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Michael Hague

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Michael Hague was born in Los Angeles, his parents having emigrated to California from London just after World War II. Growing up, he was greatly influenced by the comics, especially Prince Valiant, and he attributes much of his interest in romantic fantasy to the prince's adventures.

He went on to receive a BFA with honors from the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design. After graduating, Hague moved to Kansas City, where he spent two years working for Hallmark Cards. He then moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to work at the Current Company, designing greeting cards and calendars. He stayed on in the Rocky Mountains area with his wife, Kathleen, and their children. Kathleen Hague also graduated from the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design, and has written several books for children.

Michael Hague has been influenced by a wide variety of artistic styles, ranging from the work of the Disney Studios to the Japanese printmakers Hiroshige and Hokusai. He has been particularly influenced by the turn-of-the-century illustrators Arthur Rackham, W. Heath Robinson, N. C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle, and he is an avid collector of their books.

About his work, Michael Hague says, "I count myself as one of the most fortunate of beings. For as an artist I have not only the pleasure but the duty to daydream. It is part of my work. I have been a contented day dreamer all of my life, often to the exasperation of those around me.

"I have always wanted to be a book illustrator. Books are what got me interested in the art field in the first place. I try to infuse my illustrations with the same spirit that the author or the story produced in my imagination. I strive to create something from an empty canvas that becomes a whole 'other world' that people can visit for a while and totally believe in. That challenge of bringing a subject to life and making it believable - and that's what is exciting to me as an artist. It doesn't matter whether it is a Greek myth or an American legend, my approach is the same, to try and blend fantasy with realism."

Mr. Hague describes his technique: "Once the subject is chosen, I start out with very small compositional sketches which for me are most important. These small thumbnails are then enlarged to full-sized sketches, where I develop the details of the picture. From there I proceed to re-create these initial sketches in finished pencil illustrations. After the drawing is completed I am ready to begin painting. With a wide brush I put a neutral wash over the entire board, an ochre color for a warm painting, and a bluish wash for a cool picture. When the wash dries, I begin to paint the details. Only after coloring everything do I go in with my ink lines. This is in some ways working backward, but I feel comfortable with it."

Copyright Henry Holt and Company

Michael Hague was born in Los Angeles on September 8, 1948. His first art lesson was from his mother. Michael trained at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, graduating with honors.

See DRAGON ART of Michael Hague