Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Facts of Life


I met Graham Joyce in 2000 at the World Fantasy Convention. He was one of my favorite writers. Still is.

I first heard his name four years earlier. It was my first visit to Michael and Linda Moorcock's house. I was there to meet Mike because I was doing my first book cover gig -- for the 30th Anniversary edition of his novel BEHOLD THE MAN. I was sitting in his studio sanctorum with Ben Ostrander and Rick Klaw, and Mike had just finished writing a review for The Guardian. The subject was a novel called REQUIEM by Graham Joyce. Mike had high praise for it, and I remember writing the name down in my sketchbook.

I bought REQUIEM shortly thereafter, and Mike was right. Graham was good. I started collecting Graham's books. I was a newbie cover artist, in the embryonic stages of building a career. When WFC came to Corpus Christi in 2000, I barely had enough money to attend, but I did, and Graham was one of the first people I wanted to meet.

For those that didn't see my Facebook post today, here's a brief recap of what happened -- but I also want to share something extraordinary that I haven't yet shared elsewhere...

Virtually no one knew who I was at that convention. I had never met Graham, and I went to see him talk. I waited until everyone exited, and showed him my portfolio. He took the time to visit with a total stranger like me, and treated me like the center of the world. A few minutes later, a bald man with dark-rimmed glasses ran up to me in a hallway, and said, "Graham Joyce just told me I needed to meet you!" And that was Lou Anders, who has been my best friend since that fateful moment. It was Graham who brought us together.

But that's not where the extraordinary ends.....

I saw Graham at the end of the con. We were parting ways. I told him about that first time that I heard about him, when Mike was reviewing his book, and when I was working on BEHOLD THE MAN. He said, "BEHOLD THE MAN?? When that one first came out, back in the day......that was the one that made me want to be a writer."

Graham said, "Did you really mean that you could show me around after the con?" I said, "Sure, man. Where do you want to go?" I figured Graham wanted to find some dinner. He said, "How far away is this place where you live?"

"About three hours," I said.

"Is Halloween good around San Antonio?"

I said, "It's alright, but in Austin, it's bonkers. Sixth Street. You'd love it."

Thirty minutes later, one of my favorite writers in the world was riding shotgun in my Saturn coupe as I sped us north to my home in San Antonio. Graham stayed at my house for two terrific Fall days, and yeah, we spent a rollicking Halloween night on Sixth Street together. Better than that though -- I took him to meet Michael Moorcock that same evening, and Graham was so happy. Mike meant the world to him, and it was one of my favorite Halloweens ever. Linda was there. So were Rick Klaw and Brandy. It was the best of times.

Years went by, and Graham was always the cool rogue and the great statesman, and he did it effortlessly. He was one of those pillars that defined a generation of the fantasy field for me and my friends. He was always there at WFC, with a word of advice about how to handle a tough situation, or a word of encouragement -- with a lot of laughs. I can't think of the World Fantasy Convention without thinking of him.

He passed away today after bravely battling lymphoma cancer. He was a friend, and one of my favorite people.

I will never forget him..

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Dragon Con 2014 Schedule!

Holy cats -- Loncon3 is barely done and it's already time to lift off for Dragon Con!

I'm a guest there this year, but I'm especially stoked to experience the full weekend because Worldcon and DC do not overlap for the first time in a few years. Awesome. :)

Let's do this, Atlanta. Here's where you can find me -- AND where you can score your limited-run Loteria posters. 

I've printed 500 posters each of my 'La Luna' and 'El Corazon' Loteria artwork, and supplies are dwindling, thanks to Detroit, San Diego, and London where I've appeared so far this summer. These posters are 11" x 18" and are printed on thick cardstock. They're $20 each and are not available online or via mail order. They're only available at my summer / fall road appearances.
So if you're coming to Dragon Con (or know someone who is), check out my schedule below for where and when to get 'em on Saturday, Sunday and Monday).

FRIDAY

MAKING ART INTO A CAREER
5:30pm • Hanover A-B (Hyatt)
A panel of pro artists debate the nitty-gritty of the business of art, with real-world advice given on how to make it as an artist.

SATURDAY

LOTERIA POSTER SIGNING + A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE PRINT SALE
11am to 12noon • The Missing Volume (Booth 328, 329, 330 / Level 2 / AmericasMart Yellow section)
* See map below for location (the red star marks the spot for The Missing Volume's booth)!

