Friday, December 30, 2011

Diablo III: Book of Cain – the drawings

A few months ago I wrote about my participation within the book project named Diablo III: Book of Cain. Because the book was not released at that moment, I was not allowed to show the three drawings I was commissioned to do. I promised to post the drawings as soon as the book is released.

Well, the book is now available for purchase, and these are the drawings…

Tyrael battling against Tal Rasha

Tal Rasha

King Leoric and Archbishop Lazarus executing  peasant

This is how the printed drawings look like.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

It seems to me that one of the greatest challenges in Life is how to find, and maintain, Peace within ourselves and in the World.
Perhaps the following quote might offer us a durable solution to this problem:

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

So, Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it,
and Happy, Peaceful and Creative New Year to All!

 Christmas present, oil on paper, 1991.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The giants are coming

“ From the deep, murky abyss of the forgotten past, moving slowly and inevitably like the future, the Giants were coming.
A huge mountain of gigantic figures moved steadily like an immense wave, shattering the landscape upon which they walked. Everything they set their feet on was reduced to rubble and dust.  Hills were flattened, mountains crashed, forests swept away, villages and towns erased from the face of the Earth.
People, mad from fear and despair, fled towards the mountains, hoping to find a hole in the ground and save the only thing they were left with, their  bare lives. Animals run, flew or crawled franticly, trying to escape the approaching horror. Ancient trees stood their ground proudly, waiting for the inevitable to happen.  Leafs trembled silently and without motion, in their green hearts.

Then, the whole wave of escaping creatures came to a standstill, suddenly, as a gigantic figure appeared in front of them among the highest mountain peaks. Another giant, even a bigger one. He stood motionlessly and looked towards the approaching wall of the titans and dust. His white long beard, flew freely in the mountain wind, falling onto the tree tops of the forest that covered the mountain slopes, and then rising again towards the sky dispersing the clouds like the flocks of starlings. His eyes, blue and red as the sky at sunset, were shooting fearsome arrows across the valley that stretched itself between the two mountain ranges.
Than he opened his mouth and released a deep, powerful voice, that seemed like it came straight from the very core of the Earth:
The mountain of giants slowed down and eventually stopped. The crushing noise that followed them faded away. For a moment there was a profound silence in the air, and on the ground. Then, from across the wide valley, the answer came rolling like a thunder:
 The white bearded giant raised his mighty hand and said:
Silence again. A long, deafening silence. Even the mountain wind stopped his everlasting dance around the high peaks. People stopped breathing. Animals froze. Trees stopped moving their branches …………..And then, the giants unlashed their attack on Svjatogor. Like an immense unstoppable wave they threw themselves on the lonely defender of the mountains…”
Text © Copyright Petar Meseldzija

This is the beginning of the story that accompanies the drawing. The entire story will be published in my new book on GIANTS. The book is still in progress.

Svjatogor - defender of the mountains

The drawing was initially commissioned by a collector from Canada, and it was this drawing that triggered the creation of the story.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Conan Commission, part 2

The underpainting – This is always a fun part for me. It is relatively relaxing because I don’t have to think about the color, or the brushwork. My only concerns during this stage are the FORM and the VALUE arrangements.  I find this moment very exciting and inspiring, for the world of the future painting starts to reveal itself for the first time. You see a kind of magic evolve in front of you, as the white shapeless gesso surface turns into a suggestive two-dimensional world. True magic, indeed. But that’s the essence of Art, after all.  In its core, it still echoes the ancient magical ritual.

These are the colors I use for my underpainting. From left to right: titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, burnt umber, permanent red-violet and cobalt blue.

The underpainting in progress.

The finished underpainting, and a detail.

The real work starts from this point on.
I leave the relative safety of the “harbour”, and “sail” towards the unpredictable open waters of the “Ocean”. Before that I might address Minerva ( the Roman goddess of poetry, wisdom, art, magic, etc.) in a quick prayer, asking her to help me and my little “ship”, to reach the other side safe and sound.

Each painting is (should be) a new adventure, a unique act of discovery.  
As Marcel Proust, a famous French author and critic, said: “ The only true voyage of discovery … would be not to visit new landscapes, but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees”. (Also often seen translated in the shortened form: “The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Conan Commission

For many years I wanted to do a Conan painting, but never got the chance to realize this dream. As a young adult I passionately read the Conan comics, especially those that were done by John Buscema, a master draftsman. I was also very much impressed by Frazetta’s Conan, but I also regarded a few of the Conan paintings by Boris Vallejo as one of the best.
A few months ago a private collector asked me whether I would be willing to do a Conan painting for his collection. I said YES, of course, and soon after that I did a little rough sketch of the scene that had to depict a moment from the story of “The Frost Giant’s Daughter”. Well, as you probably already know, “to depict” a scene from a story, means in my case “to interpret it”, in one or another way.
I decided to present you with a series of posts about the development of this commission. I intend to lead you through all the stages of the process, as the work on the painting progresses. But, I have to ask you to be a little patient because this project might take some time, for I have to do three different projects at the same time.

So, let’s get started.

This is the rough sketch of the composition. After I became sure about the general positioning of the characters, I went in search of the reference material. The appropriate reference photos and props will play a very important role in this commission, for one of my main objectives this time will be the “naturalism”. This task of using the naturalistic approach within a painting that deals with fantastic, is a tricky thing. Although not the only way of depicting the world of Fantasy and Mythology, the appropriate stylization of form and atmosphere seems to be the most often chosen path by the artists. Anyway, in the coming weeks (if not months), we shall see how far this painting will let me go in my pursuit of this aim of naturalism. But I have to say that, although an important aspect, the naturalism is not the final station of my Conan journey. The right atmosphere of the painting as a whole, is (should be) the ultimate goal.

The study of the Snow Giants done after I made a several photos of the Vikings from Germany, during a Viking Festival that was held in Archeon, a fascinating theme park here in the Netherlands.

The final preliminary study of the scene, or better said the characters, because the background has not yet been defined. In order to collect the appropriate reference material for the background, I will have to travel to the North Pole…(just joking, a library around the corner would be a perfect solution).
The Conan figure was done more or less from memory, because I had no reference photos. Unfortunately I have some problems with finding a nicely shaped male model for my Conan. Any volunteers…? I pay 20 Euro per hour if you are an amateur model, and I pay nothing if you are a friend, except for the unforgettable cup of Turkish coffee and a glass of Serbian Sljivovitsa, or a bottle of good Belgian beer (we do this after the photo session), and a delicious diner.

The same preliminary study with the Conan's leg slightly shifted to the right to achieve a better balance of the negative space.

A detail from the final preliminary drawing.

The final tracing of the drawing. This is going to be transferred onto the wooden board. The next step is underpainting.

End of part 1