Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dragon Banner of Shiangkor

I love "sword and sorcery" tales, the trashier the better. I love these fantasy worlds, usually analogous to ancient Rome or Byzantium, ancient and decadent. I want heroic heroes with mighty thews and I want impossibly beautiful babes dressed in nothing but jewelry and a chain mail bikini. Why would I want to make myself feel dreary with post-apocalyptic zombies and vampires? I want my authors to go overtime describing fabulous cities with white arcades and golden towers. I also want characters with unpronounceable names and villains who are honest-to-Gods evil. Damn, they don't write this shit like they used to. I've had to go back through my dust-covered library to pull out my fantasy books from the '60s and '70s, which were often reprints of stuff written in the pulp era from the 1930s to the 1950s. Where can I find more of these entertaining and inspiring cultural treasures? 

I want to practice my digital illustrating skills on traditional fantasy subjects, time and circumstances permitting. I don't want to only do grape presses and wine glasses. The nice thing about digital illustration is that no matter how bad it is, it doesn't take up any physical space. I can throw it into the virtual dust-free vastness of a computer's hard drive.

The banner here, from the mythical kingdom of "Shiangkor," is a detail from a fantasy tale by Lin Carter from the 1960s. There's plenty more where that came from. Lin Carter was endlessly busy writing fantasy and anthologizing collections of stories, easy to find in used bookstores such as my own neighbors, "Hole in the Wall." All I need to do is keep breathing through all the dust. 

Banner image is Photoshop, about 7" x 4", January 29, 2014.

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