SUNDAY

LOTERIA! (AKA MEXICAN BINGO)
1pm • Vinings (Hyatt)
Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio will host several rounds of this fun, easy-to-learn, and fast-moving game of Mexican Bingo. Cool prizes awarded to the winners! (Limited number of Loteria posters will be available for sale here.)

All attendees who play Loteria on Sunday will receive a FREE giant Mexican Tarot card featuring art by me!

GETTING STARTED AS A FANTASY ARTIST
7pm • Hanover A-B (Hyatt)
A team of professional artists provides answers to questions about filling portfolios, finding art directors, and submitting work.

MONDAY

LOTERIA POSTER SIGNING + A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE PRINT SALE
1pm to 2pm • The Missing Volume (Booth 328, 329, 330 / Level 2 / AmericasMart Yellow section)
* See map for location (the red star marks the spot for The Missing Volume's booth)!

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Good Times, Loncon3!

Wow. I'm three days from Dragon Con, and I haven't even summed up my final thoughts on Loncon3, the Hugos and everything that happened in London.

That's Art Life for you.....deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, and it's been nonstop since I returned home.

A few bulletpoints:

1) Great job by the Loncon3 team to assemble one of the best Worldcons in recent memory. Great job by Sara Felix, Colin Harris and team on one of the best art programming tracks I've ever experienced. Take a bow, folks. Well done!

2) Thank you to all who came to my programming and especially everyone who packed the room for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (nice job, Irene Gallo, Joe Abercrombie, Greg Manchess, and Maurizio Manzieri) -- and a big shout to ALL who came and played Loteria on Sunday. You showed up big time, London. I wasn't sure how Loteria would fare in the UK, and wow -- that was one of the most fun lightning rounds of Loteria I've ever done.

3) Thank you to all who scooped up the limited run Loteria posters I brought with me. That was the only time those will be available in Europe. Atlanta and San Antonio -- it's your turn soon!

4) Chris Foss -- I know you're a legend but it was a blast visiting with you and Imogene after-hours. It was a pleasure interviewing you onstage (that was a breeze), and man, I hope that's not the last time we cross paths. That was my first time interviewing someone on a big stage with big audience. So much fun. Best to you and Imogene -- holler anytime.

5) I did not get to spend enough time with the BWB this year (schedule was so manic), but the time that I did have was stellar as always. Met Elio and Linda for the first time (great people), and to Mr. X, Xray, Regina, Jo, Raya, Andi, Ben, Dave, and everyone -- you know where to find me. :)

6) So many good chats and visits including GRRM, Parris, Joe Abercrombie, Emanuele Vietina, Silvia Bernardi, Steve Saffel, Eddie Schneider, Joshua Bilmes, John Berlyne, Leigh Bardugo, Maurizio Manzieri, Dave McCarty, Rian Hughes, Colin Harris, Seanan McGuire, Liza Trombi, Paul Cornell, and I-know-I'm-forgetting-a-ton-of-folks-but-yeah-apologies-deadlines.

7) The Hugos: Happy for you, Julie Dillon! Congratulations, and congrats again to all of the Hugo Award winners and nominees. I won Best Professional Artist in 2012 and 2013, and while I intend to keep working and improving every year, it's VERY good for the award that it recognizes the full spectrum of what is happening in sf/f art, in any era. From 1980 to 2005, only four people won the award in the Best Professional Artist category. Since my first nomination in 2005, this category has seen five different winners, and a host of new names joining the nominee list. Well done, Julie!

8) And also, congrats to the Chesley Award winners this year!

Best of times, London. Thank you for everything. I'll see you down the road soon. :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Loncon Schedule + Loteria Posters In London

Here's where you can find me at the World Science Fiction Convention in London.

Also -- for all in attendance that are trying to score Loteria posters for yourselves, here's what you need to know:

1) I'll have a limited number of 'La Luna' and 'El Corazon' posters available directly from me, at selected signing appearances at this event. See below for those times (i.e., the events denoted, "LOTERIA POSTER SIGNING"). Posters will be first come, first serve.

2) Each poster's edition is limited to 500 and they're printed on thick cardstock.

3) Posters will be £12 for one, and £20 for both. Cash only, please. US Currency accepted too.

