Monday, June 21, 2010

Jon Foster on Cherie Priest’s Dreadnought, once and again

Here’s a situation where we got a great image from Jon Foster but...Marketing felt it was missed the steampunk mark a bit. I hated to admit it, because it is a great painting, but it does feel too solidly placed in actual history. So, giant steam robot to the rescue!

And through the wonders of the internets, the first still gets to live in the world.

For Cherie Preist’s Dreadnought, sequel to her Boneshaker. You can see another Foster-Priest collab set in the same world on Clementine, published by Subterranean Press.

UPDATE: For author squee.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing trailer. In word, awesome!

Shaun Tan’s fifteen minute animated adaptation of his book The Lost Thing—the story of a boy’s empathy with a lost, er, thing and his attempts to help it find its place—is completed and making the festival circuit. If anyone gets a chance to see it, please report back! I’m dying to see it.

In the meantime, anyone else as in love with Shaun’s work as I am can play around on are character studies, color keys and production drawings to see. And if that is not enough, check out this 5 minute documentary on the movie.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

6,600 thank yous

A huge thanks to all that participated in MircoVisions. It was a record-breaking year, at $6,600.00!

Thanks to all the artists and bidders, winners and losers. Sadly, it takes a runner-up to make an auction — we appreciate all of you.

There will be a few more smiling kids next May because of all your efforts.

...Now, who should we get for next year.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

MicroVisions 5 auction now live!

MicroVisions 5 auction is now live on eBay.
Opening bids start at $50.00.
Auction ends Wednesday, May 26th.

Each year, Dan Dos Santos and I ask about a dozen artists to create a 5x7 painting of their choosing. These miniatures are exhibited at the Society of Illustrators and placed on auction with all proceeds going to the Society’ student scholarship fund.

This year’s contributors pulled out all the the stops and created an amazing exhibit. A huge thank you to the artists that have given so generously of the time and talent: Scott Altmann, Scott Bakal, Rick Berry, Bill Carman, Jon Foster, Donato Giancola, Michael Kaluta, Tim O’Brien, Omar Rayyan, Allen Williams, and Boris Vallejo.

The Society Scholarships are among the illustrations industry’s toughest awards. Less than two hundred students are chosen to be in the exhibit from nearly 6,000 entries—about half of them earn cash awards. Not only do these awards help subsidize students financially, they also go a long way to boost the confidence of young artists (and their nervous parents) by proving their voices stand out amongst thousands of others. It’s never long before you start seeing the winners on their way to becoming the field’s biggest names—John Jude Palencar, James Jean, Tomer Hanuka, Dan Dos Santos and hundreds of others since the Scholarship’s inception in 1981.

For those of you in New York, the exhibit is on display at the Society of Illustrators through May 22nd.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Julie Bell and The Path of Daggers

This month’s Wheel of Time ebook release features the fabulous Julie Bell!

“In the end, Julie created strong and individual characters, each one looking as competent in their own right as the next, clearly working together for a greater power.”

Check out the article to read the whole story, including a video interview with Julie.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Boris Vallejo’s MicroVisions

Last, certainly not least, Boris Vallejo.

You know, when you’re dealing with Boris you never expect anything but his “A” game...and still he can knock your socks off. Wow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tor Books turns 30!

Last Friday was our birthday — Tor turned 30!

To commemorate the occasion, I put together a “walk through the halls” photo essay. Come on by and say Hi. It’s a peak inside the offices along with a quick introduction to some of the people behind the books.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rick Berry’s MicrvoVisions

Rick Berry’s “Rainmaker” MicroVisions.

I was lucky enough to pick up one of Rick’s unreal portraits at this year’s Boskone. I love how his figures feel as though they are part of some primal shadow world, just on the cusp of corporeality.

Check out his newly updated website and his artbook, Sparrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy birthday, Mr. Sondheim

Donato Giancola’s MicroVisions

Anyone following Donato Giancola’s website closely has seen a few new Lord of the Rings drawings and paintings. That’s because he’s working on what sounds like a dream job, a Tolkien inspired art book for Underwood Books (the publishers of Spectrum.)

Donato took advantage of the time spent on MicroVisions to creat this portriat of Dwarf Telchar forging Aragorn’s sword, Narsil, which will also appear in th ebook.

