January 15, 2016

ROGUES Remarques

Some very nice comments have come in regarding the remarques I drew for the lavishly illustrated collectors edition of ROGUES by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozios / Subterranean Press.   One supporter expressed interest in seeing the full assortment of drawings.  So here they are...

The original illustration art for ROGUES is now available to purchase from my on-line store at  www.kenlaager.com or  www.kenlaager.bigcartel.com

November 13, 2014

A Humorous Portrait

The World Renowned Primate Research Scientist

Sometimes formal portraiture just can't seem to capture the whimsical side of a subject's personality.  Last year, I was commissioned by a private patron to create a humorous portrait of a beloved relation, to be given as a holiday gift.  

The subject, and ultimate recipient of the portrait, is a distinguished medical professor (thoroughly Homo sapiens in actual fact), whose special fondness for our simian relatives dates back to his early studies.  Today he is known not only for his pioneering research, but for his abundant sense of humor, as well.  

Photos of the professor allowed me to caricature him as a chimpanzee, while consultation with my patron revealed idiosyncrasies to exploit as sight gags, rich with inside humor. 

When Christmas arrived The World Renowned Primate Research Scientist helped make the professor's family celebration especially memorable.

October 16, 2014

ROGUES continued

My illustration for "Tough Times All Over",  Joe Abercrombie's jaunty tale of thieves who stalk one another dog-eat-dog through the dark alleys of tomorrow.

October 9, 2014


I'm illustrating another book for Subterranean Press.  This one will be the most ambitious project they've ever undertaken: a big, lavishly illustrated collector's edition of ROGUES edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozios.

My illustration for The Rogue Prince, GRRM's newest addition to A Song of Fire and Ice, appears on the cover.  It features Prince Daemon Targaryen in a story set generations before the dramatic events of A Game of Thrones.

Forty illustrations (five full color paintings and thirty-five black & white drawings) are required to illustrate this anthology of stories by twenty-one of today's top authors. The ROGUES gallery of characters includes thieves, knights, Nazis, necromancers, monsters, grifters, gangsters, zombies, high-school teachers, temptresses, time-travelers, bounty-hunters, warriors and wizards -- a smorgasbord of subject matter for any illustrator.

Each illustration, whether painting or drawing, is being conceived, designed and rendered for graphic beauty, forceful characterization and drama. 

I'm deeply gratified to know that ROGUES quickly sold-out in pre order, as did the copies that I will remarque. We're sparing no effort to make this very special volume one to be cherished by those who love and value illustrated books.

May 27, 2014

Art Renewal Center 2013-14 Salon

I am proud to report that A Moorish Man-at-Arms (blog post from September 15th) has won the distinction of inclusion as a finalist in the figurative category at the 2013 - 14 ARC Salon.  ART RENEWAL CENTER is the world's foremost advocate for appreciation of realist painting.

A hi-res image is featured on their website at:  http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/salon_winners.php?contest=2013-2014%20Salon&page=Figurative (please scroll halfway down the page). 

May 3, 2014

Black Hat Jack

Recently, I completed the book illustrations for Black Hat Jack: The True Life Adventures of Deadwood Dick as told by His Ownself, JOE R. LANSDALE's rip-roaring western novella published by Subterranean Press.


African-American Nat Love (aka Deadwood Dick) was a real life Texas plainsman.  In Black Hat Jack, master storyteller Lansdale introduces a new generation of readers to Nat's thrilling adventures as a buffalo soldier, hide-hunter, Indian fighter, cowboy and lawman in the Old West.

The adventures continue in Joe R. Lansdale's Paradise Sky to be published by Mulholland/ Little Brown in 2015.

December 18, 2013

The Arms and Farms Expedition / part 2

Art talk and sketching around the breakfast table at The Westborough Inn.  Topics ranged from the John Singer Sargent Watercolors show to Viking sagas to art education to Norman Rockwell to J.L.E. Meissonier to illustration then and now (from left to right): Chad Smith, Richard Scarpa, James Gurney, Ken Laager, Jeanette Gurney.
Bedouins, my personal favorite John Singer Sargent watercolor.

The breathaking Santa Maria della Salute

  We learned that the textural effect seen on roofs, stone and gravel patches in Simplon Pass Chalets was achieved by wax resist applied by drawing with a candle.
Garin Baker contemplates An Artist in His Studio one of several oils included in the exhibit.
James Gurney, Garin Baker and Jeanette Gurney discuss Sargent's masterful evocation of sunlight in Dolce Far Niente, another oil.  Photos courtesy of Greg Shea.