In 1980 and 1981 I was intensely into the fantasy writing of Tanith Lee, a British author who wrote blood 'n' thunder 'n' romance set in fabulous imaginary ancient worlds. It's a tradition that goes back well before Tolkien, the evocation of a wide and magical savage world full of different cultures and Roman-era warfare. This character, Raldnor, appears in Lee's book "The Storm Lord," where she loads her book with juicy illustratable content. At least back in 1980 I couldn't get enough of it. I wonder what I'd think of it now. The books are still on my shelves, but captive behind dusty clutter. Time to remove the stuff and do a little re-reading perhaps?
Nowadays, George R. R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" has tied up the wide and magical savage world department and I am not about to compete with a massive TV series doing illustrations. I like "sword 'n' sorcery" worlds with much more outright colorful fantasy than "Game of Thrones," which from what I've seen seems more like Shakespeare's historical plays with a few dragons thrown in. If I want to do more fantasy art I've got to get a good source of ideas. I've got my dusty old library to revisit, or perhaps some new author I've never heard of is writing old-style high fantasy that is just what I might be looking for. I don't mind an excessively descriptive, elaborate style; that just makes my job easier. Meanwhile there are some professional jobs that await me this year so not so many Storm Lords just yet. So here's our old friend Raldnor riding his non-horsey beast in a triumphal parade.
"Raldnor the Storm Lord" is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 6 1/4", September 1980.