Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Frazetta Random Brilliance #1

What I would like to do in this series is comment and display some of the great Frazetta sketches.

This sketch from 1975 is entitled "Day of Wrath" and was produced in that very fertile period of 1975 just before the publication of the Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta Volume 1. Ian Ballantine asked Frank to do a few sketches for the artbook series to add some decoration to the text pages. Oddly, this one was never used. I think it was a little too overtly violent for Ian at the time. He chose a more gentle series of nudes for that first volume.

This sketch is, of course, a gem. It could have easily been a lost drawing by Michaelangelo or Goya, except that it's better. The sketch has a powerful visceral presence. The weight, the sheer physicality, of the warrior is visually intimidating. The look of crazed, insidious menace on the face under the mask is clearly felt. The very fine rendering on the body provides a 3-dimensional matrix that adds to the believability of this character emerging from deep in Frazetta's imagination. A better sketch does not exist.