Sunday, 23 November 2014

Creeping back in ...?

Their was I thinking my last post was a bit 'late' and then I realise as I prepare this to do another post I am now even later this time around; it's certainly a bit longer between the posts, but then I suppose as nobody asked when I was doing another that's when things get left to the side and so time passes.

Time passes ...
Then again, why should any people, especially those of you who are kind enough to follow my blogs, ask? This has happened before of course so should I consider that an excuse? Which makes me consider my reasons ... I can open a vault of typical excuses but in the end the fault is totally mine. A combination of being tired and busy elsewhere, but mainly tired. Many blogger's find writing a pleasurable experience but I don't; I thrive, if that's the right word, on feedback and when, like last time there wasn't any I then wonder why, including it's all the sites fault, or my fault for organising it poorly. But then, I suspect most who follow, and many who come to peek, want to look at art pieces really, and in truth, that is a pleasure for me on its own.

The original 'team' 
OK, blethering over, let's consider some pictures. I have three directions [posts] to consider and will start with some stuff related to the Sunday in London recounting my take, long overdue, of the Fighting Fantasy Festival organised by Jonathan Green in part to launch his book 'You are the Hero'.

Most of the pictures you'll see were taken and collected by others, so those who were there, or who have followed the event on Facebook or Twitter, will have seen many, if not all, that I will add here.

Why none of my own you may think? Very simple, I forgot to bring my camera and I do not have that modern piece of kit - a camera phone. In fact I was as organised that day, after about 2 hours sleep, that I'd not only not brought my camera [my ancient little pocket one]. I'd not brought water, food, or very much money, and when thinking myself late I took a taxi from the station and left me with not a lot on the day. For, boy did I underestimate the cost especially as the driver did not use the 'knowledge' but a sat nav device that circled around where the hotel destination was from what I could see. We set of from west London to arrive via east London. In short, it was truly fortunate I remembered to bring some work to show really.

Here Ian and I sign some photocopies of the Warlock before the day proper started.
Note the fixed grin ... and that was before the event started [grin]. It's a real problem, unless caught unaware apparently, I just cannot give a real 'smile' for a camera.
Did my smile work I wonder?
In fact, before I go any further recounting my misadventures, I want to give a special thanks to two friends. Paul [Gresty] for minding my work when I was at a talk and for feeding me when, being so busy signing, I realised I hadn't eaten for hours, which being diabetic is stupid. Did I mention I was tired?

 This also applies to Martin [Gooch] who, as the event was coming to an end, on hearing me moan about transportation problems, stepped in and generously helped me out with solving my problem. So they both stand even more high in my estimation for their generous acts in helping me out, especially in each case when I suspect I was about to 'lose' it. and go off and gibber in a corner. I'm a fragile soul really [sigh].
Fragile gibbering 
Paul also generously at the end of the event made a point of travelling with me so I could catch my train home and I still owe him a pint. I think he might have been concerned about my state of mind, though he said nothing, he's that kind of guy. Simply, I owe both Paul and Martin a real debt of gratitude. But in fact during the day there were many others who were both helpful and friendly, not least the organiser himself Jonathan Green, and many whom I never got the chance of really chatting too. This especially was the case with the other artists when wanting to talk 'shop' who were guests such as Malcolm Barter, and Leo Hartas here both seen chatting to others. 

Rated the most disgusting by the newspapers at the time ... terrific!
Oh we all said hello and made small talk, but we didn't get the opportunity to sit and chat. Pity, but I suppose to be expected, especially when the event lasted about six hours.  

The first panel talk involved Ian, Steve and the two original Puffin editors and I was so involved I missed it. Later there was one I was involved in and though I wasn't asked any real questions it was nicely presented by Jonathan and everybody contributed to the talk. 

It's always alarming to face a packed room of even friendly faces, and to being the first to open the artist intros after Jonathan's presentation; as you'll note, I had to adjust my face to ensure it was still there. Sleep deprivation can do that.

A lot of the time was spent signing, both individually and as part of the 'group' at one point it became a bit of an assembly line. As an other artist remarked, as we looked at the queue winding into the hall, ''they keep on coming!''. 

Some individuals like Olivier here wanted my picture.

So the day was drawing to an end, and I at last had the opportunity to wander around to see some of the other stalls. I think the guy behind me feels as perky as I do by then [laugh].

Thus the day of the first [?] Fighting Fantasy Festival ended. A, nice, if tiring day. Nice too to put faces to names, and to people I've not met with; to long to list here. Nice, also to be a guest at my first British Convention. 

The Zagor created for the Festival, I think it also appeared in the book but I never got the chance to see. Pity the original was damaged a little but not enough to effect reproduction thank heavens.

