Saturday, January 3, 2009

BattleTech: Cover Art

I can't help but feel that the cover art for the FanPro and Catalyst stuff is somewhat boring.

No, I'm not talking about the cover to TRO 3075 either. We all know that one is awful. I'm talking about the stuff here: Gallery

It's not awful, but it isn't as good as the old FASA covers.
Just compare this: Total Warfare

to the cover of the Tukayyid scenario pack cover: Tukayyid

It's competent to be sure, but it's very bright and colorful and filled with Photoshop effects that I could make if I did some research. While the Tukayyid cover is nicely painted and looks epic in a mythic sort of way. It doesn't look like something you'd be able to find on a deviantart site.
I'm not saying all FanPro covers suck or that all FASA covers rock, but I do tend to prefer the older, less glossy work.

This FanPro cover also suffers from what I'm talking about. A lot of shiny photoshop beams: Combat Equipment

I much prefer this sort of approach. Painterly and stylized: AeroTech 2

The Tukayyid cover is amazingly effective at conveying the battle. A giant, hazy muddle of forces battling in the background... then two Mechs ducking it out when we pull closer, and finally infantry playing cat and mouse in the foreground.
Take a look at the paint too. The Thug has "Blakes Wrath" on its PPC coiling, while the Stone Rhino is sporting the sort of nose art you'd see painted on an A-10 Warthog. I just love little artistic touches like that. And the important part... there are weapons discharging, but they aren't overpowering the overall image. As opposed to this: Combat Ops

I just found out Doug Chaffee did the Tukayyid cover. He also did the AeroTech 2 cover that I linked. So I guess I just really like Doug Chaffee's cover art.

Here's another FASA cover that wasn't done by Doug Chaffee that's great: Coventry

Again, very little pyrotechics. In fact, there's a sense of peace throughout the image. A serene calm just washes over me when I look at it. It's a beautiful forest, and this Jade Falcon force is just casually strolling through it. To the left, you see some actual falcons startled and scattering in their wake. It's art, and I would definitely hang this up in my room in a frame if I owned it. Can't say the same for most of the FanPro covers.

I think in general, covers that have little to no combat are more impressive and impactful. The whole "Less is More" concept. Here's some examples.


3057 TRO

House Steiner Handbook

All the Field Manuals had great covers too. Probably because Doug Chaffee did 90% of them.

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