A Choice: Cartoony Versus Realism

One of the things that I’ve most enjoyed about adapting the Oscar Wilde fairy tales is the chance it gives me to play with a drawing style that hovers between a ‘realistic’ approach to drawing and one that draws on a more ‘cartoony’ style such as that which is employed in animated films.

The heroes (sometimes tragically so) of The Young King, The Nightingale and the Rose, and The Happy Prince are all based on real if somewhat idealized people. A more realistic approach seemed best suited to the nature of their roles.

The heroes of The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend, and The Birthday of the Infanta relied more on a stylized cartoony or animated feel.

The stories themselves may have been ultimately tragic but their heroes were not idealized beings and so needn’t be welded to the ‘real’. These are the ones most fun to draw and are worked out entirely in my sketchbooks sometimes filling many pages before any drawing is committed to the actual page.

The Happy Prince seemed best suited to an idealized romantic depiction but only because he was a statue. All the rest of his world, the villagers in particular, worked better as broad caricatures. I like that visual tension between those two types playing together on the same page.

Casting is Everything

Sometimes a story has to wait for full production because something about it is not yet quite right.

I think the reason it took me eight years between script/layouts on The Happy Prince and full production of the finished drawings was that I wasn’t really happy with the model I originally chose for the prince.

Or perhaps I should say, the statue of the dead prince.

If ever there was an easy modeling job it was this, to stand in one position while I did all the work, running around underneath and overhead taking dozens of reference photos. My model was perfectly acceptable. He’d been my title character in the 50th issue of Vertigo’s Lucifer and my Turridu in my opera adaptation of Cavalleria Rusticana.

Looking back I realized my costuming was all wrong and something in me just wouldn’t let me proceed.

So I procrastinated.

Years passed and in the meantime the nephew of one of my long time models (Mowgli, Robin 3000) grew up and one day I looked at him and realized that at the age of 17 he was perfect for the part.



This time I got my costuming right and with no road blocks in my head drew the 30 pages in about 45 consecutive days.

There’s Never Enough Time

Exclusive First Look from OSCAR WILDE'S FAIRY TALES V. 5; THE HAPPY PRINCE By P. Craig Russell

Funny how one project can spin off into another entirely unrelated project.

I’ll be attending MoCCA Festival 2012 on April 28th and 29th as a guest of honor. It came about after our publisher, Terry Nantier asked if I would attend to help promote the fifth volume of our Oscar Wilde Fairy Tale series.

When I agreed he then suggested me to the organizers of the convention as the artist to do their promotional poster. They in turn asked me if I would like do it. I agreed.

I had to set aside a project I was nearing completion on, a 174 page script and layout adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, to attend to the poster. I thought it would take about three days but worked on it for seven instead.

Ironically my third day into it I had to set the poster aside for a day in order to produce the endpapers and back cover for the Oscar Wilde book.

Endpaper designs for THE FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE V.5: THE HAPPY PRINCE

Russell’s new Oscar Wilde volume for April!

Here’s what we’ve got being solicited this month in comics bookstores to come in April. The main news is the much awaited 5th volume in P. Craig Russell’s adaptations of The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. Started in the early nineties, this was a pioneer in kids’ comics! And this story is VERY timely in this election year, relating to the 1% vs. 99% issue…

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde Vol.5: The Happy Prince

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
Vol.5: The Happy Prince
P. Craig Russell
The Happy Prince is arguably the most famous and well loved of Oscar Wilde’s nine fairy tales, rivaled only by The Selfish Giant. It is also a very timely tale at a time of controversy over the increasing chasm between rich and poor…The Happy Prince has lived a life of opulence but has died young and his soul inhabits a beautiful ruby encrusted statue covered all over in gold leaf. From his perch high above the city he is witness to all the poverty, misery, and hopelessness in which his people have been living. When a small barn swallow in flight to the warm south ahead of the approaching winter stops to rest upon the statue the Happy Prince prevails upon him to delay his travels in order to remove his gold leaf a piece at a time and shower it upon the poor citizens. Out of love for the Happy Prince the swallow does his bidding. As the days pass the Prince’s beauty is stripped away and as winter sets in the bird’s fate is sealed. In the spring the townspeople finding only a dull statue with a broken lead heart and a dead bird consign the worthless objects to the ash heap. Only an emissary of God recognizes them as the most valuable treasures of the city and brings them to the gardens of heaven.
8 ½ x 11, 32pp., full color jacket hc: $16.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-626-6

