Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Perfect Passage: Schoenherr


Greg Manchess

John Schoenherr's compositions are among the very best in illustration. His command of picture space allowed for large open areas to give his elements breathing room, and yet never feel empty. He positioned his subjects to control space without taking up space.

Schoenherr’s paintings for DUNE were perhaps the first visualizations of the book that captured the imaginative story with the right amount of description. His design for the sandworm mouth is so simple and classic that no one has improved it.

In the depiction above, of the sandworm battle with the Sardukar, the entire painting hinges on the way the light has sliced through a break in the clouds, just capturing the lips and illuminating the soldiers with differing levels of value, showing how many are pulled into the maul of the worm while others are still firing away. The contrast is both exquisite and dramatic.

The grouping of the figures is as important and intentional a design element as the bits of sand clumped and blowing through the scene.

Another masterful depiction, achieving a grand sense of scale and beautiful night light...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In Defense of Art Awards

-by Justin Gerard

Art awards, and whether or not to submit to a show, have been a debated theme here on Muddycolors and in the industry in general of late. Arnie Fenner covered the symbolic importance of awards in his post Do Awards Matter. And Dan Dos Santos covered the career importance of awards in his post Rejected!

Today I would like to pose a third value of awards in art.

Consider THIS:

Trevi Fountain


I propose that art awards make the world a better place. They compel us to strive for something greater than our current abilities.

In 1732 Pope Clement XII held a competition among Rome's artists to see who would finish a fountain begun in the previous century by Bernini. Competitions like this were quite popular during this era and resulted in some of the most impressive public architecture and sculpture in the world today. Many artists submitted wonderful and daring designs to win Clement's competition. The result is what you see above, one of the grandest public works of art in existence.

Competitions have a long and vibrant history in the art world, from the Prix de Rome to the Paris Salon. While competitions have historically been unfairly judged by biased panels, the result has still always been a flowering of artwork and artistic ability which has improved the understanding of art culturally overall. This has benefitted all of us by giving us a strong artistic heritage and visual language that we use to both communicate and understand ourselves and our fellow man better.

Because of this I believe that the existence of judged competitions (with awards) should be celebrated. Every year I try my absolute best to get into Spectrum... and every year I get pieces rejected. Through this process I grow and become a better artist.

But what if I lose? Won't that be a crushing defeat for me?

NO. LOSING IS NOT DEFEAT.  
LOSING MEANS YOU NEED TO PRACTICE MORE.  

And is that such a terrible realization? We aren't perfect and to do anything truly well takes serious dedication. To be an artist means that you have dedicated yourself to being able to do something well that an average person cannot do well. To get there we need more practice.

Losing is not a refutation, it is a challenge.

But what if the competition is biased and unfairly judged? And anyway, isn't all art highly subjective?

THE WORLD IS BIASED AND YOU WILL BE JUDGED UNFAIRLY EVERY DAY. 
THE PRIZE IS NOT ALWAYS AN AWARD. 
THE PRIZE IS BECOMING BETTER. 

I believe the real prize is being better able to do the thing you set out to do. And isn't that what we as artists all wanted to begin with? To be better able to share our vision with those around us?

If the attempt at an award compelled you to achieve something greater than you knew you were capable of and made you a better artist (and it will) how is that not a victory?

It isn't always fair, but that isn't the point. Every year I can't wait to open up Spectrum. Why? Because I know that thousands of people have pushed themselves beyond their abilities for this and I know that what I am about to see will move me, inspire me, terrify me and challenge me.  My world is made brighter because of what they (you!) have tried to accomplish.

So... Look, what if I don't want to have to work for it? Can't I just pay off the right people? 

Maybe, who knows?
BUT YOU WILL NEVER HAVE WHAT THOSE WHO TRIED AND FAILED HAVE. 