To conclude, a small peak at a sketch for an up and coming project. 

Oh, and I must admit as nothing is really new I'm not expecting feedback this time. Contrary bastard aren't I. [he, he],

Next time. a primarily picture post related to The Fiend Folio.


  1. Better late than never, Russ. Great to see the photos of some familiar faces, reunited, some for the first time, I guess. Is there not a Google group or something like that for recovering (gibbering?) FF artists? A union of sorts where you share your gripes and gibbers, and tips for survival. There should be. :)

    1. Grin I think gibbering sites, even for lone gibbering artists, are in short supply, but it helps perpetuate the 'lone artist gibbering in the garret' myth. Plus of course not all artists gibber ...mine is only occasional and often relied on the full moon.

      However, there is a fan site about me on Facebook and I'll be linking to that next post, but then, knowing me, maybe not.


  2. Hey, we are just happy to look at the art and that ghoul propably has caused more childhood nghtmares out of all the FF-books ever.

    1. Jonas, I don't know whether to to be delighted or appalled now, but at the time I was delighted it was allowed by Puffin. As for now as long as you're happy I'll try to keep posting pics.

  3. Thank you for this new post Russ ! I didn't know your first drawing (the dwarf with axe) and discover it with pleasure... Is it published somewhere ??
    I wasn't to the convension and I really appreciate your feedback and your pictures... I imagine that your meeting other artists (especially Leo Hartas) should have been just great ! I just hope there will be an other convention next year and I will go for sure... and I hope it won't be so tiring this time...
    Be sure that I'm always read your blog and watch your artwork with delight and looking forward to your next post, shame on me if I didn't recently give feedback... I have to say that I didn't find the way to be aware as soon as you publish a new post ... I look at your blog some times and see if there is something new... and I don't dare to add a comment if too many time passed ! Maybe it is the same for a lot of your followers ?
    Well, the original Zagor created for the festival, even if slightly damaged, is not lost for everyone and stay a great piece of your artwork ! My ... preciousssssssss !! ;-)

  4. Very simply my friend that is good to hear, especially as you like your preciousssssss!

    Leo and I met there for the very first time. I'd loved to have had a longer chat with him, and to the others, but the busy day proved too much for all I suspect.

    Hell, this applies to all the artists there, as well as to the game publishers, and the dedicated FF fans that day who stopped to speak, but for most, due as much to time constraints, it was my signature added to others that was desired. As you're aware Emmanuel from past meetings I usually try to do more for those who want my signature, but except for one, if sleep deprived memory serves, it was not to be, and in truth a lot wanted to meet and greet others as a priority. I think everybody left happy and Jonathan should have been very pleased

  5. Happy to share sandwiches. Plus I think I was mostly responsible for you missing you train.

    Great pics, as always. I particularly like the one from, I think, Blood Sword 4. Wights, right? Matte black creatures; the stuff of nightmares.

    I agree, the FFF was a great day. Enjoyed it a lot.


    1. Nothing to add there Paul, except 1. I owe you a pint and 2. Looking forward to working on Fabled Lands 7 with you.

  6. I am glad I found your blog Russ. I will be checking back for updates periodically.

    I am not a native speaker of English. When I was little (I am now 35) my father used to live in a foreign country where English was used as a second language. One day he brought me a used copy of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain which he bought somewhere. I spoke little English then but I would still read (or should I say study) the book with a dictionary in my hand and my English improved as a result. If it wasn't for your illustrations in that book I am not sure I would have read it! Your picture of the ghoul will remain in my memory forever but I loved all of your art. I think your illustrations had an influence on my future hobbies and thereby on my whole life.

    I wish you much luck in your current work and I will happily read about it on here (or elsewhere), if you don't mind sharing.

    1. Martin,

      I'm delighted to read you have not only found and like my blog but my work has been an influence since Warlock. It is a pleasure to hear from you, though I hope the ghoul did not cause you any distress. When I drew it I was well aware of the younger target audience age it was aimed at, but wanted to invoke not only the scene as I was asked to describe, yet a scary image that I could 'stand' when I was young. From the reaction ,over the years, I think [hope] I got it right.

      I hope you continue to be there and enjoying some of the stuff I get up too via my blog.

  7. I enjoyed looking at the pictures and one of my favourite have to be the impending doom of the wights in their silhouettes. Will look forward to more stuffs. :)

  8. Not been on the internet proper for a while so missed this entry. It was a real pleasure to meet you in person Russ and if I had known you were starving I would have gladly treated you to some lunch :(!

    James (Darkest Lanarkshire)