|Known for||Fantasy art, science fiction art, role-playing games, video games|
Elizabeth T. Danforth is a figure of note in the role-playing game and video game industry. Although primarily recognized as an illustrator, she is an editor, writer, game scenario designer and game developer.
Flying Buffalo hired Liz Danforth as a staff artist and production person in 1978, and her magazine Sorcerer's Apprentice (1978-1983) ran for 17 issues.:36 Ken St. Andre revised the rules of Tunnels & Trolls for the game's fifth edition (1979), which Danforth extensively rewrote and developed.:37 Danforth left Flying Buffalo after its 1985 move to Scottsdale, Arizona.:39 With Michael Stackpole and Ken St. Andre, Danforth published the computer game Wasteland (1988) from Interplay.:39
Danforth is known primarily as a freelance artist in the fantasy and science fiction genres, with the majority of her body of work illustrating for the game industry between 1976 and 2004. She has created book covers, maps, and illustrations for many of the significant game publishers including Wizards of the Coast, TSR, Inc, Alderac Entertainment Group, FASA Corporation, Iron Crown Enterprises, GDW, and more. She produced over 50 pieces of art for the collectible card game Magic: the Gathering (produced by Wizards of the Coast) as well as an equal quantity of illustrative artwork for the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game, Legend of the Five Rings and many others. Her maps and illustrations appear in novels and anthologies from Bantam Spectra, Tor Books, DAW Books, and St Martin's Press.
She has freelanced for the computer game industry, developing scenarios for Wasteland, two licensed Star Trek computer games from Interplay and worked on Interplay's much anticipated Meantime which was never released. She was the lead developer for New World Computing's Tunnels & Trolls computer game, and worked on projects with Electronic Arts.
In July 1996, Danforth was inducted into the Academy of Gaming Arts and Design's Hall of Fame in 1995. The Academy is the creative arm of GAMA, the Game Manufacturer's Association. She is a lifetime member of ASFA, the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. In 2014, she was chosen by vote as a "famous game designer" to be featured as the king of hearts in Flying Buffalo's 2014 Famous Game Designers Playing Card Deck.
Danforth has been artist guest of honor at countless science fiction conventions over the past 30 years, including CascadiaCon, the North American science fiction convention held in Seattle in 2005.
Other work included:
- An Irish Country Doctor and An Irish Country Girl (novels by Patrick Taylor; publisher Macmillan Publishers/St Martin's Press: maps
- Battletech Collectible Card Game (FASA Corporation): card artist
- Cheysuli and Sworddancer (novels by Jennifer Roberson; publisher DAW Books): maps
- Dragon Crown War (novel by Michael A. Stackpole; publisher: Bantam Spectra; 2002): map
- Highwaymen: Robbers and Rogues (anthology edited by Jennifer Roberson; publisher: DAW Books; 1997): illustrator
- Legend of the Burning Sands (Five Rings Publishing): card artist
- Legend of the Five Rings Collectible Card Game (Alderac Entertainment): card artist
- Lord of the Rings Adventure Game and Middle-earth Role Playing (I.C.E.): illustrator of numerous books and modules.
- Magic: the Gathering: card artist in Legends, Ice Age, Fallen Empires, Homelands, Alliances, Coldsnap, Mirage, Time Spiral, and in the Unhinged parody set. Her art appears in Magic: The Gathering Online as well as on several promotional cards.
- Of Dice and Pen (anthology by editor Fred Poutre; publisher: Flying Pen Press, 2008): short story
- Spirit Gate (novel by Kate Elliott; publisher: Tor Books, 1997): maps
- Wasteland (1988 video game from Interplay): scenario designer
- Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (1992 video game from Interplay): scenario designer
- Star Trek: Judgment Rites (1993 video game from Interplay): scenario designer
- Tunnels & Trolls Fifth Edition (publisher: Flying Buffalo Inc, 1979): editor, developer and illustrator
- Crusaders of Khazan (video game, New World Computing, 1990): lead writer/designer
Danforth continues to do art and illustration in a freelance capacity. She has been tapped to provide scenarios and design work for Wasteland 2.
Danforth completed a master's degree in Information and Library Science (University of Arizona, 2008), and was one of a dozen hand-selected "gaming experts" who participated in the American Library Association's million-dollar grant-funded project to explore how gaming can be used to improve problem-solving and literacy skills, and to develop a model gaming "toolbox" for gaming in libraries. Ten libraries nationwide were selected to receive a onetime grant of $5,000 with funds used to expand on or add literacy-based gaming experiences at the library for youth ages 10–18.
From May 2009 to December 2011, Danforth wrote the "Games, Gamers and Gaming" blog and column for Library Journal as an advocate and popularizer of games in libraries. She speaks at professional and fan conferences, and at libraries on gaming-related topics. Based in Arizona, she continues to freelance art and writing.
- Lewis, Anthony (September 2005). "Upcoming events: Cascadiacon", Analog Science Fiction and Fact 125 (9): 144.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Trujillo, Darlene J. (October 24, 1997). "Best Bets: Strange But True", Rocky Mountain News, p. D3.
- "awards we have won". Flyingbuffalo.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- "Poker Deck". Flying Buffalo. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- "Poker Deck". Flying Buffalo. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- "ALA Grants | Awards, Grants and Scholarships". Ala.org. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- (May 1, 2009). "Next issue", Library Journal 134 (8): 57.
- Official website
- Games, Gamers and Gaming blog
- Verizon Foundation press release on the gaming in libraries project
- Pen & Paper listing for Liz Danforth archive