In conclusion, I discourage attempting to corrupt appointed officials, and I encourage you to enter these competitions. Even though it will cost you money and you might fail.
I believe it will not only make you a better artist but it might also just make the world a better place.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Artist of the Month: William Blake

-By William O’Connor



“Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death.”
-William Blake

The Romantics have always been one of the most powerful influences on my life and career as an artist.  In the late 18th century the scientific and analytical symmetry of the Age of Reason began to transform.  The pendulum was moving from strict, classical techniques and into a more experimental age of emotional and spiritual expression.  Academic discoveries such as the Rosetta Stone (1799) the publication of Grimms Fairy Tales (1812) and Beowulf (1815), began a renaissance in folklore, legend and mythology from a non-classical past.  Poets Byron, Wordsworth and Shelly were truly at the vanguard of this movement embracing the newly discovered medieval romances of King Arthur which gave their movement its name.  Chief among the avant-garde artists of this period was William Blake (1757-1827)

Blake stands out as one of the first true author/illustrators in history.  In the past most artists would be in the service of a powerful patron such as the church or the aristocracy, but Blake created his own poetry which he illustrated himself.  During the Romantic movement artists became their own “brand” as we would call them today, developing a unique style and perspective all their own.  Deeply dissatisfied with his academy training under the mentorship of Joshua Reynolds, Blake drew inspiration from medieval illuminated manuscripts, as well as renaissance masters,  writing, illustrating and self publishing his own works deeply grounded in his spirituality, and passionate belief in human freedom.  Later becoming the inspiration for some of nineteenth century’s most important artists, including the Pre-Raphaelites, the Arts and Crafts movement and Golden Age illustrators.  Blake’s influence extends into the 20th C. as well with reflections in Chagall, Picasso, the Surrealists and 1960’s poets.

As we stand on the threshold of our new century with its new technology and the freedom it provides we see many parallels to Blake’s work 200 years ago.  Artists and authors unencumbered by the patronage of publishing companies or recording studios striking out onto their own to create their own works in their own style.  Blake stands as a wonderful inspiration to every artist and author who dreams of bringing their imagination to life to share with the world.

Enjoy,
WOC





Saturday, September 26, 2015

Perspective and Elevation in the Figures You Draw

-By Ron Lemen

Hello all and happy September.  We are in Montana at the moment, taking in some breathtaking scenery while visiting my family.  I will finish the second part to the False Start article I began a few weeks back when I return to San Diego.  While we have been out of town I have been pondering many additional topics I am adding to my figure drawing book and I would like to share one of them with you here.

I draw from the figure almost daily.  I teach several classes during the week that allows me to stay close to the subject and the rest of my work time is spent doing illustrations, character designs and commissions where I am constantly working with and manipulating characters.  I am constantly reminded of the problems we face when drawing, and especially when working with the figure.  

The most universal problem I have found with many artists, beginners, and intermediates as well as with many seasoned professionals is matching everything drawn in a scene to the horizon line, especially organic shapes and of course the figure.  Many times the figure is drawn with a flat forward look to every part of the body.  In other words, there is no real elevation change in the figure from head to toe and/or if there is, it is only emphasized where it is most obviously recognizable. 


There are tools that the artist can use to solve this issue long before investing time in the rendering.  If we use landmarks, ellipses and overlap shapes using a strong draw through method, as well as indicate a ground plane and possibly a horizon line, unless we fall asleep at the drawing wheel theses tools should work well setting up solid armatures to take to a finish.

Landmarks, also known as subcutaneous boney surfaces, are the bones under the skin that influence the surface.  The skull for the most part is one large subcutaneous landmark.  With exception to the cheeks, most of the skull is just below the skin.  The clavicles, the sternum, the elbows, the knees, etc. are landmarks we look for.   One use of the landmarks is to compare the left side of the body to the right side of the body.  Using the centerline as a gauge for these landmarks, we align the left side with the right side or the front with the back based upon the landmarks, their elevation and their distance to one another.  The following skeletons show the landmarks of both the front and the back of the skeleton.

 
The mannequin is the starting point for the figure, or the armature that represents the skeletal structure of the pose.  The core of the skeleton is called the axial skeleton while the arms and legs are called the appendicular skeleton.  Ellipses should be drawn around the axial skeleton near the neck, the 10th ribs, the pair of iliac crests and the base of the pelvis including the greater trochanters.  The upper and lower half of each leg and arm should have ellipses drawn around them dividing each segment of each appendicular limb into thirds.  This division will come in handy when drawing out the proportions of the muscles and tendons.

These ellipses drawn help us understand a few things we are looking at.  The first is the foreshortening of a space.  The more circular you see the elliptical lines the more you are looking straight through the object.   The flatter the ellipses, nearing a straight line, the more perpendicular we are facing that ellipse.   The other use of the ellipses is when we draw these ellipses around the cylinder forms we are placing markers on the body to help us with volume as well as with elevation.  If we sit low to the model then we should be looking up under the ellipses more and if we are above the model we should be looking down at the ellipses.   This diagram below further illustrates this concept.


