Thursday, February 28, 2008

But wait, there’s more!

We’ve added artist's wallpapers to the pre-launch giveaways.

The first two come courtesy of Todd Lockwood and Stephan Martiniere -- because they are awesome painters and because they are awesome. (Thanks again, guys!) These are from Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory's To Light a Candleand Jay Lake's Escapement

They should be up and available tomorrow morning. If you haven’t registered yet, go here now. I mean it.

Space Vulture

[Via SF Signal]

Space Vulture
has a
new website up, and it includes a process essay from the cover artists
Glen Orbik and Laurel Blechman.

Thumbnail Interview with Glen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spectrum 15 Award Winners

Spectrum Award Winners Anounced.

Yay Everyone! (Especially Sam!)


Gold Award:
JOHNNY YANOK - Resurrection of the Blood-Zombies From Beyond. Client: Headless Spectre Records, art director: Doktor Viktor Von Kreep

Silver Award:
BROM -- Hellbent. Client: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., art director: Brom


Gold Award:
SAM WEBER -- [Top image] Thirteen Orphans by Jane Linskold. Cient: Tor Books, art director: Irene Gallo

Silver Award:
STEPHAN MARTINIERE -- City Without End by Kay Kenyon. Client: Pyr Books, art director: Lou Anders.


Gold Award:
JAMES JEAN -- [Third Image] Fables #66: The Good Prince. Client: Vertigo/DC Comics, art director: Shelly Bond

Silver Award:
ADAM HUGHES -- Carwoman #75. Client: DC Comics, art director: Mark Chiarello.


Gold Award:
DANIEL DOCIU -- [second image] Defeated Dragon client: ArenaNet/Guildwars, art director: Daniel Dociu.

Silver Award:
DANIEL DOCIU -- Carnival Season. Client: ArenaNet/Guildwars, art director: Daniel Dociu


Gold Award:
A. BRENT ARMSTRONG -- The Mummy Revisited

Silver Award:
AKIHITO IKEDA -- Heart of Art


Gold Award:
PHIL HALE -- Interpreter. Client Playboy Magazine, art director: Tom Staebler.

Silver Award:
KURT HUGGINS & ZELDA DEVON -- Singer. Client: Polluto Magazine, art director: Adam Lowe.


Gold Award:
ROBH RUPPEL -- Hot, Dry, & Deadly. Client: Broadview Graphics, art director Robh Ruppel.

Silver Award:
LARRY MACDOUGALL -- Rainy River. Client: Underhill Studio, art director P.A. Lewis


Gold Award:
OMAR RAYYAN -- The Apple

Silver Award:
BROM -- Black Coast. Art director Arnie Fenner


-- cover to Fables #67: The Good Prince. Client: Vertigo/DC Comics, art director: Shelly Bond)

(presented by the Spectrum Advisory Board)


The Spectrum Grand Master Award is presented to a living artist for career excellence.

The Lockwood Affair

I got to see a bit of this unfold from Todd’s point of view over the weekend. It was a bit of a panic but, thankfully, everyone seems to have come through in good stead. While I certainly regret Todd’s stressful weekend, I think a number of his friends were all enjoying the lemonade of seeing the huge response of the image as it spread throughout the internet.

From Multichannel:

"Upper Deck Entertainment commissioned the hush-hush artwork from award-winning fantasy artist Todd Lockwood and used it to develop a Stephen Colbert card they hoped to include in their upcoming World of Warcraft TCG (trading card game) deck.

But, according to Lockwood, Upper Deck was forced to shelve the card after Colbert’s reps rejected the idea. And Lockwood’s art never saw the light of day – until an unknown someone distributed it on the Internet........"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Visiting Hours

The three hoodlums of scifi: Dave Palumbo, Eric Fortune, and Dan Dos Santos.

Company is awesome...its good for at least twenty minutes of not working. Twenty-five if you post about.

Society of Illustrators Annual Gala 2008

The Society of Illustrators had their annual gala last Friday. I have to admit, after spending last weekend at Boskone, I was not excited about all the festivities that accompany the Society Gala but despite my best efforts, I had a really great time.

