May 19, 2010

The Labyrinth

Well, as I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I have been trying to get together a few proper finished illustrations for the old portfolio. I'm happy to reveal the above piece, finished a matter of about an hour ago after some pretty intensive hours over the past week.

As a back-story, my friend Gord Mackay and I have been setting each other little art challenges for the last couple of years. In the past, we've normally set tasks that are either comics or fantasy related in some way, but we've both sort of been heading in our own directions artistically of late, me with the faerie art, Gord with character design and concept art. But instead of giving up the art challenges, we decided to set each other individual tasks catered to what we are now most interested in.

So Gord's challenge for me was to depict something from Jim Henson's movie, 'The Labyrinth.' I initially tried out doing a straight scene from the movie, but that didn't go so well, then I opted for a shot of the four main characters, with various poses made up by myself. That didn't work out either, so I finally went for this piece, which is essentially just a big mashing of various Goblin-esque creatures, and the Goblin King in his Barn Owl form.
I went this way mostly because I feel it is important to develop my own style and not try and draw like Brian Froud, who is the main concept designer on the film, and an old favourite artist of mine. So I sort of just drew Goblins how I imagine them, which isn't very limited at all, as I see them as a massively varied race of Faeries, with some of them even capable of shapechanging.

So anyway, I'm pretty happy with the result. I can quite easily say it is the best thing I've ever done and it was really enjoyable to do. It is practically entirely produced with watercolour, which by the end of the piece I feel I was only just starting to get the hang of.
I'm going to have a few days break from drawing after that monster, but I don't think I'll be able to stay away too long, as I can't wait to see what I can come up with next!

Until then...

May 10, 2010

R.I.P. Frank Frazetta

For those of you that haven't heard, the fantasy master Frank Frazetta passed away this morning after suffering a stroke after coming home from a Mother's Day celebration.

He will be missed by many.

I first discovered Mr. Frazetta's work when I was in my mid-teens when a family friend handed me a copy of The Fantastic art of Frank Frazetta 1. I was instantly hooked and still find his work incredible in it's beauty, savagery and downright awesomeness.

Frank Frazetta has been ill for a long time now, decades really, and today is a day I knew simply had to come soon, though I expected it a lot sooner. It is hard to put into words what he meant to me and no doubt many others like me. I grew up with his work and he definitely shaped not only how I draw (to some extent), but also how I look at the world. He is a part of me. It sounds mushy and perhaps a little bit over the top, but it's true. There was a time when I thought him a god. I snatched up everything I could find that he'd done, from novel covers, art books (including the Alexander exhibition book that is one of my most cherished treasures), to calendars and DVD's and everything between.

You will be missed, sir, but I thank you for all that you have given us. Below is my personal favourite...

Rest In Peace.

May 6, 2010

Warm-up #1

I'm trying to get into the habit of doing a warm-up piece at the beginning of a drawing day to try and get the old fingers working. A lot of artists seem to do this exercise, so what's good for the goose...
So here's my first attempt at the exercise. It took about half an hour, which is probably a bit too long for a warm-up, but I'm happy enough with the little guy, and I can certainly see the benefit of the exercise.

May 5, 2010

Just a quick little guy

It would appear I do have some art for you all today! I just knocked out this little fellow, who I've lovingly called Pim, in the last hour or so. He sort of just formed on the page really, I had no real intent with him, except only to play around with angles looking at a figure, as I feel I tend to go for a few basic perspectives, which I'm kinda bored with doing, so I wanted to mix it up a little.

Anyway, hope you like him.

A book review

No art to show today unfortunately, but I thought I might do a little review of a book I got in the mail on Tuesday, 4th of May.

The book in question is this-

The author is one Jean-Baptiste Monge, born and raised in France, now living in Montreal. Not surprisingly, the book is in French, but with images like this...
...I wouldn't care what language it's in!
Jean-Baptiste seems to have grown up with many of the same artistic influences as I did, namely Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Alan Lee and Rien Poortvliet, who I consider to be the glorious quadrumvirate of faerie art.
Anyway, the book is a 104 page masterpiece of Faerie Art, full of everything from simple sketches all the way up to fully painted pieces like the one above. JB is one of those few artists that can make even a simple sketch look incredible, and his paintings are simply spectacular.
His books are rather difficult to come by, even on eBay! I picked up Celtic Faeries on Amazon UK and I have another of his books on the way from the same place, but those two books were the last copies Amazon had of those particular titles. But Amazon France is probably worth a look. If you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website at, I highly recommend you do!