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The Upper Limits of One's Abilities

Working professionals sometimes find themselves at a comfortable level of proficiency; they can do the job, because they have the tools, and experience, and skill set necessary to do it. But in my experience, because of deadlines, or illness, or a hundred other factors, I seldom had the opportunity to test the limits of my abilities. To actually see if I was, in some certain respects, as good at something as I hoped I could be.

I once did an entire issue of STARCHILD (twenty story pages, pencils, inks, letters, and a painted wraparound cover) in eight days. But it wasn't my best work - just good work.  In part because of that observation, I started a project where I really COULD see if I could test those limits.

I chose four key, iconic scenes from the graphic novels, and set about recreating them as art prints. The size of the original boards is two and a half feet  by five feet - each.  I spent as much time as was needed on them (two are completed, the third is in progress), making a covenant with myself that if I got tired or bored, I'd step away. That way, only my best work would be evidenced. They took two hundred hours each to draw. But they are, in many ways, still unmatched. Some of the IMAGINARIUM GEOGRAPHICA illustrations are in the ballpark for execution - but not in scope.

We released them as 28" x 40" art prints, limited to 495 copies, signed with the pencil I used to render the illustrations. I've been getting a lot of very kind compliments about my fantasy art this week, so I wanted to return the favor.

These prints sell in galleries for $300 to $500 each, unframed; we traditionally sell them for $100 each. But at recent conventions, I've priced them at $50 each, to make them more accessible to fans who really wanted them. Now through Monday, that's the price anyone reading them can get by clicking here. Images of both (and a detail of each) are below.

FOOL'S HOLLOW  I - The Gatherum

And a detail view:

FOOL'S HOLLOW II - Old Tom's Study

And a detail view:


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 19th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks! You can see more detail on the second one in my response to Alex below.
Feb. 19th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh! My Starchild! These adorn my walls. I remember a portion of this version of The Study colored. Did you color the whole thing?
Feb. 19th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Just the center section, for that convention program book:

Feb. 19th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
Fool's Hollow has always been one of my favorites. It is so lovely.
Feb. 19th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Feb. 19th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
Where is my jaw? I seem to have dropped it...

Holy Crap Sir. This is freaking amazing.
Feb. 20th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
:D Thanks!
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:46 pm (UTC)
Is it rude to ask how long it takes to do a piece like this?

If not, how long does it take to do a piece like this?
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Paragraph three. ;)
Feb. 19th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Oops! Sorry..... :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Awesome illustrations, and amazing detail.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
It is so much fun looking at the detail you put into these!
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Awesome! My daughter(14 yo) is an artist and has some awesome drawings. I had her look at your illos to show her how detail can really bring a scene to life.

I feel like I could look at these pieces again and again and find something new and fascinating. :D
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:37 am (UTC)
Lovely (from what little I can see in real detail). The thing I think I'm seeing with these pieces and with Promethea is a greater and more subtly used tonal range. A real commitment to darkness and light. Maybe more lines at a larger size allows for more controlled tonal range? Just speculation...

Have you seen The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke in person? I grew up with a print of it in a book, and was blindsided by the reality (which is both weirder and more brilliant). Had I found the Queen song as a child I'd have loved the painting even more. :) The publishing house for the book my family owned must have assumed they'd lost the red/magenta plate somewhere along the line and "recreated" it out of whole cloth. The truth of course was poor patricidal mr. Dadd painting away in Bedlam without any of the rich poisonous expensive colors, and the brilliantly painted little piece (much smaller than your work here) was done on something like cardboard in a dizzying collection of ochres.
I went to that exhibit 3 times while it was at the National Gallery in DC. Simply incredible.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
How 'bout a preview of that third, unfinished piece?

I love seeing your work in progress.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
I bet I can do that... and thanks!
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
I'm really tempted!
Do you send internationally? The study is just amazing.

When you said there were a couple Imaginarium Geographica illustrations that were in the ballpark, I thought of the one you recently posted with the dinner table and the impressively detailed wallpaper, which ones did you mean?
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm really tempted!
We do indeed send internationally. Tubes aren't too bad for shipping costs.

And yes - that one was one of the pieces I was thinking of; along with the three fates in Book Two.
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
I've seen one of the Fool's Hollow prints up close & personal. The level of detail is amazing. It's interesting to note that it took you around 200 hours, as I recall looking at it and thinking "That must have taken a month..."
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
I can't believe my eyes
To think that I knew you when.....you are someone that I can be so proud of!!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )