This week I decided to look at my favorite piece from Todd Lockwood. Mr. Lockwood cites Jeff Easley and Frank Frazetta as his biggest artistic influences and he got his start with TSR doing character portraits for their Spellfire card game back in 1995. (Wikipedia) Since then, he has produced hundreds of works for the Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, and Dragonlance settings, as well as the cover art for dozens of D&D related novels including this one for R.A. Salvatore.
I’ll admit, when it comes to Todd Lockwood, I’m a huge fan. To my eyes, there’s a kind of movement or action to his style that always makes me think, what happens next? His detailing and his personalization of every character is top notch and I can’t think of anyone else who can show such a huge range of emotions within one painting. For example, take a close look at this piece. To start with Drizzt, I see determination and focus. Then have a good look at the other Orcs and you will see anger, joy, fatigue, shock, terror, rage, uncertainty, pride, and arrogance. Not to mention a whole lotta teeth!
Some of the best details of this piece are hiding in plain sight (another talent of Mr. Lockwood that I enjoy). Almost every weapon held by the Orcs is stained with blood. That means that these Orcs have already killed (or at least wounded) this day and are bursting with bloodlust. They also have Drizzt completely surrounded with even more reinforcements on the way in the far background. This is adding to their confidence and blinding them to the fact that they are about to take on the greatest swordsman in the Realms. However, check out the Orc that sits almost dead center of the lower third of the piece (the only one that seems to be staring outward at the viewer). He has no weapon and seems to have an indecisive look on his mug. If I were going to bet money on it, I’d say this guy is about to do the smart thing and run.
I believe The Thousand Orcs to be a benchmark in cover art. When I first saw the book my only thought was : wow. And since that time, I cannot think of another cover that has made me think that way. Hats off to you Mr. Lockwood, you are setting the bar very high.