Sunday, July 15, 2007

Spotlight on joncarling

I have written before about my life long love affair with vivid, rich colors. Which might lead you to believe that black and white images would leave me cold--and many of them do. I look at them and think "That's a great sketch. When will it be finished?". However, there are artists who posses the magical ability to draw with such skill and breathe such life into pieces that not only does the lack of color not bother me but I don't even notice it's absence.

Jon Carling is one such artist. His works are full of lavish line work and textures that you can feel just by looking at the image. However, Jon's work is not show-offish, adding lines or texture simply to have them there as a display of his outstanding technical skill. Instead, each line is a measured and integral part of the work.

His subject matter is whimsical without being cutesy, evocative without being depressing, and thoughtful without being unbearably weighty.

The image below showcases Jon's talent for textures. The grass is lush and soft, the tree's bark is rough. Many artists creating similar works would get sucked into their own textures and leave the piece at that. However, Jon's addition of the sharply detailed flowers in the foreground snaps the image from "pleasant" to "personal". Without the flowers, the small witch, the subject of the piece, would be lost in the background. It's the seemingly innocuous details like that which reveal Jon's careful attention to a beautiful composition--something far too many artists overlook in favor of the more technical aspects of line work.

The second image is one of Jon's simpler works. On an unadorned background, his characters (often chimera of the mer variety) appear ready to leap off the page. You get the distinct impression that if you were to turn your head and look back they would have moved. These are the types of creatures that come alive at night, running free from their frames and inhabiting your house. Here again, you can see the gorgeous textures Jon creates-- look at the realism of the wing for example. Yet the textures do not take over-- instead they freely combine with areas of mostly linework. Further proof that the artist is carefully crafting pieces, unfettered by the limits of the techniques he employees.

From the most simple to most complex, every piece in Jon's shop is an optical delight. He creates a world that resonates with our own. One where fantastical creatures are the norm, allowing us to bring a bit of magic into our own lives in a way that feels, not overdone, but just right. Like finding an old friend after many years.


  1. While I agree I'm not a big fan of black and white drawings, Jon's are exceptional! Love the touch of fantasy without being overdone

  2. what a wanderful site, I especially liked the "witch idea", I didn't notice she was a witch at first because I focused on the


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