Clas­sic pulp

Daren Bader paints Tarzan.

ImagineFX - - Contents - Daren Bader lives in San Diego, where he works for Rock­star Games. He’s also de­signed cards for Magic: The Gath­er­ing, and pro­vided art for Dun­geons & Drag­ons, Blizzard, Games Work­shop and many more. www.daren­

When I was a child I used to walk in the woods and climb trees bare­foot, pre­tend­ing to be Tarzan. Of course, I would cut my foot on a pinecone, then go home and put some shoes on like any­one else with half a brain. But for as long as I can re­mem­ber I’ve had an affin­ity with na­ture, both real and imag­ined. And I’ve al­ways been drawn to sto­ries such as Tarzan.

Com­bin­ing those in­ter­ests with the im­agery I was see­ing in the early 70s shaped my artis­tic sen­si­bil­i­ties. Those early pulp ad­ven­ture cov­ers and pa­per­back nov­els made huge im­pres­sions on me. From NC Wyeth to Frank Schoonover and Frank Frazetta to Jeff Jones, my artis­tic path was well set.

This piece was a small oil (5x7in) for a So­ci­ety Of Il­lus­tra­tors: Mi­croVi­sions char­ity auc­tion. I was pleased with it, but knew some­day the im­age needed to be ap­proached on a much larger scale.

Typ­i­cally I work in my small stu­dio, where un­der­tak­ing a large paint­ing isn’t easy. But as fate would have it, I was go­ing on a paint­ing re­treat – the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to bring Tarzan up to scale.

We set up in a huge old barn, with what­ever lights were brought or found in the loft and por­ta­ble easels. I only brought a large role of primed can­vas, a few brushes, pain­ter’s tape and a squirt bot­tle to mist the acrylic paints.

The paint­ing would need to be fin­ished in oils, but I wasn’t go­ing to take a 30x40in wet oil paint­ing home on a plane. So I would block in the piece with acrylic and save the fi­nal oils for home.

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