Friday, November 16, 2007

Tony Hough

Tony Hough is another artist whose work I was first exposed to in a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, in this case ‘Spectral Stalkers’. Next came ‘Night Dragon’ which was also Tony’s first painted cover for the FF series. I loved the detail that went into these images and was particularly impressed by the painting of the Night Dragon with its gleaming metallic finish.

Then came my second FF commission, ‘Knights of Doom’. I was excited to discover that Tony was to produce both the internal illustrations and the cover. It was his painting of the Chaos Steed and its Beastman rider which really made the book stand out from all the others in the series (‘Knights of Doom’ being the 56th at that point). His use of a palette that was predominantly based around purple was both original and striking and meant that the scene – a battle against dark forces taking place at night – did not get lost in shadows and darkness, which could have so easily happened.

Skip forwards ten years or so and I was putting the finishes touches to the updated and expanded version of ‘Bloodbones’, ready for publication by Wizard Books. I discovered that Martin McKenna, who had already produced the cover, was not available to draw the internal black and whites, but was delighted to hear that Tony would be instead.

His style and skill had moved on in the past decade and I feel that his illustrations for ‘Bloodbones’ – realised with a rotring pen – have a lightness and depth that make them among some of the best black and whites he’s produced. The detail in these images is astonishing and I love how he has turned what were my original flights of fancy in the illo brief into living and breathing men and monsters.

The highlight for me was when Tony held an exhibition of his work in his home town of Luton, with his illustrations for ‘Bloodbones’ forming a core part of it. I was lucky enough to receive a personal invitation to the opening night. To see the images he had drawn enlarged and on show in a public space, with my name attached, was a definite first and one that will be hard to top.

You can see more examples of Tony’s work at and on his own website.


Blogger Mataeus said...

I bet you're sick of seeing my name on here by now... lol... Regarding Tony's work, I bet the gallery display was a great experience and yes, he is one of my Fave's along with Martin McKenna. Although I never really liked the KoD cover, his illustrations for Night Dragon and Bloodbones represent some of the best artwork the FF series has ever seen. These, along with Martin's Revenge of the Vampire, Legend of Zagor and Eye of the Dragon illustrations form some of my favourite FF imagery. It's nice to see you using your space to promote the artists involvement in your writing too :)

November 16, 2007 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Tony Hough said...

It was our great pleasure to see you there! Thanks for your kind comments and the links! I'm also a trained tattooist now (Ta-DAAA!)so if you want a Zombie Pirate on your elbow give me a shout!

February 23, 2008 at 3:06 PM  

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