Well-Done Fantasy Art

I didn't know this, but apparently the Hugo awards has an art category (see http://www.nippon2007.us/hugo_winners.php) This year's winner is Donato Giancola. I went looking for his images with Google Image Search and found some beautiful stuff. Two of these pictures are shown here.

I think the one with the dragon is superb. It's unusual in a few ways. First, it depicts a winter scene. For some reason outdoor fantasy paintings take place in sunny summers. There are some exceptions, and I tend to really like them. You can see some of my favorites at:
Also, the dragon's wings are colored in an interesting pattern, like many contemporary artists depict dinosaurs. The wings are back lit, which makes for a very beautiful image. The dragon has just snatched a horse from a snowy hill. The horse looks awkward and completely at the dragon's mercy. This is a good choice, as it emphasizes the dragon's size and power. I've always been fascinated with big animals. When I was in high school I would decorate my walls with images I liked. It was only after a wall was full that I noticed a pattern: humans in the same image with bigger things, usually animals, like whale sharks.
Also note that the dragon isn't even looking at the humans in the picture. It's just looking ahead. It's as though it's picking up the horse as we might pick up gym bag on our way out the door.
It's probably a book cover illustration, but still-- I like that the humans depicted have a guard/prisoner relationship. It's intriguing, makes you wonder what the story is behind this. What will the guard do now without the horse? Will the dragon be back?
I think this is the best kind of fantasy art: it brings about a sense of awe and beauty by showing us what the world could be like.


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