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Painting John Carter


Painting John Carter

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Painting John Carter


Published on January 12, 2012

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The 100th anniversary of A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs is here, and to celebrate, John Joseph Adams has edited an anthology of all new adventures of John Carter, set on that seminal planet. Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom will be released early February, full of great writers and specially commissioned contemporary illustrations. This is my contribution to the story entitled, “The Metal Men of Mars,” by Joe R. Lansdale. Other artists include Charles Vess, Molly Crabapple, John Picacio, Mike Kaluta and others.

Sometimes I tire of the typical, average human height POV used by so many artists when describing tales. It’s a very tired narrative angle, so I constantly search for more intriguing places to structure my compositions.

This story has John Carter attacked from above by a steaming metal dragon air-machine. I wanted the viewer to be right there, looking past Carter toward the airship. Fairly straightforward, but it offered a nice way to foreshorten the figure and add a desirable way to lead the eye.

This is Ivory Black oil paint, mixed with Titanium White, on pre-primed linen. I used the white of the linen to break up the blacks and greys, allowing the brain to fill in the holes. I love this sort of thing as it keeps the mind engaged. It’s also fun to paint and stare at.

Here’s a time-lapse video of me working on the finish:

This post originally appeared on Muddy Colors

Gregory Manchess is an artist and writer working in New York and Portland.

About the Author

Gregory Manchess


At the heart of Gregory Manchess' work lies a moment that communicates emotionally with the viewer. A native of Kentucky, he earned a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 1977, but is largely self-taught in drawing and painting. He spent two years as a studio illustrator with Hellman Design Associates before striking out on his own in 1979.
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