Monday, October 31, 2011

Congratulations, Kinuko!

The Muddy Colors Crew would like to extend its warmest congratulations to Kinuko Y, Craft upon being presented with the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist at the WFCon in San Diego this past weekend!

Here's the complete list of this year's award recipients:
  • Life Achievement: Peter S. Beagle and Angélica Gorodischer
  • Novel: Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Novella: “The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon,” by Elizabeth Hand
  • Short Story: “Fossil—Figures,” by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Anthology: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, edited by Kate Bernheimer
  • Collection: What I Didn’t See and Other Stories, by Karen Joy Fowler
  • Artist: Kinuko Y. Craft
  • Special Award—Professional: Marc Gascoigne, for Angry Robot
  • Special Award—Non-professional: Alisa Krasnostein, for Twelfth Planet Press



ILLUXCON 4 will be taking place this week in Altoona, PA. For those of you not familiar with this event, Illuxcon is the premiere arts gathering that focuses on the art of the genres of  Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and related disciplines. This is a chance to meet fellow artists, collectors, art students and art directors from around the world. There is a student program track,  portfolio reviews and a number of demonstrations. Attendance / and memberships are limited.  I would suggest checking the Illuxcon website for the availability of remaining memberships.

A number of Muddycolors members will be attending and exhibiting their work, including:  Dan Dos Santos, Jesper Ejsing, Eric Fortune, Justin Gerard, Donato Giancola, Petar Meseldzija and John Jude Palencar.

From the website:
“Illuxcon is dedicated to the validation of the original painting as more than a means to an end and, through that validation, the recognition that the art of the fantastic deserves to be brought out from the shadow of literature and publication, its creators permitted to stand beside their peers in other artistic schools, and their works accepted to hang side by side with the best of all the past generations of artists.  Illuxcon is also dedicated to the continuing development of the field, inspiring students and emerging artists to look at the world through the prism of the fantastic and encouraging the professional and personal interaction necessary to allow the masters of the field to share their experience, knowledge, drive and dedication with all those who would follow in their footsteps.”

Illuxcon website

Hope to see you there!

Here are a couple of promo clips from previous Illuxcons :

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Vid

by Eric Fortune

Today I thought I'd share a new video. I meant it to be a ten minute video. But it went into a little overtime. Sorry for all the "ums". I'm um gonna work on that. Below is a recent scan of the area I was working on.

Hope you find this helpful. As always, if you would like any clarification on anything I'm doing please ask and I'll do my best to answer for you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spanish Painters

by Donato

I am waist deep getting paintings ready for IlluxCon next weekend, but thought I'd share some thoughts on painters I have been inspired by as I tackle my tragedies in Middle-Earth.

One of the greatest, and somewhat little known, is Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). His work was heavily inspired by Caravaggio during his lifelong stay in Italy. If I had to live in another past as a painter, I would certainly select the early 17th Century, for the world was filled with some of the painters I most admire, such as Ribera and Caravaggio, but which also included Rembrandt, Velazquez and Rubens. What an incredible time to be an artist!

What I love about Ribera is the tragic and humanistic nature to his paintings, a characterization also shared by his famous contemporary, Diego Velazquez. Ribera's figures are gritty, real, and human. He idealized little in his works, and was best when his saints feel like they are culled from the very streets of the city you and I can walk. Certainly he took from Caravaggio's example and did just that- pulled models from the streets. He is unparalleled in his rendering of the flesh, and the rough close up provides just a taste of what he could do with his specialty. Much like Bouguereau was cast into his genre of young peasant girls, Ribera mastered again and again the boney, sagging and breath taking frailty of wizened old men.

Every time I tackle a Gandalf portrait, I put on my Ribera hat and see where it will take me...

Gifts of Paper

You guys made some fantastic cakes! It was really hard picking favorites. So, we decided to add a few more prizes so that we could pick a few more cakes. We have added 2 prints by Jesper Ejsing to give away, in addition to our other 9 gifts.

The 11 recipients are:

If your cake is shown here, email us at:
Send us your full name, shipping address, and a link to the image above which belongs to you. Also, please list your top 3 gifts in descending order of preference, and we'll do our best to make everyone happy! No promises you'll get what you want, but we will certainly try.

