Luis Royo at the 2010 Paris Book Fair
Olalla, Teruel, Spain
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Luis Royo is a Spanish artist born in Olalla, a village in the Aragonese province of Teruel. He is best known for his fantasy illustrations published in numerous art books, magazines such as Heavy Metal and various other media including book and music CD covers, video games and Tarot cards.
Education and early years
Shortly after his birth, Royo's family moved to Zaragoza, where he first started school, his first memories are accompanied with drawing which plays an important role in his life.
His practical standpoint, acquired from his economically humble family, led him to study Technical Drawing for construction. He soon discovered that geometric forms did not satisfy him fully.
Later, he began to study painting, decoration and interior design at the Industrial School and the School of Applied Arts, and combined with different jobs in interior design and decoration studios in 1970 and 1971.
During this time he also combined his work with painting. Influenced by the student revolts of May 1968, he painted large format tiles with social issues and made exhibitions from 1972 to 1977.
The discovery of adult comics with the work of artists such as Enki Bilal and Moebius captivated him in 1978 and he started drawing comics for different fanzines and comics exhibiting at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 1980.
In 1979 he left his job as a furnish designer, despite already having a child, to devote himself entirely to comics. In 1981 and 1982 he began to publish in journals such as 1984, Comix Rambla Internacional, and sometimes in El Vibora and Heavy Metal.
A meeting in 1983 with Rafael Martínez in Zaragoza Comic Fair would determine his professional future. He made five illustrations for Norma Editorial, which marked the beginning of a long relationship.
His work stands out quickly and is not limited to national territory. His images are frequently published in foreign media. Among others, he published his work in the U.S., Britain and Sweden, and his production reaches covers for prestigious publishers as Tor Books, Berkley Books, Avon, Warner Books, Bantam Books and others.
American magazines like National Lampoon and Heavy Metal often resort to Luis Royo for their cover illustrations, as well as European magazines Cimoc, Comic Art, Ere Comprimé, Total Metal and others. His work is not only restricted to magazine covers, he also made covers for video and computer games.
In 1985, alongside his work as an illustrator, he published a comic album of the Rambla erie and a year later Ikusager Ediciones SA published an experimental comic with Antonio Altarriba, with the title: DESFASE.
Since 1990, he is in a privileged position in the market for international art and illustrations, and his work is collected in books and a wide range of media. Some are collector's products today.
In 1992, it is published Women, an album that meets his emblematic artwork of that decade. With this book is already recognized as a great illustrator and his preference for drawing the female figure began to emerge clearly. It was a surprising book for comic lovers, covering a range of different genres, which led to its publication by Editorial Soleil in France, Germany and Comic NBM in the U.S.. On the basis of this compilation held his first exhibition of original artworks.
A year later, Comic Images brought out a collection of Trading Cards using his illustrations, under the title FROM FANTASY TO REALITY.
Following the success of his first author book, he published in 1994 MALEFIC, with the collaboration of Royo Romulo in the setting and scenarios, it presents an apocalyptic and personal world. He was revealed as an illustrator capable not only of representing fantasy worlds, also creating a story line, and his apocalyptic and dark angels woke a groundswell of supporters. This work is accompanied by a sculpture of the author.
In the same year, WOMEN is reissued and Penthouse Magazine of USA publishes an article on his illustrations.
In 1995, new publishers began to be interested in the work of Luis Royo: Ballantine, Nal, Daw, Doubleday, Harper Paperbacks, Zebra, Fasa Corporation, for Pocket Books Star Trek, Penthouse Comix and FLLER Ultra X-Men by Marvel . Since that year, the work of Luis Royo appears in many different formats and in many different countries (including Eastern Europe): calendars, posters, t-shirts, CD covers, mouse pads, Trading Card collections in THE ART OF HEAVY METAL and the third part of his collection of cards, THE BEST OF ROYO.
In 1996, uncharacteristically, a painting of his appears on the cover of Penthouse France (replacing the traditional photo of a Penthouse girl), and in Germany, along with an article. The same year, numerous articles of his work appear in prestigious publications such as La Stampa in Italy, Airbrush Action in USA and Germany, and Penthouse Comix. He also received the Silver Award SPECTRUM III the best in Contemporary Fantastic Art in USA.
His third album, SECRETS, appeared in 1996. The magic and the female figure occupies the central role, and the underlying presence of the myth of Beauty and the Beast permeates the book. This work was published by NBM for English-speaking countries. But there were more surprises still to come this year for their fans, with the portfolio WARM WINDS, published by Norma Editorial, in collaboration with Heavy Metal.
Heavy Metal magazine
In 1997, the interest of Heavy Metal in Luis Royo was reflected in series of covers and calendars, as well as in their gallery, which was entirely dedicated to Royo. This interest culminated in a commission for the cover of the magazine's 20th anniversary issue and a series of illustrations on the character F.A.K.K. (Julie Strain) by Kevin Eastman.
That same year, Comic Images released two new collections of Trading Cards: ROYO SECRET DESIRES (the fourth collection of the artist) and ARTISTS CHOICE (along with other artists). To end the year, turn to republish MALEFIC and WOMEN in USA and Spain.
A year later, it appears his next book of illustrations: III MILLENNIUM. In this book, Royo renews the colours palette and gives us his particular vision of the end of the millennium. Also in 1998 presented his collection of tarot cards, THE BLACK TAROT (for which he designed new images and a personalized view of the esoteric symbolism of the cards). In 1999 there was the Heavy Metal calendar, his fifth collection of Trading Cards, under the name of III MILLENNIUM and III MILLENNIUN MEMORY portfolio. It was a year in which Luis Royo shows a clear evolution towards a more intimate style, monochrome and daring illustration.
Coinciding with the Barcelona Comic Fair in 1999, Royo presents a new album: DREAMS, a collection of all his work and varied worlds of the past ten years. What stands out most in this album is the versatility with which the artist is able to adapt to different themes and styles. The first vinyl figure based on the book cover was produced by Inteleg MALEFIC in 1999 and supervised by the artist himself.
The artist offered a new twist at the end of the year with even more daring work, publishing the first volume of PROHIBITED BOOK, with erotic content in which the passions, even the unmentionable is of great importance. This luxury publication in a smaller format than the other previous albums, offers images that are as sensual as elegant and provocative.
In 1999 his work was featured on the cover and the instruction manual for the PC game Starsiege: Tribes.
EVOLUTION brings us back to the large format album, combining the most personal works with the assignments. The theme reflects past times and science fiction. Then appears the portfolio TATTOOS.
Originally conceived as a trilogy, PROHIBITED BOOK II is published in 2001 - a book in which sensations are transferred to the reader through the strength of the characters. In continuity with the first volume, we are offered a different view of sensuality, closer to forbidden dreams and secret desires. Fournier published a deck of playing cards with female illustrations of Royo.
In 2002, Luis Royo revealed some of its technical secrets in Conceptions, a book describing the creative process and presents a collection of artist's sketches and pencil drawings that allows us to enjoy his studies, the design of numerous illustrations and numerous alternatives Royo considers before making the final work. He also publishes the portfolio CHAINS.
VISIONS was published in 2003. It is a compilation with an introduction by Kevin Eastman, creator of Ninja Turtles, in which the images are dominated by fantasy and the creative talent of Luis Royo, with the addition of dragons who occupy a privileged position next to the female figure always present.
PROHIBITED BOOK III was the last in a series of banned books. In this volume, the reader is captivated by the beauty, tenderness and passion of the images in which sensuality may even be next to the monstrosity, eroticism of thoughts rather than acts.
In late 2003, the artist opens his work with a series of sketches and drafts of the illustrations of his books made by request, accompanied by texts to enrich the reader's experience and facilitate greater understanding of his method. Conceptions II with colored drawings contrasting with pencil sketches. Hits the market again this year the portfolio SEX PROHIBITED.
FANTASTIC ART is the compilation of the author's major works to date. Published in May 2004, meets the most complete collection of illustrations of the artist. Published in two formats for high quality, limited deluxe edition is a good example of the importance of Royo. Fantasy and reality come together through images that introduced the world-view, myths and legends that have shaped over time. It is a cosmogonic vision of reality where the future has to assume its own challenges.
Luis Royo moved to Barcelona, where he finds a spot full of beauty to create his work, in the Gothic Quarter. This change of study will also mean a change in the way he works. In his new vision of his work, fits the desire to return to painting on canvas, to move towards other roads that once again surprise the public.
In PROHIBITED SKETCHBOOK it can be enjoyed the sensuality and the desire of forbidden books in its early stages. Includes original drawings where the power of images is evident. As a special attraction, includes sketches of illustrations which, despite its incredible strength, had not appeared in previous publications. In his last period, in combination with other works, Luis Royo has spent four years developing one of his most personal works, THE LABYRINTH: TAROT. This design of tarot cards shows the limitless perfectionism of the artist. This is a package in which each image has been carefully studied, offering under his personal vision, all the symbolism and secrecy of every arcane, and demonstrates a titanic level of documentation.
THE LABYRINTH: TAROT is a completely new work by Luis Royo, published in December 2004 in two formats: a unique set of cards and a book including all the illustrations together with explanatory studies of each card, written by himself. He delves into the hidden meaning of each arcane and its power over the fate of people. He also publishes the portfolio TATTOO PIERCING. Already long since become a cult author, many heavy metal groups from different countries (Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.) adopted their images for their CD and album covers. The most recent ones are the last three CDs of Avalanch. His work came to the design of fantasy pool cues since 2001 to various puzzles, Zippo lighters, flags, posters, calendars and many other new products distributed internationally.
