Lately, I've been sorting through my old Dungeons and Dragons collection.
As some of you are already aware, a garage fire several years ago destroyed most of my old gaming stuff. Fortunately, some of my collection followed me over the years, and thus avoided that garage fire. The surviving bits included my Holmes Basic set, pictured here. As you can see, it includes the old "crappy" dice, along with module B1, In Search of the Unknown.
I was reading one of the more prominent and successful new-school D&D blogs recently. One of the posted criticisms of the "old-school" community's publishing efforts is the penchant for those authors to include new artwork, in the style of the mid- to late-1970's black and white D&D art. That critic felt that it made the newly published old-school materials appear amateurish. As I read through the Holmes Basic rulebook and module B1, I came across several fine examples of that style of artwork.
I must admit that I like that style of artwork. And the reasons I do are similar to the reasons that I like the original rules, warts and all. The black and white artwork, like the written OD&D rules, seemed to allow for more imagination to be used by the reader and viewer. The criticism that the old-style of art-work makes the publications appear amateurish is an understandable one, but which misunderstands what the old-school is all about -- a hobbyist and diffused approach to gaming and publishing, rather than a corporate and monolithic one.