I find it difficult to believe that anyone that reads this blog does NOT know who James Edward Raggi IV is (at least within the OSR community/blog-o-sphere)...but on the off-chance you don't, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite pieces of RPG art of all time:
Truly, at this very moment I can't think of a single piece of color art I admire as much. Well...other than Brian DeClercq's beautiful cover for my B/X Companion, of course.
If anything can convince someone to buy one more game or game supplement, the cover art of a book must be at least as important as a well written review by a well-respected critic. After all, one of the draws of RPGs are their ability to fire and stretch the imagination...and good artwork (fantasy or not) is a great help in this regard.
It makes me slightly depressed. As I work on the new books, I can't help but think how damn fortunate I got with the B/X Companion and the talented artists willing to contribute to my work. Yes, yes...some of them have already emailed me their willingness to work with me again (thank you, folks) but still, until you see it, how do you know the art is going to turn out...well, good?
I think I got an amazing piece for my book, and Mr. Raggi certainly got a good one as well. I'm sure that a lot fewer of our books would have been sold with lesser pieces gracing their covers...regardless of how good the material inside is. I can only hope we're both as fortunate in the future.