Monday, August 9, 2010

Goblins and Fantasy on the Brain

Long have I been fascinated by fairies, elves, dwarves and their darker cousins the goblins. I remember watching as many fantasy movies as I could as a child and loving the artwork of Brian Froud and the creations of Jim Henson. Their work was so real to me, so detailed and full of life that I felt I could reach out and grasp a hold of any of the pixies and sprites either one created.

This past weekend I spent a lot more time in front of the television than usual, watching movies and recovering from a particularly strenuous work week. In a typical week I may only watch 2-3 hours of television, but I'd say over the past three days I've watched somewhere in the ballpark of 20 or so hours, thanks largely to a Lord of the Rings marathon on Saturday with the lovely and some of our friends. I had planned on watching the extended editions back to back (as I have yet to watch them at all and certainly not back to back!) but I had to be up at 5:30am yesterday, so there was no way we could have made it through.

In any event, while I could write an entire post about my love of Lord of the Rings I'll hold back, but watching of the trilogy put me in the mood for classic fantasy movies, wrought with epic adventure, evil, dashing heroes, chainmail and you guessed it, goblins. I started yesterday off watching Legend and drooling over a young Tom Cruise (why did he have to grow up and go crazy? *sigh*) and Tim Curry as Darkness. As cheesy as the plot is, I've always enjoyed the sets and makeup in this movie immensely. They built an entire forest to get the right feel and lighting, the unicorns were well done and don't even get me started on how amazing (and overlooked) the goblin Blix is! I also have a soft spot for the Tangerine Dream soundtrack this film is set to and can sing 'Loved by the Sun' with the best of them. Have you ever seen the director's cut of this movie? It has a different soundtrack and despite this being one of my favorite movies for 20+ years, I hate that version. It's not as good without the 80's soundtrack, trust me.

I followed that up with a viewing of Robin Hood: Men in Tights (completely devoid of Goblins) for it's jaunty humor and my adoration of all things Mel Brooks and the Lovely showed me 'Wizards' a movie from the 1970's that while animated uniquely and having a good amount of goblins and a decent fantasy storyline, was a bit too political for me to consider an awesome fantasy movie. It had all the makings of one too... epic backstory, two brother wizards one whom was pure and the other evil, peaceful fairy kingdoms, evil goblins but it lost me with the guns and nazis. Good, but definitely odd.

So last night I went to bed with visions of goblins and art ideas dancing in my head. When I woke up this morning I turned on Labyrinth (have I mentioned that I'm a huge David Bowie fan girl? No? Well, I am) and began to sketch out a goblin of my very own. He's somewhere between the grotesque goblins of Lord of the Rings and Legend and the cute goblins of Froud and the Labyrinth. After several nose shapes and lengths and a few ear tweaks, I inked him and cleaned up the pencil marks:

I typically don't ink before I watercolor, but I wanted to preserve the details of him as I worked and I have it on several authorities that micron pens don't bleed when painted over. *knocks on wood* I've saved a high resolution scan though, just in case. I have no idea what I'll do in terms of what exactly he's sitting on yet or background, but I will probably leave it relatively plain.

I'll share him again when he's gone green and is completed. I also have plans to do some sort of goblin sculpture in the future as well. In the meantime, I'll need more inspiration!

Tell me, what are your favorite fantasy movies? I don't care how cheesy they may be or if they are animated or live action, I only ask that you keep them specifically medieval/legend/fairy based fantasy. None of this science fiction or horror fantasy crossover business, please.

P.S... Princess Bride is next in que! While I normally dislike television, I'm enjoying my day off doodling and watching movies immensely!


  1. You have named a ton of the same ones I love. But let's not forget Willow. The brownies made that movie. LOL

    Also, if you haven't watched Spiderwicke Chronicles then you definately need to.

    Also, did you know they are making a sequal to Dark Crystal and Brian Froud has already signed on to do the creatures? YEA!!!


  2. I love Willow! It's on my list of movies to devour on my next day off, lol. I had no idea they were making a second Dark Crystal... I hope it's as good as the first! :D

  3. My favorite is The Dark Crystal, hands down. Also love A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Big Fish (if that fits the criteria).

  4. omg, omg, omg i LOVE Legend!! It's one of my fave movies EVER. And it's so nice to hear of someone else who has even *heard* of I think it was very well done (and even though the plot might be cheesy by today's standards, it's a *classic* theme I suppose)...*sigh*

    Hmm....lots of good ones mentioned already. Of course now I can't think of

    FAB goblin, btw. He's a perfect balance!

  5. Fun! I love fantasy drawings- I have far too many how to watercolor fairies books around here. Check out this guy :

    He's got some neat creative illustrations.

  6. Oh yes, I too own Legend and the Lord of the Rings, willow was awesome, but I know this isn't as dark, but Peter pan as well...tinkerbell always struck my fancy.
    Of course Wizard of Oz...I loved the ORIGINAL ompa loompa's and the Lollipop guild...of course I always thought Glenda the Good witch was kind of gaggy...I loved her evil wicked sister ...poor dear got a bad rap.
    Then of course Princess Bride...I love that one too...its twists and turns and riddles.
    Star Wars had that feel....the whole...mystery planet with Yoda. But another one was FLASH GORDON...Mmmmm he was yummy wasn't he?
    I will put in a few of these during my next two days off in your honor! Many thanks for sharing btw love your GOBLIN!

