I know this blog is usually dedicated to great sculptures and paint jobs and so on. But these 3D works are more often than not inspired by 2D work - be it inspiration from a movie, a book, comic book, concept art and so on. So I am going to show a little love to the 2D guys as well from time to time on this blog and I am kicking off with the magnificent Russ Nicholson. Russ is renowned for his black and white pen and ink illustrations, which is one of the main reasons I love his work as this is my own preferred medium. Russ does colour illustrations to, but is particularly known for his black and white Fighting Fantasy gamebook illustrations for Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson as well as working for the likes of TSR and Games Workshop amongst others. Many of you will remember The Warlock of Firetop Mountain - the very first Fighting Fantasy book, and one that was illustrated by Russ and I am going to kickstart the pictures with an awesome picture of an alternative entrance to Firetop Mountain that was not actually used for the book ( I think it is better than the one they did use).
So, plenty of great illustrations for you there. I have a few more up my sleeve, but the best thing you could do would be pick up some of these old gamebooks from somewhere and admire them in person. My own collection was partially thrown away as a lad, but I repicked up most of them from ebay. And Play.com recently had signed copies of an anniversary edition of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain which I bought as well.
The work of Russ Nicholson has definitely been a big inspiration for me on a personal level, these gamebooks served as my introduction to the whole genre of fatasy gaming and it was Russ' illustrations and the basic D&D cover artwork that got me into loving fantasy art. I got the opportunity to send a personal thanks to Larry Elmore on Facebook a while back, so this is a little tribute to Russ for the enjoyment given to me as a kid when I played the books, and now when I look at the art and appreciate the skill.
EDIT: I'd just like to make a small ammendment to this blog post rather than make a new one and cause "clutter" so to speak. Following on from the Russ Nicholson illustrations from the Fighting Fantasy Books I have managed to locate a few interviews with him from other sites so here are a few links if your interested to read a little more about him.
Fighting Fantasy Interview