I also think the dessi doing 'king-fu' is an excellent drawing, since it represents immediately that the dessi are not your traditional mages who can barely hit the side of a wall with a stick. The pic represents them as the capable battle-mages that they are, dangerous as spellcaster, lethal in ranged combat, and both dangerous and lethal in melee.
Agreed. I like a mage who is a little more than a spell-flinger, but otherwise a sheltered bookworm. That's one of my favorite illustrations in the books.
Personally, I'd rate the interior art at about a 7 out of 10, overall. Some better, some worse. I'm not of the opinion that art 'makes' an RPG, but the illustrations should give a good impression of the world they represent.
Art is subjective. Modern art is a fine example: splattered paint on a wall, scrap metal piled up to look like a dinosaur's ashtray, etc.
However, art in an RPG is different. The expectations of people have risen over the years. They are no longer satisfied with the 1st edition AD&D books' artwork. A new RPG that had similar quality illustrations would be considered laughable by today's standards. Sure, the artwork is irrelevant to the quality of the rules, but people picking up an RPG for the first time thumb through the pages and look at what? The art.
If you were a person who was unfamiliar to the world of Lone Wolf, and walked into your favorite local RPG shop, picked up a copy of the Lone Wolf RPG and said, "Hmm! New game. Neat! I'll have a look," what would your first impression be?
Next to the lavishly over-illustrated D&D gruel out there, the Lone Wolf RPG looks almost like a small independent company's first foray into the game industry. This is far from the truth, obviously, as the game is superb, both in rules and flavor, but the first impression comes from artwork.
I like the art in the LWRPG, though it would not have been my first choice for much of the art. Perhaps some art from a variety of different people would be a good thing, as long as they have a good vision of Magnamund. I realise that Brian Williams or Gary Chalk would likely be difficult to get for the job, but other artists would be great, too. Is Richard Corben reachable? He did several covers to the Berkley editions of the original game books. (And I personally think his art ROCKS.)
My point is this: there are many wonderful artists and fans of Lone Wolf who would likely love to illustrate parts of their favorite world if given the chance, likely for minimal compensation (I could be wrong). And art does make a difference, even if it's all in the first impression.