Con Artists: Featured Artist Stanley Morrison

Stanley Morrison and His Dragon Art at MegaCon 2018

It’s a well-known fact that I love dragons. The fiercely beautiful creature known as the dragon has fascinated me since I was little. If I had the talent to draw like many of the artists I met at MegaCon then you can bet I would draw dragons in absolutely every thing. It turns out I am not the only one. When I passed Stanley Morrison’s booth I stopped dead in my tracks.

Dragons, everywhere.

But not just the “I can draw dragons” kind of pictures that you see so often in fantasy art but gorgeous, colorful dragons brimming with personality and fun. Each set in a unique pose with an individual expression. Can I just tell you I was in love with this man’s dragon art? Oh wait, I just did. I practically begged him to be a featured artist for Con Artist – I am not ashamed to admit it. Pop over to his website and you will see why.

 

The Beginning

I asked Stan how he got started as a professional artist.

“I started out wanting to do novel covers and have done a few, but not enough to make a living at it. I also got some interior illustration jobs here and there. Landed a few gaming card art jobs. It was a trial and error getting to know how to meet art directors for these jobs. I even got to do some concept art for independent video game companies. Meanwhile, my fan base from shows and internet was growing. Now that I have had a some of my art licensed, I am leaning towards getting more of this done.”

so it was natural to want to know about how he got started at conventions?

“My first was Necronomicon in Tampa. I got approached by an author who needed a cover and interior illustrations for his new novel ‘Sword of Elfame’. He was a guest at Necronomicon and informed me about the Convention and that they had an art show. This was back in 1993 and I have been doing cons ever since.”

I learned that Stan started out drawing at a very early age. He drew a lot of dinosaurs and fantasy style art. I was tickled to learn that he got hooked on fantasy via the art work of two of my long time favorite fantasy artists Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo. It seems that drawing dragons came very naturally to him. Seeing his work, I’d argue that the dragons wanted to be drawn by him.

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Dragon Art

I fell in love with Stan’s Drink Dragon series at the con. I mean alcohol and dragons – this is almost a metaphor for my life. I wanted to see more of his work. As I research Stan, I came across his dragon dice series, his garden dragon series. So I asked each series of dragons.

Your Fruit and veggie dragon series – for lack of a better name – tell me a bit about the inspiration for it?

“I call the series, Garden Dragons. I envisioned little mischievous dragons living in gardens camouflaging themselves to hide in their certain plant or tree. It was started with mushroom dragon. I was doing an art benefit show whose theme was Alice in Wonderland. I came up with what a dragon living there would look like. It took off from there.”

Being a fan of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, it was really intriguing to consider the Garden Dragons in that respect. I can’t believe I’ve never wondered what a dragon in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ would look like.

How did you come to create your drink dragons series and how did the sculpture based off them come about?

I had done a dozen or so of my garden dragon series dragons when I started getting comments if I would ever do something with drinks. After enough request on that, I started coming up with ideas.  Then I remembered some of those vintage alcohol posters of the lady in the champagne glass. I then decided like the garden dragons that these would have elements of what the drink is made from and/or something that corresponds to the drink. Once I finished the beer dragon I knew that this could a good series. It became very popular at conventions and on the web. They were noticed by Pacific Trading Gifts and they contacted me about licensing the dragons.

I’ve bemoaned my con budget before but trust me, had I seen these adorable sculptures of the Drink Dragons I would spent every dime at Stan’s booth.

Later during my research I found the dragon dice series on a website of Stan’s and I had an attack of “fangirliness” meaning I flapped my hand and said “Oh my god” about a hundred times because I do love my tabletop RPGs. Naturally, I composed an only slightly less excited sounding query in regards to them.

I noticed your dragon dice series – are you a tabletop RPG gamer? If so what did / do you play? What prompted you to design the dragon dice series?

I have only played RPG a few times. D&D, Elfquest, and maybe some Magic. Never enough to be know a lot about them. I was more of a Playstation video game user.

