Sunday, July 19, 2009

Five fantasy art books

1. The Art of Rowena, by Rowena Morrill

Rowena Morrill’s paintings tend to be conventional, as far as fantasy goes, but they’re very well done and worth a look. She’s illustrated books for Anne McCaffrey, so she’s familiar with dragons, but my favorite is her painting of Isaac Asimov in a throne that illustrates his work. I love this one.

2. Mirage, by Boris Vallejo

Boris Vallejo’s art is blatantly erotic, but it is also very much fantastical. The people (mostly women) in his paintings are beautifully rendered, many of them having wings, scales, claws or other alterations, and there are other otherworldly elements such as tattoos that come to life, tiny imps and unicorn gazelles.

His backgrounds tend to be undetailed – they’re more of a wash of muted colors that makes the people or fantastic creatures stand out – but for great backgrounds, check out…

3. The Fantastic Art of Jacek Yerka, by Jacek Yerka

Jacek Yerka’s paintings tend to focus on places and scenery rather than people, and they’re relatively subtle. They rarely have vivid, grab-your-eye colors. But they’re incredibly detailed and just a pleasure to look at. You could lose yourself in those paintings – all but falling into the page – and each time you study them you’ll see something new.

Best of all, these paintings are imaginative and utterly surreal; for instance, take a look at the water maze.

More examples here. These keep inspiring me with ideas for my own work.

4. The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe, by Wayne Barlowe

Wayne Barlowe does extraterrestrials (Expedition) and demons (Inferno) as well as fantasy creatures. All of them are imaginative down to the last detail: my favorite is the Villar, which is a giant human from the waist down and a castle, complete with multiple towers, in the other direction. In other words, a mobile home of the medieval fortress variety.

5. In Pursuit of the Unicorn, by Josephine Bradley

If you like unicorns, this book is a must-have for your library. As well as about a hundred different pictures of unicorns, there are some beautiful pieces of poetry in this book. And the paintings are lovely – a unicorn trapped in the maze of a roseblossom and a woman with a twisted horn growing from her forehead are the most memorable.


Angela Ackerman said...

That is such a great website! Thanks for posting the link. Talk about great inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Marian thanks a ton for the heads up on Jacek Yerka. Excellent stuff!

his work reminds me of a book my father had. It was very weird, in that style and they were all landscape pictures split in half vertically, so that you could turn half a page and change the pciture on two pages. Very cleverly done. The Jacek Yerka stuff reminds me of that book.

Marian Perera said...

Hi Lee, glad you liked the paintings. They keep giving me ideas for more and more exotic locales for my work.

You wouldn't happen to remember the name of that book with the landscape pictures, would you?

Marian Perera said...

Hi Angela,

It is very inspiring! I like pictures of people or fantastic creatures, but those don't leave me much room to imprint my own imagination on them.

But it's very different with landscapes or scenery.

Hazardgal said...

Thanks for pointing the way to these visionaries. Love Water Maze!I'm trying to muster up the courage to paint fantasy figures, so far I've done 4 vampires.

Anonymous said...

I love that water maze. I've never heard of Yerka before, so thank you for bringing his work to my attention.