Line of Beauty: stunning biography of fantasy artist Wendy Pini


Originally published at:


I have never been totally into the Elfquest art style, but I did finally read the main series on their website years ago and I remember liking it a lot. Certainly I super admire the fact they created all of it through independent means.


Besides Kelly Freas or Frank Frazetta, who else has defined high fantasy art more than Wendy Pini?


I adore her work. she one of my two favourite Wendy artists, the other being Wendy froud.
I read her entire elf quest run [not the later books the original series] in one go, sick with chicken pox around fifteen years old. My sister was a huge wendy fan and sold me on the series which i read in a fever dream. to this day one of the best comic runs ive ever read.
her art is so original as soon as you see a image by her you cant mistake it. Read elf quest after this book.


Off the top of my head? Patrick Woodroffe? And, in a special way, H.R. Giger and Jean Giraud?
I grew up mostly on the Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées and always had a thing for la ligne claire1) myself, but when Elfquest came along I was really enthralled.

1) Which, when it emerged, had a lot to do with the printing technology available at that time.


I was thinking maybe Boris Vallejo, Larry Elmore, and Jeff Easley. For me, at least. But yes, her work has had a broad influence on the genre.


I wish I could be a fly on the wall of an HR where some happy mutant gets a talking-to about pulling up an image of an elf three-way at work.


Lol, was waiting to see how long before somebody commented on that. :stuck_out_tongue:


Looks like skies aren’t the only things he’s wise about!


I respect it’s influence and independence but I’ve always thought Elfquest’s art style was terrible.


I never liked the comic as well, but I got to give props to the Pinis… and Wendy in particular… for standing tall in a creative field that is filled with men who pretty much hate women.


Some of Wendy Pini’s work reminds me of Hannes Bok’s sci-fi illustrations; but not in a derivative way, more in a common weird, fey atmosphere.

This book does look pretty spiffing, and her accomplishments within the fantasy field are so impressive.


I think that Brian Froud and Ian Miller were both pretty influential too; though, I guess neither of them are exactly “High Fantasy”, “Hedge” and “Grim Dark”.


Brian Froud did the art direction for “The Dark Crystal”, didn’t he?


Man, it’s probably just my puritan upbringing, but it took me absolutely forever to figure out what was going on in that image. Kept drifting out of focus, like one of those “impossible trident” illusions. Two… Three… Wait, how many legs… OH! Can only imagine what HR would think of me leaned in 6" from the screen, staring intently at the image for far too long.


Wendy Pini, although she is best known for her Elfquest work, does a lot of other stuff as well. A book worth looking up is Law and Chaos, her take on trying to do Elric of Melnibone as an animated film.

It was easier for me to count the different hair styles in the illustration to see what was happening o_O


I found Wendy Pini at precisely the right time in my life. I was probably about 13, and was utterly STARVING for anything fantasy related but couldn’t get into Robert Jordan or Michael Moorcock. I adored her comics, checked the collections out from the library, and would devour them within a day.

I honestly don’t get why people are coming out to say they didn’t like the art style. The genre was so small- besides her, the two others that spring to mind are Drew Hayes’ Poison Elves and Dave Sims’ Cerebrus and both of them have odd art styles and are entirely unfettered works by their creators, and you can see them growing in their skills as they progress.

I mean, I kinda do get why people gotta come out to crap on her, but I don’t like it --nor am I here to make people question their internal prejudices against romantic literature aimed at a female audience (or at least a more female audience than is typical for comics or fantasy works).


The husband’s collection of Elfquest and Sandman comics are one of the reasons I married him.


I can’t be certain, but I suspect that lead image is every Yaoi girl’s dream in a “don’t ask how I got under here, just let me have this” sort of way.


That’s the guy. He also did books about Fairies and Giants that are just beautiful.