Saturday, May 31, 2008


The thing I loved most about Denny was how completely he enjoyed each and every walk -- no matter how long or short, or how many times it was up and down the same street, it was pure joy.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pirates of the City of Brotherly Love

"Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah From Slave Ship to Pirate Ship" opened at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute last night. Greg Manchess created eight paintings in ten weeks for this National Geographic exhibit, most of which had one to two dozen figures in it. Crazy. I wrote a bit about the exhibit when it's opened in Cincinnati last year, but this was the first time I got to see it in the flesh. It recounts a life of a pirate ship salvaged off the shore of Cape Cod a few years back. Yes I am biased, but I have to say, the paintings go to a long way tell the story of the ship and it's crew in a way that the artifacts alone could not. Cutlasses are cool, but, you know, a bit tough to relate to. Quite a number of these paintings have made their way into the Communication Arts, Society of Illustrators, and Spectrum.

Throughout the opening we spent a bit of time talking to unreal pirates. A stage fighting group, Shadow Combat, was hired to add some color to the event. It took no time at all to realize that we had been to a number of the same conventions and had some friends in common. A fun bunch. I'm sorry I'll miss their show at tonight's public opening. (Damn this job o' mine!)

Next stop for the exhibit is Chicago's Field Museum. I am officially psyched, I've never been to the Field.

Wallpaper: Michael Kaluta and Seth Fisher

This week's wallpapers at

Michael W. Kaluta -- Michael is always a delight, on paper and in person. Here is a recent post about a lecture he gave at SVA.

Seth Fisher — Seth was an amazing artist who passed away tragically young. Rick Berry introduced me to him many, many years ago. I only saw him briefly but I have a clear memory of looking through his portfolio. I don’t follow comics as much as I’d like so, I was amazed when a few years ago Tor editor, Liz Gorinksy, showed me a comic page of original art she had just bought and it turned out to be Seth’s. It is a beautiful drawing. I’m happy to be able to show his work here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Io9 Party

Thanks to Charlie and Annalee for hosting last night's Io9 meet-up. I got to meet some cool people, including a couple of my Macmillan brethren from Scientific American (and learn more about crayfish than I needed to know) and only once did I need to cover my ears and run away from a Battlestar spoiling conversation. Good times.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stephen Youll on B&

Check out Barnes and Nobel's "Cover Story" interview with Stephen Youll. Besides hearing him talk about his work (including a few Tor titles), you get see a lot of cool bugs.

Memorial Day Weekend

Just like that, I'm back to my island in the Atlantic.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Academy of Art University Spring Show

So, the real reason to have been in San Francisco was to participate in the Academy of Art University Spring Show last Thursday...and a very impressive event it was. The university brought in over 500 professionals from various art industries -- illustration, animation, car design, product design, graphic design, video games, architecture, fashion design, photography, you name it -- to meet the graduating class and review their portfolios. Clearly the school is very concerned with preparing these kids for their careers. Creating polished presentations and learning how to talk and network with prospective clients is not so easy, but the event threw them into the deep end of the pool with confidence.

I spent most of my day with the illustrators, of course. The thing that struck me most was how high the base level of quality was. A phenomenal student can come from anywhere, but across the board, all of the AAU students had very solid and consistent portfolios. I have to assume that is a product of a good and disciplined education.

Concept work was very strong -- which is not surprising. While advertising used to be the bread and butter of illustration, nowadays it's the gaming and movie companies that are hiring illustrators by the boatload.

The rest of my day was spent walking around the other departments, trying to eavesdrop on other reviews. The show was followed by a very nice reception with time for the visiting professionals to chat, drink some wine, eat some pigs-in-a-blanket, and unwind a bit.

Many thanks to Chuck Pyle for inviting me out and for being such a gracious host. And congrats to all the students I saw out there - best of luck (and by "luck" I mean hard work) to you all.

Pretty painted building.

Eli Harris, Betty Edwards, Chaiki Uchida,
Row: Frank Lin, Ryan Jones


Friday, May 23, 2008

At the Airport

...have some more SF:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Walk Around San Fransisco Town

My free day was, in a word, a blast. I was so busy leading up to this trip that I never planned what to do when not at the University. My only real thought was to visit the awesome people at Borderlands Books, but I never got my act together to give them the heads-up. No matter, it was more fun to walk in and it slowly dawn on them that I'm not normally part of their natural surroundings. The store is as beautiful as people say it is -- calming, especially in contrast to the chaos of my office. Alan, Jude, and Cary were gracious hosts but I have to admit, it was Ripley the Hairless Cat that stole my heart.

