Thursday, July 31, 2008

San Diego Zoo. Good Times.

Stephan Martiniere on Sidebar Nation

I'm in a cafe and cannot hear this now. Nooes! But ya'll should and take a listen. I envy those Sidebar guys their ease of talking and asking cool questions.

Stephan Martiniere on Sidebar Nation.

Comic Con Wrap Up

In past years I complained that ComicCon lasts about a day an half too long, this year I needed at least another day and half to see everything I wanted to. Everything is still a blur and so, a rather disjointed and sure-to-overlook-too-much recap:

The demos were a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Particularly when a number of people told me that they
were worth the price of admission, all on their own. It was gratifying to see as many established pros attending them as there were emerging artists.

I had the pleasure of introducing Tobias Buckell to his cover artists, Todd Lockwood. They stared at each other for half a beat a
nd then broke into a manly bear hug.

I was reunited with a number of the Illustration Master Class alumni -- great to know that those bonds are strong. gave away a handful of t-shirts, many books, and tens of thousands of buttons. It turns out, giving stuff away is fun! Special thanks to Deirdra for being our A#1 giveawayer.

I met John Howe and had a lovely conversation about the pricelessness of original paintings. I was also excited to meet Christian Alzmann and Robh Ruppel - both lovely guys and great artists. All on my wish-list.

I had a great dinner with Spectrum. The Fenners are truly dedicated to helping advance illustration, they always have many interesting ideas and insights into the field.

The good folks at io9 invited us out for a fun meeting of minds meal.

I had breakfast with David Apatoff and his charming wife Nell. David writes the always insightful Illustration Art. One of my must-read blogs.

Lunches consisted of way too many chips, and pizzas, and other horrible convention "food" items. This part I will not miss.

The final night, Team got together for a small bonding dinner and ran through our first impressions of the convention. I swear, more good comes from co-worker meals than any kind of office meeting.

Now I am sitting at home with a pile of promising portfolios and postcards to go through. I'll use them to reference the artists website and see who I want to put in my wish-list, who I want to invite into the Tor galleries, and who looks like they have enough promise that I should keep tabs on.

I wish I had kept up the blog as I went and reported more cohesively, but I'm sure I’ll keep referring back to things I saw as the weeks go by. All in all -- I can't wait for next year!

FIRST SET: Deirdra, Carey Tse, and a Storm Trooper. SECOND SET: Mark Winters looking at Rick Berry's portfolio. Eric Fortune showing off his wares. Todd Lockwood giving Scott Murphy some pointers. THIRD SET: Spectrum dinner. Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Io9 dinner. Rebecca Guay at her booth. FOURTH SET: Costumes FIFTH SET: Eric Fortune v. Dave Palumbo. (I forgot who won.) BELOW: Tobias Buckell and Todd Lockwood. Rick Berry and I. John Howe and Donato Giancola.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

David Apatoff Made Me Cry

David Apatoff, of Illustartion Art, just bought a Heifer goat in my honor.

David, you're karma quota must be high. You are awesome beyond all awseomeness. It's like Christmas, but better.

Dan Dos Santos, Painting Fast

Massive Black released this way-cool trailer for their upcoming instructional DVD, Book Cover Illustration with Dan Dos Santos. The cover in question is, Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can I haz goat, please.

More of the zoo later, but I just had to show off this little guy right away. Comic Con was fun but this made my week.

I think I'll go to Heifer International and buy another goat for someone else.

ComicCon Demos

Quick write-ups over on

Jon Foster

Greg Manchess

Rick Berry

Stephan Martiniere

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SDCC: End of Preview Night

Preview night is over and it’s already late, ate night. (Actually, I should say, an not-early-enough morning.)

It started by trying in instigate a fight between and Io9, which didn't go very far. Instead we traded buttons and business cards and the Io9 people were so cool, they invited us to crash a DC party under their name.

There, I had my second Batman moment of the con -- party swag included Bat signal light-up pens!!! So very exciting. (I love TV Batman. True, I know nothing of the cool Batman comic books and hip movies, but campy-ass TV Batman is part of my soul.)

After we finger-fooded our why through dinner and had a couple of drinks, we headed off to the traditional illustrators' haunt, the Westin lobby. It was a slowish night -- it’s the first day of the con and most people just arrived today -- still, I had a great night talking to a number of people, including Jeremy Lassen, of Night Shade Books. Jeremy has the dubious pleasure of being both a editor and art director - it was very interesting for me to hear his take on the business. I’m hoping to interview him and/or have him write a bit for Tor that explores what it’s like to wear these two hats simultaneously. (And, anyone that knows Jeremy, knows who seriously he takes his hats.)

