Tuesday 6 November 2012

Even further back ...

Even although the Fantasy Magazine Anduril 6 is dated 1975, I'm well aware, looking at several pieces of my artwork, kindly used by John Martin [editor and publisher], they in fact date much earlier [in some cases].  

My work had appeared on some comic fanzines covers before this, but Anduril 6 was, I believe [but my memory can be suspect], my first Fantasy cover, certainly my first front and back cover. 

And also my last ... [laugh] for a variety of reasons.

One of the characterisatics of these pictures used in the magazine is a slight attempt to do varying styles; I've picked out the 'best' to show you here.

Inside the front cover illustrating a poem about Bilbo in Mirkwood we find a slightly different stylised piece.

The next are two spots, I suspect the latter was originally a rough which I never 'tightened'. As some of you have suspected, even commented upon, on occasion I have, as many artists [if I'm allowed that conceit] have done, reused an idea. This is more apparent in my younger days and less [I hope] as I've aged [grin]. But if you disagree ... don't tell me; I'll just sulk.

It was this type of work that failed miserably with publishers in the 1970's. It was considered to be derivative and not very original ... does wonders for your confidence, and was one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher. 

The next are for a story featured in the magazine.

One of my favourite characters, whose stories I read in the 60's into the early 1970's, were the adventures of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser by Fritz Leiber. Here is one of my pictures I used to illustrate an article about them. 
Lastly, her is an other set of pictures for a fun story which I was allowed to experiment with in terms of layout. 

Before anyone asks .. I'm not sure where the originals are or even if I still have them. 

So there we have it. What other news?

Finished my first record cover, which was most enjoyable. Still a couple of bits to complete for that project but it progresses well. Finished five pictures for a new Runequest project ... more detail when I can, and about to start some new jobs, including ... [sound of drums] a book cover. It has an open deadline so it may be a while before I can post more about it. 

Thanks for being there.


  1. Great work!

    Too bad no one appreciated your art back then. It's right up my alley.

  2. Many thanks ... although I was noticed first by White Dwarf Magazine, and later a certain Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone ;).

  3. Stunning. Am in awe of that Mirkwood border. Why weren't Allen and Unwin biting your hands off for more Tolkien work?

    "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." - C. S. Lewis

    Have you pitched your work to the Folio Society for their Andrew Lang fairy books? Seems like a marriage made in heaven.

    1. Appreciate your comments, but have to admit both publishers were approached with examples of my work and neither company showed any interest. This back round the time this work was done. I had two artists agents then and they cast my work far and wide [in the UK] but I was told there just was no interest in what I did. It was my work being seen in fanzines that eventually led to my finding better results. Actually, no, there was one. The BBC, but it was for one small job and it led to no other commissions.

    2. Your definitive and unique style developed quite early Russ, those pieces are excellent. Some artists would be embarrassed to show their early offerings, but your work is amazing. I really love your woodcut print style of detailed inking.You render horses beautifully, do you use much reference? I always struggle attempting to draw horses.Who needs covers' you are a ink man through and through. You have mastered your ink craft, in ways painters could only dream about.Thank's for posting Russ. ;)

    3. Well, they still might not be interested (more fool them) but I'd definately see your works as working alongside Caitlin Hackett, Niroot Puttapipat and Peter Firmin at the Folio Soc. Go on, send them some stuff!

  4. I could stare at your illustrations all day (and, in fact, as an FF-obsessed child I often did!). There is always the impression of a whole imagined world beyond the confines of the picture, the characters often looking as if they have just been sketched unawares by a passing anthropologist. Beautiful.

    That view of Lankhmar looks just as I imagined it (although for some reason I always pictured Fafhrd with a slight beard).

  5. Interesting Arguments....keep on blogging

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