Cory Doctorow will be reading and signing books tonight. Anyone in the area, this should be a fun night. I'll be working but if I have the time, I will run over an try to catch a bit of event.

Without much ambition for the rest of the day, I simply walked and walked...and walked. I went to the De Young museum and saw some great works, but the sun and the drive to simply keep moving drew me back on the streets and walking again. I saw
Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, lots of residential neighborhoods, found a tennis ball (which I'll bring home for Fiona), a super-ball, and two science fiction paperbacks neatly laid out on stretch of brink wall (which I gave to Borderlands), almost by accident, I found the Pacific Ocean (which required crossing a highway and cutting under a fence) and then back to the hotel. Low on ambition, high on mind clearing easy activity.

I’m in San Francisco!

Chuck Pyle invited me out to view and judge the Academy of the Arts University student show. Yesterday was the judging and, while a tough assignment, I had a great time with it. These kids are amazing. Kudos to Chuck for keeping the judges focused while also giving us the latitude to shape the awards as best we felt they should go. And kudos to the great group to jury with: Dice Tsutsumi and Jennifer Chang from Pixar, illustrator Robert Hunt, and artist rep Richard Solomon. I'm looking forward to meeting the students and seeing their portfolios tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thumbnails: Patrick Arrasmith

Thumbnails: 30 Second Interviews

An ad in Locus Magazine pointed me towards a Subterranean Press edition of Snow Crash illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. Normally I don't need any reminding about how cool Patrick is, but it did remind me that I had yet to hassle him for a quick interview. Without further adieu....

Favorite painting you did in the past year?

I did a piece for Subterranean Press that was fun for me to explore getting color scratchboard to work in a new way. The book was New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear. [BOTTOM IMAGE] I've been playing with putting color into the scratchboard on the computer for a little bit now and this piece was put together in a modular way. I took the different elements and placed them together to make the end image that made me feel like I was getting somewhere.

Dream assignment?

Someone to pay me to write and illustrate the crazy daydreams I have while working at
a desk doing their art.

Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?

I think I was always doing art in one way or another, except for a brief moment when crafting drug paraphernalia took precedence. The moment for me was when I finally realized that I had to forget about the negative associations (starving artist etc.) of pursuing art as a career and just go for it.

What painting do you wish you painted?

Every time I get the new Spectrum book or go to a Society of illustrators Annual show I would say I feel jealous that I didn't paint so many of the images. But to not dodge the question I think the first time I saw the Gustave Doré engraving "Invocation to Muhammad" in college I had the strongest feeling of I wish I did that.

Most embarrassing illustration related moment?

Years ago turning in an utter turd to a trade magazine because I did it in the back of a van on a road trip. Literally the majority of the illustration was done at around 65 to 70 MPH. So unprofessional. When I first started I had trouble separating work and play.

What are you working on now?

The 5th installment of The Last Apprentice series of young adult fantasy novels. It's a decent
amount of work with interiors so it's been my only focus lately.

Orphan Works Act, Act Now

[From the Illustrators' Partnership of America]

Call to Action:

Last Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed their Orphan Works Act. It is now headed for the full Senate.

If you’ve written before, now’s the time to write again.
. Urge your senator to oppose this bill.

Because it has been negotiated behind closed doors, introduced on short notice and fast-tracked for imminent passage without open hearings, ask that this bill not be passed until it can be exposed to an open, informed and transparent public debate.

We’ve drafted a special letter for this purpose.

Contact your Senator in opposition to S.2913 NOW

The House Judiciary Committee is considering H.R. 5889, the companion bill now. Please write them again:

Contact your Congressman in opposition to H.R. 5889 NOW

2 minutes is all it takes to write your senator and representatives and fight for your copyrights. Over 68,000 e-mail messages have been sent so far.

Don't Let Congress Orphan Your Work.

Donato Giancola wins Hamilton King Award!