But for now...sleeeep. Wonderful, wonderful sleep.


Tor’s Patrick Nielson Haydon and Io9’s Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders. Scenes from the DC party.

Hanging out at the Weston. Jeremy Lassen, Greg Manchess, and Jon Foster looking and Kristina Carroll’s (hidden behind Jon) portfolio. Jeremy Lassen. Dave Palumbo, AKA, the man who made me famous via zombification. Donato and I.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

SDCC: Set-up

I always look forward to some kind of Batman moment at ComicCon -- so here I am on Wednesday feeling oddly complete for the week.

As usual Wednesday afternoon is all about running round. A shout out to all the union guys who were surprisingly nice to me as a danced with their forklifts. Another shout out to Adam the Cabie for cheerfully shuttling us to Dick Blick Art Supplies, to pick up a number of things for the upcoming demos, and then to the Apple store, and finally back to command (aka Carey and Liz's room.) Luckily all this running around made me just miss helping out my friends doing their set-up. (Shucks, guys, I meant to help.)

And now the doors are open and the "slow" day is already a mob scene.

San Diego Comic Con: Arival

After one sleepless night of getting ready, I am now in San Diego, anxiously awaiting ComicCon starting tomorrow. My hotel is just two short block away from the convention center. Yay!Although it has Victorian doll displays that you pass by in the elevator between floors...much more creepy than pretty. I wonder which they where going for.

The convention hall is already busy, with union workers rather than fans. I'm always amazed how quickly the convention takes over the entire city. Every lamp post has SDCC signs, every bus is covered in the year's hot movie posters, I even saw a pedicab with an "Alex Ross At Booth ..." sign.

Tomorrow the action starts -- set-up and opening of preview night.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wish List: Chris Buzelli

Chris Buzelli has long been on my wish list. Art that is smart yet warm, hip yet approachable. And now he’s gone and done a blog post that makes me think a coffin can be worth spending more than a $1.98 on.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The "Other" Site

After 15 hours straight of answering emails and pressing “refresh”, I have made it through day 1 of What this does to The Art Department, I’m not sure. I would like to keep both running without too many posts being a simple redirect, but in the beginning the balance will be a bit off.

So, playing catch up, here are a couple of part related posts over there:

A quick interview with Dice Tsutsumi on the Totoro Project:
"Our first goal for this project was, of course, to raise funds to help save the Sayama Forest, the birthplace of our beloved Totoro. However, this event has had huge symbolic meaning for us as well. It has been thrilling to see so many people come together, united by their admiration for Hayao Miyazaki's work, and to see how much art and artists can contribute to the material improvement of our shared world."

A quick post about a cool online vide game gallery: Into the Pixel

Adam Rex on Frankenstein Takes the Cake

Pablo Defendini promises a series of book cover design critiques.

Soon there will be Dan Dos Santos’ art and sketches for a new Tor cover.

Lastly, wallpapers galore! For one week we are reoffering all of the books and wallpapers given out during our pre-reg promo. If you missed any, you have until next Sunday to grab ‘em.

Sunday, July 20, 2008 Launches has launched today, on the anniversary of man's landing on the moon.

It started out innocently enough. About a year and half ago, at the company Christmas party, Sr. VP of Holtzbrinck, Fritz Foy, came up with a notion to create a "river of conversation, art, and fiction" within the sf/f community. At the time it was (or at least I thought it was) to be a cute little side project between him, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and myself, but as we flushed it out and excitement grew it evolved into a full-on "Digital Initiative."

Early in the process, our president, Brian Napak, told us to go home and do a word association exercise -- think of ten words that should embody I was the first to roll my eyes and never got around to it, but others did, and "genuine" and "authentic" kept raising to top. Anytime we started to steer off course during development, we repeated the mantra "genuine" and it always cleared the way. Hopefully that comes across in the final (and yet ever evolving) product.

Which is to say...
I hope we have built a place where we can share the things we genuinely enjoy. We will fill it with new fiction and art, and some interesting bloggers, but the real fun will be in what the members make of it. Stop in, shape and take over the conversation, jump into threads already started or start your own, fill your profiles with pictures and art. In short: Make yourself at home.

