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Discussion with Clyde Caldwell on Gazetteer Covers

by Robin

Back when I worked at TSR, the company published a catalog of upcoming products that was distributed to the distributors and retailers so that they could order the products they wanted for their stores. These catalogs had to be produced months in advance of the actual products. In many cases, the products had not even been written, but there was a need for cover art for the products to be included in the catalog. Sometimes the actual cover art for a product would be available, so that the artwork appearing in the catalog would be the actual cover art used on the product. Other times, the artists who were to do the actual cover art wouldn't be able to produce that art in time for the printing of the catalog, so in many cases, freelance artists were used to do "preliminary" cover art for the upcoming products. In this case, it looks as if either Ron and Val Lindahn or John and Laura Lakey did these covers for the catalogs, which may also have been used in the ads. Then later, I did the actual cover art which was used on the products. My guess is that it was John and Laura Lakey who did these two in question for the catalog.

Just as an extra aside, Laura Lakey was the model for the girl in my GAZ painting, 'The Kingdom of Ierendi'. She also posed for the harpy in another of my paintings for the Greyhawk Adventures novel, 'The Price of Power'.

I hope this helps!

All the best,

Clyde Caldwell

I did a color preliminary for 'The Elves of Alfheim'. I also did the color prelims for 'The Grand Duchy of Karameikos' and 'The Emirates of Ylaruam'. I don't remember doing the color prelim for 'The Principalities of Glantri', though it has some of the elements from my final painting in it. I can't tell due to the size. If you have a large scan of that one, I may be able to tell if I did it. If I didn't do it, I may have provided drawings for the freelance artist to use. Can't remember...

None of the other prelims are mine. I have scans of a couple of the ones I did that I can send you. However my computer is in the shop right now, so I don't have access to those files. If you'd like to see them, I can send them along at a later date.

I never used other people's prelims for the final paintings. I came up with my own concepts. There came a time when I would do the drawings for the painting, and then someone else would do the color preliminary for the catalog, and then I would do the final painting for the cover. When this happened, sometimes I would give the prelim artist my ideas for a color scheme. If the prelim artist came up with his own color scheme, I usually would change it for the final artwork, just to make it mine.

I found two preliminary scans. The first one is of my prelim for 'The Elves of Alfheim' This one was a fairly finished one, but I changed it a bit for the final. The second one I'm thinking was for 'The Emirates of Ylaruam' This one was a quickie. I wasn't terribly happy with it and made quite a few changes for the final cover painting.

I did do the prelim for 'The Principalities of Glantri'. When I looked at it more closely, I recognized the critter in the left lower corner which I had to leave out of the final artwork, due to space restrictions.

These were the only two scans I could find.


No preference on how you share the preliminary artwork. I'll leave that up to you. You may want to add a copyright notice when showing the pieces in a public forum. I'm assuming the copyright is owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

As with most of the work I did for TSR, I didn't get to read the material before doing the illustrations. This was particularly true of the preliminaries, which were sometimes done before writing on the projects had even begun. We relied on short descriptions of the product from either game designers or editors. The critter in the Glantri prelim was just something I made up...not necessarily anything in the D&D inventory of critters.

Clyde Caldwell