Thanks again for all the wonderful birthday wishes. It means a lot to us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


By Jesper Ejsing

This is one of the paintings I got into Spectrum 18. I added the thumb too. I think I covered most in that little thumb. 6 days later it looked like the final.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday !!!

Muddy Colors turns one year old today!

Traditionally, first anniversaries are celebrated with 'a gift of paper'. So that's what we intend to do. We are giving a few lucky readers some sweet books and prints. But here's the catch... if want one, you gotta make us a cake! A virtual cake, that is.  (Mmm mmm.... Virtual.)

Go HERE, and make a cake just for us. Then, post a url link to your cake in the comments section of this post (Do not embed it, and do not email it to us... just post a link). We will look at all of them tomorrow, and our favorite cakes will receive gifts.

What gifts, you ask?
Well, we've got:
2 copies of Masters of SFF Art
3 prints of St. George and the Dragon, painted by Donato Giancola
1 print of Warbreaker, painted by Dan dos Santos
1 print of Conan, painted by Greg Manchess
1 copy of Ilene Meyer: Paintings, Drawings, Perceptions.
2 prints, painted by Jesper Ejsing

Unfortunately, since we have to mail all of these things (at our expense), we have to limit the winners to those of our readers that live in the continental US. But our overseas pals are still welcome to play.
Good luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011


by Arnie Fenner

You might think we'd forgotten: we haven't. Dan's post about enrollment opening to the 2012 Illustration Master Class (June 9-15) got your attention: now it's time to turn it up to 11.

With the cooperation of the gracious Dean Rebecca Guay, Spectrum Fantastic Art will award a scholarship to an artist—young, old, or in between: age doesn't matter—to attend the IMC.

Getting to Amherst, Massachusetts and back home (as well as securing any materials needed for the workshop) will be the responsibility of the artist: the scholarship pays the tuition to IMC, which includes food, a dorm bed, and an unparalleled intensive learning experience with some of the most amazing artists working today. Though there will be all manner of workshops and lectures covering every aspect of a career in the arts, the emphasis will be on drawing and painting with traditional media: count on long days that are both exhilarating and exhausting—and definitely plan on getting some paint beneath your fingernails.

We'll keep the process simple: send Cathy and me one or two jpegs (say 7"x9" or so, 100dpi) of your best work and a few lines about yourself (not a lengthy term paper, just a few sentences about who you are and what you want to accomplish by attending the workshop) via e-mail to: director (at)

In the subject line of your-email, put "IMC." The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2011. We will announce the recipient of the scholarship on the Spectrum website December 5, 2011.

Don't send us everything you've ever done. Don't feel like you have to drop everything and create something new to submit. Don't spin tales of woe ("Life is not a comparison of Chambers of Horror," as Harlan Ellison says). Do visit the IMC website and read through the info and what is needed to participate: then decide if it's something you have a passion to be a part of. The Illustration Master Class isn't a vacation, it isn't a social club (though there will be lots of camaraderie), it isn't a convention: it's a place to work the craft, to have a personal learning experience with some of the best instructors you'll ever have. We're looking for an artist with "promise," a promise that can be nurtured and hopefully advanced through this opportunity.

Ladies and Gentlemen: the ball is in your court. Show us what you've got!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spectrum 18 Preview

In case you've missed it, a preview flip-through of Spectrum 18...
This is an advance copy we received last week. The bulk of the print run is scheduled to arrive from overseas in a few weeks. It is currently available to pre-order from Amazon if you want to ensure getting it as soon as possible!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Dream

by Petar Meseldzija

I don’t know if these words will be for you – the right words, on the right place, at the right time, or the wrong words, on the wrong place, at the wrong time, or any other combination in between these two extremes. You have to decide for yourself.

Some time ago I had a strange dream. I was walking along the steep path that led towards the hills and a mountain behind them, when I came across a man who was descending down the same road. When we approached each other he said:

“Hello there! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it!

“Yes, a very pleasant day, a perfect day for hiking”, I replied.
“Every day is good for hiking, though not every hiking path is good for you. Talking about hiking, how is your latest painting progressing?”

I probably had that funny expression on my face of somebody who was suddenly struck by a great surprise, for a wide and friendly smile appeared on his face.
“Do we know each other, sir? How did you know that I was an artist?”

