Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Dream

I don’t know if these words will be for you – the right words, on the right place, at the right time, or the wrong words, on the wrong place, at the wrong time, or any other combination in between these two extremes. You have to decide for yourself.
Some time ago I had a strange dream. I was walking along the steep path that led towards the hills and a mountain behind them, when I came across a man who was descending down the same road. When we approached each other he said:
“Hello there! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it!

“Yes, a very pleasant day, a perfect day for hiking”, I replied.
“Every day is good for hiking, though not every hiking path is good for you. Talking about hiking, how is your latest painting progressing?”

I probably had that funny expression on my face of somebody who was suddenly struck by a great surprise, for a wide and friendly smile appeared on his face.
“Do we know each other, sir? How did you know that I was an artist?”

“Well, perhaps it’s my job to know. Sorry, I can’t tell you more about that”, he answered, and then quickly added, “ but there is something else I can and should tell you”.

“I know that you are enchanted by the technical side of creating Art and the impact it makes on others. Therefore I perfectly understand why you are on your way to the top of this mountain. This mountain, in fact, is not built of rock and soil, but of skillful drawing, lucid picture compositions, appealing color combinations, intelligent use of light and breathtaking brushstrokes. It contains  ideas of promoting your work and selling yourself and your art. Likewise it is partly composed of  the wishes that you might one day be able to say - I have worked for this or that prestigious company. And at last but not least, it contains hopes for filling your piggy bank with glittering coins, your ears with flattering compliments and your shelves with golden awards. 
You say “I am hiking on this road”. No, my dear, you are not hiking. The truth is that you are dancing the everlasting dance in a vicious circle.You are dancing a perilous dance of vanity and idleness. Above all, most of the time you are dancing to somebody else’s music. And although you claim that this music contains some notes of your own, it is still being composed and played by others. You might say after all: “well, I am just a dancer and need some music to dance”. But you are wrong, for you are much more than a mere dancer.
However, once you have finally climbed the steep and tricky slopes and have reached the highest peak of this mountain, you will discover that there is even a greater mountain in front of you. This mountain will be covered in mist, and although you will not be able to see the peak, you will sense its presence behind the curtains of fog. You will then know that there is a splendid peak that is waiting to be conquered by you. You will be attracted by this newly discovered mountain.  In order to reach its invisible peak you will have to rely on your own intuition and your previously gained insights. There will be no charts or maps to show you the way. You will have to create them for yourself. And because most of others did not dare to leave the comfortable position on the lower mountain peak, there will be not many whom you can turn to and  ask for advice.

And when you ( if you) reach this higher ground, there will be no one to witness your great achievement, except for the mountain itself. If you in the meantime did not manage to realize who you are and how good you are, you will be in trouble, my friend.”

“I believe I know these things; why you are telling this to me?”, I replied in an angry manner.

“Believing and knowing is not the same. Besides, who says I am telling it to you only?
He then lightly touched his hat and went down the road. I stayed behind puzzled by his words and asking myself who this guy was. The conviction that  I have previously seen his face quickly grew in my mind.

”Damn it” , I finally realized, “ it’s William Blake!”.
Then I woke up. My eyes fell on the book that I read last night just before I fell in sleep. The book’s title was: William Blake, The Complete Poems.

William Blake, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1807.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Death Dealer commission, part 10

