Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Greyfox the Wizard and Map of the Wilde

Here're a few more things I've done in my free time. I'm still involved in some projects, so I can't post any of that, but these are things I've been working on on my own. The first is Greyfox the Wizard. The second is a map for a personal project for my AD&D Campaign, "Dragon Slayers." Both images of Greyfox are ideas I have been playing with. One was to see what kinds of positive lines and shapes I could make in contrast to the black shape of his cloak. My first idea was to use a large, flat black shape to describe his garments, letting his skin be pure white to contrast with the black. I also wanted to create an area of intense simplicity to make the character in the foreground stand out and compliment the busy quality of the background. So here are both solutions. Please give me your input on which works. I am fascinated with large areas of graphic shaping. I have been since I can remember. My struggle has been how to describe form with as few lines as possible and experimenting with how to define form with what "isn't" there rather than what is. Optical illusions are fascinating. I think artists are a lot like wizards/illusionists/magicians. Our job is to trick the eye into believing something that isn't real. Using colour and line and what is essentially just pigmented mud, we must convince the audience not to question what they are seeing. That is the trick of a true artist, I think. If the viewer can say, "Psshhh, I could do that!" then the result is seamless enough to trick them into thinking it was effortless in its creation.


  1. Nice-I like the handling of the background foliage.

  2. Thanks, Christina. I was playing with some new fabric technique, so I'm not sure how it worked out. I've heard one critique, so anyone who has any, please go for it, I need to grow.

  3. Hi Justin,

    I like the second image, with the detail in the cloak, much better. That linework is very well done. In the first image, I think the cloak separates from the face and hands. I understand the intent, but I think you need to have deep shadows in the face to justify making the cloak so solid.

    Are you familiar with Alex Toth? He was a cartoonist, illustrator and animator, and I always loved how he could pack so much information into simple shapes. He used silhouettes a lot, and his comic strip and comic book pages always have a wonderful balance of light and dark areas. He used dramatic contrasts of open linework and solid shapes.

    His artwork sometimes looks deceptively simple, but he put a lot of thought and planning into it. I've seen examples of his original artwork, and you can often see very detailed pencil drawings underneath the solid areas of ink.

    His simple and graphic linework always reproduced well, even when printed badly on crappy paper.

    sample comic book pages

    another sample

    Some of his more well-known work was in animation - he designed the characters for the classic Scooby Do.

  4. Thanks, Paul, I appreciate it. Looking at the images, I agree. It looks like two techniques clashing in the image where there is no detail in the cloak and robe. I need to focus on The background must be treated differently, and the body for this to work, I think. Or the lighting needs to be different.

    Thanks for the links. Toth's work is really simple, graphically. There is no gradation of tone, or implication of other values. This is great food for thought. I'm also working on another approach using more cross-hatching and line-dependent mark-making. This deals a lot with shape and line, fairly equally. I'll post the work when it's done for you guys to peruse and critique. Thanks again, I hope some other people respond to this. I'd be interested to hear some others' 2 cents worth, and even Chris Payne's, if he's not too busy to give it. See you guys at lunches very soon here. You were all right up the street today, sorry I couldn't come :(

  5. I like the first one better —but I'm a sucker for contrast and big fields of black. Maybe add a few white hairlines to suggest some detail in the clothing, but I think the bottom one has more info than you really need.
    Nice piece! Reminds me of Beardsley.

  6. Paul, thanks for the links! I think Toth did designs for Space Ghost and some of the other superhero-y cartoons for HB. Scooby Doo and the gang were designed by another talented artist named Iwao Takamoto.


  7. Thanks, Chuck! I appreciate the input :) Beardsley? Wow, I'm honoured :P Thank you, his work is really cool. I'll be posting some other stuff, soon, so keep an eye out, or two, if you can spare them :P