Paul Bonner is one of the finest fantasy illustrator around. This book is a collection of over 150 paintings he has created for many big name clients, namely Games Workshop, Mutant Chronicles, Fasa, Riot Minds and Rackham.
I love his style of mixing stylized creatures, extreme details and a little quirkiness into all his paintings. Imagine a desperate monster holding a human hostage, or maybe an orc wearing the head of a mammoth as helmet. The details in the design of characters, costumes and background makes everything looks so believable.
Although his paintings capture a frame in fantasy time, I always imagine what would happen in the next frame, to learn more about the story of that world. The composition is wonderful, always framing the scene when the characters are suspended in action.
And all these paintings are done on traditional medium. There are a few photos of his workplace at the back.
Throughout the book, there are writeup from people he has worked with. He also talks about his college days, his travels in Europe and his creative process.
If you're interested in fantasy art with lots of orcs, dragons, warriors, intricate armour design and dinosaurs, this book is for you. Oh, there are no elves, but there are a few human character designs as well.
The book is printed in low gloss high art quality paper.
Here are some quotes from people he worked with:
John Howe, who wrote the preface:
There is no contradiction between fantasy and functionality in his work. His costumes are colourful and his weapons and armour outrageous and original, but they work. Paul doesn't just look at landscapes, he knows his history too. All his illustrations are a masterful distillation of anecdote and archetype.
Theodore Bergquist (RiotMinds):
Paul is second to none when it comes to details and design. Looking at his paintings you'll find so many beautiful intricacies, not only in terms of a figure's accountrements, anatomy and expression, but also how the light plays with the surroundings, how the shadows shroud the forest and how it all reflects from a dark pool.
Expressions and anatomy aren't simply exaggerated in Paul's art, they are amplified, given a presence within the picture that commands the viewer's attention. You can believe the darwes, trolls and beasties in Paul's work are real beacause they look as if they have lived. The lines on their faces suggest experience. They appear as multi-dimensional individuals with distinct quirks and personalities.
Others who wrote on their experience working with Paul Bonner includes Jean Bey (creator of Rackham), Nils Gulliksson (creative director 1985-1999 Target Games AB), John Blanche.
You can see more of Paul Bonner's work at www.paulbonner.net.
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