A grand re­design

Shrink wrapped Cel­e­brated fan­tasy artist Charles Vess has con­densed the epic mu­ral from his last ex­hi­bi­tion into printed form

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Dis­cover how Charles Vess took his 150-foot wall mu­ral fea­tur­ing nu­mer­ous char­ac­ters from faerie land, and turned it into a 108-page art book.

Vet­eran fan­tasy artist and il­lus­tra­tor Charles Vess has re­leased an art book with a dif­fer­ence, in­spired by his ex­hi­bi­tion last year at Vir­ginia’s Wil­liam King Mu­seum of Art.

“As part of the ex­hi­bi­tion, I painted a 12x150ft nar­ra­tive mu­ral that ran around the gallery,” Charles says. “I also dis­played se­lec­tions of po­etry along­side each piece. The re­sponse to that com­bi­na­tion of art and text was phe­nom­e­nal, so I de­cided to pur­sue more of the same, only in book form.”

So Charles has re­con­fig­ured the mu­ral to fit the pages of the 108-page book, en­ti­tled Walk­ing Through the Land­scape of Faerie. “This dra­matic trans­for­ma­tion in size ne­ces­si­tated nu­mer­ous aes­thetic changes to the nar­ra­tive," the il­lus­tra­tor says, “but I’m very happy with the re­sult.” The book fea­tures po­etic con­tri­bu­tions from Neil Gaiman, Ur­sula Le Guin, Charles de Lint, Su­san Cooper, Robin Williamson and oth­ers.

Next up for Charles is il­lus­trat­ing all six of Ur­sula Le Guin’s Earth­sea books, col­lected to­gether for the very first time, for re­lease in 2018. “I’m in di­rect con­sul­ta­tion with the au­thor, try­ing to crawl in­side her brain and see that world through her eyes,” he says. “A daunt­ing task to be sure.”

You can or­der Charles’ book, which costs £28, from

The book fea­tures en­coun­ters with blind beg­gars, giants, witches and dragons.

Charles and his orig­i­nal mu­ral: “Now any­one who was un­able to travel to Vir­ginia can ex­pe­ri­ence my story.”

Charles says that pub­lish­ers Faerie Mag­a­zine “has lav­ished a large amount of at­ten­tion” on his book.

The Corn King sac­ri­fices him­self to en­sure a good har­vest in the com­ing year.

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