Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Realms of Fantasy Sketches

For an upcoming Realms of Fantasy issue, an illustration for a story "Sultana Lena's Gift".

After reading the story, my copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam came to mind, with its lovely illustrations by Edward Dulac. Browsed through it for inspiration and to get my mind flowing in the right direction for the imagery.

Also key in this particular short story is a little mechanical bird. I started with some scribbles in my spare time while at Gencon a few months ago, exploring some ideas for the bird's design in a few ink drawings.

And now that the zodiac is done (with its more urgent deadline), a few months later I'm finally having the chance to go back to this project. The final rough concept sketch for the painting:
Stamp of Art Director approval on it, and so all set to move on to a much more detailed sketch and the painting! I love doing work for Realms of Fantasy, as the art director (the old one, and my so far very short acquaintance with the new one) seem to send fitting stories my way. From there, I read the story and pretty much can paint anything I want.

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Meanwhile, it's been rather noisy outside my studio window today as I said goodbye to a 50 foot tall black acacia tree in my backyard. Unfortunately it has suffered from root rot after the previous owner of the house put in extensive landscaping terraces in the backyard just before selling it to us. It's taken two years for the results to be evident but a few months ago Dana and I had to reluctantly admit that the tree was dead and would need to be taken down. It'll be sad to see that large gap in the sky where it used to be. Even mostly dead and only as bare branches it had a stark grace and was nice to shield us from the neighbors.

I'm sure some something will quickly grow in that space though. If the black acacias in the yard had their way, this whole plot of land would be an acacia grove, from all the saplings I'm constantly finding popping up in awkward spots.

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Also, a new art book to add to my bookshelf arrived in the mail today. I've never actually played guild wars, but after seeing some of the artwork in this shown on other blogs, I ordered one. It features all digital artwork, but I find often that some of the art that I enjoy looking at the most is that which is most different from my own.


  1. My version of The Rubaiyat is illustrated by Rene Bull - her style seems a bit more Art Deco but has a similar feel. Love the sketches !

  2. Ah yeah, she does have a similar feel. There were such beautiful illustrated books made in the early 1900s weren't there?

  3. Yes indeed - I looked up Edward Dulac, their styles are very similar esp. in books like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Stealers of Light. I'm gonna have to look up his version of the Rubaiyat - this image is beautiful !

  4. I have been drooling over that Guild Wars 2 art book ever since I realized they used the same work for their trailer. It's stunning stuff and as a player of the game, I'm so excited for it. I keep spying those signed copies on eBay and sighing longingly.

    I am not familiar with Dulac's work, but that is absolutely stunning. Somewhat reminiscent of Rackham (and same era I imagine?). Ah those were the days. The sketches are looking great! Always wonderful to have complete (or near complete) creative freedom when dealing with story illustration.

  5. Yes, same era. He's one of my favorites.

    Still haven't had a chance to sit down and browse that new art book but i'm wanting a nice relaxing chance for it maybe this weekend. :)

  6. I hope you don't think me rude for commenting only on one part of your post - I did read it all but I felt I had most to contribute to the part about the tree.

    I'm always sad to see trees cut down, but if the tree is sick, dead, or damaged to the point where it risks falling down, it understandably needs to be cut. As you said, something will grow in the place of the black acadia. If you would like to help it along, have you considered getting a sapling? It will be rewarding to watch it grow.

  7. Hehe, well like I said, a sapling acacia hardly needs any help from me. In fact I have my hands busy every week uprooting the ones that are growing in unlikely and inconvenient places! I'm sure one will eventually land in the -right- place.