The Art of Stephen Hick­man: Empyrean

Heav­enly real­ism From Tolkien to Thomas the Rhymer, Stephen’s paint­ing in­sights and tech­niques will have you reach­ing for your brushes…

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

There’s al­ways been a strong bias to­wards imag­i­na­tive real­ism from pub­lish­ers of fan­tasy fic­tion. Read­ers re­spond well to cover art that skil­fully de­picts ex­otic worlds and char­ac­ters.

If you’re an artist pro­fi­cient at paint­ing or­nate fil­i­gree on glow­ing gold ar­mour you might just get no­ticed. But if you’re an artist whose work can elicit a deep, emo­tional re­sponse then you’re go­ing to end up on the short list. Look for Stephen’s name on that list – it’s the one that’s un­der­lined. Sev­eral times.

Stephen’s self-au­thored book is packed full of per­sonal insight. We learn that his mas­tery stems from his own fas­ci­na­tion with her­itage, which goes be­yond his ad­mi­ra­tion for past art mas­ters all the way back to iden­ti­fy­ing archetypes within mythol­ogy. He re­veals this through can­did ex­tended cap­tions for each paint­ing, all ap­pended with tech­ni­cal notes for those of us hun­gry to learn the in­gre­di­ents re­quired to cre­ate such ful­fill­ing paint­ings. Paint­ings like Thomas The Rhymer and The Harp of Gal­adriel (shown above) are alive with sub­jects and de­tails ren­dered with real vi­tal­ity. There’s an ebb and flow that goes be­yond the me­chan­ics of paint­ing to el­e­vate each scene: the book is pure fan­tasy art in­spi­ra­tion.

Gaffer Gangee and the Black Rider was an oil paint­ing that Stephen re­vis­ited in Pho­to­shop.

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