Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Where's Waldo the Barbarian?



Another example of not leaving well enough alone. This painting haunted me from the day I first saw it on a Conan paperback cover. It has a Da Vinci or Rembrandt look, mostly in the foreground figures. It is almost biblical, like the paintings in the old Testament bibles we had in Sunday school. In the book "Testament, the Life and Art of Frank Frazetta" he says the painting was completely redone. I always thought it was just the Conan part that was changed but closer examination makes it clear.
Another reason to sell your artwork gives you less temptation to go back and fix it. I would rather see the original vision even if not perfect. You can always make the next one better. I learned this the hard way on some of the cartoons we did back in the day. Still it is the artist's choice, so what do I know?
And yet a third version I never noticed before from the Testament book. The difference seems to be mainly in Conan's head and helmet. Am I going senile?

12 comments:

chrisallison said...

I agree with both of these. Seems like both times, he tried to water them down and tighten them up. I wonder what lead him to do that? Know any history that might point to why he's consciously do that?

I've been struggling with resisting to go back and fix stuff lately. Animation takes so long, that by the time I finish animating a film, usually I'm better at the end than I was at the start. So I'd like to go back and fix things. If I keep doing that tho, I'll never finish anything, and I'll be stuck working on the same project for years. Sometimes you gotta walk away from a project and just try to carry over the knowledge you've gained to the next project. Artists' high standards for our own work and constantly evolving talent is a huge conflict.

Luke said...

I agree, Jim. Frazetta's reworks are always not as dynamic as his originals (with maybe a few exceptions).

It doesn't really bother me much, though. As long as there's high resolution photos of his old versions, Frank can do what he wants, I guess.

Hey, did you know there's a new Frazetta book with all his roughs? It's called "Rough Work". Definitely worth picking up!

Here's the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Presents-Frank-Frazetta-Rough/dp/1599290138

Shaun said...

Is the one on the left the original? Cause that one looks heaps better!

Jim Smith said...

The one on the right is the original, which I like better, if only for sentimental or just mental reasons. The redo does have a better action pose for Conan so I can see why it might look better. I am partial to the old one because it was the image I saw first and it really lit a fire under me. Frazetta said to the writer about the original - "it's crap!" Also at the time the paperback came out in the early 70's Arnold was in his prime and my friends and I wondered if he would make a good Conan. I still think they should have cast someone like a pro wrestler/ muscleman, but Arnold wasn't half bad.

Shaun said...

Fair enough. The original just seems to be a very strange pose and a disproportionate body. Reminds me of Richard Corben's style, which I like anyway. But I still think the reworking is better, especially the color, although I guess the older one might look different from age.
Yeah Arnold was alright, but I agree about the pro wrestler. Someone more theatrical who knows how to fight.

PARKER.- said...

I wish I could be a barbarian like Conan, but I only can draw him!

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Yeah. They're both good, but the first one it better for sure. The barbarian looks alot cooler, while the second one looks somewhat goonish and a bit orgasmic. The original is meatier too, with better colors. Not to put down the other of course.

And I'm looking forward to these comic books you hinted at! Are you doing all the art for the Ripping Friends one? I picked up a copy of the Chestaclese sketchbook (signed!) at the archives and it's awesome, but not enough! You're a bloody genius!

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Oh wait! The one on the right is the original? I'm afraid I have to disagree then Mr Smith...I like the left one best...Call me crazy.

Tom said...

I didn't know the one on the left was not the original, I have this image framed in my home! I actually like it better than the one on the right but the one on the right is strong in it's own way too.

Jim Smith said...

Josh: So be it. I guess it's like trying to explain the Beatles to someone raised on Nirvana, though I like them both. It's only because the first one had the most impact. This is the most subjective thing there is except maybe the difference between imported beer. And on that subject...

Jim Smith said...

Tom: Look at it this way: People who like the redo agree with Frank himself. Thank the lord that he did them for us to ponder over.

Jack Snider said...

I think he mentions re-painting it twice on the "Painting With Fire" DVD. In this case I also like the final version but there are others that I wish he'd left alone. If only he'd done a new version on a different canvas.