I’m getting so excited to see this little show. It will be on the walls at the Society of Illustrators starting April 27th. The auction will be the first or second week of May — stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Michael Wm. Kaluta’s MicroVisions

Okay, who called Michael Kaluta and told him I have a thing for cranes? It’s true. I love cranes and herons, and pictures of cranes and herons. And I love the ballet of necks and beaks in this drawing.

Michael, a huge thanks to you, good sir! Like the rest, it’ll be a heartbreak to send it away.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Facelifts: Virga

Jamie Stafford-Hill, design
Stephan Martiniere, art

It’s always fun to re-consider designs when books move from hardcover to trade paperback. Even just a few years can make you want to update a bit.

I started playing around with the color translucent panels and then, as always, meetings took over my days. Once the mechanical was labeled “Late!” I threw it off to designer Jamie Stafford-hill and said, “Kinda like this only, you know, good.” And, as always he delivered.

Cities in the Air is an omnibus of the first two novels in Karl Schroeder’s Virga series. Pirate Sun being the third volume. Two more (for now?) to come. I look forward to seeing the whole set in my favorite format.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scott Altmann’s MicroVisions

Scott Altmann manages to be both pretty and its opposite, in his MicroVisions. I keep trying to look away,...and then I get sucked in for a closer look.

All the MicroVisions paintings will be in display at the Society of Illustrators throughout May. We'll have details on the auction in about two weeks. Anyone is welcome to buy them all for me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Remembering John Schoenherr, by Gregory Manchess

What could you say to a man about his painting? What could you say that would impress him and yet let him know that his work has informed your own struggle to learn throughout your life?

John Schoenherr’s work has been a part of my life since I was a kid, looking at an Analog cover in my favorite drug store. I was drawn in by the mysterious shapely woman in a tree, accompanied by her gigantic otter. From across the store one could tell that they were friends. This is when I began to realize that painting could not only be fun, it could touch an emotional chord.

From an early age I could tell that John’s work had a certain kind of stiffness in its application compared to other great painters whose brushwork was supple and relaxed. John’s had a rigid quality to it that couldn’t be avoided, yet it’s graphic composition was unrelenting. He captured light in a graceful manner, pulling your eye to just the most important elements and finished it all like the power of a museum piece.

In all of my art school years, I knew a painter when I saw one. I was never tempted to exclude a commercial artist’s gems from a life dedicated to the almighty gallery world. John’s work showed me that painting transcends application when it truly touches the spirit, whether it was a subtle portrait of a renaissance woman, an experiment in abstract color, or a humungous sandworm cresting a dune.

The fact is, you can’t really say much to a painter like this that wouldn’t make you sound like a simpleton, or the uber fanboy. I never got to meet John Schoenherr. He passed away April 8th having expressed what I believe he must’ve surely loved to paint right up until his last day.

And every artist after him that I have ever enjoyed or has shown me how powerful painted images can be, I will thank them, profusely, like I wish I could’ve mustered the will to do with John.

Thank you, John, for leaving so much work I will never tire of.

— Gregory Manchess

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tim O’Brien’s MicroVisions

Tim O’Brien manages to be cute and analytical, with a dash of steampunk, and a generous helping of surrealism in his MicroVision. Bravo! Yet another one, that I cannot wait to see in person.

Sam Weber’s Ender’s Game ebook cover

I am very excited to release Sam Weber’s ebook cover for Ender’s Game. This was a blast to work on.

For the whole skinny on the how the cover came about, Sam’s thoughts, and a some process pictures, check out the article.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scott Bakal’s MicroVisions

Scott Bakal’s “Rebellion” in the Galactic War for Rainbow Juice.

About a year ago Scott started a super-cute series of drawings about aliens landing in central park and scoping out NY. I fell in love with the guys and have been asking him, “What’s their story!?” ever since.

Scott is also the chairman of the Society of Illustrators student scholarship exhibit — he knows first hand how much the work of all the MicroVision artists is appreciated by the students. The Scholarship program is a huge job so extra thanks goes to Scott for taking the time to participate.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Jon Foster’s MicroVisions

...and the cow jumped over the moon-girl.

Mr. Jon Foster, always an Art Department favorite.

This MicroVisions is becoming insanely good. I have to thank all the artists, again, for being part of it
*wondering what the inbox fairy will bring me next*

Charles Vess’ Instructions by Neil Gaiman

This is just lovely. Neil Gaiman reading Instructions while showing Charles Vess’ drawings from pencil to paint.