Overlapping lines and shapes also help with identifying the spatial relationships with the body.   Overlapping shapes can and usually indicate foreshortened sections of the body.  The shapes should be drawn using the draw through method.  With the draw through method shapes are completed, spaces are totally resolved and more information than is necessary is found helping the artist fully realize where all the parts of the body are with any pose.  Overlapping lines are very similar and are used in places like the hips or any bending segment of the body.  Of the converging lines, one ends abruptly called a broken line and the other becomes the tangent.  The tangential line indicates one volume passing behind another volume indicated with the broken line.


Now, when starting the figure drawing elevation is critical to the delivery of convincing forms in 3D space.  When drawing from a photograph it might be more difficult to indicate where the eye level is.  Hint:  If the reference is a full figure from head to toe then look at the feet.  The rise of the heels in relationship to the toes and the reverse is very telling of the perspective of the pose.  If the photo is cropped then it will be more difficult to observe where the proper eye level is to the horizon line.  When life drawing or shooting photo reference for an illustration we have to be fully aware of our position to the model.

Drawing in a ground plane is always helpful and beneficial to reminding the artist that the figure drawn exists in 3D space.  Gridding the floor plane is always smart as it helps us with measuring up through the figure and determine distances between feet, knees, etc.  It does not need to be absolutely accurate, it just needs to remind the artist to constantly measure the figure not just for likeness but also for elevation and dimension as well.


I would also strongly recommend that for every object, figure, or anything else that you draw should have a horizon line indicated relative to your position or the photographer’s position to the reference.  This will constantly remind you of elevation and to remember to exaggerate whatever features are necessary to maintain a solid elevation in the pictorial space.  There is no need for vanishing points or connecting back to the horizon line, it is not complicated perspective. 


One last tip for drawing the figure in 3D space at the correct elevation is to create was is called a bounding box around the reference.  By doing this the box will help the artist remember all sides of the figure as well as dimension and elevation reference points.  In fact, this method can be taken one step farther by taking the bounding boxes and rotating, tipping, tilting and turning them in different positions and redrawing the pose to fit within them.  I will cover this in greater detail in another future article.  


Put these concepts to work and practice them as much as possible.  They are simple exercises but do not rush them.  This exercise should be thoughtful and slowly developed.  The more you practice it the easier and quicker it will be to use.  Good luck and enjoy your development.

Friday, September 25, 2015

ANATOMY OF A COVER: Alabaster #1 & #2


by Greg Ruth



So this is my second series of covers for Caitlin Kiernan's remarkably fun, dark and horrorific series, ALABASTER for Dark Horse Comics and Books. This new series of five follows on the heels of six previous pieces and carries the growing burden of needing to continually desiring to one-up myself on these. I've done a ton of book covers so far my career, and in many ways these are among the most fun to tackle and the most challenging. The story material is classic southern gothic horror set in contemporary times starring Dancy Flamarion,  a white haired albino lesbian heroine who hunts down monsters with a big kitchen knife with the aid of a talking crow and a demonic seraphim. So clearly something right up my particular dark alley. These were a touch unusual for comics covers in that I executed the entire series more than a year a go. This kind of time lag between art to print is normal for the book world, but not for the comics arena. It means they have to pay out for all five covers without the prospect of recouping costs through sales the way most other projects do. But Dark Horse was committed to the series, to Cait and while it did roll on a bit longer due to a switching of the interior artist, we now finally have these things rolling on out.



When we kick off the new series, Dancy is dead and in the underworld, black with stars and lost in the weird whiteness of the place. So this first cover was an obvious notion. I had recently become really enamored with using graphite pencils, particularly the holy trinity of the Blackwing Palomino, the 602 and the Pearl along with the Staedtler allXwrite.




