Tony DiTerlizzi and Art

November 7, 2015 Author: Jon Johnson (Sir)

As an avid role gamer, you tend to get introduced to a plethora of artists of all types, styles and variety. I knew the name of Bill Willingham long before his ages-ago days at Comico, when his art overshadowed writing. Many other artists got their early starts working for table top role playing game publishers, when the need for art was great and the work plentiful. Before his success with the Spiderwick Chronicles, Tony DiTerlizzi was one of these artists.


The worlds of fantasy gaming have a history of art crossing back and forth between the barely passable to the high concept. Dark Horse imprint Kitchen Sink Books has published the comprehensive compilation of DiTerlizzi’s role-playing game work, REALMS. In it, readers are treated to the earliest inspirations for Tony’s fantasy depictions through to his last regular work with RPG’s, covering about ten years of art and publishing. Tony discovered a love for the craft with the advent of Dungeons and Dragons, the granddaddy of all modern table top role-playing games, eventually doing some work for their Second Edition gamebooks. From there he was tasked with the makeup of an entire game setting, Planescape, and gaining a large following in the process. It’s not unknown that the books of D&D held a plethora of artists depicting new forms of fantastical creatures, some taken from mythology. In REALMS, not only are Tony’s first attempts at recreating that art, but the eventual follow through and evolution of his work. REALMS is a physical manifestation of a DVD special feature commentary track, each piece annotated, with notes from a variety of Tony’s contemporaries in the field, such as Larry Elmore and Diesel LaForce, making the book a must-have for all fans of games and fantasy and art evolution alike.

This piece was written for the Bleeding Cool website during the 2015 New York Comic Con and went unpublished. Visit Tony and his great art site at for more information and public appearances.

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