Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fire and Ice

-By Justin Sweet

Here's a piece that I did for Robert Rodriguez's live action adaptation of FIRE AND ICE done by Ralph Bakshi back in the 80's.

I've been a fan of Frazetta  since 2nd grade when the Stop and Go liquor store down the street from my house got a poster rack with one of the images being Frazetta's "Beserker" painting. There was definately mixed feelings going into this one.  Frazetta is the most copied fantasy artist in the world, and my job on this film was to copy him.  My job was to do things that he might have done if he had been the concept artist for the film.  Strange to try and eliminate ME from the picture.  I might have barely passed and am glad in hind sight that I didn't get the A.  Happy to see a little bit of me in there. It's difficult to try and scratch yourself out of a picture.  I felt a little guilty even trying. It was interesting to come into conflict with my normal tendancies as an artist, lots of thoughts of "he wouldn't do it this way".  Humbling too, in closely looking at Frazetta's work and seeing what a master draughtsman he was.  There was only one Frazetta.  All this being said the project was alot of fun, and Rodriguez was great to work for.

Here’s one of the shots I did for the film that Robert showed at Comic Con. He actually showed this piece in a print out to Sylvester Stallone! I can’t believe that Rocky/Rambo saw some of my art.

Here's how this one started. Doodle done in whatever sketchpad or paper was available. Scanned in to photoshop and taken into Painter.

Using digital watercolor I blocked my basic composition.
Next I laid in some basic color and sent it over to Robert to see if he wanted this one developed. He said yes..

Here's the finish. This was actually meant to be about 80% but after I turned it in I went on to other stuff. Still may go back one of these days and finish it up. Most of this was painted in Corel Painter using the oil pastel.
Here's a detail.
That's all folks! Sorry for not responding to the posts last week. Thanks for the reception and I promise to be a better respondent!


  1. Great work! I can't wait to see the movie.

  2. Nice post! love the progress of the work.

  3. i agree with the other commenters - great job. a lot of frazetta vibes in there, but also a good bit of your own look.

    my guess is that you were a very fitting choice for that job, not only because you are versed in the subject of fantasy, but didnt i read somewhere that you did some very physical sport for quite some time as well?
    there are tons of anecdotes of frazetta being a very physical & active person, and im pretty sure that influenced his drawing in a few ways - theres a difference between just knowing the bones and muscles and knowing what certain actions and exertions feel like, or what its unique dynamic is.

    many thanks for the nice high res shots. :)

  4. thanks for posting! here's more!:

  5. I really love your art, it has this very bold, semi-abstract shapes and vibrant yet subtle colour.
    Is there any chance you're going to update your website with some newer works? I know I'm not the only one who would appreciate that.
    I also have a question about your technique in digital painting. In the stage when basic colour is laid, on the figures surrounding the hero, especially the the figurte furthest to the left; there is this really sharp edge and something like a brighter outline. How did you do that? Replace colour leaves artifacts like that in Photoshop, but I know you work in Painter. So how is it done?
    In fact, I would really love to see a post where you talked about your digital technique on a finer level, then a process. Something like tips and tricks, ways to make digital tools do what you want them to do. Of course if you don't mind sharing your secrets :)

  6. Really captured the use of negative space, composition, flow and roughness of stroke that made Frazetta so great! Glad u got to work on this project. Hope to see the movie soon!!

  7. It's absolutely great to finally get to see a bit of your process and hear you talk about it. Thanks for sharing MR. Sweet:)

  8. Excellent! Lots of energy in your strokes.

  9. Your art is the most exciting I've seen in many years and holds hope for the future. You capture the mood, the emotions in your colors and in my most humble opinion represents the greatest living fantasy artist alive. Sincerely hope to see more and offered in published collections to purchase. Thank You.


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