Saturday, 26 June 2010

Pen & Brush

So, what about pen and brush? The problem is as much about where to start.

What is relevant? I suppose the best way is to 'show' examples of different work, in different mediums, and on occasion, different genres. Certainly different Fantasy RPG genres.

This post will appear in 'parts' as I find time to show work examples over the coming days.

Over the years I have used a variety of media in  both black & white and colour, but the mediums I intend to discuss are mostly to do with print reproduction. In days of yore, pre-computer generated art the most common tools for B/W artwork was traditional dip pens, brushes, pen and brush combined or technical pens and occasionally felt pens. The artwork was generally done at 1 and a 1/2 times reproduction size [though their were exceptions] and on good quality Bristol board of various types. In some ways it was the board used that could make the difference to the quality of the image and it was something everybody strived to find. Today, a lot of those boards, and the companies that produced them [certainly in the UK] appear to have 'gone', mores the pity.

Of course the paper chosen for the books also has a huge 'effect' on the quality of reproduction. No matter how 'good' your work, if it's printed on upgraded toilet paper ...
OK. Let's look at a few pieces - it is not necessarily what I'd qualify as 'good' work but it does 'show' examples of different types of B/W work. Here we have traditional 'dip' pen and ink.

This particular illustration was produced for a 'different' game book by Puffin back in 1987. There were two books produced in the series Robin of Sherwood and each book tied in with the television series. The most amusing thing I can remember from this particular job was Puffin wanted any character that appeared in the Television series to be drawn as accuratly as was possible in the illustrations, but at the same time, also made me sign a contract with a disclaimer that basically stated I was not allowed to show an accurate likeness as I could be sued and in the wording of the contract Puffin denied all responsibilty. Simply put - match any TV actors likeness [if they appeared in any illustration] but not so anyone would say, 'that's so and so!'  Luckily, they hardly featured in the pictures I had to draw.

As an aside - note [if you're not already aware] the choice of scene to be illustrated is very rarely the choice of the illustrator.

A couple of examples of technical pen now. Over the years I've used a variety of makes, and pen sizes, My favourite pen [sadly long gone] had a nib that was so 'worn', it had a bevelled point, which made using it a pleasure.

In the following, each of these examples show a slightly different approach to the use of pen though some would say, 'in your dreams'.
This first was done for a short story in a Fantasy anthology. The next for one of the FF fiction titles I worked on.

The next for one of the later FF game books.

 Next another game book.
 And the last [for present] two showing different 'styles' from The Fabled Lands series.

Lastly, a quick mention about Citadel Miniatures, which had a nice little mention, or at least a 'dwarf' figure did, in Daddy Grognard's excellant blog. The mention of the figures reminded me that some of the earliest figures are actually based on my some of my drawings. They kindly sent me a sample at the time and somewhere in my 'attic' there they still sit.

Next post will contain some old pieces .... and other stuff.


  1. The japanese "samurai vs Dragon" stuff is brilliant. The way it emulates ancient japanese art and the donward motion.

    Have you ever considered selling some of your originals, Russ?

  2. Hi Russ

    I'm delighted that you like the blog. In fact your comments made my day - I loved your FF artwork and having followed WD from issue 28 to somewhere around the 70s, many other pieces of yours bring back fond memories. Anyone who can draw the Githyanki and somehow give it a hint of Norman Tebbit is worth some serious respect.

    My Miniatures Monday slot is all Citadel stuff from way back in the eighties - they made some good stuff then; fond memories of the serving wench figures which doubled up for virtually every female NPC we ever came across.

    Loving the blog so far and I fully expect you to crash through the 100 followers very soon.

    Best regards


  3. Appreciate your comment Autor and to answer your Question, yes I do sell my artwork [though few wish to pay what I ask] and I do take commissions [though few ...], you get the picture.

    DG - thanks also for your comments - Norman Tebbit eh? Now was it in the ether? Pleased you love the blog and hope you and all you others continue to do so. Your were right about hitting the 100 barrier just need to squeeze over - must lose some weight! So reminds me of a game I played long ago where as a bug I reached a level where to reach the next you were offered a space about 2" wide by 1/4" to go through and it cost you so much [well it did me as I was crap] as soon as you got through something zapped you. I became so frustrated I came close to smashing my Imac [but didn't as it had been a present]. [Easy to follow eh! Do pay attention at the back there as there will be a written test later].

    Lord, I'm boring on - suffice to say, there it was a few days ago my birthday - and my blog reaches 100 - nice! Thank you all. Russ