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WELCOME ADVENTURERS' TO THE INTERVIEWS AREA
Greetings lowly ones! to our Fighting Fantasy interviews area. If you ever wanted to know more about the artists, writers and editors of the Fighting Fantasy series, then this area is for you.
The interviews page is an area of the site where we go behind the scenes of the series and interview many of those who contributed to its success. We have got many interviews waiting for you over the coming months.
As you can image we get quite a lot of mail here at Wizard Books from Fighting Fantasy the world over. Whether it’s in the post or through email quite a large proportion of these are questions about particular writers and artists, their early work and current projects. Within this area we will try to do our best and present exclusive interviews for your pleasure from some of the very best Fighting Fantasy writers and artists. If you are sitting at home with particular questions you would like to see asked send them to us at our usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The name of Mel Grant is perhaps not as well known as many other Fighting Fantasy artists. He has recently been commissioned to illustrated new covers for Wizards Books FF series and his artwork is already proved immensely popular. Fighting Fantasy.com is delighted to present this exclusive interview regarding his recent contributions to the FF phenomenon!
Thank you for taking the time out with us Mel. Can FF ask you Mel what are you currently working on at the moment? Is it The Crown of Kings?
It’s a pleasure to talk with you and all the fighters out there and long may you rule the hordes. Currently I’m working on several projects and The Crown of Kings is one.
What can you tell us about it?
Well, in short, the painting depicts the Archmage of Mampang going nova, because the Player has intruded in his space with the intent of stealing the crown. He is screaming furious and is tearing everything and the world apart… just as you’d expect a seriously piqued Archmage would, sizzle and fireballs and all. Annihilation is the order for the Reader.
What are you looking to be working on in the near future?
I do all kinds of artwork from sweet children’s through to very nasty adult horror. I like being versatile. But I like Fantasy very much and working with FF I can let strong passions out in paint and that’s fine. So maybe some more of these would be good.
How were you approached to illustrate for the new series of FF Gamebooks?
The approach came through my London agent, Artist Partners.
Have you been surprised by their recent success?
To tell the truth I have only just heard of their success from you and it is a very pleasant surprise. But this is not down to me; the books were put together really well.
Were you aware of the older Puffin series?
Yes, but I wasn't paying too much attention. I was more aware of the general book scene.
Mel you have now so far illustrated several FF Gamebooks including, FF 3: Deathtrap Dungeon, FF9: Shamutanti Hills, FF 11: Khare Cityport of Traps, FF13: The Seven Serpents. Of these book covers which are you most proud and least proud of?
I wouldn’t exactly say proud, as at the end of a painting I’m saturated with it and I always aimed to do better. Maybe some time later, when I’ve become ‘Outside’ and detached, I might look at the artwork and feel a warm seed of pride sprout a leaf or two. But I was pleased with Deathtrap Dungeon and I do enjoy painting. I also had a lot of fun with the Slime Eater character, the more disgusting… the better. I drew some inspiration from a time back in my youth, when I inadvertently came across something revolting in a field that a calving cow had left behind. I remembered the awful feeling of nausea that it gave me at the time and the image plagued me for years. I tried to bring that experience to bear in the artwork.
What made you start Illustrating?
I have been an artist for as far back as I can remember and there was just no question here. That’s what I would always be. I first started attending Art School at the age of twelve. In my mind, being an artist also included music, writing and anything else creative. Illustration, just, sort of wandered into my life as a way of making a living from what I knew best and as these things happen, it sort of hooked me in.
What influence’s have you had as an illustrator?
Well… I did get a letter from a woman once, who liked my paintings very much and she wanted to know if I was her boyfriend. Apparently, he was an artist and in chatting her up, had convinced her that I was his pseudonym, which was one of the reasons she’d dated him. As time passed and she was thinking of moving in with him, she had become somewhat suspicious, as his paintings did not seem to look much like mine. So she wrote to my agent to find out the truth. Sadly, I did not get to meet her.
A bright student also got his BA degree using my artwork as his ‘project’. He sent me a copy. And that was nice.
But in the overall scheme of things I wouldn’t think I’ve had any influence at all really. But, it is nice to think that maybe my paintings have added a little inspiration or pleasure to someone’s life.
Did you yourself ever play the books or role-playing games?
Not really. Not as yet.