The World of Froud
July 30, 2013 9:06 AM   Subscribe

As much as Metafilter loves Jim Henson's Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, neither of those films would be half as powerful without the work of Brian and Wendy Froud.

Brian was working as an artist and Wendy as a puppet designer when they met on the set of The Dark Crystal. They married soon after and Wendy gave birth to their first son, Toby. When they worked together again on Labyrinth four years later, they brought along their baby boy, who ended up playing the baby of the same name in the film.

Outside of film, they have published a number of fantasy books on Goblins, Faeries and, just this past October, Trolls.

They have their share of admirers, and you can check in on the happy couple in the bucolic English countryside at their blog.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (17 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Aside: choreography on both those films was by Cheryl McFadden, who is more commonly known lately by her middle name, Gates. As if she wasn't awesome enough.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:38 AM on July 30, 2013 [8 favorites]

I just unearthed the copy of Faeries I used to read over and over as a kid from a box out of my parents' basement. Good stuff.

Though maybe not quite as good as Gnomes -- I was really, REALLY sure gnomes existed. There were maps and everything. And the maps made it clear that the gnomes' range didn't really extend to southwestern Ohio, so obviously I wouldn't have seen any.
posted by little cow make small moo at 9:41 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Imma let you finish, but Trolls looks just like the Mystics. My favorite fantasy character design of ALL TIME.

So I'm ordering.
posted by DigDoug at 10:16 AM on July 30, 2013

Big fan of Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book ever since I found my first copy on Camden Market. Never knew about the Labyrinth link!
posted by runincircles at 10:18 AM on July 30, 2013

My friend in high school, Oksana, LOVED the Froud faries. She would show me pages and pages and describe how one day she'd get them tattoo'd all over her. Giant murals down her back. We never lost touch, exactly, but our conversations became much less frequent. Eventually mass text messages when she had her children and the replying congratulations were all we really connected.

I was shopping with a friend in Soho (NYC, not London) one wintery Sunday, and after Evolution we stumbled into the Animazing gallery. There was a Wendy Froud show going on. I perused it and thought about telling Oksana. The gallery is small, one big room that has a bend in the middle and going around the bend I saw it continued downstairs, so I ventured down.

And discovered that among the original Dr. Suess and Charles Schultz drawings, were Brian and Wendy Froud themselves, in the process of an arts and crafts class with a bunch of like minded people who all brought materials and everybody was building a gnome or fairy or troll out of branches and doll parts and gossamer and fake hair and Henson knows what else.

I called Oksana for the first time in years and she couldn't believe it. It was as nice a reason to catch up as any.
posted by Brainy at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Since my girlfriend started working with Toby earlier this year, the self-control-highlight of her day has been "I ran into Toby! I didn't address him as 'The Babe'!" at least once a week.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:55 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

For a long time I've always kind of looked my nose down at the Frouds and their art style, as kind of being a little too... "twee?" It's relatively recently that I've started realizing, hey, there's no need to be relentlessly down about things I don't like, and maybe there's something good there I haven't noticed before, that I should try opening my eyes to.

I mention this kind of as penance for past griping.
posted by JHarris at 1:19 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I really love the Frouds' work (I grew up on Dark Crystal and Faeries, and I got to see Wendy and Toby Froud's work at a gallery), but I still had no idea that Wendy Froud made Yoda. She made Yoda!
posted by Nibbly Fang at 3:04 PM on July 30, 2013

She made Yoda!

Actually, from my research, there seems to be some contention on that (which is why I didn't mention it in the post). Suffice to say that she contributed to the creation of Yoda, but wasn't sole creator. Even so, that is some major geek bragging rights.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 3:10 PM on July 30, 2013

I have Froud's books and calenders. Gorgeous
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:26 PM on July 30, 2013

Their work can run a little twee. I like it even then, I can handle the twee.

On the other hand, I have the art book for The Dark Crystal which shows a lot of the conceptual work they did ... really stunning stuff.
posted by feckless at 6:12 PM on July 30, 2013

I never met the Frouds, but a doll I made had the privilege to do so. (here's another view of the doll.)

I very much enjoy their work but I try very hard not to look at it so often, because it's too damned tempting to be influenced by their style.
posted by Lou Stuells at 7:03 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Brian Froud's Faeries book was one of my favorites as a kid and it opened up the wonderfully scary and beautiful world of Irish folklore to me. Thanks for this.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:40 PM on July 30, 2013

One of the very few books I've brought from home to Japan with me is my original edition of The World of the Dark Crystal. It's a stunning book, filled with sketches and paintings, and it's not a making of book. It's a full on retelling of the world as seen through Aughra's point of view (I'd say eyes, but...). I've been hooked on his style since I first saw Dark Crystal. Amazing stuff.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:48 PM on July 30, 2013

Aughra has eyes... She was searching for one of them at one point.
posted by hippybear at 7:50 PM on July 30, 2013

Well, she has one eye, and then there's the odd third eye in the middle of her head. It's complicated.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:28 PM on July 30, 2013

Vision Status: It's Complicated
posted by hippybear at 7:35 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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