So as always we start with a sketch. I usually just whip up something quick on a piece of printer paper and scan it and send along with the necessary apologies for the craftsmanship and explanations of what it should, but may not indicate. This is really the stage by which I get to try out notional ideas and then discard them. The bird here was the first casualty of this process and for good reason- the title bar. When you're working on covers- especially and more easily comics covers as they tend towards a similar familiar layout (bullet and logo at top left, cover across from top, upc code at bottom left, etc...), you need to keep in mind where the title treatment is going and where the author illo credits will reside. I cannot encourage this thinking enough- it makes for a better piece if you bring them into the overall composition, and it saves your AD a lot of headaches in making you move things or have to shoehorn them in themselves. My method tends to be creating a layer template with all this and drop it in over top on and off to make sure I'm playing inside the fence line. It may seem like a giant pain in the butt at first but boy howdy does it save your ass later. Trust me on this.







What I love about this wee family of pencils are the various aspects, qualities and darknesses of them- GREAT for this kind of work. SO much range in tone really helps to build up the image in a similar fashion one would do with paint, though inverted. THe Palomino let's me get SUPER dark when I want, and the Staedtler allows for the most gossamer of wispy lines when the opposite is desired. I did however make the mistake of undersketching the final drawing with a light blue colored pencil both to hopefully give the original a kind of ghostly glow and that would disappear when it came to print- both were wrong and I will never do it again. Looks terrible and the waxy surface of the colored pencil made it hard to recapture some of the blacks the Blackwing is famous for. Not every experiment works out, but all failures are remembered.






Since the paper I like to draw on, a really loose Strathmore cotton rag that catches the graphite really well, is fairly thick and soft, heavy pressure can create these little valleys and dips in the piece. At first I thought this was a deficit of the paper but I came to realize it could be kind of great if utilized in the right way. So... experimenting with this new approach I applied this to the piece and scanned the final drawing in in a way hoping the scanner's light would catch these tiny ridges- and happily they did. 












So now that we were all digitized and ready to roll, it was time to tweak the lights and darks add details I may have missed, etc... I knew going in I wanted to apply a few things going in: Dancy is described in this issue as all black and covered in stars. That was the most obvious and anticipated application- black paint scattered across a sheet of paper, inverted and dropped in over the scanned art aster the values had been fully established. Other details like the eyes, whisps of hair in front of her face, and some small hints towards color were next to wrap up the final. Even when you've got a fully black and white image like this, it will get printed in color, so it never hurts to exploit the deeper levels of tone by warming or cooling the overall piece and making those adjustments. All  of these digital details were done in RGB in photoshop, then transferred and readjusted to CMYK in anticipation of it going to print. You want to do this yourself and not leave it to the folks in the bullpen to sort out- they don't know what your intended color levels are, and the benefit of sending files to your publisher digitally is being able to secure correct color values that can get lost in re-photographing, not to have those values undermined by what you will notice as a serious change in this conversion. I find RGB great to work in, natural and perfect for this stage of things- but print is always done in CMYK, so make sure to change it yourself, and to tweak the values and tones to your liking. You'll be glad you did later.

In this I had a few things that needed fixing, incidental third eye problems, some other details tweaks and changes... I got those while on the road someplace but happily via my handy dandy ipad sketch program was able to make notes on the jpeg and email it to myself so it would be waiting for me int he studio when I got back after the holidays.


SIDEBAR PONTIFICATOR:

*My general use for photoshop is as a glorified paste-up machine and my guiding rule number one is to avoid anything that can't be done in a darkroom. if you want to apply an effect, take advantage of some new way of blending or ghosting an image- it's a great program for exploring and sketching out the idea. not so much for the final though. ALWAYS better to execute that practically- you'll like the results and the viewer will notice the difference even if he/she can't immediately identify it. Photoshop can be the siren that sings you to shipwreck on the shoals of mediocre work that looks like everyone else's- so I'd just avoid the fancy filters and parlor tricks entirely. If you're piece isn;t working with out the bells and whistles, it isn't working. Wall paper fancy digital tricks over it won;t hide that fact  and in reality points to it more firmly. Kind of like when a kid thinks covering his eyes makes him invisible: regretfully, it does not.





So cover one is down and we're off to the next few. As I mentioned, this project was unusual in how early I was getting a chance to tackle these covers- in comics the publishers like to push things right up to the limits so as to help defray buy in costs of a book with quick returns when that book hits the stands a few weeks. That ER vs. Surgical Ward esthetic can be harrowing and fun as it affords little time to do anything but fire all thrusters hard and fast and move on. But I have come to appreciate having longer amounts of time not to necessarily execute the piece itself, but to leave it alone, come back to it with fresh eyes later, and so on. While my previous series of covers of the Alabaster all utilized the sumi ink and brush, I did want to tackle this series with my newfound love of graphite. If it didn't shake out, I had time to reorient and work back with more familiar tools. But these pieces have always been for me a chance to explore and push the comfort zones. In this regard especially I'm glad I had the time to do it, find the right path forward and execute the work accordingly.


