Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Sorcery! Art, or Griminess Beats Awesomeness
When it comes to fantasy art I'm a fan of the delicate, the weird, and especially the grimy. Recent fantasy art, with its 'dungeonpunk' themes, beautiful people, and constant obsession with awesomeness and bad-assness, rather bores me. Each to their own, these things are completely subjective and blah blah, but paging through my Sorcery! books after yesterday's post got me thinking about how much I love the work of people like John Blanche, whose slightly creepy, waif-like, ugly creations are one of the best things about the series. His pictures strike just the right note of gloominess and exoticism, with nary a hint of kewlness in sight, and they build up an atmosphere of foreboding strangeness that suits the story perfectly. A few favourites:
Who is this guy, what is all that crap on the shelves behind him and where does it all come from? I love how this picture hints at a world beyond the game itself: you're not important, just another adventurer, really; he buys and sells men like you every day before breakfast, and to be frank he'd rather you leave him alone to smoke his pipe in peace.
Cultists in the desert, doing...something. What are they up to? Obviously a nefarious activity of some kind, but are you brave enough to try to find out what? Again, hints at a world of activity going on outside of the 'plot'; all you are is a passer-by, barely worth registering, and everybody else is getting on with their own lives, regardless of the success or otherwise of your little 'quest'.
Take a look at this guy. He's just sitting in his hole, trying to stay out of the sun, charming his snakes. So why does he seem so oddly menacing?
Flying Fish in the Old World have teeth, and smile joyously as they contemplate sinking them into your flesh...