The dragon dice happened, because I had been selling my art at GenCon for years but last year I did not get in. I decided to try out Origins Game Fair. It is more table top RPG. Before the show I thought I need something a little more game oriented. I happened to see a picture of a D20 dice and for some reason this time I saw a dragon in the shape. It sold well at Origins, so when I got home from the show I made D4, D6, D8, D10, and D12 into dragons also. These will be sculpted into stash boxes

Well, he may not be tossing the dice but I can’t judge him for that because after all most people don’t even know what a D4, D6, D8, D10, or D12 look like and Stan made them into dragons. I am going to have to look up the stash boxes.

St. George and The Dragon

I love to know which piece of art that an artist has done is their favorite. I like to know what speaks to their soul because so often we look at their art through the lens of our personal perspectives. Stan was kind enough to share his favorite piece.

Tell me a bit about your favorite piece? Is there a story behind it?

I would say, my St. George and the dragon scratchboard. It used to be an acrylic painting I did called Polar Princess. I have always wanted to do version of this classic tale. I have seen many sculptures and some art. The dragon always seemed to small and more serpent. I also wanted to get the atmosphere of the light breaking the clouds and showing on the scene. I think it came close to what I envisioned. I still might do another version in the future.

Conventions Old & New

I have it on very good authority that doing conventions is a lot of work and not always guaranteed sales. As a fan, I enjoy going to conventions but they wear me out. I know the performers, cos-players, and artists have to be so much more tired. I have a special spot for artists who do conventions and I’m always interested in what brings an artist to the convention year after year. Stan shared with me what he loves most about conventions.

“Meeting new and old fans of my work. When I first started it was something I feared because of my shyness. I also enjoy being with my artist friends and meeting new ones.”

Conventions are a mainstay of the geek community and the entire reason I began this series. There is a lot of talent out there in our community and Stan is a great example of it. Also, let’s face it, the best stories come from Cons. Stan has probably the best story I’ve heard so far:

“One recent one is a woman cosplaying Daenerys (looked just like her) from Game of Thrones was walking across the aisle from my booth. She spotted my display with the drink dragons and yelled ‘MY BABIES!’ Then rushed over still saying the words. I got her to pose with the Whiskey Dragon figurine, it had the same colors as her attire. When I posted the picture on Facebook my brother thought it was the real actress.”

 

Advice From A Pro

Looking at he breadth of work that Stan has done and the number of conventions he’s already scheduled to attend is evidence of his devotion to his art and his fans. I know that young artists and those trying to get started often doubt themselves and their talent. I asked Stan for some advice:

What advice would you give a new artist?

“Start as early as you can. I wasted a lot of years and started a little late. Don’t be afraid to asking other artist for advice. Something I wish I did in the beginning.”

Someone who is just starting out and feeling like they aren’t good enough to do this for a living but they can’t imagine doing anything else?

“Keep at it. If you have the passion and some talent anything is possible. If you are going to do conventions, how you display your art and yourself can be just as important.”

Where To Find Stan

We know that Stan is going to be at Tampa Bay Comic Con this coming weekend so grab a ticket and go say “Hi”. Occasionally, Stan will make appearances at LocalARTicles Boutique in Universals Islands of Adventure so keep an eye out for him. Keep in mind that even though he has a very busy schedule; he’s a very friendly guy. If you happen to see him at one of these upcoming conventions, stop by and visit. Buy yourself a dragon, or two… even three – let’s face it, you can never have enough dragons!

Stan does accept commissions when his schedule allows for it, so if you don’t see exactly what you are looking for then contact him. To see the dragon collections as well as his other work click here, or you can check out more of his art on Stanley Morrison Art.

Follow him on Social Media

Convention Schedule

Confirmed:

  • Tampa Bay Comic Con, Aug. 3-5 2018
  • DragonCon, Aug.30-Sept.3  2018
  • SciFi Bartow, Feb.17 2019
  • MegaCon, May 16-19 2019
  • Origins Game Fair, June 12-16 2019

Possible:

  • Necronomicon, Oct. 19-21 2018
  • Orlando Pride Pop Culture Expo, Oct 13 – Oct 14 2018
  • Clermont Comic Con, November 18 2018