And so, with the first cover out and ready, it was time to move on. And of course reinvent it all over again. We were going to be showing another character on the cover here, but Dancy always has to be there as well. And the bird. But Dancy's dead and in hell and making a cover work with three characters that doesn't look like a Marvel Mashup splash page can be tough. My first thought was to show these two together- one alive and another as a statue in a southern graveyard. The bird would light upon wherever. My first swipe at it was this closeup Mag-7 style look, which I swiftly discarded for a thousand reasons- largely compositional ones. And frankly it seemed essential to show the boneyard and give us a sense of place here given the lack of all this in the previous cover. When you have a series like this, it's important to consider the music of how they will all of them sit and regard each other. They don't have to be gimmicky and form a larger picture or reveal some secret- though that is cool when it applies and is made to work well- but they should be seen as a group, rather than individually. They do have to work standing alone, but your reader is going to prosecute the poop out of you if they see you using the same tricks repeatedly. Your AD/Editor will notice this too and it could impact you getting the next block of work. (To see a similar tool bag used in insanely variable ways, I cannot more highly recommend checking out Scott Fisher's inarguably insane set of covers he's doing for Dark Horse's ANGEL and FAITH series. They are all wholly unique and highly orchestral with each other. No AD can look at this one slice of his body of work and not see all his potential for any assignment you can throw at him. He'll be dining and working off this run of covers for years to come- so make sure you dance well and furiously when and if you get such a chance).


So- I went in and did another sketch, one instantly approved and with a clear path to execute. It was a bit more iconic, even Greek statuesque, but it made much more sense for this particular issue and compositionally did the job vis a vis the title and credits stuff I mentioned earlier. I also wanted to bank the close up shot for another issue later. For some reason I always thought of this as my Dan DosSantos piece. Maybe it's his crazy trailer park zombie covers sinking in... in fact I'm sure it is. Whatever the reason I couldn't get that fellow out of my head. I find it's best to hug that than fight it- Dan is a good friend and I think what he does he does better than anyone, so clearly there's a lot to learn and use. The trick is to be of the notion of another artist without duplicating. Maybe it's the rough handsome woman with a smoke that triggered it- who knows. Like I said shrug and go with it. You could do a hell of a lot worse than ape the DosSantos.

Also with this series I have my editor acting as AD and Cait, the author chiming in on the pieces. Normally an editor will keep some distance between the author and cover/interior artist =for various reasons not the least of which is cross communication confusion syndrome. But I have worked with Cait before and we have a nice rapport, and this is her baby so we all three of us rule and argue over the details together. Cait will often bring in details I may have neglected small and large )i.e. that bird is too small- or as we did later... "The twins are two girls, not a boy and a girl you goofball". For the record she has yet to actually call me a goofball to my face, though I have often deserved it.





Next up- draw the damned cover. Once again, graphite on paper and big- about 13x19". I did not honestly know how much or what specific sort of environment we'd be getting into with the final, and while I usually don't like leaving too much to worry over after the practical art is done, I decided to just stick to the basics going in on this one. The iconic pose, the statue, the crow... get that right and the rest will follow. I made some changes to the orientation of the piece- for the record this is a fine thing to do in this next stage even though it does definitionally counter what everyone agreed upon in the sketch stage. Reversing the staging was an obvious way to go since it flowed more as we read images here, left to right. The different pose meant a different relationship between these two  characters and so we didn't crowd the title treatment, the bird had to set upon Dancy's shoulder here. I had come up on this big billowy cloud Franklin Booth thing for my work on the children's picture book, COMING HOME, and I knew I wanted to scratch that itch again here. (I even brought it into the cover for INDEH as well- so apparently the itch still tickles. Again, don't over-think it but be wary- I used a similar stars int he figure technique for a Tor.com project and while I think it worked great it also meant it was time to force myself to not use that trick again. This use of the cloud thing was less obvious but still... three times in, it's red flag time. You don't want to get caught too much in the tar pit of a schtick).


