Borderland is a special project born by the passion for the works of a great artist:
Paul Bonner is one of the most famous fantasy illustrators working nowadays; for over 20 years he has been producing great quality artworks for the most important games companies. His training was influenced at first by the work of Tolkien and by the Scandinavian fairy tales, and later by the paintings of John Bauer, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, and Ivan Shishkin.
Paul Bonner began his career illustrating many covers books, including those of the series World of Lone Wolf (Grey Star the Wizard, The Forbidden City, Beyond the Nightmare Gate, and War of the Wizards), and a couple of posters (Tolkien, and Lloyd Alexander). He collaborated with games companies such as Games Workshop, and then he started working for Target Games on the series Mutant Chronicles. At the same time, Paul lent his visual suggestions to FASA Corporation, for which he realised some boards, appeared on the great Shadowrun. The latest works are those made for the French games company Rackham; these works contributed to shaping the mythological-fantasy universe created for miniature games Confrontation and Ragnarok. Instead, his works for the Swedish company Riotminds have allowed Paul Bonner to continue to explore his dearest mythological universe, the Scandinavian one. For the series Dungeons & Dragons he also developed the covers book of the adventures Die Vecna Die! and Into the Dragon's Lair. Recently, he has been engaged in the expansion of Magic: The Gathering, starting from Eventide.
In 2004, he was guest at Lucca Comics festival, and in 2005 he won a Silver in the Sprectrm (Spectrum) Award with Cadwallon Goblin. In 2008, his first works collection, Out of the Forests: The Art of Paul Bonner, was published for the games company Titan Books; this collection contains a “taste” (150 tables) of almost all of his major projects. Many Bonner’s works appeared several times also in the art books Spectrum.
The use of vivid colors, the sharp contrast of lights and shadows, the exaggerated characterization of personnages and their weapons are some of the main features of his work. Bonner has represented most of the races, although we can see a certain lack of Elves and a passion for the Orcs. Despite Bonner often reproduces scenes of battles, blood is rarely shown. His world is full of life and color, it is populated by heroes, fearsome, curious, and sometimes grotesque creatures. Figures, such as Orcs, notoriously and typically represented as wild, came out his pencils as nice and provided with imagination.
Thanks to Bonner, the stylistic standards, normally used to represent these heroes and these terrible creatures, were completely re-written. Instead of showing grunting, bloodthirsty monsters surrounded by explosions, Bonner represented their lives even outside the theater of war, highlighting their distinctive and wry sense of humor. This new imagery made them being loved by many young guys. In fact, these creatures cease to be simply killing machines or bloodthirsty beings, and become characters with a philosophical vein. In Bonner’s tables, Orcs love war, but they particulary enjoy the show that war represents, the stories of fighting, the smoke that comes out of their gigantic roaring machines, and the resulting chaos.
In his works Bonner uses mainly watercolors, and all his tables reveal a great attention to details and a refined illustrative technique. The attention to details is often maniacal: in fact, Paul gets to paint even the smallest details. You may notice this obsession in clothing, in skin, in ripped tissues, in the old blades with chipped border or worn hilt, in the backgrounds, in the stones, in the trees, in the handles, in the belt buckles, and in every little detail designed with great meticulousness. Every table is a world that begs to be explored, it is an adventure, a journey to another world where we will find humans and creatures fighting for their own survival.
Paul Bonner is definitely an absolute point of reference for any fan of fantasy in all its forms.
When MuMi asked me to sculpt a diorama based on the art of Paul Bonner I could not believe how lucky I was, and when I realize that the first diorama was going to be inspired to one of the most important illustrations of fantasy in recent times, wow, it was like a dream come true.
Working with a design so good and a lot of charismatic characters makes this project a big challenge, it was a hard work because I had never worked with so many figures at the same time and make all the figures work together is very difficult. Despite all the hours of work, the effort was worth it and I've enjoyed every moment sculpting these creatures, thanks MuMi!
While I was writing my impressions on the BORDERLAND creation, I suddenly realized that Joaquin and I are world champions of fantasy model!
This diorama has been designed thanks to a perfect group synergy and to the fundamental support of Mumi.
It represents a brilliant idea, taken from one of the finest board illustrations for three-dimensional subjects ever. This idea has been revisited in collaboration with one of the best sculptors in the world, Joaquin Palacios, indeed! Paul Bonner, one of the best and most famous creators of fantastic worlds and characters, inspires Borderland.
The work recreates the illustration painted for Rackham and dedicated to the CLAN ORQUE - LES TRAQUEURS DE BRAN-O-KOR. In this work, not all the ogres painted in the illustration were carved; in fact, a selection between all the characters in the splendid table was made in order to suggest the atmosphere and its story. The focal point of the scene remains the capture of the dwarf made by one of the ogres. As you can see, the ogre, ready for any type of cruelty against the little guy and its boar, is holding the clump of the dwarf.Only the ogres that better fix to the focal point were chosen, in order not to "distract" the viewer, already intent to inspect the many details of the big scene. Since the very first idea, the diorama has been very ambitious.
In the fantasy world you would never see so many pieces in one scene in 75mm scale. The intention was precisely to do something memorable. It is just thanks to MuMi that this kind of projects can now see the light; it is thanks to people who deeply believe that this is art. The Joaquin work is sensational.
I begin to paint some ogres and the dwarf, while Joaquin, in Spain, continues to sculpt the subject previously set. Firstly, I decided not to propose the technique of non-metal metal (mnm), which involves the use of pastel colours. I prefer to paint with a more realistic style, using metallic colours: since the support is three-dimensional, I do not need light effects such as the ones we can see in the illustration. I follow all the textures created by Joaquin and, when I can, I also use my imagination in painting the various details. As I paint, the other components of the diorama come, and the scene takes shape.
Since in the illustration there is not a back to be seen, and the miniatures are instead rounded, I decided to give an animal theme to the cloaks/ fur resting on the backs of the ogres. The intent is to suggest a more interesting side to watch, turning the diorama! I also decided to change some tonalities, such as the one of the shaman ogre: I completely change it comparing to illustration, making it albino. While in the original illustration, the shaman is far from the scene perspective, in the diorama it becomes a main character: in fact, it has a very cumbersome presence and it perfectly balance the position of the ogre that capture the dwarf. For this reason, I decided not to use the same colours we can see in the illustration because they would have had a too much invasive presence. I decide, then, to use more neutral colours, I try to keep the subjects balanced, without losing the main focus, as stated before.
Having the honour of putting the brushes on unique items of such beauty, it is a feeling hard to explain. What is certain is that it is a great joy! So now I am ready to face the challenge this projects has been thought for: The world Model Expo of Stresa 2014, which