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?
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