Monday, September 14, 2009

Tales of the Dragon Master


Magnet # 36:  Larry Elmore's The Last Dragon Mage

Material:  Vinyl

Purchased By:  N/A - given to me, free

There are few individuals with a better reputation in the fantasy art industry than Larry Elmore.  He's a fixture at conventions like Comic Con, Mega Con,  Dragon*Con, and Gen Con, and he's often named a Guest of Honor at these events.  Larry began working on Dungeons and Dragons at TSR in the eighties.  It was there where he made a name for himself, providing oil paintings for the gaming books and eventually covers for the best-selling Dragonlance series.  He left there in 1987, and has spent the time since producing more incredible artwork and solidifying his reputation.

Awhile back, Larry decided to start teaching weeklong art classes a few times a year.  He offers painting and penciling classes and also leads groups on overseas trips that are focused on art.  Last year, I attended one and had my first experience with oil paints.  This year, I attended his penciling class in July.  

When I called the studio to make travel arrangements, Larry answered and we started chatting.  At one point, I causally inquired (yeah, right) as to whether Larry had any magnets with his work on them.  He was intrigued.  Not only did I convince him he needed to offer magnets with his work on them, he was also thinking about amassing his own collection of travel magnets - and wondering what happened to his old travel magnets.  So when I headed up for the class, I brought along some magnet sheets to try out on his top of the line printer.  Only problem was, the place to load paper was metal.  They were a disaster!  But Larry promised me he would talk to a contact of his about having his own magnets made up before Dragon*Con.  Knowing Larry, I hoped for the best.  He still has my oil painting from that first class, so I didn't want to get my heart set on those magnets.

So when I found Larry's booth at the Con, it turned out he had stickers, not magnets, waiting for me.  Considering he spent nine days in the hospital between the class and the Con, I was just happy he was able to make it at all.  So I got several stickers and cut magnets on the back.  And Larry has assured me those magnets are still coming.  I believe him - he seems pretty determined.  Plus, he said these were selling fairly well.

Pretty much everything Larry is best known for is on this magnet.  In the foreground, there's a beautiful woman, a fearsome dragon, and all sorts of detail and texture.  Further back is a forest, an impressive castle, fields, and mountains.  Larry's painting backgrounds rarely consist of just one element.  This image was featured on the final cover for the last edition of Dragon Magazine.  Larry bought by the original for us to have a look at during the painting class.  It's huge - probably around 24x36 inches.  There's so much detail it's incredible - one guy pointed out there are beakless chickens in the castle yard.  Larry must have put them on there with a toothpick.  To be better appreciated, I recommend viewing it on his site - http://www.larryelmore.com/.  But be warned - in visiting, you risk being smitten with Larry's incredible works and developing an insatiable craving for his art, as many have before.

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