In early January 2015 I was working on the basic template for The Art of Elfquest. Richard and Wendy Pini were visiting on the 14th and 15th. I wanted to make sure the book map was in a presentable form to review with the Pini’s once they arrived. Richard had sent me a hundreds of scans to process, consider and utilize for The Art of Elfquest, yet something was just not working. I had 304 pages to work with–a hefty amount –although far more art than I could use. Normally I would trim the art down by selecting the best of the best and condense the book down to the essentials. But, what is normally a process that I am good at was proving difficult.
With about four days to go before the Pini’s arrived I began to layout a second book. It included the Hidden Years 9 1/2 pencil pages by Wendy and a few other self-contained Elfquest stories that I am fond of. I now had the 304 page Art of Elfquest roughly laid out and a second title that came to about 176 pages.
Not too long after Richard and Wendy arrived I let them know of my dilemma: I wanted to see more art that could fit into The Art of Elfquest and came to the conclusion that we had to have two books. I presented them with what would later become Elfquest: The Art of the Story. It was Richard who came up with this title. To my delight they signed off on the book.
Most of our time during the reminder of their visit focused on The Art of Elfquest. We gathered the quotes through interviews, received feedback about art placement and grouping, and got much of the core layout completed during those two days.
Once The Art of Elfquest went to the printer, we pulled out The Art of the Story and got to work. Our goals were to not treat it as a simple reprint book. We didn’t want it to compete or overlap with any of the Dark Horse collections. We also wanted a unique art book approach to it. It was during this time that I suggested that we show the original artwork on the right hand side and the printed page with the type and commentary on the left hand side. Richard ran with it. He scanned all of the originals, plus the printed pages and worked with Wendy to provide the commentary. This book came out far greater than I could ever have imagined a year ago. It is simply gorgeous. The narrative alone between Richard and Wendy for every page of story alone is impressive. As you turn the book pages it’s as if they are sitting and reading the story with you and offering every backstory and note about each nuance of the story and art. There are a few areas where Wendy gets emotional while reminiscing about certain story situations. It will make your eyes water.
The stories within this collection include Heart’s Way, Little Patch, Rogue’s Curse, The Jury and Wolfwood and “Rogue’s Challenge” from Hidden Years 9 1/2. Richard was even able to obtain an afterword by John Byrne whose inked pages for “Rogue’s Challenge” are included in the book.
I’ve got to add one more thing, which is that this book was not going to be published unless our Kickstarter campaign was successful. This is truly a book that was born out of passion and appreciation for Wendy, Richard and Elfquest. Thank you, everyone!
I sent the book to the printer over the weekend. I ended up spending four full days reviewing every aspect of the book and color adjusting the artwork. The book has been beautifully designed by Arpad Terek. The next step is to review the printer proofs. Once approved, the book will go to press.
I want to thank Wendy and Richard for allowing me the honor to publish this book. It’s going to be a pleasure to deliver the book to our Kickstarter supporters and to those who pre-ordered.
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Text and photos copyright © 2016 John Fleskes. Videos © 2016 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2016 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.