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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

A slushy hiss

Russ Nicholson needs no introduction to gamebook and RPG enthusiasts, I'm sure. This was an illustration he did for Dragon Warriors to accompany the following scene:
The crew scatter in all directions as the strange projectile descends. For a moment you think it is going to miss the deck, but then it veers in mid-air and falls with a slushy hiss. It looks like a huge ball of green snow, maybe, or else a very dense cloud of glowing vapour. You take a few steps forward, perplexed. The captain has ordered pails of water brought, thinking that the object was a lump of flaming pitch. But it gives off no heat or flames, just a billowing column of pale-green vapour.

The column of vapour rises higher, thickening. Dark outlines become visible inside the swirling cloud. Three cloaked figures. A sudden gust of wind stirs the cloud and disperses it. As the tattered wisps drift away, three black-armoured warriors are revealed. They are swathed in cloaks of black and vermillion and stand in a circle, their hands resting on the pommels of their unsheathed swords. The tallest has long black hair with a single streak of silver. You draw your own sword as you see how his eyes blaze with malevolence...
Russ has been a major influence and source of inspiration on all our books, but especially on Fabled Lands. He's not an artist who passively waits to be told what to draw; the ideas come thick and fast and all we have to do is jot them down. The walking cities of the Uttakin, for instance, and the way those mechanical legs fold up to become the buttresses of colossal palaces - that was all from the fertile Nicholson brain. And a good decade before Mortal Engines, I might add.

Cross-posted from the eclectic and always-intriguing Super Comics Adventure Squad blog. If comics are your bag, go take a look.

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