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Thursday, January 16, 2014

THUN'DA by the incomparable FRANK FRAZETTA!

Before Frank Frazetta was doing Conan paintings for paper back book covers he was busy creating stunning comic book art. Some digging on the internet has uncovered these absolutely stunning  pages of Frank Frazetta original art that I just felt needed to be shared in detail.
Thun'da Jan. 1952, page 11, panel 1, written by Gardner Fox and drawn and inked by Frank Frazetta

Thun'da original art by Frazetta

 This art is so stunning that it demands that I post close ups to show all the incredible detail Frazetta put into these pages.

Detail of Thun'da page 1, panel 1. I love the different marks Frazetta makes with the different tools. You can see the heavy brush marks of the trunks while the flowers are done in a fine pen point, maybe rapidograph. The economy of the lines for the foot are also quite interesting, in how such a few rough lines can evoke the foot so precisely.
Detail of Thun'da page 1, panel 1. I love how Frazetta employs this multi-haired brush to create the texture of the elephant trunk as well as the moss hanging from the tree limb. I find it remarkable how precise the strong shadows are on the monkey man. Though they are very simple and sketchy, they perfectly convey the desired image.
Thun'da #1 page 11 panel 2
I find it remarkable how different the original work is from the printed version. So much detail is lost, and even still the final image is beautiful. I think this is partly due to Frazetta's great compositional skills.
Thun'da #1 page 12.
It appears that Frazetta made a correction on the running animals as you can see an outline and the discolored paper that he pasted over the original. The assuredness and simplicity of the lines that he used on the tree and bird are just breathtaking as if every line that he puts down is absolutely perfect and yet they retain a freshness and life of a mark spontaneously jotted down.
I love her hair and how it's just made of some curls and ink spots and yet looks so accurate. Notice Thun'da's stomach muscles and how they are not anatomically correct and yet appear normal.
I love the feathery brush work Frazetta uses to shade. And yet he knows it isn't going to reproduce. Even still, it came out ok in the printed version.
Thun'da #1 page 13
There is so much subtle inking going on here and yet there is something very awkward with the monkey man. The mammoth has his back to us while the monkey man is facing us and behind the mammoth. Here we can see that even when Frazetta doesn't fully understand what he is drawing, he is a great faker, making things that are not possible look real.
Here Thun'da and the girl are depicted in clean strong lines while the monkey men are depicted in rough, high contrasting, bloby brush strokes. It's interesting how the trees look like an after thought in the way they are quickly brushed in.
It's really interesting to see Frazetta's use of rough brushed on lines like on Thun'da's shorts and the monkey man and the finely detailed lines of Thun'da's face body and the leaves behind him. My favorite thing about this picture is the sketchiness of monkey man's feet and legs.
Thun'da #1 page 14
It's interesting to compare the fine detail of this drawing with the coarseness of the printed version.
This is a really fun panel with all of the well done figures entangled in each other.
Thun'da #1 page 15
This series of panels is what Frazetta does best, action! He knows how to show a body in motion better than anyone.


Thun'da #1 page 16
This is a stunning picture with beautiful pose and dynamic contrasting on Thun'da's face and body. It's got the detail of Frazetta's best work while keeping the brush strokes loose and free.
This is a favorite panel of mine with the dynamic ground level perspective making the elephants look monumental. I also thoroughly enjoy the little rabbit in the foreground quickly sketched in the pterodactyl in the background.
This is an interesting panel placing Thun'da and girl in an arboreal setting. We get to see how Frazetta approaches plant life.
Thun'da #1 page 17
This is another beautifully rendered panel with it's very dynamic figures and interestingly scribbled plant life.
I find these reproductions of Frank Frazetta's Thun'da endlessly fascinating in that we get an insight into the genius that he was. We get to see the actual marks that he put down and can make an educated guess at the tools he used and even the method that he applied them. It's a rare and valuable thing for an artist to get the opportunity to see such a masters work so close up. He has has been a tremendous influence not only on highly acclaimed artists such as Bernie Wrightson, Mike Mignola, Scott Hampton and Sandy Plunkett but also in the world of fantasy art in such greats as Boris Vallejo 



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