Fantasy Art

May Fantasy Cover: Clyde CaldwellIn addition to the Chinese magazines that print science fiction and fantasy stories, there are quite a few Mainland periodicals devoted to fantasy artwork. These range from translations of popular Japanese animated series — Neon Genesis Evangelion is fairly popular, and the boy detective Conan has just had a simplified character version released — to the lush cover paintings that flow from the brushes of the leading European and American artists.

With many images along the lines of this archive of Boris Vallejo's art at the Chinese Underground SF fansite, the art brings to mind the old science fiction saying: "The golden age of SF is 14."

One of the leading graphic magazines is Fantasy: Illustrated Fantasy & Sci-Fi For Fans (originally named SF Fan, pictured above), which sells over 30,000 copies of each issue, according to Tianjin SF writer Zheng Jun.

Since 2003 each issue has come in two parts, a main section devoted primarily to European and American artwork, and a supplement that contains a short story, several non-fiction articles, comics, and tips for artists.

Stories from most other SF magazines are quickly scanned in and posted on various fan message boards, but perhaps because of the graphics-heavy content, Fantasy magazine releases the major artwork from the issues themselves online in jpg and pdf formats, after two months.

The main secton of the May issue features art by Clyde Caldwell, who writes, "Greetings to all of the fantasy art fans in China. Thanks for the opportunity to share some of my paintings with you. I hope you enjoy them." In an accompanying interview, the magazine asks, "Many artists are now inviting Chinese models to sit for their paintings; what is your view on this?" Caldwell answers, "If it is possible, I'd be happy to work with a Chinese model. I once worked with a Chinese model, but that was many years ago, and it was just to finish up a painting."

Elsewhere in the issue is an 8-page spread on The Punisher, and a translation from Illustration magazine of an article on Haddon H. Sundblom, painter of the Quaker Oats man, Coca-Cola, and Santa — perhaps not what immediately comes to mind when one thinks of fantasy art.

Huang Jiawei ComicThe May supplement features paintings by Beijing artist Chen Jiansong, who signs his work "CHAIN & JANE." The style is different from Clyde Caldwell's, but the primary subject is still nubile young women in revealing outfits, although Chen's work (as shown in the magazine, at least) shows a bit more variety. There's also a neat step-by-step Photoshop tutorial for aspiring graphic artists, and an example of Chinese comic-book animation in a mysterious strip by Huang Jiawei (image at left).

This review was written by zhjw. Click on images for links to Fantasy magazine.

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