This week is Dragon Week, where we on Unbound Worlds celebrate all things dragon!
There are some great things coming in the forthcoming days, but I thought I would start off my own posting with a Todd Lockwood interview. Todd has been one of the foremost artists for dragon art during the last decade, a creative spirit who believes in the majesty of the race. He has done dragon artwork for Dragonlance, Wizards of the Coast, Dragon Magazine, Magic: The Gathering, and cover art for authors Ed Greenwood, Joel Rosenberg, Mercedes Lackey, R.A. Salvatore, Tom Lloyd, and many others.
It doesn’t stop there. If you step into his art studio, you are immediately surrounded by dragon art, dragon books, and dragon sculptures.
The man is a fan. No doubt about it.
Here is the interview:
Unbound Worlds: Hi Todd. Thank you for joining us on Unbound Worlds for Dragon Week. How are you?
Todd Lockwood: I’m well! Just finishing up some deadlines and getting ready to take a short breather before Comic Con.
Unbound Worlds: You are one of the best cover artists working now, and many of your covers feature dragons. It is clear you love them. Can you talk a little about what draws you to them?
Todd: I’ve always liked dragons. Even back when I was mostly a science fiction fan, I liked dragons. I didn’t read much fantasy when I was younger, but I liked dragons. One of my earliest memories is of Maleficent turning into a dragon in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, as seen through the windshield of the car in a drive-in theater. Perhaps that has something to do with it! But then, I have a similar memory of Monstro the Whale from Pinocchio, but I’m not a big whale fan, so who knows. Dragons are bigger than life. They have everything that the King of Beasts has in mystery and attitude and nobility, but in spades. Plus they can fly. And breath fire. They have roots deep in just about every culture, one way or another. It goes beyond a simple primal fear of snakes to some long-running thread of narrative in our religions and histories; they keep returning. Much like the gods and spirits of vanquished traditions return in our fairy stories, like kelpies lurking beneath the surface of the pond, dragons cannot be completely exorcised. Perhaps alone among the characters of the first religions, dragons remain. They have staying power. Cuz they’re awesome.
Unbound Worlds: What do you think a representation of a dragon must have to be great?
Todd: ‘Tude. Lotsa ‘tude. As I said, whatever it is that the king of Beasts has, dragons have by the boatloads. I want them to be real, so I expect to see some thought about how a dragon works, what it would take to make such a thing functional in a real world… without turning them into something else entirely. I have certain pet peeves, like dragons with fat bellies or itty bitty wings, or dragons whose wings resemble cocktail umbrellas stuck in the side of a stuffed alligator.
Todd: That is tough. I still like the “Silver Dragon” painting done for the Silver anniversary issue of Dragon magazine. I spent a lot of time on the anatomy that was presented in the piece “Musculature of the Greater Dragon.”
Unbound Worlds: Do you have a favorite book where you think, “Wow, that author just nailed what dragons are?”
Todd: Actually, no. Smaug, perhaps, in The Hobbit. But I didn’t read a lot of fantasy when I was young, apart from Tolkein and Robert E Howard. Smaug is probably THE archetypal dragon, and if Conan ever faced one, it must have been in a story written by Lin Carter or another post-Howard author of Conan stories. In most of the fantasy I’ve read as part of my work, dragons are supporting cast. But then, I never read any of the Pern books, and have yet to crack into Temeraire, though I’ve heard good things about that dragon. So… Smaug, I guess.
Unbound Worlds: From a geek point of view, who are some of your favorite dragon artists? Got a favorite non-Lockwood piece of dragon art you’d love to have on your wall?
Todd: Donato does really nice dragons. Sam Wood can conjure up a mean dragon. Lars Grant West did a painting a decade or so ago of a cyber-ized dragon with a zombie rider that totally blew my mind.
Unbound Worlds: You will be at the San Diego Comic Con later this month. How is your preparation going for that? What booth will you be at so your fans can visit you?
Todd: As I type this, my pallet of goods is on my truck, waiting for the holiday to be over so I can get it to the shipping company. Whew! Comic Con is a load of work. If you’re going to be at Comic Con, please stop by and say hi! And buy something … ;o) Kidding … you don’t have to buy anything. But do anyway. I’ll be in booth 4722.
Unbound Worlds: Thank you for the interview, Todd! Any parting words for your fans?
Todd: Hi and thanks to everyone! I’ll be at Dragon Con at the start of September, too. Come and see me! Bring beer!
Since Comic Con is a few weeks away, you can visit Todd Lockwood right now at his website, www.toddlockwood.com! He sells a variety of signed prints of his artwork—and who doesn’t want a dragon hanging in their home, right?
More tomorrow for Dragon Week!