Wednesday 25 April 2012

The Trolltooth Wars.... during April Showers.

I wrote before that I would be posting some pictures, thanks to Andy and others, that I did for The Trolltooth Wars, which was the first in a series of written stories in the Fighting Fantasy mythos. It was written by Steve Jackson, then the last two, Demonstealer, and Shadowmaster [as far as my work is concerned] were written by Marc Gascoigne.

The first was the most interesting in that I was given the opportunity to choose the scenes to illustrate, after reading the galley manuscript, and this also included me selecting the layout of where, and how, the pictures would appear from its double page frontispiece and title page to the split illustrations and the double page spread, which in hindsight, I think was let down by the gutter 'split'.
Below are the two 'wings' of the frontispiece and title page [though I had nothing to do with the typography or text layout].

When I was offered the job I had to also do a sample to see what 'they' at Penguin, and I assume, Steve thought. My first drawing was apparently rejected because the shading I used was thought too 'real' and not as stylised as the work I was 'known' for. It taught me a lesson, stick to what you're considered good at. lol. Mind you, on occasion I still try to vary what I do. 
Below see the final 'split' picture, which is the same layout as the one rejected, just stylised with less 'shading' [ cross hatching] to the inks. The idea was these two pictures would frame the text and hopefully add to the scene.

OK. Now onto a few more examples from the original book.

I 're-worked' our friend above recently for the Le Grimoire 'shop'. I'll post more about this at a later date.

The book finished with a scene that showed all that had gone on had been but a game of greater gods. Steve, I remember, remarked that a lot of his script never saw print.

Sorry for the poor quality of these but they were 'lifted' and scanned by that infamous collector of images a.n.other.

To my mind, the whole project was a lot of fun, but in the end it was let down by the fact that the print paper selected did not do justice to the drawings. This is even more apparent if we look at one of the pictures scanned from the title 'Shadowmaster'.
Finally, a couple of other pictures from other titles, such as Blacksand, to round of this post.

Till the next time .... and after I've been to the première of the movie Death! , by Martin Gooch, this coming Saturday, and it is so good to hear the film has been selected to open the SCI-FI-Film Festival, London, in May.

Besides that I'm fairly busy, which is nice [grin] even if I'm recovering from an annoying bronchial infection. No worries though .. bye for the now.

Saturday 7 April 2012

Dicing with Dragons

As the last scans of my work used in Dicing with Dragons have just been posted in an excellent Blog by Billiam Babble who has, among other things, written a very nice piece about me in his latest post. See the side bar, or use the link, for those who would like to read it. 

But for those others, here are the pictures. Yes I know I promised a 'Trolltooth War' post next, and I haven't forgotten. It will be coming soon.

Here I imagined one of my own drawings as a Citadel figure. I never saw this one made but Citadel did base a few of their figures on my drawings, and thanks to being sent examples I even have a few 'somewhere'.
I have so much 'stuff' that 'somewhere' is becoming the plaintive cry of the lesser spotted Russ. Squawk!
 Where do ideas come from is an often asked question, and with this chapter head I show a few iconic film images that I've always found inspirational, certainly as mood if not story. i love movies sad that so few of the old black and white classics are shown anymore on TV.

 The following pictures all appeared to illustrate the game that was part of the original book. The game itself was later printed as a solo book itself called 'Eye of the Dragon', but my work was 'dumped', and does not, as far as I can see, appear. Instead it features [I understand] the work of that excellent Fantasy artist Martin McKenna. But thanks to Will and his diligent work you have the chance to see the original drawings, which themselves might seem familiar because such pictorial themes used often appear in the FF series.

 One characteristic that I've been accused of, by a few in the past, is of being boring [fair enough] in my simplistic compositional viewpoint by the use of the 'square' room type picture that you, the viewer, look into. Such a picture formula was much used in the early books.

Can I say, for the record, that was not by choice, but because of my instructions, given from the authors, and I made every attempt to break out of that formulaic format at every opportunity. Occasionally I succeeded, and occasionally I did not.

My experience was to be given a series of illustrative descriptive tasks to work from and not the whole manuscript.There were a couple of exceptions, 'The Trolltoth Wars' being one, but they were rare.

                                 How do I start ... well, at the finish of course :)

So there you have it a peek into the past. Hope it brought back some happy memories.

Friday 6 April 2012

Monday 2 April 2012

Blimey tis April .... so the weather goes haywire and so does de' blog loader.

This is a follow up to the last post, with thanks again to Will, who has helped out with more scans from 'Dicing With Dragons' [1982] by Ian Livingston.

Pleasantly busy with various projects at the moment and have just finished and posted a large private commission to the USA. I'm hoping he'll be pleased with the vision and I'll post a look after he has seen it.

Next post will be, thanks to the incomparable Andy, who can, according to legend, pump up a tire with a bicycle pump, some images from Steve Jackson's 'The Trolltooth Wars'.

Update: Thanks to Will again [ who has taken the time to scan some more pictures] there will be a further post of pictures from the book.

Bet you can't wait.... oh, you can.