Shivan Dragon Donato Giancola 2001 copyright Wizards of the Coast
Having a little fun today with this post, tracing back the years and my various approaches to dragons. If there is anything to be learned from this, it is that your first drawings and paintings of dragons will never come out the way you see them in your mind’s eye, you need to revisit the theme again, again, and again….and again. And again. Did I mentioned revisiting the theme?
With each interpretation, I find a new quality or characteristic I wish to emphasis about my particular relationship with dragon mythology – Are they an adversary? Companion? Recluse? Beast? Threat? Weapon? Mystic?
As the years pass, I am more interested in portraying a dragon as an intelligent, mindful individual, representing tremendous potential energy, withheld, but ready to be released. I think this expression of power in reserve, rather than power outwardly amplified is what I love best about dragons. I also find these qualities of checked power a theme running through many of my other works.
Keep an eye out for me and my dragons this summer as I return to GenCon for their 50th Anniversary convention and my appearance as the Artist Guest of Honor! I am honored, and thrilled to be attending!
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Donato has released a revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.