I think I can speak for the team and say that we have put together something we are all very proud of. As the project grew it included many more people than we started with - some new to me that will remain life-long friends, and others that I've worked with for years and my respect and admiration for them has only grown. Mazal tov to everyone in the band: Fritz, Patrick, Teresa, Jamie, Megan, Bridget, Liz, Pablo, Dave, Larry, Richard, Faith, Gina, the folks at Tridian, Carey, Mina...I hope I'm not forgetting anyone.

Lastly, but not least of all, a tremendous amount of thanks and gratitude goes out to my full staff. They have picked up much more than their fair share of our workload, making up for the shinny distractions of Thank you and I have not forgotten about our lunch!

(And Fritz, no more Christmas party ideas for a while. Please.)

Friday, July 18, 2008 T-Shirt Making Party gets their colors on.

First of all, Pablo Defendini worked his ass off to make this happen, and we thank him. At one point, I'd have sworn he grew four arms, reaching out to answer panicked “Pablo!?!?”s.

It’s all Cory Doctorow’s fault, really. I saw his blog post on silk screen t-shirts, which reminded me of ho much fun it was to make a seven color silk screen t-shirt of In the Night Kitchen when I was in high school. Then I saw Pablo’s blog post on making a screen print inspired by Cory’s Little Brother. So.......he were all are getting our hands all inky red, black, and green.

Of course, we'll all wake up in the morning and suddenly realize we didn't really need to have ten shirts with on them, but, hey, it was lots of fun. Even more so than I thought it would be.

Once again, thank you, Pablo, for getting this all set up for us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Donato Giancola Painted Asus Giveaway

As a promo for, we asked Donato to paint an Asus mini computer which you, yes you, can win! To sign-up, go to

The first time I watched this I realized what makes Donato Donato. There's a point about third of the way through where I thought he was done....and then he keeps painting.

The computer is in my office and is supposed to be on display at ComicCon. It's been hard to bat co-workers away from it. Should it go missing, my list of suspects is long.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adam Rex Takes the Cake

Adam Rex sayz that Frankenstein Takes the Cake, his follow up to Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (aka: funniest book evah -- visually and textualy) is available early through Amazon. Best news I've heard all day.

[Earlier post on Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich]

Sunday, July 13, 2008

HeckBoy and Other Sightings

For as long as I’ve known Dan Dos Santos, I know he's wanted to do a movie poster. I also know he’s a huge Hellboy fan. You can imagine his excitement when the two came together and he was asked to create a poster for Hellboy 2. Alas, if nothing else, Hollywood is fickle and they didn't run it.. This is very common, actually. The movie industry often commissions many more paintings then they expect tp use in the end. (If only books had that luxury.) But congrats to Dan for a choice commission and job well done.

Art Department commentator Eric Orchard is included in the Totoro Forest Project. Congrats on that. Once again, that is a fantastic collection of work and everyone involved should feel very proud.

Last Man Standing 3, round three is up. The theme this time:Unfair Advantage. I’m a judge throughout the competition and, as usual, there are some heartbreaking decisions. (Seen here, Richard Anderson's entry.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

An I Love NY Night

I ran into a band of lightsaber wielding Jedi-Knights-To-Be in Washington Square Park last night. Because no one working at Tor can throw stones at anyone else's geekdom, the only thing to do was hang around around and watch for twenty minutes. How else would you hear conversations like, "So, when a Storm Trooper shoots his blaster at you, you can...."

After that, it was off to CafĂ© Henri -- a whole-in-the-wall crepe place that reminded me my second super power should be “eating anything I want without getting sick or gaining weight.”

On an after-dinner stroll, we ran into a sidewalk astronomer who showed us Jupiter and some of it’s moons. Incredibly cool.

And then it was off to meet Simon Shaw and the Kiwis in the Meat Packing district.....which turns out to be a maze of velvet ropes and Sex in the City Wanna-bes. A little trying but we did manage to score one amazing view of East Manhattan out of it, before settling down at a place we could talk and almost hear each other. Once again, Simon, Jo, Blake, Michelle, Kristin, and Dave were amazing company and will be missed when they leave our hemisphere. Safe travels, guys!

We're Two!

The Art Department is two today!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Totoro Forest Project

I've been hearing (and sometimes seeing) rumblings of this for a while. Now, Julien Alday was kind enough to send me link to the website.

