Wednesday, January 11, 2012

John Carter of Mars

Gregory Manchess

The 100th anniversary of A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs is here, and to celebrate, John Joseph Adams has edited an anthology of all new adventures of John Carter, set on that seminal planet.

Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom will be released early February. Full of great writers and specially painted contemporary illustrations. This is my contribution to the story entitled, “The Metal Men of Mars,” by Joe R. Lansdale.

Sometimes I tire of the typical, average human height pov used by so many artists when describing tales. It is a very tired narrative angle, so I constantly search for more intriguing places to structure my compositions.

This story has John Carter attacked from above by a steaming metal dragon air-machine. I wanted the viewer to be right there, looking past Carter toward the airship. Fairly straightforward, but it offered a nice way to foreshorten the figure and add a desirable way to lead the eye.

This is Ivory Black oil paint, mixed with Titanium White, on pre-primed linen. I used the white of the linen to break up the blacks and greys, allowing the brain to fill in the holes. I love this sort of thing as it keeps the mind engaged. It’s also fun to paint and stare at.

Io9 will release an article about the book this coming Monday, Jan 16th, or you can jump to John Joseph Adam’s website on Monday which has more information about the book, especially a nice section of interviews of the writers and artists.

Here's a time-lapse video of me working on the finish.....


  1. Ive been curious about your B&W's since your Conan book as Ive never had a chance to see one in person. The "holidays" left from the canvas poking through are just awesome! Are you also painting with more transparency here as well or do these tend to be just as opaque as your other work simply with gaps between the strokes?

    Anyway, Im so glad to see you have a piece in the book. It looks like its really shaping up to be a pretty cool project.

    Thanks for SLOWING down the video for us too! :-)

  2. Very cool Greg...I love the composition on this, with the sword hand right in our face!

    Like Dominick I'm curious about the paint application on this. The strokes look very transparent or watercolor like.