Nov 24, 2013

Realms Roams

How do, folklings?
I'm back with another assortment of works found whilst wandering the Realms of Faerie. Let's have a look at what I have to show, shall we?

First up, here's a pen and ink piece I produced recently for Tim Shorts and his excellent gaming zine, The Manor.

You can see all of the details of the process over here and you can buy the zine here.
This was a really interesting piece to do. It doesn't look very difficult or overly complicated, but I found it deceptively so. For a change, I created most of the linework, especially the stone walls, door frame and door itself, using a cheap dipping quill. I wanted to do it this way because I felt that if I were to produce the whole piece with a brush, like I normally do, the thicker line weight the brush produces wouldn't look as good.
Don't get me wrong, I loooove working with a brush, but the fact remains that the thinnest brush stroke you can make is not going to be as fine or as uniform as a quill or even a fine pen. Well, it would be close, but to create a depth of field for this piece, I wanted to go super fine.
Another reason I used the quill is because I find it tough to create some textures with a brush. Most of the time, a brush is the best way to create organic matter, but stonework can be quite an unwieldy beast. The line between something that looks like stone and something way off the mark can be quite precarious. It's a balancing act of style, realism and representation.

On to the next piece, which is yet another Faerie Stone! Here's the obligatory video...

The video came out at a pretty low quality, so here's are a photo of it so that you can have a better look.

As you can see, I put a little bit more work into this one. I like to think of this one as being the first 'Faerie Stone 2.0.'
The grass at the base was made with modelling grass usually used for gaming miniatures, and the shield was made from scratch by me. This is the first in a series of sculptures I wish to produce that feature elements other than the actual stones. I'm thinking that one with a bird nest and a perched raven would look cool, another one with a sword driven into the stone like Excalibur would also be pretty neat. I think I can get together a series of 6-8 sculptures that would make a fun little sub-section for an exhibition.

Finally, I want to show off what a few folks have done with the 100 Heads pieces I sent to them.
You may recall that Tim Shorts did a post about the stuff he received.
Well, Boric G over at The Dwarven Stronghold did a matching titled post on his blog too!
And, finally, fellow Galway Pub Scrawler and thespian (who appeared as a Frey house member in Game of Thrones, I'll have you know!) Katie Creaven posted this photo on Facebook a few days ago-

It appears that everybody I sent work to have received their packages by this stage. I still need to get WA_side's address though. So if you see this WA, drop me a line at jaypennart at yahoo dot com.
So that's it from me today. I have some artwork on the drawing board that should get finished any day now. I also have some more books to review, so I'll be back before you know it. Laters!

Nov 6, 2013

Arthur Rackham's Ingoldsby Legends

I'm a big Arthur Rackham fan.
I've loved his work for the better part of twenty years now and I go through bouts of collecting old copies of his books every now and then. The first book I ever picked up was James Hamilton's illustrated biography on him, back in the mid-ish 90's.

Since then, I've gone on to pick up some great old editions such as a delicious two volume set of Wagner's Ring, the 'Arthur Rackham Book of Pictures' and many others. I tend to opt for the older editions over the new stuff, as the recent publications just don't have the charm of the old books and their musty smell, stained paper and dodgy printing. I'd love to get my hands on a nice early edition of 'Undine' or 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens,' that would be nice.

Another book I've wanted to find is an old copy of an Arthur Rackham illustrated 'Ingoldsby Legends.' Well, that particular search is over...

A few days ago, I was in Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, just looking around at the 'books just in' section, when I saw a book that had a spine that looked very much like a Rackham image. So I pulled it off the shelf and, wouldn't you know, this is what I found-

Obviously, it's not in great condition, the mouldy staining to the covers ain't pretty, but that is where the damage ends, the interior is in good nick for a book that was published in...

Yep, you're reading that right, 1930.

I've wanted to get a copy of The Ingoldsby Legends for a long time for several reasons. Firstly, the sheer volume of illustrations Rackham provided for it, both black & white and colour plates, makes it one of the most densely illustrated books he ever produced. Secondly, The first Ingoldsby Legends featuring Rackham's illustrations came out in 1898, with an edition following in 1907 with even more illustrations. These years mark a period of Rackham's career that were leading to true greatness. I believe that Rackham peaked at about 1909-1910. Past that point, he was producing so much work that the quality of it began to suffer (he famously did a sketch of himself in a letter where he is drawing four pictures at once, one with each hand and each foot).

But in those early days, he could put in that extra bit of effort with his illustrations. Here are some of my favourites from Ingoldsby Legends-
 Just look at that goat! Now that is a goat.

 This is one of the reasons I love Rackham. He was obviously a great illustrator, but he was also a great designer and font creator.

Even the endpapers are fantastic-

And it only cost me €15! Total woot, I'm sure you'll agree.