Thursday, March 20, 2014

Seedy Wizard and State of the Art

Belgarath the Sorcerer, in Eddings' series "The Belgariad," was the greatest sorcerer of the world disguised as a seedy, prank-loving old man. He drank too much, wore ragged, dirty clothes, and never showed his true nature until he absolutely had to. He was the keeper and mentor of Garion, the under-age king who had been hidden among the common folk until he reached maturity. The young man had to undergo many ordeals and find a world-famous magic talisman, and he had to work as a stock boy in a grocery store….oops, that part didn't happen, but you get my drift. 

This portrait of Belgarath is one of a series of Eddings character portraits I did many years ago. Each character is traceable as a common role in Diana Wynne Jones' "Tough Guide to Fantasyland." 

March 19th is a "blogiversary" for "Art By-Products." Believe it or not, this blog has been going more or less every day for six years! My art work is quite different from what it was in the 1990s when I did these Eddings character portraits. Since then, a huge revolution has taken place in the fantasy art world in which digital painting is now dominant. I am currently trying, with varying success, to learn digital painting, and some of my experiments and training pieces show up on this Blog. I have not given up my ambition to show work in exhibitions and sell work both to private collectors and to publishers. But the market is quite different, and my day job keeps me from committing a lot of time to illustrative work. I also branched out into pastoral and wine-related art rather than traditional fantasy, resulting in my art book "The Earthly Paradise," which has sold well as a collector's item. 

My first loves in art remain as they always have been for me: epic fantasy with wizards, dragons, young kings, beautiful maidens, wicked sorcerers, Space Marines, and fantastic creatures and environments, AND comic books. You have not seen much of my sequential art here because I don't have the time to make it right now but I have not given up on it. In fact my ink-and-marker style which I have been using on "Iridar" is an experiment that might lead to more sequential art and graphics in the future.

Meanwhile I'll keep publishing this despite having only about 10 regular readers. It will continue to be a mix of vintage art and freshly made art. If I run out of vintage art, I may have to change the schedule of how often I post here. I would like to maintain the every day offering though as it  keeps my hand in the work while I put in the time at the day job. So thanks to my little blog-reading circle for your friendship. And happy first day of Spring, NoRuz to my Persian friends, and Bach's Birthday to my musician friends. Stay tuned to this blog for quality art and art by-products.

Belgarath portrait is colored pencil on Bristol board, 7" x 10", spring 1993.


Tristan Alexander said...

I think you get more comments than I do, so, keep doing it. I look at every post you do even if I don't always comment!

MKS said...

Nearly all of your posts brighten my day a little. Fantasy characters and cute critters take me out of my daily grind for a moment and make me smile. My favorites are your city-scapes, whether real or fantastic, abstract or detailed, they always transport me, at least for a moment. (My least favorites are your pin-up girls, which raise my feminist hackles a bit.)

I also kind of miss your mathematical abstractions.

Keep posting and I'll keep looking!


Mike said...

You mentioned comics. Do you read/collect any?