Tortoro Forest Project

Dice Tsutsumi has gathered 200 animators and illustrators to create original works of art to be auctioned in support of Sayama Forest, Hayao Miyazaki's inspiration for Totoro. (And it's a known medical fact that anyone that doesn't love Totoro doesn't have a heart.) The auction will be September 6th. It appears that a book is in the making. Poke through the website – there are so, so, many amazing paintings there. (Memo to self: Must rob bank.)

A huge round of applause to Tsutsumi and everyone involved. This is a top-notch job done on a very special project.

Beth Cavener Stichter

If I were in Coeur D'Alene,ID, I would be at the Beth Cavener Stichter exhibit, Apologia, opening tomorrow. Instead, I am very envious of anyone near Coeur D'Alene, ID.

No pictures of the new work yet, but I'll be sure to post some here if the gallery site provides them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Naomi Novik and Charles Ardai Book Launch Party

Naomi Novik and Charles Ardai, regency dancers and half a burlesque trope. What's not to love.

I just got back from Charles and Naomi's launch party for Victory of Eagles and Fifty-To-One, held at the Explorers Club. (Where I now realize I would like to live.) It was all too much fun, and ran much too late into the night, to report comprehensibly, except to say: it included a lot of great conversation with authors, editors, art reps, bloggers, readers, and book stores buyers; a polar bear and Peary's sleigh; Charles Knight and Tom Lovell paintings; and the always great Indian food at Agra.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm a Zombie!

OMG! Just saw this via, John Joseph Adam's Twitter. Dave Palumbo grabbed a couple Master Class peeps and asked us to act like zombies. And so, here we are. I'm at the far right. Too much fun!

Not sure how committed I am to this whole Twitter thang, but it seemed like it might be fun to get used to before heading off to ComicCon. (I wished I had thought to Twitter the Master Class.) So, for any that care:

Holy Schmoley!

This week marks 15 years at Tor!

My boss, the awesome Mr. Tom Doherty, just came down and reminded me with some nice words.

...I guess I better jump on some of these deadlines I've been dreading -- see if I can make it to 20.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th

Fourth of July from on top of the Flatiron -- made even better with a band of Kiwis to indoctrinate into our American holiday.

Shout outs to Simon Shaw and the rest of the New Zealand/Watermark group: Jo, Dave, Blake, Michelle, Christine. (Jo Tronc, by the way, creates the super cute Midnight Louie covers for our Carole Nelson Douglas cat detective books.) I don't know if it's Simon's charm or New Zealanders in general but, every time he comes to the states he always manages to bring along a tribe of the most warm, inviting, and funny people with him. (Sorry about missing the rugby, Simon, the City that Never Sleeps likes to vanish to the Hamptons on summertime bank holiday weekends.)

Greg Manchess Teaching at Rockwell Museum

Arkady reminds me that I should mention....

Fully Loaded Brush: Painting with Gregory Manchess
August 4th--8th
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA
10:00A.M. -- 4:00P.M.
Explore the art of realist painting with Gregory Manchess, a virtuoso with a brush whose artworks have appeared both on gallery walls and in our nation's most prominent publications. Demonstrations, direct painting from the figure in light and shadow, and an emphasis on process and technique will inspire you to hone your abilities and acquire new skills.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Wallpapers: Chris McGrath and John Harris

Fireworks from at least, exploding spaceships and sexy babes. This week's wallpapers are courtesy of Chris McGrath and John Harris.

We also announce that the site will launch on July 20th, aka moon landing day. Yay! This will give us a day or two to get our feet wet before head into a lot of ComicCon coverage.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Moebius Documentary

[Thanks to Tim Atkins on for the link]

John Jude Palencar sketches are in for our new Charles de Lint book and I am very excited. I'll share once the painting is done.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Random Late Night Wall-Eizing

Wall-E is, in a word, freaking amazing. Might just be my favorite Pixar movie yet.

Among many other things, it reminded me of a series of Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction covers by Mel Hunter. Both portray a humorous attempt to understand humanity by the objects we surround ourselves with and the heartbreaking ways in which those objects fall short in describing who we are.

As usual with Pixar, I have a hard time deciding which I like better, the movie or the concept work. I'm glad I don't have to decide - I loved the movie so much I ran straight to the bookstore to pick up The Art of Wall-E.

Over on the Spectrum website, Arnie Fenner asks whether Wall-E's Axiom space craft was an homage to John Berkey. Looking at the concept drawings, (insert to the left) leaves little doubt.

[Thanks to for the Mel Hunter images.]