  7. I just watched the European version of "Legend" a few weeks back. It's a bit longer than the US vers. I Loved that movie!! It was weird seeing the kid from "Children of the Corn" in it. He was so creepy in that movie, but adorable in "Legend"

  8. I love Legend!! And the tangerine dream soundtrack...I agree the directors cut is just not as good because of the soundtrack. Other faves have been mentioned but just to reiterate Labyrinth(which is probably my favorite EVER), The Dark Crystal, Willow, The Neverending Story, Mirrormask(newer but if you haven't seen it you should, there is a cover of a carpenter song that is so creepy cool), LOTR, The Princess Bride, LadyHawke, The Court Jester...ummm...I really love fantasy movies... and fairy tales. Yeah...

    I love your goblin!! I can't wait to see him once he's painted.

  9. Betsy, I thought I was the only person in the world who'd seen "Ladyhawke"! A little gem that totally escaped notice at the time or since.

    Having grown up in that era, I'm also very fond of "Conan the Barbarian". The first one - the sequels were a mess.

    Another movie that's a mess but looks wonderful is "The Thirteenth Warrior". Originally called "Eaters of the Dead" (from Michael Crichton's novel), I knew about it because it was filmed in Vancouver and every prop builder in BC ended up working on it for months and months. Then it disappeared for a couple of years, and was finally released as "The Thirteenth Warrior". Apparently the test audiences had hated both the title and several earlier versions. The final cut (directed by Crichton himself) is such a dog's breakfast that I can't imagine how bad the earlier ones must've been! But it sure does look good, and if a film looks good enough, you can forgive a lot. (eg. "Legend".)

    Danni, if you sort-of-liked "Wizards" and you're a big LOTR fan, you ought to see Ralph Bakshi's animated version of LOTR. It's not bad, though not great either; ultimately mostly disappointing. He only got the first half made, so it just stops, somewhere around Isengard if I remember right.

    And your goblin is great!

  10. Rowan, I never realized that was the same kid until you mentioned it! You're absolutely right, he was totally creepy in Children of the Corn!

    I grew up watching Ladyhawke, Red Sonja and Conan. As well as Clash of the Titans, Legend, Willow, The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal... I know there are others I've forgotten, that's part of the reason I made this post. To find new to me movies and rediscover ones I may have forgotten.

    My Netflix que has more than doubled over the past two days. Joe is excited that the animated 'Hobbit' will be visiting us soon and dreadfully unhappy that so will the animated 'Lord of the Rings' that you mentioned, Wulf. He remembers it and remembers hating it, but I've never seen it. I'll keep my expectations low. ;)

  11. I loooooove you goblin! He rocks. ^-^

    I'm totally coming over to your place to watch movies! =D

  12. This was great. So many movies I used to love but haven't thought about in forever.
    When I was younger my favs were Ladyhawke, labrynth, and red sonja. There is even an annual themed ball here called the Labrynth of Jared that I try to go to when I can. Lots of fairies and goblins hopping around =).

  13. I happened upon your blog from Etsy, love your cottage and the goblin looks really cool.
    I'm a big fan of Ladyhawke and have introduced it to a few of my friends, love Mathew Broderick's character. I just wanted to throw out there The Last Unicorn. This was my favorite movie when I was little. And all the movies mentioned above are AWESOME! Love that genre.

  14. For more modern/ adult fairy tales, Pan's Labyrith. Dark but good. Add to the list Never Ending Story, Eragon, Stardust{07} ,The Court Jester- not exactly fantasy, but HILARIOUS. Danny Kaye at his best and a young Angela Lansbury. "The vessel with the pessel has the brew that is true" lol.

  15. I'd forgotten about "The Last Unicorn" - that was good. Nice to know there are so many other "Ladyhawke" fans out there. I totally thought it'd been overlooked!

  16. omgoddess - i had to laugh when i read this post - how could it be that i have watched ALL these same movies, in the same time frame that you were watching them - NO JOKE! legend - one of my most favorite in the world, i have always wanted a black dress with that seriously dangerous plunging v - meow -LOVED tim curry as darkness and HATED the directors cut! and labrynth, which i could probably quote ver batem - and i also did a lord of the rings marathon and watched wizards for the first time because of my dh-and thought it was a little too strange for my taste - and saw men in tights and princess bride! i am at this point thinking that somehow we were cosmicly linked! lol!

    love your goblin by the way - youe watercolor backround was very good too.

    so fun to see everyones fav fantasy movies, dark crystal and willow are so great - i had no idea that they are makign dc2, and i thought i was the onlyperson to have seen ladyhawke!

    if you liked eragon the movie, the books are amazing! the kind of book you dont want to put down (once you get thru the first few chapters of book 1), i am awaiting book 4 with much anticipation.

    anyways. hope that all is beautfiul for you, thanks for the enjoyable post, peace and love , chella


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