Like London buses, after a six month hiatus I’m posting my second blog entry of this weekend. Today it’s three monsters from Greek mythology – a harpy, Medusa, and the Lernaean Hydra. All of them Citadel Miniatures in the original lead, so I’m not sure whether the myths or the minis are more ancient.
In India there is a beast called the manticore. It has a triple row of teeth, the face of a man, and grey eyes; it is blood-red in colour and has a lion’s body, a pointed tail with a sting like a scorpion, and a hissing voice. It delights in eating human flesh.
The Folio Society’s English version of the Bodleian Bestiary, p.63
After a week away for work, I came back just in time for the long Easter weekend and had quite a lot of time for painting. I spent most of that time finishing off my Reaper Bones frogmen and working on Mudcroak the squog shaman, so I hope I’ll be able to post a photo of them all together next week. I also did some quite quick paint jobs on three old Citadel Miniatures – one for Shin High Terror, one for my Sidequest of Chaos, and one just for fun.
It’s the end of the month of Marsh, the season of mists, when the Oldhammer forum turn their collective attention to the Fimir and other bog-dwelling fiends. I painted my only Fimir back in 2016, and I spent most of the last month working, studying, and finishing painting the Fellowship of the Ring. But I did make a little progress on some of my most swampy minis: a troll, some fantasy frog-men, and a few undead.
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.