When I was maybe ten years old I a won a copy of Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy game-book The Island of the Lizard King, which has quite recently been re-released as a smartphone app by Tin Man Games. I don’t recall if I ever finished the book back then, but the detailed monochrome line drawings had a huge influence over my drawing style – and of course, preferred subject matter. Although they suffered from poor quality printing on worse quality paper, I remember thinking that the best illustrations were impossibly great works of art, which I couldn’t even aspire to replicating.
It’s no surprise that one of the background characters in my illustrations for Majeena, by Michael P. Adams (available for Kindle) last year took some inspiration from Russ Nicholson’s Rhino-Man, mixed with some of John Howe’s Rhinoceros Armour. More on that below the cut.
Nicholson’s rhino-man illustrates an encounter in Steve Jackson’s The Citadel of Chaos. From the title, to the eclectic and anarchic list of creatures, to Russ Nicholson’s perfect illustrations, the whole book is gloriously evocative of the fantasy genre in the 1980s. Even 25 years later the book seems to be filled with original, imaginative and quintessentially chaotic characters, and very few stale tropes. So I’ve decided to embark on a side quest: to paint one miniature for each of the creatures encountered in the citadel.