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Barbarian Lord Hardcover – July 1, 2014
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From the Publisher
Behind the Scenes with Barbarian Lord author & illustrator Matt Smith
Having been asked to show some examples of how I worked on Barbarian Lord, I thought I might start with the first story page and the cover as examples. First off, Barbarian Lord is primarily drawn digitally. I set out with the best intentions to move in one direction with clearly defined stages of progress. These being to write a script, create thumbnail sketches from that script and move into final art from those thumbnails, but throughout the process I made a lot of changes--a whole lot. Pages were dropped, added, sequences rearranged and characters redesigned as needed to best tell the story I imagined right up until the last day. Working digitally made this fluid process go a little easier and luckily I had fantastic editors, wizards, really, who were unfazed by this approach.
Having said that, things always began on paper. After writing the story out in a script form, I would see what the page spreads would look like by drawing a column of little boxes for each chapter. Brief notes would be added of which part of the script should fall onto each page.
Next would come rough page layouts of each page.
The next step moved over to the digital drawing tablet to work out a refined sketch from the initial roughs. Important at this stage was to place the text before I went any further with the sketch.
Next would be to 'ink' over the refined sketch. This would be achieved by lowering the opacity of the sketch so that it would be visible and not interfere with the finished line work.
The last step for each page was to add the gray tones. I kept a palette of a half-dozen grays so that I could keep some measure of consistency throughout the book. At times I would reduce the opacity of some of the line work, such as with the crashing waves at the base of the cliff.
The cover follows the same process, only without word balloons and with a bit of color. First came three different designs with a similar composition. I ended up favoring the middle design as I felt it best conveyed the aspects I wanted to put forward most about the book. I also preferred the relatively simple play of shapes in this design.
From School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Smith's debut graphic novel has guts, gore, and glory set against a harsh, Viking-influenced backdrop. After being exiled from his home and stripped of his lands by his enemies, the Barbarian Lord has but one goal: revenge and victorious return to his kingdom. He's got the anger and the muscle to take back his territory, but to get there, he'll have to go through snowstorms, face down trolls, and outwit skull-faced poets. With furrowed brow and clenched jaw, the Barbarian Lord is a scowling, merciless warrior of a bloodthirsty era. Interesting callbacks to Norse mythology will make this graphic novel an easy pleaser for fans of Rick Riordan's books and K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr's "Blackwell Pages" series (Little, Brown). Clean, blunt lines and unapologetic vicious (if mostly bloodless) fight scenes make for a unique art style choice, but the illustrations often seem out of sync with the narrative. An easy summer reading pick for middle-grade graphic novel aficionados and reluctant readers.—Clair Segal, Horace Mann School, New York City
"This plot is nothing if not action-driven, the multitudinous battle scenes and abundant swordplay (and excellent sound effects) making this an excellent choice for readers interested in Game of Thrones but who perhaps aren't quite ready for some of its more mature subject matter."
"All bend knee and hail! Barbarian Lord!"
"An easy summer reading pick for middle-grade graphic novel aficionados and reluctant readers."
—School Library Journal
"An accessible, memorable thrill of a graphic novel."
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Top Customer Reviews
I spent a lot of time looking into each of the panels. The author, Matt Smith has a simple, but complex art style. The choice to go full black and white with grayscale was a good one. Even though a coat of drab color (does any other color exist in Garmland?) would help the reader visualize the story, I think the grayscale palette helps give it an almost dreamlike quality. Imagine yourself closing your eyes as someone recants the epic of the Barbarian Lord and you'll 'see' what I mean.
Unlike most Barbarian heroes, the lead in this story is a warrior-poet... More Egil's Saga than Conan (well, maybe a little more Conan). The dialogue is fantastically written and the story is paced very well. Again, I got the feeling of listenig to an old warrior recounting the story of his past than of just experiencing it as it happened to him (another Howard influence). Although I just finished it, I can't wait to read it again.
Matt Smith is a top notch cartoonist whose designs simultaneously carry both the levity and grim surroundings of the Barbarian Lord’s world. Smith’s page flow is easy to follow and his plot keeps a good continuous pace throughout. All the art is black and white with grey scale shading which while well done, seems like an odd choice with a target audience of preteens. It shouldn’t stop an older crowd from recognizing the work, but may stop a younger reader from initially gravitating to this book.
Barbarian Lord is filled to the brim with sword fighting barbarian action, monsters, and even some poetry that are sure to leave your sword and sorcery entertainment needs (in a summer overflowing with science fiction work) quite fulfilled.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you enjoy RE Howard, Norse mythology, etc, pick it up.Read more