“Well, perhaps it’s my job to know. Sorry, I can’t tell you more about that”, he answered, and then quickly added, “ but there is something else I can and should tell you”.
“I know that you are enchanted by the technical side of creating Art and the impact it makes on others. Therefore I perfectly understand why you are on your way to the top of this mountain. This mountain, in fact, is not built of rock and soil, but of skillful drawing, lucid picture compositions, appealing color combinations, intelligent use of light and breathtaking brushstrokes. It contains  ideas of promoting your work and selling yourself and your art. Likewise it is partly composed of  the wishes that you might one day be able to say - I have worked for this or that prestigious company. And at last but not least, it contains hopes for filling your piggy bank with glittering coins, your ears with flattering compliments and your shelves with golden awards. 

You say “I am hiking on this road”. No, my dear, you are not hiking. The truth is that you are dancing the everlasting dance in a vicious circle. You are dancing a perilous dance of vanity and idleness. Above all, most of the time you are dancing to somebody else’s music. And although you claim that this music contains some notes of your own, it is still being composed and played by others. You might say after all: “well, I am just a dancer and need some music to dance”. But you are wrong, for you are much more than a mere dancer.

However, once you have finally climbed the steep and tricky slopes and have reached the highest peak of this mountain, you will discover that there is even a greater mountain in front of you. This mountain will be covered in mist, and although you will not be able to see the peak, you will sense its presence behind the curtains of fog. You will then know that there is a splendid peak that is waiting to be conquered by you. You will be attracted by this newly discovered mountain.  In order to reach its invisible peak you will have to rely on your own intuition and your previously gained insights. There will be no charts or maps to show you the way. You will have to create them for yourself. And because most of others did not dare to leave the comfortable position on the lower mountain peak, there will be not many whom you can turn to and  ask for advice.
And when you ( if you) reach this higher ground, there will be no one to witness your great achievement, except for the mountain itself. If you in the meantime did not manage to realize who you are and how good you are, you will be in trouble, my friend.”

“I believe I know these things; why you are telling this to me?”, I replied in an angry manner.
“Believing and knowing is not the same. Besides, who says I am telling it to you only?

He then lightly touched his hat and went down the road. I stayed behind puzzled by his words and asking myself who this guy was. The conviction that  I have previously seen his face quickly grew in my mind.
”Damn it” , I finally realized, “ it’s William Blake!”.

Then I woke up. My eyes fell on the book that I read last night just before I fell in sleep. The book’s title was: William Blake, The Complete Poems.

William Blake, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1807.


It's that time again....

Heritage Auctions is once again holding it's Illustration Art Signature Auction. As usual, the Heritage site has posted incredible scans of thousands of pieces of art. There are some absolute gems in there, so be sure to check them out as soon as possible. The live auction starts tomorrow, and soon after that, the scans won't be available any more.

Here is a little taste of what's in store for you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

George de Forest Brush

Here's some inspiration from the book  "George de Forest Brush - The Indian Paintings". I've always admired his work and thought I'd scan a few images to share here.

Hope you enjoy them,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monster Brains

Monster Brains, and art blog specializing in fantasy and horror art, just posted scans of the Official D&D coloring book from 1979. I've already printed these pages out and my kids are coloring the Beholder as we speak!

Also, be sure to check out the Monster Brains post from a few weeks ago, where they posted two dozen high resolution scans of classic Hildebrandt paintings.

Pirate Paintings for National Geographic Pt. 6

Gregory Manchess

The Whydah went down in a storm not far off the coast of Cape Cod in April 1717. Seven survivors were rounded up when they made it to shore. They were held in prison for some time, wearing the same clothes as when they were captured. They got pretty raggedy by trial time.

Most of them were hanged. Two were made slaves again. Second from the left is Hendrick Quintor, whose portrait I did for the first post of this series.

The title is "FATE." I designed the trial scene from a couple of thumbnails. Again, moving very fast as the deadline was approaching.

The sequence of painting. I modeled for many of the figures, just to get the anatomy and attitude right. Definition of insanity: painting a gazillion faces in a crowd from 1717.

At the last, I realized I had to change one of the faces from a black man to a Mojito Indian man, third pirate from the right. And I really liked that black guy’s face, too.

The Puritan minister in front of the podium is Cotton Mather, son of Increase Mather, notorious minister of the Salem Witch Trials.