Friday, December 28, 2012

Masters of Contemporary Illustration:

Vladyslav Yerko

Vladyslav Yerko was born in 1962 in Kiev, Ukraine. He lived at his grandmother’s house in the village of Pirniv until he was seven years old and considers this to be the best time of his life. He spent his first year sleeping in a large suitcase, which rested on a chair under a lilac tree, and, likening his childhood to that of Mowgli, from Kipling’s Jungle Book, Yerko says he was raised, not by wolfs, but by “chickens, turkeys and the village cats”! His surroundings – the forest and river, insects and fish – all left a deep and lasting impression on the young boy and to this day, flora, fauna and the diversity of nature’s beauty serve as the wellspring of his inspiration.
Yerko graduated from the Kiev Polygraphic Academy before embarking on his highly successful career as an illustrator.








Friday, December 21, 2012

Tarzan Sketchbook

Dark Dragon Books, the publisher of the collection of my Tarzan stories, has decided to print a separate Tarzan sketchbook. This book will include all the sketches and drawings I ever did back in the eighties while working on the Tarzan comic. There will be some new drawings as well which I recently did in order to reconnect with my old jungle friend.
Here is a little preview to the upcoming sketchbook. Yes, this is supposed to be Jane. It looks like she spent more time in the gym, than hanging on the lianas and trying to keep up with her wild husband.

I wonder whether she managed to persuade Tarzan to buy her a little TV or PC, or at least a few glossy magazines, for she is apparently good informed about the latest trends…

Friday, December 14, 2012

Giants and girls 2

There was a giant once who was lonely. Most giants are, of course, or would be if they stopped to think about it...
They don’t think about this loneliness, however, because thinking isn’t something they go in for very much. Mostly they just get on with business of being giants, which takes up all their time and which is very hard work because it is laid down in the Rule Book fore Giants that, when they aren’t actually eating or sleeping, they have to stamp around the countryside bellowing at the tops of their voices and looking very  fierce. Looking fierce is hard work in itself as you’ll find out if you try it for half an hour. You keep on forgetting that you’re supposed to have a scowl on your face and you find yourself smiling at something. Than you have to start all over again…
Being kept so busy means that giants don’t have much time for thinking. When a giant does manage to get a few minutes to himself he generally feels so tired that he just drops off to sleep. He sits down first of all with his back against the nearest hill. Than he opens his huge mouth and gives a huge yawn. Then he spits out all the birds that have got sucked into his mouth while the yawn was going on. Then off he goes to dream-land.

But the giant who was lonely was different. He had long since lost his rule book and had never bothered to get it replaced. He didn’t go around stamping and roaring because he couldn’t see much point in it. It only made your feet sore and gave you a headache. Besides that, it frightened people away and he didn’t want to frighten people away. He wanted to be friendly.
What made him especially different from other giants though, was that he was always thinking, and what he was always thinking about was how much alone he was.

It was true that Angus (his name was, by the way, Angus Macaskill) did have one or two friends among the ordinary-sized folk. There was Morag Matheson, for instance, the shoemaker’s daughter…
She doesn’t look like a shoemaker’s daughter to me, does she!

However, if you like to read funny, charming and intelligently written fairytales, read The Lonely Giant by Alasdair MacLean.  
Just don’t pretend that you have outgrown the good bedtime stories! How can you be a great illustrator if the child within has left you. Think of, for instance,  the Hobbit novel, which Tolkien began as a simple bedtime story for his children. At the moment the whole world is talking about the Hobbit movie. More importantly  there would be no The Lord of the Rings without Hobbit!  Great things have often small, and sometimes silly, beginnings :)

I wish you a happy day with a good, healthy dose of silliness and laughter !

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Art of Petar Meseldzija

I am very happy to announce that Dark Dragon Books has decided to publish a book of my art, titled The Art of Petar Meseldzija. This book  will include a selection of paintings and drawings  from the past 25 years,  with the emphasis on the fantasy  themed  works. The book will have about  140 pages, and the text will be in English.
I will be collaborating with Dragan Bibin on this project.  Apart from being a brilliant illustrator, Dragan is also an accomplished designer who generously agreed to help me with the lay-out of the book. 

