Dungeons & Dragons may be a tabletop roleplaying game where much of the story and its world take place in your mind, but the series wouldn’t be what it is today without the artwork. There’s why there’s Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons, a documentary dedicated to the artists who helped bring the game to life. To get ready for next week’s debut, io9 has an exclusive clip to show you featuring iconic D&D artist Jeff Easley and his even more iconic dragons.
Eye of the Beholder, directed by Brian Stillman and Kelley Slagle, is a deep dive into the monsters, creatures, and characters of Dungeons & Dragons, and how the artists who created them helped inspire a generation of modern fantasy artwork. The documentary features interviews with artists like Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell, Tony DiTerlizzi, and Margaret Weiss, among others—and of course, Easley himself, featured in our clip below.
Speaking with io9, Stillman (who grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons) explained how Easley’s artwork was one of the main things that drew him into the game in the first place.
“Like so many kids, I was introduced to D&D by a friend’s older brother,” he said. “Easley art was my first exposure to Dungeons & Dragons, and it blew my mind. It was so evocative, it drew me right into the world of wizards and warriors and monsters, and all those weird and wonderful things. It gave me permission to run wild in that world and do whatever I wanted.”
Stillman called it “nerve-wracking” to interview many of his idols since he was such a lifelong fan of Dungeons & Dragons. He even shared a hilarious story of sitting down with Todd Lockwood, another artist featured in the documentary, to get a bite to eat before their interview:
I was doodling on a napkin or something, and he glances over and goes, “What’s that? Drawing a knight? Give it here, let me see.” Todd’s the nicest person in the world, but I was still, like: “Nope. Not gonna happen.” There’s absolutely no way I’m showing Todd-Freaking-Lockwood my crappy doodle of a knight.
But he insisted, so I handed it over. He looks at it, takes a sip of his martini—yeah, he was drinking martinis at lunch—and goes: “Well… it’s got all its limbs. So, that’s something.” I call that a victory.
Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons and Dragons comes out via VOD on May 14.
Update: Added Kelley Slagle.
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