This week, we talk to the incomparable artist Russ Nicholson. Russ has created countless iconic illustrations for tabletop RPGs – you probably best know his work from the original Dungeons & Dragons Fiend Folio or from countless fantasy gamebooks, like the Fighting Fantasy series. We chat about his work, his career, Ouija boards, Scottish accents and more in what, as far as Russ can recall, is his first podcast interview ever!
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A few notes directly from Russ after the fact:
“Sorry about my memory and going off at side tangents so often but I enjoyed that…funny I have never talked in regards to the source of my artwork about the ‘happenings’ at our old house when I was growing up before. At least as I age, these awarenesses are rare and our present bungalow is so new there is nothing directly ‘there.’
Now artists – there are a few I especially rate (although I made a point of never copying) – Albrecht Durer, the Brueghals, Rembrandt, El Greco, Hals, Velazquez, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Mucha, Klimt, Toulouse Lautrec, Doré, Beardsley and Rackham, to name a few. Also pulps – Sax Rohmer, Howard, The Shadow, Weird Tales, Black Mask stories, Poe, Edgar Wallace, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Merrit, Hamilton, Jules Verne, Rider Haggard and the old pulp serials I saw at Saturday morning children’s cinema – loved it all. From age ten on, when I left the countryside life for life in the city, I read a lot (up until then my mother thought I didn’t read anything except comics).
And that silent film I was trying to talk about – it had something similar, where a man is sitting by a rock pool (?) and these squidgy tentacled things (similar to the Grell toy Stu sent me) come out of the water and drag him to his doom. Scared me as a lad but I was in my teens so no screaming attacks (laf) and am still not fond.”
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You can see scads of Russ’ art on his blog, The Gallery.
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Intro music by George Collazo.
Tune in next week for the next episode. Until then, may the dice always roll in your favor!