Thursday, 27 June 2013

Artus Reportus Longus Windus - Brian Froud


This is the first report that we were required to do for the Critical Studies section of the course. I've broken it up three sections because the whole thing was far too image heavy.

CAVAET! - I got pulled up on my referencing for this report even after I used the handout sheets AND the APA referencing tool in Word. Make certain of your references before submitting and cite everything! Even if you consider it to be redundant information.

In this report I plan to focus on three different practitioners. They all work in the same genre, fantasy art, but each is very different in their approach to the materials and techniques used.
  • Stan Sakai is the creator and illustrator of the Usagi Yojimbo graphic novels. His work is black and white and well written.
  • Frank Frazetta who was a fantasy artist until his death in 2010. He worked primarily in acrylics but started out illustrating comic books as well.
  • Brian Froud who is a fantasy artist. He worked closely with Jim Henson on The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal movies.
Although not as busy as Frank Frazettas work Brian Froud makes up for it in the sheer amount of detail that he puts into his work. In The Dark Crystal urYod the Numerologist is only seen for a short time and only once in any sort of close up.
Although all of the mystics dress in earth tones, to represent their roles as natural wizards, urYod is the only one with the addition of spirals and whorls in his skin. [1] The scientist, his Skeksie equivilant mirrors this by having numerous wires attached to his head.
What tools were used?
Brian Froud uses a variety of acrylics, coloured pencil, pastels and ink. Anything that will help the image . He likes to stain his pages with tea and each page of his books is highly original. Rather than just using the same page texture each time.
Why was it made?
This image is among his sketches for the characters of The Dark Crystal which he worked closely with Jim Henson. The collection was published in 1982 as The world of the Dark Crystal which expanded the universe beyond the film.
Who is the intended audience for this piece?The audience for this is primary those of us who have grown up with films like The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.
Stan Sakai:
I see Stan Sakai as a very talented artist who has worked hard to retain ownership of his characters. Although Usagi himself has featured on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television show[2] and there was an action figure based on his appearance, which is now considered to be a very rare collector’s item, Stan Sakai retained ownership of his character. Furthermore this issue, The Withered Field, was my first introduction to Usagi Yojimbo and also to the concept that comics were more than musclemen running around in blue and yellow spandex.
Frank Frazetta:
I see Frank Frazetta as one of the masters of fantasy art and even though this image has all the cliche's and impossible situations it still works. Maybe the lesson here is that you can't go over the top in this genre.
Brian Froud:
Jim Henson’s Muppet’s, and Brian Froud's designs have always been a pair of loves in my life. When I was younger I loved the goblins and the puppets for no other reason than they were cool. Now that I am older I can appreciate not only the intricate designs that Brian Froud puts into his work but the sophistication of the puppets that were used, particularly in The Dark Crystal.
My Creative Direction [3]:
Upon looking at these three artists I am not surprised to find that my artistic direction leans in the direction of fantasy art. I appreciate the detail that each of these artists use in all their works because that’s really where these images succeed or fail.Of course I say this in the full knowledge that there is such a thing as Monet and the impressionist movement which is nice and all but in my opinion not as good as my favorites.
  1. According to the companion book of the movie this was because he'd been doing the rituals for so long that had had become part of them.
  2. Both the original and the updated versions of the show.
  3. This was the big question of the report.  It wasn't just to critique 3 different practioners and their work but also to identify our own artistic leanings.
If I'd been writing this report for a definate audience or even as an article on this blog I think that I would have written it better.  As it was I limited myself to answering what questions that I could.
Also the name of the postings "Artus Reportus Longus Windus" was actually my working title while I was working on it but I wasn't supposed to keep it in the header when I actually submitted everything

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