It has been a pleasure and honor to add a painting of the Herald Taln to Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives. The Stormlight Archives is a highly popular, exciting, and well written fantasy series begun 10 years ago, with the fourth novel, Rhythm of War due out this coming Fall. Dan Dos Santos and Howard Lyon have created absolutely stunning works interpreting major herald characters from Brandon’s series over the past couple of years, and were used as end paper illustrations in releases of the books. Taln is slated for inclusion in Rhythm of War.
Isaac Stewart, one of the wizards (and art director) who helps Brandon manage the growing Dragonsteel Entertainment business approached me a couple of years ago at IX Arts regarding the commission. Luckily he and Brandon had plenty of time before any art was due and placed the concept of quality above deadline, ensuring I could deliver my best work for the painting of Taln. And with the high bar set by Howard and Dan’s previous commissions, I HAD to deliver my best!
Below are the rough graphite paintings created as concepts, with a little digital play on one of them as I explored color and light possibilities.
Deep thanks to Brandon and Isaac for the chance to add such a strong and iconic character to the genre of fantasy art!
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.
Amazing painting! I was lucky enough to see it at Brandon’s place. Fantastic work, Donato. You raised the bar for all the Herald art!