The Art of LEGACY: Life Among the Ruins
Layout: James Iles
Artists: Tithi Luadthong, Jeff Brown and Claudia Cangini
A UFO Press Publication
PDF – $12.99
The Art of LEGACY: Life Among the Ruins features visual inspirations for gamemasters to feed off as well as invoking the imaginations of their players. The highly stylized post-apocalyptic digital paintings from Tithi Luadthong ushers in a fresh industrial perspective to the genre, while Jeff Brown’s cinematic digitally produced imagery lifts up the spirit and transports the soul into another realm. Juxtapositioning the latter Claudia Cangini stylized comic portraits breaths life into LEGACY’s inhabitants. The three create the art stylings of LEGACY: Life Among the Ruins.
To appreciate an artist’s creation it’s helpful to know a little about them. Unfortunately, this book neglects to give even the briefest of bios on the artists. Knowing the artists and a sense of their styles can aid in differentiating the works presented in the book, something the book does not do. Below I’ve added brief summaries of the artists based on information available to me via the interwebs.
Tithi a graduate from Interior Architectural Design in Bangkok, works on top of photographs and sketches for his digital paintings. A process that allows him to quickly manipulate the scene into his own. He uses images from Thailand, his place of residence and jaunts to Hongkong for his cityscapes, while all his landscape are exclusively taken from Thailand scenes. Tithi’s cityscape paintings feature linear rigid abstracted structures in contrast with expressive strokes of color hyperdetailed to draw the gaze of the eye.
Jeff is a full-time freelance artist from Saskatoon, SK, Canada, living in Cuernavaca, Mexico embraced his creative side early in life. Beginning at childhood he was always creating works of fantasy out of various mediums. It wasn’t until he discovered digital-painting that he found his passion. Since then he has created many pieces of art that don the covers of fantasy, sci-fiction books, and tabletop gaming products. He uses grandiose light flowing background with sharp detail subjects in the foreground to invite the viewer in.
Claudia’s career as a freelance illustrator and comic artist started after leaving the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. Claudia’s passion for illustrating or writing her own comics has always been with her. She began as a letterer on manga but soon branched out into other areas of commercial art. She is mostly recognized by the distinctive portrait illustrations in the RPG Night Witches, but her work has graced other works within the hobby. Claudia precise line work and tonal colorations birth emotions into her sequential art personalities.
Our journey into this visual candy store starts with the cover of Legacy. Each title section of the book begins with a brief description of the theme and explanation of the work of art presented. It’s there to guide the viewer through the piece as their eyes move along the angles of each stroke, absorbing the wondrous collection of lines and hues. The sections of the book place the reader on a journey through the various characters, families, wonders, wastelands, all the way to the legacy of Claudia Cangini work from the 1st edition.
Image after image of these wasteland inspirations presents a third person view as if standing, watching the subjects in the foreground as the world comes to life in front of you. The subjects, for the most part, are faceless when not graced with views of their backs. The threats within the landscape or a foe’s feature are left ambiguous to allow the mind to fill in the details. Each desolate painting offers a glimpse of hope into a new future or a life waiting for fulfillment at the gaming table.
The art presented in this book is beautifully crafted with care and precision. The drawbacks to this book are the lack of understanding of the artists and their style, the lack of credits to each piece so the viewer can derive their own conclusions, and various page layout issues were titles superimposed on the art disappear underneath other image placed on top. If cutting the type off on purpose was a design element it doesn’t come off as one. It looks like a mistake.
Despite the omissions of artists’ context, layout flaws, and the sterileness of digital art The Art of LEGACY: Life Among the Ruins is a great visual handout to use at your gaming table. It will make a great tool for gamemasters looking to immerse themselves into the wasteland of Legacy or to excite their players.
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