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.