See the preview pages

And see the previous volumes, some of which are going back to press on the occasion of this release!

And right here on this blog, Craig has been posting videos of his makling this book as well as posts showing more.

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NEW from EUROTICA:

sizzle 52

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diary of Molly Fredrickson: Peanut Butter, vol.6
Cornnell Clarke

Molly may actually be falling for a handsome -and thickly endowed- young man who saves her from a scary situation with two guys getting dangerously close to rape. The reward for him is letting him take her ass… the largest she’s ever experienced there, a mind blowing experience that can’t be rushed…
8 ½ x 11, 48pp., full color trade pb.: $11.99 ISBN 978-156163-6853

 To see more, click the button on the Eurotica home page

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NEW FROM PAPERCUTZ

 Sybil cover

SYBIL THE BACKPACK FAIRY  #2 “Amanite”
Michel Rodrigue, writer
Manuela Razzi and Antonello Dalena, artists
Nina loves having her fairy friend Sybil around – she’s the only person who can see or hear Sybil and the two have formed a special bond. When Sybil unexpectedly disappears, a new fairy named Amanite mysteriously appears to take her place. Amanite tricks Nina into following her to a magical underwater world, where Nina is transformed into a tiny mermaid at the mercy of hungry sea monsters. How will Nina survive without her friend Sybil?
8  x 10, 48pp., full-color hardcover: $11.99
ISBN 978-1-59707-305-9

See previews.
Call of the Wild

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED DELUXE #8 “Oliver Twist”
By Charles Dickens
Olivier Deloye, artist
Adapted by Loïc Dauvillier
Charles Dickens social novel comes to Classics Illustrated Deluxe in an extra-sized volume that features more comics pages than previous volumes. Dickens surrounds the serious themes of his novel with sarcasm and dark humor, making the quirky yet powerful art of Olivier Deloye a great fit for this adaptation of one of the greatest literary works of the past 200 years.
6 ½ x 9, 240pp., full-color paperback: $19.99
ISBN 978-1-59707-307-3
6 ½  x 9, 240pp., full-color hardcover: $24.99
ISBN 978-1-59707-308-0

See previews.

Sweet Anticipation

This is like waiting for Christmas to come.

That period leading up to the publication of the piece one spent so much time and labor on feels like unwrapping a brightly colored package on Christmas morning. I’ve already experienced it 31 times over as I opened the emailed j-pegs from colorist Lovern Kindzierski of the 30 individual pages plus the cover.

The VERY FIRST look at a completed sequence from THE HAPPY PRINCE

Then there’s the last minute shopping: prepping the artwork to provide the endpaper image and producing the montage image for the back cover.

Last minute details.

Sneak Peak of the Back Cover For THE FAIRY TALES OF OSCAR WILDE V. 5: THE HAPPY PRINCE

Welcome to Craig Russell!

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde Vol.5: The Happy Prince

A belated welcome to Craig Russell to our blog! We’ve got a series of fascinating videos/interviews of him working specifically on his next Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, the 5th volume with the Happy Prince, coming out in April and to be premiered at MoCCA in NY end of April. We’ll post one a week of those and also have him comment in regular blog entries on his work.

The book is being solicited for now at comics stores.

We’re also busy at the office working on putting together the book to go out to the printer tomorrow. The artwork is stunning and Lovern Kindzierski’s colors just beautiful! Lovin’ every minute.