While I was working on the Death Dealer commission many people were reacting on the posted sketches. Some comments were positive and encouraging, other were critical about one or another aspect of the sketch and often very much attached to the personal taste of the commentator in question. Nevertheless, all of them were useful in one or another way and they contained an important lesson.
Thank you all for your comments!
While the work on this commission was going on, I decided not to react to the comments because:
Firstly, I did not know how this commission will turn out (the possibility of a failure was hanging above my head, and I think I was the only one who was absolutely not sure about the outcome of this commission. I think most of the people who left a comment where sure that the final result will be “fantastic”. I wish I had the same amount of optimism about my own work as they did).
Secondly, I was hoping that the posted sketches, and the final drawing, would give the best answer to most of the questions and comments.
All in all, this was a very useful experiment and a great experience. Apart from the insights that I have gained about the way others perceive us and our creations, as well as becoming more aware of my own faults, the most important conclusions of this commission were the following two things:
Am I satisfied with my own work? Did I achieve my own objectives?
And, is the client pleased with the results?
Well, having in mind that I was drawing somebody else’s character and have been “visiting” somebody else’s world, I must say that I am satisfied, although I realize that there are a few things that I could have done better.
As for the client ( in this case it is Gregg Spatz from the US, an art collector with great passion for art and a sophisticated taste), upon seeing the final drawing he wrote to me: “…the drawing is exactly what I had expected from you and maybe even more…”.
At the end I would like to point out an important thing. Because Death Dealer is  a famous Frazetta character, some people expected me to approach the drawing as Frazetta would do.  My Death Dealer drawing is in fact an homage to the Master, rather than a copy of his character. I am not (and don’t want to be) an epigone of another artist. I am an independent creator with his own vision, and his own abilities.
I think it is better to be a lesser-Meseldzija, that a lesser-Frazetta. One Frazetta in this world is more than enough. What we need ( generally speaking) are new visions, new approaches, new roads that will lead us to Rome, so to speak.
Have a great day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New book project

I don’t get too often excited about my own work, but this time I am excited about a new project. Recently I started to put together my new book whose working title is Giants.  I have been mentioning something about it in my previous blog posts. Since a few days ago this idea has started to get a more concrete form. As far as I am concerned ( I still have to talk about it with the publisher) this book will have at least 64 pages, possibly even more ( 80 to 100 pages, depending on the layout) and will contain  many drawings and sketches, as well as few paintings. The book will also tell yet unknown story about Giants, the story that will reveal the true nature of these mythological creatures, their life and the ultimate tragedy of their existence .
Here is a preliminary idea for the book cover, and one of many drawings in progress. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diablo III : Book of Cain

While you are waiting for me to finish the Death Dealer commission, and while I am trying to finish a few urgent jobs first so that I could go back to the drawing table, I would like to share the latest news in the meantime.
  A few months ago I was having my well-deserved vacation and enjoying the warm and relaxing South Europe summer, when I got en email from Blizzard Entertainment. They asked me whether I was available and willing to participate within a book project named Diablo III : Book of Cain. The group of artists who were already working on this project included such notables as Alan Lee, John Howe, James Gurney, Iain McCaig, Brom , Jean-Baptiste Monge, among  others. My job was to do 5 detailed drawings.  Great commission, no doubt, the only problem was a tight deadline.  After my vacation, when I got back in my studio, I had only 7 days to finish 5 detailed drawings. It was an impossible task, especially because the subject matter was new to me. However, after a few emails we came to the conclusion that I should do 3 instead of 5 drawings.
After a week of hard work  I completed the assignment and I hit the deadline. The client was pleased with the results (well, after a few corrections) and I was pleased because they were pleased and because the work was done on time. Yet another commission with a happy end, although the end of it would be even happier if I had enough time to do all of 5 drawings. Well, perhaps next time I will be more lucky with the deadlines…

Diablo III : Book of Cain is published by Insight Editions and will be available in November 2011.
If you want to learn more about the book or to preorder it, please go here

And the drawings…? Unfortunately I am not yet allowed to show them on my blog. As soon as the book is available for purchase I will post the drawings.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death Dealer commission , part 8

The final drawing in progress (detail). By the way, I was commissioned to do a drawing, not a painting.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Death Dealer commission , part 7

Today I have tried to put all the elements together, and although the composition is not yet entirely to my liking, I hope that this will be the last preliminary drawing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Death Dealer commission, part 6/2

Yesterday I received this interesting email and I thought you might want to read it…
Hi Petar,

You don't know me. I'm Henrik Pettersson (carnalizer on the internet). I've been watching your Death Dealer sketches closely as I'm a fan of both you and Frank. I have no idea if you feel you need or want feedback, but I just wanted to show what I thought was "not so Frazetta" about you sketches. They are awesome in their own right and if anyone can pull of a good FF these days it's you.

Here goes. Sorry about the abuse of you sketch. First is how I perceive your Death Dealer sketch(es), second is how I feel FF got it.

I'm sure you are aware. I can sense you're after a very specific moment of tension. The pose is good and the anatomy fantastic, but I don't think it's what Frank would have chosen.

Please don't be offended by my mail. It is in utmost well-meaning.

Best regards,
Henrik Pettersson