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  • Dungeons & Dragons illustrator, Minneapolis native, dies

    Posted on June 18th, 2005 Rob No comments

    Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS – David Sutherland, the Minneapolis native and illustrator whose images helped lead the fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons” to success in the late 1970s and 1980s, has died of chronic liver failure.

    Sutherland died June 6 at his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. He was 56. A graduate of Minneapolis' Roosevelt High School, he trained as a commercial artist before serving as a military policeman in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After returning, he launched his fantasy-art career by widely distributing his while working odd jobs, such as making moccasins, said his sister, Trudy DeKeuster of Omaha, Neb. A university professor involved with “D&D” development helped Sutherland find his way to Tactical Studies Rules, at the time an emerging Wisconsin publisher of “D&D.”

    Sutherland's illustrations include the famed scene of a dragon, a wizard and a bow-flexing knight on the first “D&D” boxed set that brought the game into the mainstream. Images o­n the covers of “Dungeon Masters Guide” and “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual,” were his as well. Sutherland also worked as TSR's artistic director, but felt more at ease doing his own illustrations. After a Pacific Northwest firm bought TSR in the late 1990s and didn't rehire Sutherland, his career crashed.

    Recently divorced, Sutherland became despondent. An auction of his memorabilia in late 2004 drew $22,000 and revived his spirits. The money was used for a trust fund for his daughters. In addition to his sister and two daughters, Sutherland is survived by his mother and a brother. A visitation will be held at 9 a.m., June 22 at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, with a memorial service at 10 a.m. A military burial follows at 11:30 a.m. at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

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