I'm so thrilled with the recent release of Robert E. Howard's: El Borak And Other Desert Adventures, this past month. The book marks the first time I've had the good fortune of landing an opportunity to illustrate one of my favorite author's stories! El Borak is a collection of shorts, 7 stories based on the adventures of Francis Xavier Gordon (El Borak), 3 stories featuring Kirby O'Donnell (AKA - Ali el Ghazi), and 1 story featuring Steve Clarney. I couldn't be more thrilled with the edition. Only two printing gaffs. First of all, it seems that there was some confusion generated when I decided to self-reject my full page illustration for The Swords Of Shahrazar (O'Donnell). I ended up doing a completely new piece to replace the first design. Somewhere along the line a miscommunication resulted in BOTH images being printed. Certainly not the worst thing that could have happened, more art! Little did I realize when first looking at the printed book, my extra illustration came at the cost of losing one of Jim and Ruth Keegan's gorgeous painted plates! Now THAT just plain sucks. Their wonderful painting of Afzhal Khan can be seen HERE on their blog. My "finished" version of the self-rejected O'Donnell illustration is posted above. The second snafu was the addition of yet ANOTHER self-rejected illustration making it's way into the book - The full page illustration for the Clarney tale, The Fires Of Asshurbanipal. I'd never actually had proper reference generated for the shot I wanted - Clarney clubbing his Lee-Enfield rifle at the bad guys. So I ended up "Frankensteining" a shot together that I was never totally happy with. Luckily we still had some time so I was able to get my model under the lights once again and I photographed it for real - then completely started from scratch and re-executed the illustration. For some reason they used the rejected one. Gah! Anyway, the director's cut version is below. I hope you dig. Also - Big gallery of El Borak images on my Facebook page. Check it out!
Extra-special thanks to Jim and Ruth Keegan for their excellent art direction, prodigious thanks to Del Rey, even with a couple missteps with the printing this edition is spectacular. My eternal gratitude to the fine folks (Jay, Fred) at Paradox for hiring me! And an extra-special, warm thanks to The Cimmerian for their fantastic support!