And...Charles was kind enough to give me a signed and drawn in edition of his artbook Drawing Down the Moon to give away on Details soon!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Mélanie Delon and A Crown of Swords

Alas, our latest Wheel of Time ebook cover reveal! A Crown of Swords

This one by Mélanie Delon. (She of the Spectrum 16 cover.) If you head over to, you can get the inside scoop on how we got here, including a nifty progression through various stages of the painting.

Mélanie Delon’s work is exemplified by utilizing detail and soft focus, creating images that blur the edges between realism and fantasy. It was a great match for a moment of surrender and rebirth, a moment when Nynaeve must disengage from her usual character traits and, if just for second, open herself up.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Omar Rayyan’s MicroVisions

Say hello to Omar Rayyan’s MicroVision, “Hopalong Galahad.”

Omar‘s work has a lightness and humor that makes it impossible not to smile when you see it. It’s easy to see how charming and witty it is — and it's easy to forget all the backbreaking hard work that goes into honing that kind of grace in paint. Just the way it should be.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Allen Williams’ MicroVisions

Allen Williams just emailed me his contribution for the MicroVisions auction. And now I am getting very excited about this mini-exhibit.

Allen created the painting voted “Most Likely to be Stolen by Irene” at the first Illustration Master Class. I love his ability to know just when to push and pull edges — creating images that are both detailed and highly ethereal. He’s one of those painters that I wish I could step into their eyes and see the world as they see it.

Allen has been writing (damn, overachiever ;-) and illustrating a series of kids book for Little Brown, due out next fall. I’ve seen bits of pieces of the drawings and they look amazing. His blog, I just Draw, shows a few sneak-peaks.

Aang today, Aang salad tomorrow.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bill Carman’s MicroVisions

Bill Carman gets the gold star for being the first artists done with their MicroVision. Hurray. And he has set the bar high.

Thank you, Bill!

I love that his paintings suggest some kind of strange narrative but are never spelled out. Instead, the we are left playfully wondering, what on earth is going on there.

I haven’t sen the original yet but he’s tells me it is painted on copper — I can’t wait to get a hold of it, if only for a short while.

This painting, and a dozen others, will be up for auction in early May. More about this year’s MicroVisions auction here.

Interview with Bill Carman here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Charles Addams exhibit

Anyone in the area should check outCharles Addams’ New York” at the Museum of the City of New York, through June 6th.

The exhibit includes over 60 drawings — beautifully refined watercolors and loose preliminary sketches (which sometimes showed alternate versions of the joke.) In the center of the gallery is a recreation of Addams’ studio and an interior room dedicated to the Addams’ Family cartoons. Seriously, you can’t pass by more than three feet of exhibit space without cracking a smile.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ringling College visit

If you are keeping half an eye on up-and-coming illustrators, it would be impossible not to notice the rise of Ringling College of Art and Design these past few years. I’ve run into great student portfolios from Ringling students at Comic Con, the Society of Illustrators student exhibit, CA workshops...all over the place. So when George Pratt asked if I would come down and give a talk, I jumped at the chance to see what they were feeding these kids to make them so promising. Their secret, as it turns out, is a steady diet of drawing and painting, and good strong fundamentals.

On the first day of our visit, Greg Manchess and I looked at 600 works, from sophomore to senior levels, and curated a “Best of Ringling” exhibit of just 70 pieces. It was as inspiring as it was exhausting. As it got down to deciding class medals, we often had three or four paintings of equal merit — the decisions were heartbreaking.

One the second day, I gave a lecture about working with art directors, marketing, etc. -- my usual dog-and-pony show. Greg followed with a slide show and painting demo. While Greg was painting, I was looking at portfolios from some of the students.

All the students seemed engaged and excited to be soaking in what they could. I was glad to see the breadth of styles -- clearly they are encouraged to experiment and find their own voices. And I particularly enjoyed seeing such solid work from 2nd and 3rd year students; it’s exciting to imagine where they might be with another year or two of school behind them.

A big thanks to the Ringling faculty for having us down and being such great hosts. And a thank you to the students for a chance to look at so much good work.

GREG MANCHESS to Ringling:

“I couldn’t believe that after my afternoon lecture and demo, so many students were still watching me go. You guys are showing the signs of ambition and drive that are so very necessary to survive this business. Thanks for sticking it out. I had meant to trim about an
hour or so from that painting, but everyone had such specific questions, I couldn’t resist answering!

