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[Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus? (necro)

ChopSockey

Registered User
Validated User
I'm baffled. People are always going gaga over EO's art and I find it repulsive. When I'm struggling to be at my most open minded and objective I still find it cartoony and amateurish.

I figured that it's a nostalgic love by association thing but now folks are saying they used to not like it and now that they're "all grown up" they love it... WTF!?

So can somebody please come along and expain to me as precisiely as possible what the appeal is? Feel free to bust out your visual arts degree and get all pedantic if you like.
 

MetaDude

Married to a Scientist!
Validated User
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

Actually, Erol Otus' style is simplistic, and most of the characters he paints look like they're all related, or perhaps the same person wearing different clothing... However, his art was featured on many of the earliest D&D modules. Because of that, Erol's work has a strong emotional association with many of our earliest gaming memories.

That, I think, is why many appreciate his style more as they've gotten older. Just looking at an Erol Otus piece invokes strong memories of "the good old days!" Yeah, it's the nostalgia factor, but one shouldn't discount it. Art is subjective, after all.
 

Six_Gun_Sam

New member
Banned
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

Art is subjective. Some people love it some hate it.

I didn't like it then and I don't like it now, but I do respect the artist.
 

ChopSockey

Registered User
Validated User
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

Art is subjective. Some people love it some hate it.

I didn't like it then and I don't like it now, but I do respect the artist.
I understand this. I really do!
I don't intend any disrespect, I'm sure he's a great guy and all, and good for him making a career out of art.

I mean, there's gotta be something to it for so many people to like it, I just can't fathom what (which is why I'm asking for explanations).
 

JollyRB

I'm not armed mister!
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

For me it's part nostalgia to be sure. But also much more than that.

His style has the look/feel of of ancient art to me. Something you might see the walls of a drow tomb. Even a bit alien looking.

Just sort of screams fantasy role-play to me. His work often reminds me of Lovecraft for some reason. Probably because of his cover for Dieties and Demigods (the printing with the lovecraftian monsters in it). That cover fascinated me the moment I saw it and sort of fed the sense of wonder I had about D&D in general at the time. It sill moves me in that same way.

I also like him because he's strikingly different than so many of the more realistic artists that TSR eventually turned to later in AD&D's development.

Not that I don't love Elmore or Parkinson. I do.

Erol is simply in a league of his own.

I understand why some folks hate his work. Seems to be a hot or cold thing with Erol. Which for some strange reason makes me love his work even more.

(BTW he's a helluva nice guy. Finally got to meet him a few years ago at GenCon. Course the same can be said of most of the folks I've met from the old guard).
 
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komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

I understand this. I really do!
I don't intend any disrespect, I'm sure he's a great guy and all, and good for him making a career out of art.

I mean, there's gotta be something to it for so many people to like it, I just can't fathom what (which is why I'm asking for explanations).
I hated his art as a kid.

I was so very, very glad when guys like Larry Elmore became the face of D&D, later on.

It took years for me to appreciate the sheer weirdness and unearthliness of his stuff. The harsh lines and weird angles and spikiness, but with no attempt at "realism".

That's why I like it, now, if not then. To me, his stuff speaks to sheer, wahoo! differentness and imagination. It's not a "nearby" world he's drawing. It ain't the middle or dark ages plus monsters. It's some very alien place, that is obviously and unescapably not real. It's flat and two-dimensional and cartoony, and a willing suspension of disbelief is the minimum price-tag.

There's no cheat here, where you get a greased pole into weirdness and adventure. No convenient tornado knocking you out only to wake up and find it all was a dream. You have to buy in, jump in, and not look back. It ain't Tolkien, or Bob Howard, or Fritz Leiber, or Michael Moorcock. It ain't Planet of the Apes or StarWars or a Ralph Baschi film. He gives you some strange bunch of people and a critter and says" Go figure out what happened before that and what happens next!"
 

venusboys3

wearer of socks
Validated User
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

I was never a big fan of Mr. Otus... but at the time his art was noticeable step forward from what we'd been seeing, and it was genuinely evocative.

Now Elmore... technically he's the more capable but his stuff bores the crap out of me and keeps me disinterested from whatever product he's illustrating.
 

Booberry

Empathetically Embarassed
Validated User
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

Many people seem to think that the only reason someone could possibly like anything associated with the early days of roleplaying is out of nostalgia. My love for Erol Otus has nothing to do with nostalgia. His work has style. His choices of color evoke a certain 'weirdness' that is at once fantastic and gross, much like the highly underrated cover painters of the early pulps. It's vaguely upsetting for no particular reason, which is how I like my fantasy. He's also impossible to copy, which is one of my main criteria in judging an artist's work.

Many people love Wayne Reynolds, a painter whose work is technically far more proficient than that of Otus. Nonetheless, I find Wayne's work static and even a little boring. Art is one of the most arbitrarily subjective topics imaginable. People love Picasso, and he was actually a pretty shitty draftsman.

I don't know.

God I love Erol Otus.
 
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sagaston

Guy Who Makes Things
Validated User
Re: [Art-] Srsly? What's the big deal with Erol otus?

I'm a fan.

I had to do a quick Google search to remind me of what exactly his stuff looked like, to see if it was just thinking back to my 9 year old self that made his stuff seem cool, but no I do like it.

There's a vibe to the B&W stuff in particular that is kind of like an updated version of medieval woodcuts, that definitely works for D&D.
 
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