I’d bet when reading the title of this post one’s mind would immediately think of “Overloard” (the cover of 2e’s “Dragon Kings”). However I am actually referring to his dragon king illustration, not the painting.
During the 2e days, colored paintings were the norm for the covers of supplements and novels and black and white illustrations the norm for interior art in supplements and magazines – the obvious exceptions being the 2e adventure flip books. A possible reason for this has to do with the cost of printing, since interior art in black and white was cheaper to print 20 years ago. With the cost and location of a piece being factors in adorning pages with black and white work, color illustrations during this period are rare but not wholly absent.
One of those rare color illustrations can be found in Dragon 194 (June 1993), and by Brom no less, which makes it more of a rarity since Brom’s colored works during this time where only his oil paintings. The image itself is expectantly excellent, and only in this article does it make an appearance. As is common with Dragon at the time, the image also doesn’t really fit with the subject of the article. Though it could be loosely linked to the Arcanamach kit, it looks more of a sorcerer-king in the early stages of transformation. The subject’s pose and the graphic design elements are equally serpentine giving the piece a calm, yet sinister feel.
With many images re-used throughout various Dark Sun products, why this particular one wasn’t used anywhere else is anyone’s guess (though it being in color could be a factor). Looking back twenty years, all Brom work should be considered sacred and truly expressive of the setting. So it’s always odd when his work was found not to be used to the fullest extent possible (by which I mean as often as possible). This isn’t the first time his Dark Sun work was under-utilized (1,2,3) and it’s a shame this unique colored illustration from Brom was only found in a single Dragon article.