As usual, the weekend started with the Richard Solomon cocktail party on Thursday night. It’s a great way to start saying hellos and catching up with everyone from the following year. Friday night, I met up with Julie Bell, Boris Vallejo, Dan Dos Santos, and Eric Fortune for dinner and then it was off to the opening. It seems like a good show but, typical of openings, I saw very little of it. It is the 50th anniversary of the annual so there was an added bit of buzz in the air — made even made more poignant by being Terry Brown’s last annual gala as director of the Society. Terry has been the director for over 30 and is, to many people, synonymous with it.

The following days were spent with artists at various meals. (I will be eating nothing but broccoli for week to make up for it.) One of the most enjoyable traditions is having a drink (only one, since two would require a bank loan) at the Cafe des Artistes lounge. It's a tiny -- as in “even smaller than my living room” -- bar across the hall from the Christy covered restaurant of the same name. It's a great taste of an older, grander, New York. As it happened, Peter Yarrow was sitting to my left and Rufus Wainwright on my right.

Great conversations were had...I wish I could remember them all better. I know I got to talk to Cathie Bleck for a while and we both agreed about the healing powers of walking through woods and getting dirt on your shoes. Chris Payne was, as always very dedicated to his students, past and present. I was lucky enough to sit across from Mark Summers for a dinner -- I remember laughing a lot and spending time talking about how incredible Michael Deas is. I had a friendly debate with Gary Kelley about the fact that the internet is, in fact, useful for something. I got to talk a bit with Sam Weber and his wife, both medal winners this year. It’s was great to catch up a bit with Chris and Soo Jin Buzelli. Soo Jin asked if I would speak to her SVA class. I said “sure” and then immediately freaked. Typically I speak to classes run by artists -- Soo Jin is one of the most respected art directors around. I've never had to speak in front of anyone that actually knows what I do.

More photos once I catch my breath. It was a great weekend, but now I am really looking forward to being bored in my apartment for a while.

Congrats to Peter de Seve, the chairman of this year’s show. Being the 50th anniversary, he had a lot of pressure to do right by it — and he did.

First set:
Julie Bell, Boris Vallejo, Eric Fortune, Dan Dos Santos, and me at dinner.
Scot Brundage, Brad Holland, Peter de Seve.
Dan Dos Santos, Dave Palumbo.
Sam Weber, Jullian Tamaki.

Steve Stroud Richard Solomon, and Mike Mrak.

Peter de Seve talking to Tina Louise, aka Ginger from Gilligan's Island. Go figure.

Various peoples at dinner, which I will update with captions when I have a few extra minutes.s

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spectrum Judging Photos

All those hopes and dreams...

Check it out -- Spectrum is posting shots of the judging throughout the day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jon Foster Podcast

Sidebar's talk with Jon Foster, Part 2, is posted.

I haven't heard it yet, but I'll make Jon my company while at work today.

Monday, February 18, 2008

TorDot: What's it all about?

A week+ ago I mentioned that everyone should sign up for our "new project." We were being a little quiet about what the project is since it keeps evolving as we are working on it. This article on Bloggasm, however, basically says it...

"Tor Books, a major science fiction and fantasy publisher, announced recently that it would offer free weekly ebooks of its print titles if you sign up for its email newsletter. But this is just part of a larger online expansion that will include social networking and the publication of original short fiction and's intended to be a "go-to site, a central community" for science fiction and fantasy fans."

I will add that the commissioned fiction will be accompanied by commissioned
artwork and we are working gallery section that will contain portfolios for 100 artists. This wont be the kind of peer-to-peer workshop site that and CgSociety is, but it will be a place for fans and art directors to get a taste of an artist's work and then link into the artists' sites.

Boskone: Sunday

Boskone is always one of my favorites - it's one of the few conventions where I get to spend as much time talking to authors as artists...And they're not such a bad not, those authors.

I also love that the New England con runners tend to make an effort to give historical context to the artwork. The last Boston World Con had a large and wonderful show of sf/f art through the ages, last year's Boskone had a Hubert Rogers show, and this year there was a sampling of past Artists Guests of Honor painting. They had work from Vin di Fate, James Gurney, John Schoenherr, and others on display.

