I love browsing old fantasy art, and that’s what I was doing when I stumbled across this humble sketch.
The sketch is from an old story, The Little Soldier. The story follows a little (in stature) soldier whose name is John, but folks call him Kinglet for some reason. The story starts when John first discovers a serpent in the flames. John then helps the serpent turn back into a princess, and then chases the princess across the ends of the Earth. The tale has deception, magic, royalty, and some moral warnings
The art in particular comes from the sketches of H.J. Ford, and the book was published in 1910.
Why I Love This
I grew up reading older fantasy books, and this black and white older-style of fantasy art has a strong nostalgic feel for me. It comes from a time when magic didn’t really make much sense, but often had a moral reason for existing.
To me, this image brings out the “fairy tale” nature that I want to create an rpg campaign around someday. Here is a soldier, wearing period-style clothing, that isn’t exceptional in any way. He’s not a hero. He’s not rippling with muscle. He doesn’t carry a battle axe. Yet, he happens to be in the right place and the right time to free this princess, and get caught up in a tale of danger, deception and magic.
Finding images, even simple ones like these, can lead to forgotten stories that bring the roots of a genre back to life.
If you want to be included in upcoming focus articles, please contact me on twitter.