Larry Elmore at Lucca Comics and Games 2008
August 5, 1948 |
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Larry Elmore (born August 5, 1948 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American fantasy artist whose work includes creating illustrations for video games, comics, magazines and fantasy books. His list of work includes illustrations for Dungeons & Dragons, Dragonlance, and the comic strip series SnarfQuest. He is author of the book Reflections of Myth.
Early life and education
Elmore was born August 5, 1948 in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Grayson County in midwestern Kentucky. Elmore describes his schools days by saying "The rural school I attended didn't have any art program, so I spent my time drawing - and daydreaming. I was a pretty bad student. ... I was always getting into trouble for drawing in class. I wish I had a quarter for every drawing of mine a teacher destroyed." He majored in art at Western Kentucky University.
A month after graduating from college, Elmore was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Germany. While in the army, he drove a tank. After getting out of the service, Elmore worked as an illustrator for the United States government for the Fort Knox Training Aids Department. Three years later, Elmore turned to freelance work, getting his art published in National Lampoon and Heavy Metal magazines.
One of Elmore's friends, a fellow government illustrator, introduced him to the Dungeons & Dragons game while Elmore was freelancing. Elmore joined the staff of TSR, Inc., the producers of Dungeons & Dragons, as its first professional illustrator, in November 1981 and created art work for adventure modules, game books, and novels, as well as paintings for posters and calendars and more. Elmore created the SnarfQuest comic which appeared in Dragon. During the "Project Overlord" development phase of the Dragonlance setting, Elmore provided the concept artwork that was used to push the idea of Dragonlance to the higher ups at TSR.:16 Elmore was in charge of creating a look for the Dragonlance saga, and did much of the early sketches for the series. His first cover for the series was on Dragons of Autumn Twilight. British game designer Graeme Davis commented that Elmore "should get some kind of award for drawing so many dragons and making them all diffrent".
Elmore was a staff artist at TSR Inc. and contributed to product development and design. He left TSR in 1987. Elmore has illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game. He also provided cover art for the MMORPG EverQuest. In 1996, Elmore wrote the novel Runes of Autumn with his cousin Robert. Elmore did most of the black-and-white artwork for Marc Miller's Traveller (1996) for Imperium Games.:332
In the late 1990s, Elmore approached Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman to pitch his fantasy world of Loerem, which they agreed to write about in the Sovereign Stone trilogy of books.:351 Elmore drew new Snarfquest comics for the magazine Games Unplugged from Ken Whitman's Dynasties Productions, and Whitman later managed Elmore Production, Elmore's personal art company.:351 Elmore provided the artwork for the fantasy world depicted in the Sovereign Stone Game System (1999).:352 In 2004, Sovereign Press returned the rights for Sovereign Stone to Elmore, who then relicensed the game to a small press company called White Silver Publishing.:352
In 2003, Jan McRae was accused of plagiarizing Elmore's work for tracts printed by Family International, to which she later admitted having done. Over the years, Elmore has sold the majority of his published artwork but he has retained the copyrights. Elmore scaled back his activities in 2006, switching to contract work only. Of the change, he stated, "A friend of mine, Keith Parkinson, who also worked at TSR, died of leukemia three years ago. We shared a studio, and we were always talking about how when we hit 50 we'd be doing our own thing. ... He didn't make it, and I was 57 and still pulling all-nighters. I was tired of it. I was tired of paying dues."
His work appears in the book Masters of Dragonlance Art. Elmore released a book of artwork called 20 Years of Elmore in 2005. He has frequently been described as a legend in the fantasy and gaming communities.
In 2013, Elmore raised funding through Kickstarter for a 336-page hardback book of his painted and drawn art from his 40-year career.
In 1971, before leaving for his Army service in Germany, Elmore married his wife Betty. He has two children and currently lives with his wife in Leitchfield, Kentucky. He attends fantasy and science fiction conventions held in the United States, and in Europe. He has said that inspiring others with his art has often been more rewarding than the money he earns in his profession.
- "TSR Profiles". Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR, Inc.) (#107): 63. March 1986.
- Lynch, Bill (October 22, 2009). "Larry Elmore out of the Dungeons: But artist remains in fantasy realm". The Charleston Gazette. p. D3. Retrieved October 9, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Gallagher (July 1987). "Open Box". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (91): 4.
- Reed, Bill (November 8, 1996). "Sci-Fi fans flock here again". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved October 9, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- D'Ammassa, Don (January 2003). "Masters of Dragonlance Art", Chronicle 25 (1): 30.
- "Here there be dragons". The Charleston Gazette. April 21, 2005. Retrieved October 8, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- McMillion, Elaine (October 23, 2009). "More than 400 expected at gamer convention this weekend". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved October 8, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Nett, Veronica (October 25, 2009). "CharCon attracts hundreds of gamers". Sunday Gazette-Mail. Retrieved October 8, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Roberts, Jack; Rios, Alejandro (February 24, 2006). "The local scene stretches all the way to Copenhagen, sort of". Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, PA). Retrieved October 8, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- "The Complete Elmore".
- "Players match wits, command armies in gaming convention". Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Kentucky). January 7, 2007. Retrieved October 9, 2009. "Some people have said, 'you saved my life' ... It gave them a reason to go on, and they picked up art. I've had people come up to me and say, 'I was in high school and couldn't read. I saw your book cover ... (and) liked it so much I learned to read.' Those are payoffs you never dream of, and it's worth more than money." – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Official website
- Interview with Elmore
- Samples of Elmore's art work
- Bibliography of Elmore's work archive