Depending on your perspective, the art of Dungeons and Dragons became either more professional, or less visceral, as the game and its adherents grew ever more sophisticated.
Dragon Magazine 126, published in October 1987, features a cover by Daniel Horne, of a female ranger battling a skeletal frost giant. Sensibly dressed, and actively posed to fire an enchanted arrow at her adversary, there is little to criticize in this illustration, from a framing and art theory perspective.
Our heroine is posed in the foreground, as befitting the focus of the illustration. This is the ranger's story, not the frost giant's. Well lit, the froze wasteland setting is interesting, but is suitably muted to avoid detracting from the central narrative. The color choices are appropriate: blues and oranges, blacks and whites, reds and greens.
This was an exceedingly popular illustration, so much so that it was printed on heavy card stock and included in the binder version of the 2nd Edition AD&D Monster Manual.
Compare this full color illustration to that of the early Dungeons and Dragons artwork, much of which was printed in black and white. In those early pieces, the framing of the action was all wrong. So was the lighting. The most important portions of the narrative were often at the edge of the frame, or entirely off-screen. It would be unsurprising to hear criticism of that early artwork as amateurish and poorly framed.
So why would anyone prefer that old artwork to the more professional illustrations that followed? Is it simply nostalgia, or is there something that the old artwork communicated, that was lost in translation?