4) And this might be the most important note: these are not available via mail order. They're exclusive to my road appearances. So basically, London -- this is the only event where these will be available in Europe. If you're not attending Dragon Con or Alamo City Comic Con later this year in the US, then Loncon3 is your lone opportunity because these posters may be sold out once those two cons are done. Good luck, all!
On to the schedule!

FRIDAY

The Art of John Picacio
(FREE GIANT MEXICAN TAROT CARD
TO ALL IN ATTENDANCE!)
Capital Suite 4
12pm to 1:30pm

Artist in Residence Table (LOTERIA POSTER SIGNING)
Art Show (see programme for exact table location)
3pm to 4:30pm

Kaffeeklatsch
London Suite 5
5pm to 6pm

Chesley Awards + Reception
Capital Suite 9
7pm to 9:30pm


SATURDAY

Artist in Residence Table (LOTERIA POSTER SIGNING)
Art Show (see programme for exact table location)
10am to 12noon

An Interview with Chris Foss
Second Stage
1:30pm to 3pm

Autographing (LOTERIA POSTER SIGNING)
Autographing Space
4:30pm to 6pm

The Art of Westeros
Capital Suite 7 + 12
6pm to 7pm


SUNDAY

LOTERIA! (PLAY MEXICAN BINGO!
HAVE FUN! WIN ART PRIZES!)
Art Demo Space
10am to 11:30am

Book Covers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
w/ Joe Abercrombie, Irene Gallo, Gregory Manchess, Maurizio Manzieri & John Picacio
Capital Suite 4
4:30pm to 5:15pm
(FYI: This item is being shortened to 45 minutes at the suggestion of the moderator, so that panelists and audience may have time to prep for the pre-Hugo Ceremony festivities, as needed)

Pre-Hugo Gathering and Photo Call
Quayside Bar and Cafe
6pm to 8pm

The Hugo Awards
8pm to 11pm

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Monday, August 04, 2014

San Diego Comic Con 2014

It's been a week since Comic Con and my schedule still hasn't recovered yet. Still cranking on deadlines here, but I promised some words and pics from the event -- here you go.

Thank you, SDCC International -- this was my first time as a Special Guest, and I'm not sure if I've ever worked harder at a Comic Con. It was tremendous fun, and an honor to do so. My thanks to everyone who made it possible -- Fae Desmond, Janet Goggins, Maryelizabeth Hart, Steve Lord, Katherine Morrison, Val Ontell, Tommy Goldbach, Robie Elrod, my con PA Olivia, and many more that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Spent a ton of time in the Special Guest area, visiting with fans and signing stacks of stuff. It was fun watching people get excited about what I'm doing with Loteria, and that was a theme throughout the weekend. I did an amazing Kickstarter panel brilliantly hosted by Craig Engler, and shared with Jane Espenson, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Brad 'Cheeks' Bell. I even won an Inkpot Award. :)

So many inspiring, insightful people, chats both driveby and extended -- Pierce Watters, Todd & Rita Lockwood, Cosmo Eisele, Dave Stevenson, Jason Felix, Donato Giancola, Stephen Martiniere, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, Jennifer Heddle, Allen Spiegel, Charles Kochman, Ed Schlesinger, Colleen Lindsay, Diana Gill, Anne Groell, Anne Sowards, David Moench, Leigh Bardugo, Seanan Mcguire, Raya Golden, Joe Hill, Dave McKean, Dave Palumbo, Travis Lewis, Allen Williams, Carl Potts, Jimmy Palmiotti, Lee Whiteside, Sam Park, and again so many more that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

It was a joyous time, and even though it's been 22 years since my first Comic Con, and I've been a part of countless cons so far as a pro, there's still nothing quite like this event anywhere in the world.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I won a 2014 Inkpot Award!

HUGE weekend at San Diego Comic Con International.

Words and pics about it forthcoming, but while I'm cranking on client deadline here upon return to studio, I wanted to acknowledge something amazing that happened on Saturday.

I was on stage Saturday for 'Spotlight on John Picacio', and about to launch straight into my slideshow, when I was suddenly asked by a gentleman named Adam if he could first say a few words at the podium. He read an intro, and then out of the blue, he announced that I was being presented with a 2014 Inkpot Award, 'in recognition of achievement in science fiction / fantasy art'.

Totally caught me off guard, in the best possible way.

