Sure. It's not much. If that was a convention sketch you'd be well 'Shit, I could have queued up for Tony Daniel instead of this.' But I'm pleased with myself that I could crank that out without photo references and without any tools past a photoshop brush at 48 pixels.
What's informing my imagination right now?
Michael Moorcock. He's long been an influence of mine. I'm currently reading Corum, which is another Eternal Champion story, joining the likes of Elric, Erekose and the awesome Hawkmoon on my bookshelves. Moorcock is one of those authors with a fantastic output; something like 200 books to his name. It's all the more interesting for me now while I write to formula every day, whether I agree with an idea or not, on Hollyoaks. But in addition to that facet, I enjoy the stories he tells, which by way of a simple (and I mean that in the way some of the best ideas are graceful by the ease with which you can explain them) device are all connected. The Eternal Champion stories overlap in such a way that they can be sequels, prequels and even re-makes of each other, the premise being that one hero is repeated over a myriad of lifetimes and planes, doomed to serve a purpose in the battle between law and chaos. The Eternal Champion will encounter villains and companions that are present in other books and sometimes even call upon the other incarnations of himself for help.
In some ways it reminds me of the Mad Max trilogy. In the sense that they are not strict sequels to one another. They have the same character at the heart, who is tested by similar situations, and is even given a companion of sorts (or at least a figure of dubious allegience who presents Max with opportunities to prove his morality) in the Gyrocaptain/Jedediah the Pilot. But Max the man/name is the only constant across three films. (The other similarity is to the Dollars trilogy, where the Man with No Name (or is it? Because I'm sure he's Joe in one and Blondie in another...) is the fixed point, but doesn't carry anything from one story to the next beyond his ruthless function. (El Mariachi does this a bit more deliberately, I think. A purposeful homage to Leone's loose trilogy.)) If Fury Road was indeed to be set some 4,000 years from now, you could still have Max in it, because he is a mythic, eternal champion. (Although I think the journey is complete. He loses and then regains his humanity in three films. There's nothing we need past that silhouette at the end of Thunderdome.)
The Secret Tower of the North owes something to Moebius/Jean Giraud. The crystal architecture. I used to have a portfolio of his, that I think is lost to time and loft of home. I've not seen it that last few times I've visited mum and dad, it may well have gone with some old magazines to be pulped. All the more tragic because I'll never know. His comics are ridiculously overpriced on Amazon. Of note - Michael Moorcock created a character called Jerry Cornelius that was supposed to be a kind of open source creation - a creator was free to write him and do what they want. M. John Harrison (who wrote Viriconium and other notable sci fi.) wrote a Jerry Cornelius book and Moebius wrote and drew Airtight Garage which feature Jerry Cornelius too. Moorcock later revoked the scheme and later prints of Airtight Garage call him by another name (Jerry Cornelius, and similar aliases turns up in one guise or another in the Eternal Champions saga). Moebius is easily within my top five comic book artists of all time. And he is a concept designer, which is something I always go giddy for.
The effortless way he draws without having to do endless bubbles for proportions etc...I'm moved by it. I suppose in the same way an amateur athlete can watch sport with a respect that goes beyond aspiration. It might be like that. There's a definite emotion that comes with watching a master at work, when it is something you consider to be your shared field.
Not quite sure what this is, but it frightens me. In a good way.
What I admire right now in artists is the shorthand for visual information. Two others on my top five - Mike Mignola and Bryan Lee O'Malley - can do this thing that I can't. Confidently draw in less detail, and still translate all they need to. Be it something in the distant, or moving fast, or just for dramatic effect. As simple as my art looks, I can't really simplify it further and get across what I want to. My faces can't get any less sophisticated (for want of a better word. Can't get any less basic...) and even then, the proportions seem to get fucked up from panel to panel. Envy. Envy. Envy. I could go in the other direction and go all Geoff Darrow (Not in my top five, but much respected all the same. Google him) but a. I'd never finish the first panel. b. I'm shit at drawing.
Jean Giraud worked on Blueberry. The Western comic book. It's pretty damn sweet. You should look into it.
Moebius also worked on concept design for Les Maitres Du Temps, and I'm going to leave you with the elegant, if somewhat repetetive Jean-Pierre Bourtayre theme music, as I float up to my sky desert on a mechanical bird.
Oh, and these are nice too. There's a Moebius in there somewhere.