I have been trying for some time to find a publisher for this book, but without success. Most of the publishers I approached admired the art, but at the same time they thought that it would be financially too risky for them to invest in a book of an artist whose profile is not yet “high enough in the US”, to quote from a recent reply I got from a publisher. In other words, they think that, in spite of the quality of my work, my name still does not resonate enough with profit and prestige.
However, thanks to Amin Gemei, the founder and the publisher of Dark Dragon Books, his vision, bravery (willingness to take the risk) and his trust in my art, I will be finally able to present you with this art book.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Masters of Contemporary Illustration:

Pavel Tatarnikov
Pavel Tatarnikov was born in 1971 into a family of artists. He has loved drawing since childhood, and his talent was recognized early on: at the age of eleven, he was selected to train at the State School of Music and Fine Arts in Minsk, Belarus. He graduated in 1989 and joined the Graphic Department of the Belarusian Academy of Arts, working as an illustrator. The recipient of many awards, Pavel particularly enjoys  projects that combine his love of myths and legends, literature and history. He currently lives in Belarus.

To see more of Pavel’s work visit his website at

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giants and girls

Here is another one…
I don’t know why, but these silly Giants just keep on coming; this time one with a girl on his shoulders. Feels like the beginning of a new series of drawings about Giants… and girls.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Back from IlluXcon 5

IlluXcon 5, photo by Kiri Østergaard Leonard

Yesterday, I came back home from my last U.S. journey. Today is Friday, my day for posting here on Muddy Colors. Although still wrestling with the “ temporary disruption of bodily rhythms caused by high-speed travel across several time zones”, or simply with jet-lag, I decided to share some of my thoughts and impressions about this year’s IlluXcon show, risking to “enrich” my post with even more grammar mistakes, wrongly chosen words and poorly constructed sentences, than I usually do, all because of the mentioned “ high-speed travel …”
Well, after attending this unique art convention for the third time, I came to the conclusion that IlluXcon is not a usual convention. No, it is more an extended meet-and-greet event that was brilliantly organized, for the fifth time, by Pat and Jeannie Wilshire, the founders of the convention. Although I consider myself somewhat inexperienced when it comes to the art conventions, I dare say that this show feels almost too warm and too intimate to be called a usual convention, in other words an event where people come to do business; to show, promote, sell and buy new products and ideas. Of course there is much going on at that level as well (fortunately!!). But there is also another aspect to this show, that could easily be sensed when you are there, especially during the last two days of the convention. The camaraderie,  mutual respect and support, friendliness and kindness are some of the qualities that characterize IlluXcon. It is a place where fellow artists and their entourage, clients and art collectors, art students and fans, get together and have wonderful time talking, exchanging ideas, supporting and inspiring each other, learning, buying-selling-commissioning art, having fun and even playing music and singing together.

IlluXcon music band under the leadership of Mark Zug
I think there are several factors that set this convention apart from the most of other shows I have been at.

First of all, the place where the convention is held is not too big and the architecture is friendly.  The space does not feel cold or impersonal. It reminds me of a cozy foyer of a theater, a place where people gather before going to see a good movie, a theatre piece or a concert. Inevitably, the space influences the setup of the show and the mood of the attending artists and the public. 
Second, there is art all over the place; colorful, inspiring, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, amazing, brilliant, mesmerizing art.  Here you can see the paintings “in person”, that are, more or less, reflecting the personality which created them, in the most direct manner; through the marks left by  hand that holds a real brush and  directs the movement of the physical paint upon the canvas, or board, and forces it into a shape…into becoming something out of nothing… directly, without anything between the artist and his creation, except for the thin air that separates his mental universe from the mostly two-dimensional physical world that is being created in front of him. This convention is dedicated exclusively to good-old hand-made fantasy art. 
Last but not least, the artists who make this art, and the visitors, all seem to be very passionate and most friendly people.

Therefore, the photos I want to show you this time will not focus on wonderful art, but rather on wonderful people; my fellow artists and visitors with whom I had the most inspiring and pleasant conversations. Needless to say, not all of my encounters with them were recorded with a camera. There were many, many more memorable moments that made this year’s IlluXcon very special for me.
So, thank you all for your time, your inspiring and supportive words, your kindness and your beautiful art!

Filip Burburan and Milivoj Ćeran in front of their booth

The Balkan Crew

With Jim Burns

In conversation with Thomas Kuebler

Thomas Kuebler’s  charming troll-lady

With Ralph Horsley

With the art students from Ohio

Omar Rayyan, Illy award winner, with “his” head (Photo by Mike Sass)

With John Jude Palenkar and Donato Giancola

Justin Gerard

Talking with Gregg Spatz

With Mark Nelson

With Mark Zug 

Petar Meseldzija Art crew, with Jean, Morgan and Anita.
Talking about kindness and generosity; I got  these beautiful drawings as presents from a few fellow artists!!

By Filip Burburan

By Mark Nelson

By Justin Gerard

By Raoul Vitale

By Zach Wojnar