Cyclopeatron posted an illustration one of his players made for their Gamma World session. What's so cool about it is it looks good enough to be inside a module, but it wasn't pre-peplanned, or drawn solely for coolness or aesthetics, it was emergent, the way I like my oldschool adventure plots. This brings up something I've been pondering for a while now:
What is the purpose of module art?
Not cover art. I understand the importance of it; really, the one chance to convey to a possible customer the genre, tone, and content of your adventure. But usually you don't get to see interior art until you've already purchased the thing.
And not player handout art, which is fascinating in its own right, but much less common than the illustrations I'm talking about.
Also, it's not like you can show players the art, however cool, because it probably contains spoilers of some sort. And after the adventure you might show them something especially noteworthy, but chances are their adventure was more exciting than the illustrations in the book.
So interior module art has DMs as intended audience, right? But not to sell them on the module. Is it meant to help DMs imagine the location? The denizens of the dungeon? To set the tone of the piece?
Has there ever been an illustration in a module that was explanatory somehow? I mean, it would have been more difficult to run the adventure without it? I'm talking about aside from maps and cross-sections, obviously. Maybe a trap illustrated?
If you are an artist, what do you see as your goal for a bit of interior art? If you are a DM how do they affect the way you relate to a module?
As a thought experiment, we could imagine a continuum of Interior Art Quantity on a line. On one end, 0, would be no art (maybe not even maps), on the other end, 100 would be all art (a comic book dungeon!). Where would your preference lie?