As should be obvious, this artwork was used on the cover of Dragon Magazine issue 120 (April, 1987). I always make an effort to find an unembellished version of the art I feature, but alas, I could only find this wonderful fantasy tavern scene by Eisner Award winning artist Linda Medley as a scan of the actual cover. I’d love to find a clean version of this somewhere… I’d hang a print of it on my wall!
I think this artwork sticks in a lot of peoples minds who saw it back in the day. Even now it evokes so many questions, speculation and possible stories. Everyone has so much damned character! Such a mix of detail and expansiveness in an original style that set it apart from much of the “heroic” artwork so common in RPG and D&D illustrations at the time.
I’ll admit to not one, but two characters inspired by this piece. One is a rather beloved half-ogre fighter named Brog I created not long after getting this issue in the mail as a kid. See the figure in the far upper right for his inspiration. ;-) The second came decades later. For some reason the image of the burly, strawberry blond fellow sitting middle-far right always came to mind as a good template to tell some gritty heroism and adventure with. And from that evolved my idea for the character of Oris that features in my story, “The Pool of Sacred Stars” that I really need to finish some day.
I was saddened to learn that Linda’s had some health problems lately that have hurt her financially as well, interfering with her art and award winning comic Castle Waiting. If you’d like to help her get back on her feet, please check out her Patreon!