The Dark Crusade(From the book "Heroes & Villains")
By : Deborah Susan Jones : Editor
Originally created for the 1991 Lone Wolf roleplay paperback game book "The Darke Crusade" the title was always known to the Artist as "The Dark Crusade" (without the "e") because the written brief for the job from the publisher offered no indication to the contrary. The Lone Wolf paintings for the Red Fox editions in the UK were always, from the start, the subject of close involvement between Artist, Author and Art Director, but as these were new books, and not reprints, paintings were a very dynamic production process that was very much a creative melting pot of intense cooperation. It was a very exciting time and as with any intense creative experience, it is often only with hindsight that a real overview, and indeed review, occurs. This melting pot of creative idea-swapping provided exciting material to visualise a cover painting and later, when the book was published, the final book cohesion, of text and image, materialised.
"A devastating attack by the Darklords has destroyed the monastery where you were learning the skills of the Kai Lords. You are the sole survivor. Revenge seems appropriate. To start, you must reach Holmgard to warn its King of a gathering evil. Servants of darkness aim to track and hunt you over the country presenting many challenges. King Sarnac of Lencia seeks Lone Wolf's help to battle the Drakkarim under control of Magnaarn, High Warlord of Darke and the Lencians have discovered Magnaarn seeks the Doomstone of Darke and fear he is close to discovering this artifact and its power to conjure evil Nadziaranim sorcerers and many other Darklord allies against Lencia . . . . . . .
Created in two stages, one being the background which was shot onto transparency, the second then being an over-paint of the figures, the overall piece was delivered to Red Fox for the paperback cover while the background appears as an endpaper in the artist's roleplay games art book "HEROES & VILLAINS" along with the full version. This was a technique the Artist used on many occasions in the paperback market in the 80's derived from film and television techniques he developed in a variation of the multi-plane camera technique, which was evolving into C.S.O. (colour separated overlay) which used different layers of artwork synchronised via several tv cameras. Eventually, this developed into the current digital effects industry and indeed digital painting is a technique the Artist now often employs but not to produce digital art, instead, digital work is sometimes used as "underpainting" or for generating non-organic imagery and effects which are later modified and enhanced organically, often with a specially formulated oil paint that is manufactured in the Artist's studio specially for the task.
"I have never really understood, myself, whether I am a purist, a "painter in oils", which certainly forms the backbone of my skills, or, then again, I could as easily say "I am a mixed-media Artist" because I have used so many other types of paint, including "digital paint" to extend, modify, over-paint, underpaint and extensively vary my basic "oil painting technique".
"I guess it comes down to a fundamental belief that on the one hand what you paint it in is irrelevant, it's the image, the idea, that counts most, but tempered by the fact that all art, even "fine art", is traded in, and made for, even if unconsciously, or unknowingly, a marketplace, and each market has a certain expectation of how the art should be made, stated as being made, and indeed, presented.
"If that sounds like a bit of a contradiction, then consider that, if one has worked in so many markets over the years, film, tv, publishing, advertising, gallerys, private commissions, then to have done so implies a certain willingness, necessity even, to be flexible in approach in order to gain the opportunity to do.
"The challenge then becomes, when one goes "self-published" in that "there are no maps, there are no pathways, on the road to uncharted goals" which on the one hand implies, at least in principle, "unlimited artistic freedom" while on the other, self-imposed disciplines, including technical ones, or else one may find oneself lost on an uncharted creative sea where the coastline of artistic completion is no longer visible.
"To me, it is like being a teenager, before art school, sitting cross legged on my bedroom floor painting flower power posters in cheap poster paints for fun while simultaneously approaching death with "all that I know about paint" piled up in the infinite art supply shop of the mind.
"The challenge, of balancing my basic creative, spontaneous drive, against accumulated skills to choose from is not one you get time to consider when crashing deadlines for clients. When one becomes the client, then "considerations" enter the process, and so does contemplation.
"There's considerably more to "self-publishing" than painting a picture and just printing it out . . . . . . . . . !"
Deborah Susan Jones