A huge congrats to Donato Giancola. He has won this year's Society of Illustrators' Hamilton King award for The Golden Rose.

This is a big deal. The Hamilton King Award is technically given to the best painting throughout the SI annual, as judged by past Hamilton King Award winners, but it has also come to signify something of a mid-career achievement award. Past winners include Bernie Fuchs, Leo and Diane Dillon, James McMullan, Mark English, Gary Kelley, Bob Peak....basically a "who's who" of illustration since 1965.

The award ceremony will take place in June in conjunction with the Illustrators Fall of Fame inductions. I'll be sure to post about it here.

Cheers, Donato!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gary Ruddell at the Henoch Gallery, NYC

When I first started at Tor, one of my most favorite people to work with was Gary Ruddell. About ten years ago he turned toward gallery work and, while we never kept in touch, I have very much enjoyed following his career from afar.

Last week, Gary had a solo show in Chelsea, at the Henoch Gallery. I was as excited to see him as I was to see his artwork. He was, as always, a delight and the paintings were, as expected, even more evocative in person than in the printed materials I have seen them.

He works on large canvases, exploring scenes that are both vast and deeply internal, realist and loose -- edges are often defined, obscured, and then re-defined. He has developed a personal language that the viewer feels confident in, whether or not they assign the same meaning to the imagery as Gary does. All in all, it becomes a kind of dream landscape that is truly exciting because it feels almost explicable.


Gary and I in 1999, Point Rhyes, California.

Marko Djurdjevic on Sidebar Nation

Being at work on a Sunday afternoon isn't my first choice of weekend activities, but this Marko Djurdjevic interview on Sidebar Nation is making the time go quickly.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jason Manley on Sidebar Nation

Another great interview from the folks at Sidebar Nation. This one with Jason Manley, founder of Massive Black and

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wallpaper: Jeff Jones and Bruce Jensen

Can it be a week already!?

Up this week, Jeff Jones and Bruce Jensen.

Grab them while you can at

Update from last week:

Eric Fortune made me clean my desktop. (Click here for the horrible "before.") If only someone could inspire me to do the same for my non-virtual desktop, I'd be golden.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Donato Giancola and The Last Paladin

Donato Giancola recently finished this painting for Kathleen Bryan's The Last Paladin.

Occasionally I will get a number of great sketches for one project. In this case, Donato had created a couple of sketches for the first book in the series, The Serpent and the Rose, and I hated the idea of picking just one of them. Luckily the editor, Beth Meacham, said that one would be perfect for Serpent while the other could be kept for this concluding volume. It was nice entering into a sales season knowing that we had an approved sketch a year and half before we needed the painting.


Final Painting.

Initial thumbnails. The top right became The Last Paladin while the bottom thumb was used for The Serpent and the Rose.

Flushing out the thumbnail.

Final Drawing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Greg Manchess and Dan Dos Santos Demo at RISD

A highlight of my year is an annual visit to Jon Foster's Rhode Island School of Design class. His students are great, Providence is beautiful in May, Jon's extended family of friends and artists are a delight, and Jon, himself, never seems happier than when he's playing match-maker between talented peoples.

This year Greg Manchess and Dan Dos Santos did a class crit and a demo. The object of their demo happened to be the super awesome former student of Jon's, Wesley Allsbrook. Wesley, I'm excited to say, is creating a short comic story for It's just a big happy circle of life thing.

Little Brother, Pablo's Take

Tor's mass market designer, Pablo Defendini, is a big fan of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. So much so, he's been working on an alternate cover, just for the heck of it. It's likely that we’ll keep the Peter Lutjen/Yuko Shimizu version for paperback -- since it is awesome and it seems to be doing a good job at branding -- but it's tons of fun, not to mention a great excersize, to see alternate takes on it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Phil Hale on Painting Tony Blair

A BBC interview with Phil Hale on the Tony Blair portrait.

[Thanks to Robert Wiener, publisher of Goad, for the heads up.]

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mary Rickert and I at the Sugar Loaf Cafe

(Lou Anders will hate me for this one.)