And speaking of Guests of Honor, it seems that I will be one of them next year, along with Jo Walton and someone named Dr. Seti. Any normal person would rest assured that they have three hundred and sixty-five days to think of something to say. I, however, am sure to worry about stage fright all year. Despite that, I am honored and very much looking forward to it.


First set:

Omar Rayyan showing off his wares. Charles Stross. Dave Seeley.

The rest:

Unquestionably, the highlight of Boskone each year is hanging out with Rick Berry at his studio -- some good company, a little music, great conversation, and whole lot of paint.

In the oh-so-wholesome group shot it's
Karl Schroeder, me, Toby Buckell, and Rick. (Sadly, Robert Wiener is missing from the shot.)

Boskone: Saturday


Hanging out at the bar.

Omar Rayyan busting out the watercolors at the bar.

Bb Eggleton painting demo.

John Godin's super cool meerschaum pipe collection.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jon Foster Speaks

Jon Foster podcast on Sidebar.

Jon is one of my favorites artists and one of my favorite peoples. (Of course, I am in no way influenced by the fact I'm co-editor on Jon's art book Revolution.)

Sidebar has posted a great podcast interview so there is no excuse for anyone not to be smitten by him.

And the best news, this is listed as "Part 1". (My favorite quote so far, "Self deprecation is my other skill.")

I’ll take it as some measure of success that someone told me I should go check out Irene Gallo’s blog.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Boskone: Friday

I got to Boskone a little later than I expected, but I got here. I was too late to register or get to any panels so I mostly spent the evening lounging in bar. It's tough, I know. Rick Berry had an advanced copy of his Sparrow book -- very hot. (Sparrow is a series of wee art books produced by Ashley Wood.) I did get to the art reception but, as always, receptions are great places for schmoozing, not for seeing the show.

Perhaps I will have more to report after today....Or it will simply be a series of photos and shout-outs, more likely.


Rick Berry and Karl Schroeder

Toby Buckell, Rick's Sparrow, a bad shot of a great Jon Schoenherr painting, and Bob Eggleton

Somewhere between NYC and Boston. As much as I love spending this weekend with friend and colleagues each year, I should admit that I look forward to the train ride up to Boston almost as much as the convention. There aren't many times that I can do absolutely nothing but stare out the window. For hours.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Art Hugo Talk

The Tor web project has taken quite a bit of my time so I am, shamefully, among the last to point to the excellent article about the Art Hugo posted on the Spectrum website. Doubly shameful since I spent a lot of time at the LA World Con business meeting trying to amend the Art Hugo rules.

The problem in a nutshell:
Until last year, just four people won the Art Hugo in the past 25 years. Those four are excellent artists but do not represent the full breadth of what the field had to offer. (The fact that John Berkey never won is just one of many oversights that diminishes the award.) Clearly, momentum voting was dictating winners. Donato Giancola, John Picaio, and I made a plea to amend the rules in order to get people to think more carefully before voting. Perhaps change is on its way, certainly blogs and website have helped — there have been new names creeping up list (Stephan Martiniere, John Picacio) and Donato Giancola finally won a long-deserved Hugo last year.

The current cheat sheet:

Arnie and Cathy Fenner’s excellent article.

John Klima and Lou Anders response.

And the hugely helpful Mark Kelley cover index.


Part two of the cover art panel at the World Fantasy Convention is now up on the Tor Podcast page.

New Dinos for Valetine's Day. Cool.

National Geographic Story.

Drawings by Todd Marshall.

In my next life, I want to work at the American Museum of Natural History.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fresh Paint: Wesley Allsbrook

Sometimes you see a student and you breath a sigh of relief knowing that here is one young artist that will have no trouble building a career -- it'll still be hard work, but it's inevitable. With that in mind, Wesley Allsbrook, out of school less than a year and doing amazing work...

Where did you go to school and how do you feel they prepared you for your career, both artistically and in business?

I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2007. I don't think that I'd be doing the kind of work that I'm doing now were it not for RISD. The people that I met there have been invaluable developmentally, and in terms of the progress of my career. What helped me most of all was being able to work with faculty who were actively illustrating as well as teaching. People like this can give students an intimate view of what their lives may be like as illustrators.