I was also very happy to see the level of skill that everyone displayed with their pieces for the judging. Remarkable. You made it a painful joy to select favorites. As I mentioned on Friday, if you didn't make it in, don't let it slow you down. And for those that did make it in, carry on.

Thanks for your interest in my work! When I looked into the lecture hall, I saw myself as a student, looking for the same answers as you are today. I have many now, and you will, too.”

Venessa Del Rey, Eli Minaya, Keyla Valerio
Haylee Herrick, Lamar Mathurin

Eli Minaya has a great series of photos of Greg’s demo on his blog.

More photos from the visit here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Just showing off our latest from Peter Lutjen.

Jeffrey Jones documentary

Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Jones

Maria Cabardo, of DC Comics, has been putting together a documentary of the amazing Jeffery Jones. (Like, really amazing — If you need one reason to be on Facebook, it’s to see Jones’ gallery.) Here’s a quick glimpse at the work in progress — an interview with the also amazing Michael Kaluta. I know the film crew has been traveling around and interviewing as many artists as they can. I’m very much looking forward to watching this develop.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Christoph Niemann’s I Lego NY

Everyone has seen Christoph Niemann’s brillant Lego NY!? Amazing. I can look at it 1,000 times.

And now, it’s expanded into a book! So excited.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thomas Fuchs hearts Star Wars (and many other things.)

It’s not common for an artist to have multiple styles that are truly unique from each other and all equally accomplished...And yet, Thomas Fuchs.

As well as having a more painterly style, he has a great facility with logos and icons which he’s clearly had fun with on his Heart a Day blog — never saccharin, always beautifully drawn. And all this week: Star Wars! Go check it out, and stop by all week to see what he comes up with next.

If your geek-crush isn’t of the Star Wars persuasion, he’s got plenty genre-love throughout the site

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

MicroVisions 5. Or, The Return of 5x7!

Think small.

Each year, Dan Dos Santos and I organize “MicroVisions”, an exhibit and auction to raise money for the Society of Illustrators’ student scholarship fund. Over the past four years it raised $20,000.00 which was given directly to students displaying exceptional promise in illustration.

I am proud to announce this year’s line-up of participating artists. I cannot thank these guys enough for dedicating their time and talent to this endeavour. To carve out time for anything beyond work and family is not a trivial thing to ask, so, applause to:

Scott Altmann
Scott Bakal
Rick Berry
Bill Carman
Jon Foster
Donato Giancola
Michael Kaluta
Tim O’Brien
Omar Rayyan
Jordu Schell
Allen Williams
Boris Vallejo

Bravo guys! Rest assured, the students really appreciate the support these scholarships represent.

The works will be on display at the Society beginning April 26th. Painting and auction updates as I get them.

RELATED: Past MicroVisions here.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Frank Stockton

A quick shout-out to Frank Stockton because:
1) The guy can draw!
2) The guy can draw hands.
3) He once tried to sneak me into a bar by lending me his ID. (It didn’t go well, but a nice gesture nonetheless)
4) He’s got a lot of cool process info on his blog.
5) The guy can draw!

Also, check out his Sidebar interview.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Greg Manchess’ Lord of Chaos extended video, the artist-edition

Because the awesome Megan Messinger is awesome, she has created a slightly extended version of Lord of Chaos video which includes “real-time” painting footage. Enjoy the artist-edition:

Greg Manchess on the Wheel of Time Lord of Chaos ebook cover

The next of our Wheel of Time ebook covers is up! For Lord of Chaos we present a signature battle of the series, Dumai’s Wells, as portrayed by Greg Manchess.

As usual, all the details can be found in the post, including our groovy “sliding” cover, Greg’s thoughts on composing the image, and a
super-cool time-lapse video of Greg working on the painting from beginning to end.

All Wheel of Time ebook posts are archived here.
Which include:
David Grove on The Eye of the World
Kekai Kotaki on The Great Hunt
Donato Giancola on The Dragon Reborn
Sam Weber on The Shadow Rising
Dan Dos Santos on The Fires of Heaven

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Micahel Whelan’s cover for Brandon Sander’s The Way of Kings

A new Michael Whelan book cover doesn’t come around very often so I am super excited to present his artwork for our upcoming fantasy series,The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson.

