The Art of 4th Edition: Eva Widermann

One of our favorite 4th Edition artists at My Girlfriend is a DM is the German-born artist Eva Widermann, who currently resides in that foggy rebel county in Ireland known as Cork. In addition to churning out lots of work for companies such as Paizo, Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, NCSoft & Mephisto, she holds a regular community event known as Drink & Draw where local artists meet every fortnight to sketch and doodle with libations close at hand. She most recently did work for Frogster Games’ Runes of Magic. In the D&D 4th Edition department, her most recent contribution was the cover for Underdark.

One of our favorite things about Widermann’s artwork is that she makes female dwarves look cool. Seriously. And she doesn’t do it by trying make them look like ‘full-bodied sexy mamas,’ the way other artists would approach a squat female fantasy character. What she seems to be doing is make them look commanding, fearless and imposing. Where other artists would draw attention to the physique to portray the character of a female dwarf Widermann lets the female dwarf just be. They’re always in action, rather than trying to put out a ‘big girl’ appeal.

Widermann’s style is actually rather conservative. She goes for elegant line-work and well-developed character design, but never tries to go too far in terms of figure posing and costume design.  Simply put, she goes for what looks practical for the character, and the result is that whether she’s illustrating a spellcaster, a druid or a battle maiden, they look authentic in concept. The costumes look like they can be worn without impeding combat ability, and her poses aren’t trying to force their way out of the page. She’s basically the complete opposite of Wayne Reynolds, who favors wild costumes, oversized weapons and exaggerated figure posing.

The result is that dwarven or not, Widermann makes women in fantasy games look like forces to be reckoned with. They simply look like they can kick your ass. They don’t need giant swords to do it, or prove that they have attitude with a harsh-looking expression on their face, or try to scare the bejeezus out of you with fearsome looking bondage fetish costumes. Why? Well, because they’re not trying to prove anything. They really just can kick your ass.

I recently enjoyed some of the pieces she contributed to Player’s Handbook Races: Dragonborn, not just because I love Dragonborn, but because her style perfectly complements the concept of the Dragonborn. As the Klingons of D&D, Dragonborn are kind of a crazy idea on the face of it: Serious-minded draconic humanoids that breathe fire and have a sense of honor!  If you want art that ensures that they are taken seriously, Eva Widermann is a perfect fit – well there’s William O’Connor too, but natch. Her style requires no flash to guarantee that they are nothing to be laughed at. Perfect for a race that takes itself very seriously.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one important measure of a 4th Edition artist: Can the artist draw a good dragon?

Fuck, yes.

If you enjoyed this post consider purchasing Underdark: 4th Edition Campaign Supplement, the Player’s Handbook Races: Dragonborn supplements which feature the art of Eva Widermann, or any number of 4th Edition D&D products from Amazon.com

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Comments
12 Responses to “The Art of 4th Edition: Eva Widermann”
  1. Paolo Cruz says:

    FIRST!

    Leaving aside your valuable insights about Widermann’s artwork, and how it blends form with function so integrally, i’ll give you three guesses about what first caught my eye in this post. Then again, I suppose that was intentional, and it did get me curious enough to read the full entry.

    And since it’s apparently customary to initiate an exchange of this sort….

    I’d hit it. With my +2 Rod of Virility.

  2. Rex says:

    Just a thought here, I like the way the dwarves have some ethnic variety to them -especially on the left, their features like african rather than the usual caucasian dwarves you’re used to (albeit their hair isnt).

  3. Andre says:

    It makes a change to find some good content for once, I was getting tired
    of the continual drivel I find lately, thanks.

  4. Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident, and I’m shocked why this twist
    of fate did not took place in advance! I bookmarked
    it.

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  1. […] the splash art for the new classes, and Adam Gillespie handling the same duties for the new races. Our recently named favorite Eva Widermann has a few pieces in here too, but she’s outnumbered by other artists like Jason Engle. Between […]

  2. […] great majority of the cartography work for adventures featured in Dungeon. However, as mentioned in our previous post about Eva Widermann, one of the most important ways to measure the talent of any 4th Edition artist such as Engle, is […]

  3. […] Handbook 2. While the first Player’s Handbook featured great racial art from people like Eva Widermann and William O’Connor, the art direction for those pages lacked a certain degree of […]

  4. […] Handbook 2. While the first Player’s Handbook featured great racial art from people like Eva Widermann and William O’Connor, the art direction for those pages lacked a certain degree of […]

  5. […] out odd spots in the Dungeon and Dragon magazines. Many of our favorite artists return, such as Eva Widermann and William O’Connor, who also showcases his versatility by presenting the classic PHB races […]

  6. […] the splash art for the new classes, and Adam Gillespie handling the same duties for the new races. Our recently named favorite Eva Widermann has a few pieces in here too, but she’s outnumbered by other artists like Jason Engle. Between […]

  7. […] I found a fascinating observation about the way you draw your female fantasy characters, in this article. It basically states that your female characters are naturals, managing to kick ass without owning […]



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