What has been your biggest challenge post graduation?

It's been interesting guessing what working schedule generates the greatest productivity for me. When do I wake up, eat, buy groceries? How often should I send my mailers and visit clients? Should I wear pants if no one can see me? So really, it's just orchestrating the quotidian basics that would otherwise be all but covered if I had a more conventional job. Also, health insurance. And I could get out a little more.

Do you feel as though you've had your first break yet?

Sure, my first break was the first piece I ever got published for the Bells and Whistles section of PLANSPONSOR Magazine, art directed by SooJin Buzelli. This opportunity for publication came to me through a RISD Editorial class taught by Chris Buzelli. After that first piece, working with SooJin almost exclusively, I've been able to build a small, functional published portfolio. When you find an AD who values your work and wants to use you consistently, take care to cultivate that relationship.

Do you think you have a breakthrough painting in which you made a leap in your abilities?

Maybe not a specific breakthrough painting, but definitely a breakthrough process. As a student I was able to take silkscreen, litho, and woodblock classes. Thinking about the way that a printed image is made, as a collection of single color layers functioning codependently, changed the way I thought about building an image.

Can you share with us a favorite painting by another artist?

My favorite illustrator at the moment is Oscar Cahen. His work for MacLean's Magazine in the fifties really gets me fired up. Even now most of his illustrations don't look dated.

What are some of your successful promotional methods?
I try to do a mailing of promotional cards at least every six months. I also take every opportunity to peruse the newsstands for art directors to contact. The names of art directors, the street address, and telephone number of a magazine's editorial office can be found in the masthead, usually located near the front of the publication. It's good to re-check publications every now and then, as art directors come and go. With a healthy list of potential clients, I pick a day or two about a week ahead in my calendar and start cold calling. With any luck, five or six of my original list are available to see my portfolio on my predetermined day.

As far as meetings go, it's good to arrive on time and prepared. Don't say anything disparaging about yourself when discussing your work. If the meeting's going well and the client seems enthusiastic about the quality of the work, it's a good idea to ask about other publications or art directors that might be interested in using you.

Do you have a clear idea where you'd like to be in five years?

Right now I'm only just sustainable. In five years I'd like to be comfortable. Presently I've never gone a month without at least one editorial job. I'd like to never go a week without doing an editorial job. I'd also love to be able to do some book and advertising work. I want to be on friendly terms with some of the illustrators I admire. I want to own a small studio set up for screen-printing. My friend Jesse and I are really into American modernist architecture, so we'll probably get a thirty-year mortgage on Falling Water where we'll sit on the porch with shotguns and shoot playfully at other cantilever-enthusiasts.

How do you stay motivated while building a portfolio after school?

Needing money, I find, is pretty motivational. Maintaining an enthusiasm for your work is really the important thing. I think you do this by drawing what you love, rather than what you believe your clients want to see. The work can only improve as a result. Also, if your portfolio is full of images in which you have a personal investment, it's more likely that you'll be hired to do work that will give you a similar kind of satisfaction.

Also, keep an eye on what your friends are doing. I find that I work more steadily when there's an element of competition and jealousy to the whole experience. A little auto-deprecation can be useful too, though it's certainly not for everyone

I worked a little as a student, then only as a freelancer following graduation. If you have loans, or graduate without a solid financial base, you may need another job to supplement your initial income.

Any advice to younger artists still in school?

First I suppose you have to decide what exactly you want from your professional life. When I applied to college I knew I wanted to be an illustrator, and by the time I was a junior I knew that editorial wasn't a bad place for me to begin. Build a clear and directed portfolio before you graduate. Make your website, print your mailers, and start contacting clients in the semester preceding your graduation. Enter every contest you can find (Society, CMYK, American Illustration, Spectrum, 3x3…). Seek out professional experience. Keep working despite whatever setbacks you encounter. Eat lots of green vegetables. Don't be scared.