Next up was leaping right into the final. Now I do this as a method for myself and can do this largely based upon the trust and good graces of my editors ( in comics you almost always work with the editor as AD, the AD is never really heard from- in books the opposite is true), my generally fast speed, and my willingness to redo the final accordingly as to need. I find this works best for me- it may not for others, and it can mean a lot more work for me as the artist but in the end it also means a lot better work. Also with sketches and thumbnails I find there's a trap of anticipated execution that can slow everything down and gum up the process as you are essentially spending a lot of time assuring the editor of your intentions not conveyed by the sketch. I find getting right to the final helps cut that off and leaves us to wrestle with what is rather than what might be. My first go was to go warm- it's my natural color family of choice, the warms, but because of this I nixed it as an approach. It works and I still even now looking at this for the first time in almost a year, may even in many ways prefer it as a knee jerk reaction. But one of the other benefits of a series is that you get to try new things out and if they don't work out perfectly, then you get to make up for it on the next cover. While I do love this version, it is not quite as fitting as the next approach. My gut prefers it, but my head knows better. They aren't always in agreement, and in the end, we are not monkeys slinging our poo, and the head must win.





 I honestly sat down and asked myself what color tone had I not used in this series so far... turns out it was blue! So blue it was. The nice thing this did aside from knock me a bit off my comfort ledge- and frankly my preference for black and white work generally means color almost always does this- the cooler tones also gives us a cold chill and fits the time of day perfectly- that cool morning dew-fogged swampy ness. It also meant getting a chance to bring in that giant burning through the mist sun thing you see down south especially around Savannah and the Bayou area. Which of course fit perfectly with our story. Of all the covers to date this one is the most classically design compositon 101 piece. Foreground middle and back... it's the least daring overall but it works, and really that's what counts most. Sometimes the old tricks are the best ones. And my theory for covers- especially in comics where the books are all displayed covers facing-out- is to consider the environment in which your piece will sit. Comics covers tend to be loud as hell, splashy and full of screaming colors and action designs. Things have changed slightly as covers have generally gotten better, but go into a shop and see for yourself if you ever find yourself doing one. it's really important to know the jungle your cat is going to hunt in. A rack of comics covers is like the L train station at rush hour on Friday: loud, boisterous- even raucous and sometimes there's an unappealing odor. (Not in the good shops though... but in the old days... sheeesh!) Anyways- one response to the noise is to shout louder, the other is more revolutionary and I find more effective despite being totally counter intuitive: whisper. In an army of people hollering the quiet place int he middle of it all can land like a hammer blow. Also centrally composed pieces like this in that environment can really create their own space in the melee, and pop out from the others. And that is in the end really the goal entirely for the cover artist: sell the book. Nothing else matters really- your job is to get a reader to pick it up and buy it for what's inside. I know some who buy books solely for their covers- I have done this myself, but mostly it;s not about you except in what you can do to sell the story your covering. So be strategic, consider where and how and when your cover will land and be seen, and use that context to your advantage.

I always like the three stages of sight in a shop as a model...

1.
From far away, does it grab your attention and make you want to come closer and see better what you're seeing?  

2.
Does coming closer get rewarded with more for the potential reader to see, and does it give more to the viewer to draw him/her in to see more and hopefully pick the book off the shelf? 

3.
Does the cover now in the hands of the prospective reader, reward closer inspection with details and other hooks to now get the buyer to open the the thing and make the sale? 


If you're failing at any one of these basic steps, you're failing at your job as a cover artist. No matter how you do it, cover work like all art is about manipulating your viewer, and getting them to see and spend time seeing what it is you are trying to say. So make sure you say something. With cover work the something is the ethos of the book- you don't want to spoil the story, but tease it by showing a moment from it or a general sense of the thing. It's a bit easier int his regard than in fine art or personal pieces where the content has to be wholly derived and delivered by you, the creator, so there's no excuse for missing this point. 

So this ends with three more covers to come- each getting more far afield from the one before it, though the next one was always intended as a pointedly flip-side to this second one above. To come in the next article. But in the meantime, please make sure to order your copies of the book with your local shop to help keep the series going. It's a weird and deeply rewarding book whether you're a horror reader or not, and provides and excellent repass from the swarms of superhero books you'll find crowding it out on the shelves.

To follow the series and participate in the conversation about this new run and the ones that preceded it, you can find us on the Facebook HERE.