His book Subversive Beauty is published in 2005, offering a feminine universe that takes us to different mythologies customized by the author. In this book, the images are accompanied by short stories and provocative and challenging beauty is adorned with a profusion of tattoos and piercing. Later WILD SKETCHES collection is published, three books with 600 small-format quick drawings without planning, which shows a processing capacity of the figure.
In 2006 Luis Royo along with Romulo Royo paint a dome in a castle in Moscow (Russia) of more than 80 square meters, the greatest work accomplished so far by the author. This work is published in the book DOME, which meets the process and the paintings of the dome. This colossal work addresses the creation of a fantasic and sensual world where scenes are divided in various sexual myths which reinvent classical painting, a dome with more than 40 large female figures moving on an architecture full of vanishing perspective. Later he published Dark Labyrinth, which was translated into English by Miguel Guerra.
In 2009 he publishes the book Dead Moon in collaboration with Romulo Royo again, this is an ambitious book with an epic and intimate story at the same time, with a tragic and apocalyptic ending, where the images display a range of different techniques, from graphite, a precious illustration or large format paintings. Precede the release of this book, Dead Moon's portfolio.
Books and Albums
- 1985 - Circulus-Sataka (Comic book)
- 1986 - Desfase (Experimental comic book)
- 1992 - Women
- 1994 - Malefic
- 1996 - Secrets
- 1998 - III Millennium
- 1999 - Dreams
- 1999 - Prohibited Book
- 2000 - Evolution
- 2001 - Art Fantastix: The Art of Luis Royo
- 2001 - Prohibited Book II
- 2002 - Conceptions I
- 2003 - Conceptions II
- 2003 - Prohibited Book III
- 2003 - Visions
- 2004 - Antología I - 1979-1982
- 2004 - Fantastic Art
- 2004 - The Labyrinth: Tarot
- 2004 - Prohibited Sketchbook
- 2005 - Conceptions III
- 2005 - Subversive Beauty
- 2006 - Antología II - 1981-1983
- 2006 - Dark Labyrinth
- 2006 - Wild Sketches I
- 2006 - Wild Sketches II
- 2007 - Dome
- 2008 - Wild Sketches III
- 2009 - Dead Moon
- 2009 - Malefic: [Remastered]
- 2010 - Dead Moon: Epilogue
- 2010 - Prohibited Book (Omnibus edition)
- 2011 - Malefic Time: Apocalypse
- 2012 - Malefic Time: Apocalypse: Codex
- 2012 - Malefic Time: Soum
- 1993 - From Fantasy to Reality
- 1994 - Forbidden Universe
- 1995 - The Best of Royo
- 1997 - Secret Desires
- 1998 - The Black Tarot
- 1999 - Millennium
- 2000 - Prohibited
- 2001 - Women by Royo (Playing cards)
- 2004 - The Labyrinth: Tarot
- 2005 - Striptease (Postcards)
- 2012 - I Ching: Dead Moon
- 2012 - Dark Tarot
- 1996 - Warm Winds
- 1999 - III Millennium: Memory
- 2000 - Tattoos
- 2002 - Chains
- 2003 - Prohibited: Sex
- 2004 - Subversive Beauty: Tattoo Piercing
- 2009 - Dead Moon
- 2010 - Dead Moon: Epilogue
- 2012 - Malefic Time: Apocalypse: Luz
- Luis Royo 1998 Calendar
- Luis Royo 1999 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2000 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2001 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2002 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2003 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2004 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2005 Official Calendar
- Luis Royo 2005 Calendar
- Luis Royo 2006 Official Calendar
- Luis Royo 2006 Calendar
- Fantasies [2007 Calendar]
- Luis Royo 2007 Official Calendar
- Subversive Beauty 2007 Official Calendar
- Luis Royo 2008 Official Calendar (published by Pyramid Posters)
- Luis Royo 2008 Official Calendar (published by Heavy Metal Magazine)
- Dome 2009
- Fantasies [2009 Calendar]
- Luis Royo 2009 Official Calendar (published by Pyramid Posters)
- Luis Royo 2009 Official Calendar (published by Heavy Metal Magazine)
- Dead Moon 2010 Calendar
- Fantasies [2010 Calendar]
- Dead Moon [2011 Calendar]
- Dead Moon: Epilogue 2011 Calendar
- Fantasies [2011 Calendar]
- Dead Moon [2012 Calendar]
- Fantasies [2012 Calendar]
- Luis Royo 2012 Official Calendar
- Dead Moon [2013 Calendar]
- Fantasies [2013 Calendar]
- Luis Royo 2013 Official Calendar
- The Fantasy Art of Royo [2014 Calendar]
- Fantasies [2014 Calendar]
- Malefic 2014 Official Calendar
- "Biography of Luis Royo". Retrieved 23 July 2010.
- "Norma Editorial Publishers Catalogue for Luis Royo". Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction entry for Luis Royo". Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "PlayingCardsandGames.com". Retrieved 23 January 2013.
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