ICon 5 Speakers

[via Drawger]

Icon 5 has announced their list of speakers. Lots of cool people. Of particular interest to readers here (possibly):

Stephan Martiniere
James Jean
Tara McPherson
Greg Spalenka

And of huge interest to me, The Half-Tones are playing the confernce party. I'm a bona fide groupie of just two bands: Martin Hayes & Denis Cahill, and The Half Tones. (I admit that because working in science fiction doesn't quiet make me enough of a geek.)

Icon poster art by Edel Rodriguez

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday Stuff

The radio just played Michael Feinstein and Nancy Lamot singing "Getting To Be Habit With Me" and now I've got goosebumps and smile bigger than Manhattan. It also makes me not want to leave the radio anytime soon -- luckily it's a rainy, lazy Saturday. So, rather than get work done I’ll hang out here....


In response to the "Something New From Tor" Tracy emailed me: "That is pretty cool -- but how do you manage to find the time to do ALL of the things you do?"

It's called having an amazing staff. Each and every one
of them. Cheers to Bridget, Jamie, Pablo, Peter, Seth, and Vanessa. Did I say they are amazing? I meant to say super amazing.

Just read this on their site.
"We're going to try to post photos and – if the software works – some video clips during the judging just to keep everyone in the loop. Stay tuned!"

Very cool. It'll be fun to get a taste of what's going on. I've only been a judge twice (for some reason everyone thinks I'm a judge annually) and I’m jealous each year when others are there. It's an exhausting day but the Fenners treat you like kings and you get to see tons of great work. It's impossible to leave without being excited about the industry.


I've owed Vincent Villafranca a shout-out for ages. He creates amazing bronze sculptures, like this my cyclops dog that I love. He’s able to imbue his work with so much personality and a natural and easy body language. Check out his site, but know that the photos do not do them justice.

OK, the radio has moved on to Sinatra. I can go now.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Something New From Tor!

Something new from Tor.

At the Christmas party a year+ ago, one of our high corporate guys pulled editors Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and myself aside and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if...!!!”

In this case the “if” is...well, something I'm not suposed to spell out at the moment -- which I don’t quiet understand but, anyway -- it involves, among other things, me being able to work with more artists and talking about art to a larger audience and that has me excited. It’s been a mostly fun year seeing it evolve from bar-talk into a reality. We just put a pre-registration page up, so, sign up! Early and often! If you do, you’ll get free ebooks from out most popular series every week until we go live. I believe the first two up are Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, with many more to come.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Tor Podcasting

The latest Tor podcast is a panel discussion on book covers with Lou Anders, John Picacio, Tom Kidd, Jacob Weisman, and yours truly. Recorded at the Saratoga Springs’ World Fantasy, November 2007. (Part 1 of 2. Part 2 will be posted next Thursday.)

I guess I should listen and remind myself what we said but, god, I hate hearing myself on tape.

I should also fess up and say, at one
point Jacob mentions that artists are not hired based on their best work but on their worst. I have since taken that as my own and have repeated it often. It's a great point to make to younger artists putting together a portfolio.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sandy Kossin

Illustration Art and Today's Inspiration have taken time to point out Sandy Kossin’s excellent work. Soooo, I thought I'd take the opportunity to brag about my latest acquisition. I saw this 1967 Argosy painting at the Society ages ago and it stuck in my mind. This year, it became my birthday/Christmas/Flag Day, etc. present. And the best part -- visiting Sandy and his wife and getting to spend hours poking around his studio and seeing the famous Life Magazine Bay of Pigs paintings on the walls. It was a great day. He spoke very passionately about painting. It was particularly touching to see Greg pull out tear-sheets that he had been saving since he was a kid that showed Sandy’s work. Go and read the articles linked above and enjoy.

Wish List: Jim Murray

Jim Murray

Can’t we commission cover paintings and then have the books written around them?

I saw this top image on Spectrum and just loved it. His site is full of amazing work. Great action, truly exotic creature designs, and of course that amazing color. It looks like the surfaces would be amazing in person.

I will, however, take this opportunity to point out one my my biggest pet peeves: Watermarks make art look schmutzy. You
don’t want your art to look schumtzy. Value is one of the most important things about a painting and, by definition, a watermark screws up the values.