Matt Stawicki: The Artist of Dragonlance

Dragonlance readers may have noticed that Wizards of the Coast has recently been releasing new editions of the core novels of the Dragonlance saga. Last year they debuted new covers for the Chronicles trilogy, and this month they have re-released the Legends trilogy. Sharp-eyed fans may have noticed that the overall design of the new covers is similar to that of the new War of Souls trilogy. This is part of a concerted effort to tie together all of the Dragonlance titles written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

One of the most crucial parts of the repackaging efforts was creating consistency in the art gracing these new covers. Enter Matt Stawicki. This award-winning fantasy artist agreed to take on the task and lend his considerable talents to depicting the world of Krynn. We’ve asked him to comment on each piece of art for the Legends titles to give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the artist’s creative process.

Time of the Twins

Matt Stawicki: “Time of the Twins” was a very interesting piece to me. It was in this commission I got a chance to illustrate some elements I had wanted to take on for some time, namely the idyllic white city of Istar. I turned to more traditional sources for inspiration like the Orientalists for their beautiful depictions of eastern marble structures, usually bathed in a very natural light. All of this leads to the mood and feeling I was trying to convey — one that feels very peaceful but with the feeling of impending doom. Enter the fireballs from the sky. This is the element that says to me this is the “calm before the storm.” The figure placement is one that shows the developing relationship between Raistlin and Crysania. The contrast of her white dress on his black robe also creates a lot of visual focus.

War of the Twins

Matt: “War of the Twins” was a piece I worked with a little more perspective. The mammoth structure of Pax Tharkas was one that seemed very dramatic to me. The perspective was emphasized by the pose of the in-flight griffon. The visual impact of the piece was created using two very different light sources and colors. This helps separate the foreground figures from the background.

Test of the Twins

Matt: The most important and challenging thing about this piece [“Test of the Twins”] was the portal. I wanted to give it a very grand feel without letting it take over the piece. I used it as a border element which let me show it as being big but still leaving enough space to fit in the main characters and the five-headed dragon,Takhisis.

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