdued, practical garb yet is also somewhat mysterious, as befits a worshiper of a goddess of magic. The leather apron with pouches is also classic 3rd edition D&D wizard gear.
[Sam really wanted to comment on the cleric so obviously cropped from this illustration. But she's a surprise that we can't reveal yet.]
Selûne: "As clergy go, priests of Selûne tend to have unusually cosmopolitan tastes in clothing. This one is dressed in a variation on Enlightenment-era courtly dress, but the blue and ivory color scheme and ornamental pearls denote his faith."
Shar: "In utter contrast [to Selûne] is the stark black robe of the cleric of Shar. Against her pale skin it creates an effect that is cold and almost ascetic, yet strangely seductive. I also like the way her black hair and garment merge to form a single impenetrable mass of shadow."
Torm: "The cleric of Torm almost seems to be more of a paladin! She's every bit the warrior the [cropped cleric] is, yet the smooth shapes and warm tones of her armor couldn't be more different to the [cropped cleric]'s jagged aggression. I used a lot of oranges and browns to give her a sense of tranquility."
Talos: "For the priest of Talos, the chaotic evil storm god, I wanted a man who looked like he'd been struck by lightning more than once and come away slightly unhinged. The elaborate black and silver robes contrast with the simple studded leather armor and wild white hair to create the look of a true fanatic. Fun stuff!"
Holy Symbols of Chauntea, Cyric, Gond, and Oghma: "The holy symbols were illustrated by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law," explains Rob Raper. [She could not be reached to comment.] "We started from a foundation of inspiration from the old holy symbols, of course, but we wanted to go for a more painterly sense in these and the art of the new setting as a whole. The symbols have good harmony and balance, but most important to the art direction of the new setting, they look more organic and earthy. They have a real sense of being painted onto the paper. They are looser and more free-flowing than the very tight style of the core D&D products."
"I like to think of these holy symbols as being the interpretation of the scribe who compiled and illuminated the 'book' that is the new campaign setting. These are his interpretations, while the same holy symbols appearing in another artist's piece, like the ones shown in Sam's "Cleric of the Realms" piece, are holy symbols as interpreted and rendered by a different scribe."
Go to the February Realmswatch to check out more about the upcoming Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting or check out more Forgotten Realms articles on the Forgotten Realms home page.