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DnD says goodbye to a beloved cover artist

Artist Hydro74, known for creating stunning Dungeons and Dragons book covers, is no longer producing these for Wizards of the Coast.

DnD book, Vecna Eve of Ruin, with cover illustrated by Hydro74

Wizards of the Coast is no longer working with Hydro74, the freelance artist who created alternative covers for many fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons books. Hydro74 (real name Joshua M. Smith) announced his last alternate book cover via social media on July 1.

“Just got my copy of Vecna, Eve of Ruin from D&D in”, Smith writes. “The gold & silver really are fantastic. Sadly Wizards said this was my last book since they are changing direction, which is disappointing but freelance life! Was a fun ride!”

A tweet about a DnD book by Hydro74

Smith has been designing alternative DnD book covers for pretty much all of fifth edition. His work appeared on all the major rulebooks, including the Players’ Handbook, Monster Manual, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Smith also illustrated alt covers for some of the best DnD campaigns of the last decade, including Icewind Dale and The Wild Beyond the Witchlight.

Traditional D&D book covers feature art of dynamic but more traditional fantasy scenes, while Smith’s approach is sleek, modern, and eye-catching in an entirely different way. His work proved popular with Dungeons and Dragons fans, many of which expressed commiserations in reply to Smith’s social media post.

A tweet about DnD books by Hydro74

When asked for comment, Smith told Wargamer the transition to One DnD played a part in his departure. “I was told since things are shifting to 6e that the creative is changing, which is pretty much the standard for separate editions”. “Won’t lie, I will miss assisting, but hopefully I get pulled in for other assets”, he adds.

“If not, it was a great time with a great company, and I loved everyone I worked with.” “Got to see how much passion there is behind the scenes and was honored just being part of it.”

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