THE ROOTS OF FANTASY GALLERY  

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NIGEL'S GALLERY


THE MAIN POINT OF THIS ROOTS OF FANTASY GALLERY is to show some artists and paintings that are not just personal favourites but have also influenced most of the other fantasy artists I've interviewed and worked with over the years. But to begin with, seeing how it's my website, I'm going to show some of my own pictures. It's also a way of preserving them digitally because as I post them here I'm making high resolution digital copies, most of which can be accessed from this page.

The first three pictures were published as art posters by Big O Posters in the 1970s and were my passports really into the publishing world beyond student magazines. The others immediately below them were mostly intended to follow up as art posters too but the company sadly went out of business. See my INTRO page for more about Big O.

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VARIOUS

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GERONTIUS

THE FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS BELOW were for a little Arthurian fable I wrote about a bumbling farmer called Gerontius who gets caught up in the momentous events of those half-mythical times. Sadly it never found a publisher. As you can see I was as much caught up in patterns at the time as vaguely naturalistic drawing and adding borders gave the chance to do both.

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ROGUE'S REPENTANCE

MANY YEARS AGO I was sitting in London's Victoria Coach Station waiting for my bus home to Birmingham. It was just after Christmas and I was lightly inebriated in preparation for the journey when a light-hearted folk song burst fully-formed into my mind. Luckily I had some paper and wrote it down. A few years later we moved from Birmingham down to Kent and I decided to use it as a hook for doing some drawings of the local countryside. Some of the scenes are purely imaginary but some are straight depictions of places you can see for yourself today. It may seem a lot of work for a frothy and inconsequential ditty, but that was just the excuse really for doing the drawings. If you're really interested you can read the full lyrics HERE.

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JASON'S NIGHT

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RITA DENNIS WAS THE MOTHER OF A VERY GOOD FRIEND and taught in a school for disabled children. Seeing the lack of books that they could easily relate to, she decided to write one herself, basing it on a particular wheelchair-using boy in her care. Sadly she never found a publisher for it. I find it impossible to be objective about either the story or the illustrations but I had a lot of fun doing them.

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SKETCHES & DOODLES

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I'VE BEEN CLEARING OUT CUPBOARDS LATELY, trying to reduce their contents to a manageable pile and throw out the absolute rubbish. Then there are all the odds and ends in sketchbooks which never quite amounted to finished pictures but I've a fondness for them anyway. So for the curious I'm going to pop them on here.

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FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF DOODLING (on the harmonica) click on the chalice left. The great thing about age is getting around to doing things you always wanted to but never had the time for. I bought my first harp aged 10 and several others over the years but only really began to exercise them quite recently.


TILES & PATTERNS

BELOW ARE SOME EXPERIMENTAL TILE DESIGNS. The aim was usually to see how extended a pattern was possible using just a couple of different tiles, but with some I got carried away and used more. If you click on the patterns you'll see the hexagonal cells below the patterns they were used to create.

The problem with actual tiles like this is that it would be much like doing a jigsaw puzzle on your bathroom wall or floor, which is not what most tilers want when trying to get a job done. However, I've found a use for them as backgrounds to web pages, as you may have noticed elsewhere on the site. I've no idea how much people like them, but I had a lot of fun doing it. This is how they were meant to be seen in the first place, as potentially infinite expanses.

People often assume that these are simply Islamic patterns, but although they were certainly one of the main inspirations, I don't believe anyone has used hexagons to build patterns in this way before. They were equally inspired by Celtic abstract patterns but again, the Celts never quite used hexagons like this. Help yourself if you want to use any as backgrounds.

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ASSORTED PATTERNS

BELOW ARE A FEW EXAMPLES of the kind of patterns that inspired my own, beginning with one made from the logo of that 70s icon of style - the Biba store and fashion factory. This is something I really wanted to see at the time - what the logo would look like if tiled indefinitely. Then follow a couple of examples of the Islamic and Celtic art that inspired the tiles above. Being basically rectangular in design makes them a lot easier to tile as backgrounds than the hexagons, though personally I prefer the spin that hexagons give the symmetry.

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