The art of Fera - a Mephisto review
The Art of Changing Breeds - A visual Guide to Fera
Several art books have been published for the World of Darkness roleplaying games' anniversary editions, each with a slightly different focus and approach. For the graphic companion book to Changing Breeds, the subtitle sums up the approach well: A visual guide to the Fera (the other shapeshifters beyond werewolves). After the introduction, the book works its way along the various Fera types, and the author, Mike Chaney, provides some insights on the choice of illustrators. In doing so, he also juxtaposes the briefing information the artists received with the results, comments on the artists' selections, provides little anecdotes and offers insights into the approach to the various Fera. Through this and some illustrations from older books, the reader also learns how the presentation has changed over the 20 years leading up to the anniversary edition. At the heart of the book, however, are the illustrations themselves. Here the reader is presented with various highlights, the signature characters, and studies of the various form that the Fera can take. In this respect, the reader actually receives a visual guide to the various Fera. Besides, sketches and preliminary designs show the path from the idea to the finished illustration and offer a glimpse behind the scenes.
Although the little glimpses into the creative processes are interesting, it's the stunning illustrations that make this book. And even though Werewolf was never my favorite of the World of Darkness games, the book managed to pique my interest in the Fera.
Unlike the 'real' sourcebook, you have to do without any game information in the artbook, but you get insights into the graphic process and the illustrators' work. Graphic fans will get a nice insight here, which is worthwhile if you don't own the sourcebook itself and just want to enjoy the graphics.