I know many people in publishing love to fetishize books. While I love books carefully put together and all the details thought through, once I'm reading a book I want to live with it, hard -- dog-eared, dog chewed, fallen asleep and drooled on, spilt tea. Whatever I'm going through, my books are going through. So, when I was heading out the Sugar Loaf Cafe on my bicycle and limited pocket space, I tore out the Mary Rickert story from Fantasy and Science Fiction. But it was torn with love.

(I should note: Gordon and John cleverly scheduled the Rickert story for the one month my subscription ran out -- thus, guaranteeing that I will not let my subscription lapse again.)

Obey the Tennis Ball!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Wallpaper: Eric Fortune and Pablo Defendini

This week @

One of my faves, Eric Fortune. Eric just found out that this painting was selected to be in the Society’s 50 year retrospective and is justifiably proud. (I swear I had nothing to do with it.) There was only room for about 400 images in that book so each annual is distilled to just a dozen images. Congrats, Eric!

And, I'm proud to say, Tor’s very own Pablo Defendini. He is one of our paperback book designers. Turns out, he’s a pretty bad ass illustrator as well. And a much better blogger than I am. (Yes, he must be stopped.)

(RELATED: There is a quick progression of Eric's painting here.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Speaking of Sam Weber, or, MicroVisions 3

I seem to be popular these past seven or ten days. Sam Weber and Dan dos Santos stopped by. Sam was dropping off his MicroVisions 3 painting, and it's to die for.

MicroVisions is a student scholarship fundraising auction. Each year, Dan and I ask a handful of sf/f artists to create a 5x7 painting. These are exhibited at the Society of Illustrators and then auctioned on eBay. 100% of the proceeds are put into the Society's scholarship fund.

(I really didn't mean to get into this but my fingers seem to keep typing...)

Seen here, MicroVisions 1 and 2. The third exhibit and auction will go up in June. A few paintings are done already. Once a few more are in, I'll start showing them off.

This year, our extremely generous crew includes:
Daren Bader
Jason Chan
Erik Gist
Joe Jusko
Nic Klein
Todd Lockwood
Glen Orbik
Yuko Shimizu
Shaun Tan
Sam Weber

Insanely Talented Student Spotlight: Jeremy Enecio

Jeremy Enecio: This guy is going far. If I hadn't met him myself, I wouldn't believe he's still in school.

(Thanks to Sam Weber for the intro.))

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Student Exhibition at the Society of Illustrators

I know it's easy to say that the student exhibit at the Society of Illustrators is the best night in the building, but, truly, that is not lip service. The exhibit displays just 130 paintings chosen from 6,000 entries -- by the numbers, it's harder to get into this show than any of the professional illustration annuals. The work is fantastic.

The opening was last Friday. Many professional illustrators were in the audience, soaking in the good will, energy, and enthusiasm from what, in one month's time, will be their colleagues and competition. As Terry Brown noted, these young people are, "Talented, scared, and ready." Peter Hamill was there to speak on behave of Burne Hogarth, winner of the Distinguished Educator award. A second Distinguished Educator's award went to
Vincent di Fate. Vin was not only one of the first people I worked with, he also took a lot of time to guide and help me learn what the heck my job was all about. I guess it should come as no surprise that a man who has spent a lifetime painting the future is so dedicated to nurturing the next generation of artists.

Congrats to Vin and the Hogarth family, and a huge congrats to all the students in the exhibition. And a hearty "thank you" to Scott Bakal for working tirelessly to put it all together.

All the paintings in the exhibit can be seen


Jane Radstrom, Albert Ramos Cortes, Francis Vallejo, Tony Mantano, and Nicholas Heiny.


Vincent Di Fate. Pete Hamill. Francis Vallejo receiving his award. Jeremy Enceio by his painting. (Keep an eye on both Francis and Jeremy -- these guys are crazy good.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Illustration Master Class Prep

Rebecca has been hard at work on all the details of the Illustration Master Class. She called for a summit meeting of all the instructors to finalize the curriculum. Here we are in Society's library doing just that. And, of course, the eating Indian food afterwards.

There are only 5 positions left for the Master Class. If anyone is debating attending, now is the time to decide.

Illustration Master Class
June 16-22, 2008
Amherst College Campus
$1,700.00 - includes meals and housing.

Julei Bell
Dan Dos Santos
Scott Fischer
Irene Gallo
Donato Giancola
Rebecca Guay
Greg Manchess
Boris Vallejo