Notes from the Studio

Category: Studio Notes

It’s live!

Today is the day! Drawing Down the Moon is officially out and in the stores. It’s a hefty 200 pages, mostly full color and a whole lot of fun to look at. Almost as if you can could hold my life (at least so far) in your hands. Here’s my first review: BOOKLIST Magazine, Jan. 1, 2010 issue *Starred Review* Drawing down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess (Dark Horse Books) One of contemporary comics’ classiest acts, fantasy artist Vess is even more stunning as a book illustrator. It ‘s altogether fitting, then, that book (and poster) illustration looms large in this gorgeously produced retrospective album (the heavy, translucent section frontispieces are especially impressive). Vess provides his own, very economical notes, which downplay technique in favor of autobiographical and art-appreciative remarks, the latter about his beloved influences, beginning with Arthur Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley, both of whose fluidly slender figures have their ilk in Vess creations. He also lauds the premier Victorian painter of fairies, Richard Dadd , whose mastery of crowded compositions Vess thoroughly learned; comics artists Hal Foster and Russ Manning, renowned for the ornate and graceful vigor of their work on Tarzan and Prince Valiant; and

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Moon Link

My big, fat art book: Drawing Down the Moon, The Art of Charles Vess has taken a loooooooong while to wind its way from the completion of my initial layouts to actually seeing print this December. And along the way there have been multiple false alarms as to its publication date. The folks at Dark Horse and I want to apologize for any confusion that these solicitations may have caused. So, in an effort to make certain that you know that the book will indeed be available this December we are providing you with a sneak preview of the entire 200 pages. “Within it’s pages you’ll journey through my high school and college age adventures in art and then follow me as I struggle throughout the years to put on paper what’s inside my head, up to the present day. See what springs off of my drawing board as I move to NYC and try to geta job, any job at all, as long as it’s by drawing… See me slide in through the back door at Marvel Comics and draw The Warriors Three and Spider-man. Then watch as I skip across town to DC and draw Swamp Thing,

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A Frolic in the midnight midsummer moonlight

In the previous post I was replying to friend and fellow BoG brother, Shane Odom, “I’m sad to say that there are no acorns in my ‘Instructions’ illustrations.” But just yesterday I was walking to my ‘other’ studio and picked up a nice little acorn, slipped it into my pocket and then, promptly forgot about it. Today I was reaching for some change and there it was, then inspiration hit! This ‘other’ studio is a space dedicated to producing a new piece of art, made possible by a promise that I made when I  finished ‘Instructions’ on schedule. I gave myself the time to work on anything that I wanted. And THAT ANYTHING, happened to be a scene that I’d had in mind since the Spring, set amongst standing stones, lit by a crescent moon with the King and Queen of Faerie surrounded by a horde of cavorting fairy folk all of which is now being drawn and then painted onto a sheet of 4 x 8ft watercolor paper! As you can see at the top of this post, the King  now wears a bracelet made of small acorns wound about his wrist. and he and his Queen are surrounded

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Locus Award Winner

The Locus Magazine Awards were given out on Saturday and I was named ‘Best Artist’ of the year. I really wanted to be at the awards ceremony out in seattle but on-going work on the ‘Midsummer’ statue kept me close to home instead. At the very last moment I sent the lovely Amelia Beamer (editor of THE SF/Fantasy trade magazine) my acceptance speach. It was so very late that I don’t know yet if anyone managed to read it at the ceremony but here it is: Anyways, such as it is, here’s my acceptance speech in absentia for my first Locus Award, for Artist of the Year (2007): “As much as I wanted to be here today and share the good times and splendid conversations with you all, I just couldn’t manage to squeeze any time to do so out of my crazy schedule. As some of you may know, I’m deep into sculpting and pouring the bronze for a fountain installation based on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Right now my co-workers and I are wrestling with the nine foot figure of Titania, who is proving to be a very demanding Queen of the Faeries indeed. Surprised doesn’t say half

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A Break from sculpting

After so long of a concentration on 3-D work it was fun last week to take a break and actually sit at my drawing board. The opportunity arose because I was asked to be a part of a group effort to help raise needed funds for the ‘Totoro’s Forest’ project (more on that a bit later). I can still remember the magic of first viewing ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, so many years ago that it was only available on pirated Japanese language VHS tapes. The director’s art and story however completely transcended any language barrier there might have been. I thought then and I am even more certain now, that the world would be a better place if there were more minds like Mr. Miyazaki’s in it. Sayama Forest, located outside of Tokyo, served as the inspiration for this exceptional film (my very favorite movie, animated or otherwise). Over the intervening years it has become encroached upon by housing developments. For many years now there has been an on-going effort from Mr, Miyazaki and the Totoro Forest Foundation that he established to purchase as much as possible of the acreage there and place it into a national trust. Now, Pixar art

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