Friday, 20 April 2012

R is for Ralph Horsley

I first became aware of Ralph Horsley's work when Black Library asked me to make up some words to go with his illustration of The Siege of Gisoreux. After that, we collaborated again (and properly this time) on The Doom of Kazad Grund. (Think Where's Wally given a Warhammer twist.)

And I'm pleased to say that he's agreed to be interviewed for my blog today...

1. How did you start out as a professional artist?

I had always been an enthusiastic amateur, contributing to a large number of games and comics fanzine/small press publications, but having left college with an English Lit degree I decided to pursue illustration more seriously. I looked for work wherever I could get it, and kept submitting to publishers – usual story I suppose.

2. What was it that gave you your big break and led to what you are doing now?

I am always loathe to attribute a career to a single 'big break', it is usually a sequence of steps, and creating as many opportunities as possible. That said when James Wallis hired me to work for Hogshead Publishing that opened a doorway into Games Workshop, through Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which fortuitously coincided with the launch of the Black Library and Inferno! magazine. I was commissioned to work on the first issue, and that was a 'big break'.

3. What is your preferred method of working? Which medium suits your style best?

I like working in acrylics onto illustration board. I sketch directly onto the board, then paint over my pencil work. I tend to build up layers in wash, culminating in more opaque layers for the final rendering.

4. Which setting do you prefer – Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000?

Warhammer – I have always been drawn more to swords than guns.

5. What is the appeal of working creatively within these settings?

A rich and diverse background, chock full of flavour, but at the same time there is the flexibility to be creative within those settings.

6. How did you enjoy collaborating on The Siege of Giseroux and The Doom of Kazad Grund?

It was great fun. I work better when spurred with an initial idea, and the collaboration really gave me something to spin off from. Plus I loved doing those mad complex scenes.

7. How long does it take you to produce a fully painted piece of art for Wizards of the Coast?

It depends – size and complexity are always a factor. A single figure might be 1.5/2 days, a cover or double-page spread could be 10-14 days.

8. Of which piece of work are you most proud?

I tend to fall out of love with a piece shortly after having completed it. It can take a bit of distance for me to like it again, and for it to slot into the body of work. There are lots of pieces which are important to me because of their part in the narrative of my career, and I guess they tend to be the larger, complex pieces which required a lot of problem solving, and investment of emotion and time. The cover to ‘Tome of Salvation’ (GW) slots in there, whilst more recently I'd put the ‘Gates of Neverdeath’ (WotC).

Tome of Salvation

Gates of Neverdeath


9. Is there anything you haven’t illustrated yet that you would like to?

I have ideas buzzing around, but no single IP or character, more the desire to create more epic paintings.

10. What are you working on at the moment?

D&D illustrations, WoW trading cards, an app game, some concepting, and a few other projects are in the pipeline.

11. What advice would you give to any aspiring artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

It's hard work, you've got to want it, and it's all about the quality.

Thanks again to Ralph for taking the time to answer my questions. You can enjoy many fine examples of this work here.

1 comment:

Fiona Faith Maddock said...

Wonderful blog. I'm glad I looked in.