If you click over to you can see progress shoots and read what Michael had to say about working on the project.

Robert McCall

I am sorry to hear that Robert McCall, 90, has passed away. I don’t think there is a popular artist more intimately connected with NASA and space exploration as McCall. Looking at his work you cannot help but to think that common-place space travel should be both wondrous and possible. He has influenced and inspired millions throughout his lengthy career with his documentary paintings, film concept art (including 2001: A Space Odyssey), postal stamps, and museum murals.

“One of the joys of being an artist is the freedom to create one's own world....Like the real world, these excursions of the imagination are fraught with inaccuracies of perception—it is rare that one glimpses through the veil of time even a hint of tomorrow's reality — nor does it seem important to me whether one's perceptions are right or wrong, the pleasure is in making the predictions and doing the work.”— Robert McCall
Take some time to visit McCall’s work on his comprehensive website. You’ll be glad you did.

For more in depth reading:
Lines and Colors

Spectrum winners announced!

Run over to the the Spectrum site! There you can see all the award winners, plus get an inside look at the judging process.

I’m sorry I couldn't catch all the names from the video so here I’ll just say and extra congrats to award-winning friends:
Sam Weber X2!
Donato Giancola
Chris Buzelli
Omar Rayyan
Eric Fortune
Eric Orchard
Daniel Docui
Michael Deas
Ed Binkley
Craig Elliot
Scott Gustafson

And a congrats to all the artists that participated.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Google’s Olympic 2010 logos?

Speaking of no credit...Who did these?

I luvs them.

Almost as much as I luvs Apollo and the Flying Tomato.

Who’s awesome? Or, Credit the Artists!

Lou Anders started to make some noise, via Twitter, against authors and publishers who put up “Look at my cover! Isn’t it the awesome!?” posts without crediting, you know, the artist.

I have to admit, I shook off the issue as a typical oversight. I remember being upset that Amazon, and other online retailers, didn’t credit the artists — information easily obtained while browsing a a physical store — and there was nothing to be done about that....I guess, I came to expect it from others as well.

But, with Lou’s rallying call in the back of my mind, last week’s Scholastic post on their Mockingjay cover has pushed me into the gently irate crowd. Scholastic posted an article excitedly revealing the cover to a popular series, along with the a refresher on how great the full series looks, without a single mention of the artist or designer. This is from the publisher, not from an author who might be far enough removed from the process not to know better. Just to reiterate, the post is about the cover.

Which is not to pick on Scholastic, it happens all the time. So, dear authors & publishers, when pimping a cover, name names!

Art Departments are constantly being told how important it is to get the cover right. Credit those whose talent, creativity, and hard work get the job done. Turn it into a marketing point. Like writers, artists' careers are built on past success. The more attention paid to good work, the more jobs they get...advancing their worth to me as an art director. Whelan, Donato, Martiniere, these guys are valuable first and foremost because they are good at what they do...but they are also “names” in the field and that furthers our marketing efforts.

Besides, it’s the polite thing to do.

Oh, and: Hey, Tim O’Brien, great series of covers!
Tim’s website, blog, “making of” the first Hunger Games cover


A quick shout-out to all the people that make Boskone one of the most pleasant conventions of the year. Thank you, NESFA! It’s always a smoothly run, just-the-right-size convention with a kickin’ art show.

Fuzzy iPhone or “borrowed” photos here.

Great to see John Picacio, Artist Guest of Honor. John is a unique voice in the field and dedicated to the vitality of the genre as a whole. [top image]

Michael Whelan had a 40 painting exhibit. An amazing retrospective that started with his college work and chronological built up to brand new paintings.

Omar Rayyan had a knock out out show. Man, that guy just keeps getting better.

Bob Eggleton and Marianne Plumridge where a delight to share dinner with...And made me think, why not have a Boskone panel meet at one of the nearby art museums?

The now-traditional Rick Berry Studio visit was, as tradition will have it, a mellow blast.

These photos, taken by John Picacio, made me laugh because it reminds that I didn’t leave that seat very much throughout the day...Or weekend, for that matter. Charlie Stross on the left and Michael Whelan on the right.

After the con I was able to convince now-Boston artist Scott Bakal to come out and play while the dead-dog party deaded around us.

....and it’s possible this Rick Berry painting followed me home.