To order the first issue right this very moment, use this code:  OCT150060

Thursday, September 24, 2015

High Resolution Art Exhibit

Tarzan and his Mate     detail      J. Allen St. John   

by Donato

Heritage Auctions is hosting a exhibition/preview of an impressive collection of science fiction and fantasy art to be auctioned off this coming month in New York City.  Many of these works originate from the Frank Collection, one of the premiere collections of science fiction and fantasy art in the world.  It is bittersweet knowing this awesome viewing comes at the loss of the collection.

Included are a handful of rare paintings likely to disappear from the public eye for quite some time, including J. Allen St. John's painting of Tarzan, pin up art by Gil Elvgren, and stunning pieces by Boris Vallejo, among many others!  Norman Saunders, Michael Whelan, Jim Burns, Patrick Nagel, Rowena Morrill, Darrell K. Sweet, Dean Cornwell, Vargas, George Rosen, Tom Lovell, Chesley Bonestell, Robert McGinness, John Berkey, Stephen Hickman, Tom Kidd, John Harris, and I could go on and on!

One of greatest aspects of Heritage Auctions are their high resolution files for previewing the art.  Sign up for an account, and you'll have access to hundreds of close up shots of all the art in the auction.  I can think of no better way to view and study this museum-quality show!  A great way for out of towners to enjoy the offerings.  There may never be another auction like this to showcase some of the best of the genre for public viewing...

Online link to Heritage Auctions Illustration Art:
 http://fineart.ha.com/c/auction-home.zx?saleNo=5221&ic=Items-OpenAuctions-Open-BrowseAuctionInfo-071713

If you happen to be able to make it into the city, here is the preview exhibit information:

Full Preview
Illustration Art

October 12-13, 2015
10 am - 5pm

October 14 
10 am - 12 noon

Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion
2 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075 

Live Auction 
October 14 
Noon
J. Allen St. John (American, 1872-1957)
Tarzan and His Mate, 1947
Oil on board
23 x 19.5 in. (sheet)
Richard Hescox
Lair of the Cyclops, paperback cover, 1991, detail
Acyrlic on board
29.75 x 19.75 inches
Jeff Jones (American, 1944-2011)
The World's Desire, private commission for the H. Rider Haggard Project, 1998, detail
Oil on Canvas
Boris Vallejo     The City, Ape's Land, paperback cover, 1979
Oil on board
28 x 18.25 in.
Michael Whelan
The Man of Gold, paperback cover, 1984, detail
Acrylic on canvasboard
28.5 x 16.25 in.


Jim Burns   
Chung Kuo - The Middle Kingdom: Book 1      1990     Acrylic on board 


Darrell K. Sweet
Visual Guide to Xanth, paperback cover, 1989
Oil on board
23.5 x 15.25 in.
Patrick Nagel
Lady Standing on Statue of Liberty
Acrylic on canvas
33 x 25 in
John Berkey    detail

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Storm Giants

-By Jesper Ejsing



This here is my latest Giant cover for Paizos Pathfinder series. It is a pencil drawing with digital colors on top.




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Artist's Studios

-By Dan dos Santos

I am endless intrigued by Artist's workspaces. I love seeing what type environment different people find inspiring and what type of layouts they find conducive to their workflow. For years, I've kept a folder on my desktop and dragged photos into it of all the various studios I've come across on the internet.

There is of course no shortage of beautiful, awe inspiring workspaces to drool over online, and I certainly save those too. But this particular collection of pictures is not about the best interior design or interior decoration for me. These shots are of working artist's everyday working spaces. It's where these artists go, day after day, to create the very images that we all know them so well for. The spaces are often meant to be beautiful, but they are always meant to be functional.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And please feel free to share a link to pics of your own studio in the comments section.

Dan dos Santos

Yuko Shimizu

Michael Whelan

Steven Stroud

Brad Kunkle

Greg Ruth

Tran Nguyen

Rebecca Guay

James Gurney

Jennifer Gwynn Oliver

Robert Hunt

Steve Hickman

Greg Hildebrandt

Greg Manchess

Donato Giancola

James Jean

Dave Palumbo

Eric Fortune

David Hockney

Shawn Barber

Yoshitomo Nara

Chris Buzelli

Paolo Rivera

George Perez

Howard Lyon

Travis Charest

Drew Struzan

Tom Kidd

All images are © their respective owners.