Wow.

The Inkpot is Comic Con's annual award given to professionals in the fields of comics, science fiction / fantasy, art, literature, TV, film, animation, and related fields of pop culture.

I've been attending SDCC, off and on, since 1992. It's a place where some of my career aspirations were born, and I've spent much of my adult life working to make those dreams real.

Thank you for this honor, Comic Con. It means the world.

And THANK YOU to all who attended SDCC, volunteered to make it happen, and ran it like the world-class event it is.

More words and pics on my 2014 SDCC soon.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SDCC 2014 Exclusives + Schedule!

Alright, San Diego: let's do this! I'm an SDCC Special Guest this weekend, and I've got exclusive goodies for you.

I'll have two limited-run, special edition Loteria posters -- 'El Corazon' and 'La Luna'. Print run was limited to 500, and they're 11" x 18" on heavy cardstock. Only $20 each. These will not be available online! To score yours before they're gone -- stop by my table in Artists Alley (HH-09) during the hours posted below.

Bonus Note #1! The first 100 people that arrive at my table get to roll the dice and win a free Loteria Grande prototype card, featuring my color art on the front and pencil art on the back.

Bonus Note #2! I want to see as many of you as possible at my "Spotlight" panel on Saturday. Everyone who attends receives a free Loteria Grande card. Sign up via the SDCC app and the more of you that schedule my event on your "MySched", the better I can get a count on how many cards I need to bring for you. :)

My complete public schedule:

THURSDAY, JULY 24

Loteria Poster Signing
Table HH-09 in Artists Alley
9:30am to 12noon

Loteria Poster Signing
Table HH-09 in Artists Alley
2pm to 4pm

"How To Kickstart Your Dream Like A Pro"
(with Craig Engler, Jane Espenson, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brad "Cheeks" Bell, John Picacio)
Room 25ABC
5pm to 6pm

FRIDAY, JULY 25

Loteria Poster Signing
Table HH-09 in Artists Alley
9:30am to 12noon

Loteria Poster Signing
Table HH-09 in Artists Alley
2pm to 6pm

SATURDAY, JULY 26

Loteria Poster Signing
Table HH-09 in Artists Alley
9:30am to 12noon

"Spotlight on John Picacio"
Hugo Award-winning book cover artist and Comic-Con special guest John Picacio (A Song of Ice and Fire, Elric of Melnibone) is one of science fiction/fantasy's most acclaimed American cover artists. Join him for this lively slideshow and Q&A, where he unveils the process behind his art, including A Song of Ice and Fire, Loteria, Elric, and sneak peeks at his latest works. If you're a fan of the art of Westeros, Mexican Tarot, book covers, comics, and/or the future of sci-fi/fantasy art, this is the place to be. Bonus: Everyone who attends will receive a free giant Loteria prototype card featuring art by Picacio!
Room 4
1pm to 2pm

Special Guest Autographing
Sails Pavilion / AA19
2:30pm to 3:30pm

SUNDAY, JULY 27

Loteria Poster Signing
Table HH-09 in Artists Alley
9:30am to 12noon

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Detcon Rock City

Way to go, Detcon -- you rocked. Congrats to Tammy Coxen, Helen Montgomery, Kim Kofmel, Anne Gray, Dave Gallaher, Murray Moore, Tim Miller, Don Wenzel, Evelyn Baker, Deb Geisler, Ben Yalow, Lisa Hertel, Steven Silver, Jesi Pershing, and all who worked so hard to make this a great weekend. Tricia Noble and team ran a smooth-running Art Show, and pictured here are two of my favorite guest liaisons ever -- Lisa Leutheuser and Joe Saul.

Lisa and Joe co-hosted a rolling Pirate Party that roamed the halls of the con hotel on Saturday night, and they even tied for a show prize for 'Best Party'. :)

Thanks to all who attended my programming items and bid for my artwork in the Art Show. A special shoutout goes to everyone who played Loteria on Friday and scored my new limited-run Loteria posters!

For many, many months in advance, hard-working people pour their hearts and souls into making a successful con like this one. It amazes me how much work it takes -- and then how fast it's all over.

It was an honor to be Artist Guest of Honor at this NASFiC, and Detroit -- with everything you've been through in recent years, and continue to endure -- you can be especially proud of how great and resurgent this NASFiC was.

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