Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Celtic Faeries, English De­luxe Edition by Jean-Baptiste Monge

Celtic Faeries, English De­luxe Edition, Jean-Baptiste Monge (Goblins Way Pub­lishing 978-2-9815289-1-9, C$30.00, 144pp, hc) July 2016. Cover by Jean-Baptiste Monge.

French artist Jean-Baptiste Monge is an award-winning practitioner of time-honored handskills whose crowdfunded book Celtic Faeries: The Secret Kingdom is filled with color and black-and-white illustrations of dwellers in faerie.

From his studio in Canada, home of his Gob­lins’ Way Press, Monge depicts characters who are by turns whimsical, frightening, charming, or eerie. All are lovingly rendered, with plenty of explanation as to their histories and personal quirks. A self-described lover of ancient Celtic lore, the artist has devoted himself to painting the inhabitants of Celtic faerie for over 25 years, receiving praise and awards for his work. He is the recipient of Spectrum Gold and Silver awards (2009, 2012), the Wojtek Siudmak Award 2008 for cover illustration, and the Art&fact Award (2009) for his body of work.

Among the pleasures of his romantic, engaging illustrations are his de­pictions of Queen Mab, The Artful Marley, Dark Aelfs, The Sidhe, and Binabick the Clean One, to name only a few. All are informed and en­livened by humor and affection.

Monge is no stranger to digital tools: he also works as a character designer and visual de­velopment artist for CG animations, movies, and video games. Among his clients are Walt Disney Imagineering, Sony Pic­tures Animation, Scarab Productions, the Zanuck Company, and Big Bug Entertainment, but his heart belongs to hand skills and faeries, preferably Celtic, as befits his Breton background.

Says the artist on his Patreon page:

I am an Illustrator, Author, Character De­signer, and Art Director based in the Area of Montreal.

But first of all I am a picture maker and my heart is truly turned toward Illustration, paint­ing and books, so I continue my adventure as an illustrator. I grew up, in Britany (France), with tales and legends of the Celtic World. So with my Briton roots, it is not astonishing if my favourite and main subjects are Faery and Fantasy universes. Painting and sculpting is like breathing air for me.

This big, handsome, coffee-table volume fea­tures first-rate production values – glossy paper with foiled text and ornamentation, bound-in ribbon bookmark, and interior gold foiled details, with commentary by Benicio del Toro, Ian Mc­Caig, and Paul Tobin, and a step-by-step revela­tion of Monge’s technique. A Kickstarter-funded publication, it’s based upon an earlier French publication (2007) but expanded by 40 pages of art. If you love faerie, you will love this book.

This review and more like it in the October 2018 issue of Locus.

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