Serbian artist Petar Meseldžija, who I wrote about in 2008, has a career that has included outstanding work in comics, illustration, posters and gallery art.
He has taken elements from all aspects of his skill range and applied them to the classic form of the illustrated storybook in The Legend of Steel Bashaw, an adaptation of a Serbian folktale known as Baš Čelik.
To bring the book to U.S. readers, Meseldžija worked with Flesk Publications, whose consistent high standards in reproduction and printing for art books make them an ideal choice to bring Meseldžija to the attention of a wider audience.
Flesk sent me a review copy and they’ve hit it out of the park again.
Meseldžija brings his rich, painterly style to classic fantasy settings, quite cottages on sunny hillsides, paths through darkened green woods, mountain streams and ancient castles; and in particular, gnarled trees, wet with moss and tinged with fall colors, that are like characters themselves.
Into these settings he brings grotesque giants, fearsome demons and cunning dragons, along with our hero and heroine, who play out a story cast in the mold of great man vs. monster legends like Beowulf and Homer’s Odyssey.
With an eye for subtle color contrasts and vibrant textures, Meseldžija brings the story to life in the first two thirds of the book. In the latter third, Flesk has worked with Meseldžija to bring the making of the story and its images to light, with initial sketches, concept drawings, and highly refined preliminary tone drawings, as well as color sketches and some of the artist’s relevant landscape paintings.
The result is two books in one, the illustrated story and the “making of” chapter that reveals Meseldžija’s working methods.
Petar Meseldžija’s website has been revised and expanded since I last wrote about him, and includes examples of his work in multiple areas.
[Update 11/23/10: Petar Meseldžija now has a blog at http://petarmeseldzija.blogspot.com/. Though it was only recently started, he has already added fascinating information about his working methods.]