Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Worldcon Highlights

(above, left to right: me, Lou Anders, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker)

I've been dreading doing this wrapup since I got home from the 64th World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim. Too much good happened last week, too little time to fully relate it all. It was a dynamite show and I had a blast. Here's a word association game of a few friends from this past week...

Chris Roberson...my homie...my Worldcon roomie...everyone's favorite World Fantasy-nominated barfly..."What time is it? 10am? Cool. Time to hit the bar."

Lou Anders...my other homie...Pyr's editorial director extraordinaire...if you missed the Pyr panel on Friday, then you missed what would happen if P.T. Barnum sold sf...dominant...

Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman...great meal together at the White House (in Anaheim, not 1600 Penn. Ave.)...a fabulous booth for Borderlands Books in the back end of the dealer's room....it felt like a home back there...booksignings are always so smooth with these guys...

Karen Jones...always there to laugh at my pain, and mock me when appropriate in the bar...currently using the spare seconds of her life to learn Japanese...still the Smartest Woman on the Planet...

Allison Baker...here she is...there she goes...:) (see photo above)

Diana Gill...another Worldcon, another stylin' Eos cocktail party production...fabulous as ever...

Irene Gallo...the point person for the Hugo Artist resolution, and one of the most dedicated people I know...in her spare time, she's the 2006 Chesley Award winning-Art Director...she does it all, folks...a pleasure, as always...thanks for everything, Irene...

Dave Seeley...one of my favorite artists, and one of my favorite people...forgot to tell you congrats on your cover feature for ART SCENE INTERNATIONAL, and also congrats on your Worldcon Art Show Award...

Jim Minz...genius Sunday excursion to Laguna Beach...that was brilliant all around...send those rock band photos when you can, and I'll post 'em.

Liza Groen Trombi...a con would suck without Liza...no one wears expensive food on her head with such style and panache...:)

Amelia Beamer...we trade each other's badge identities when the mood hits us...just because...

Kirsten Gong-Wong...good to see you, hubby Aaron, and the wondrous Teddy...

Karlyn Pratt...never a dull conversation...that was fun, wasn't it?...see you in Austin...

William Lexner...great seeing you, your wife, and the entire BWB crew....holy cow, you cats know how to party....THAT was impressive on Saturday night....

Rani Graff...too bad you live halfway around the world...we'll be in touch in the coming months, I would imagine...great seeing you again...

Sean Williams...wish I would've spent more time with this guy...wish he could come to more cons over here....

Garth Nix...we've gotta work on our doubles pool-playing, brother. Next time though! :)

Jonathan Strahan...he flies across multiple time zones, with family in tow, and somehow makes time for everyone...

Deanna Hoak...how many 40-year-old women get CARDED? I mean, seriously...if you need evidence, here you go.

Jacob Weisman & Rina....get your copies of Tiptree's HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER before they're all gone again...congrats, Jacob...:)

Andrew Wheeler...great seeing you at the Eos party...been reading your Hornswoggler blog for a while...we'll be in touch soon...

Paul Cornell, and wife Caroline...good to see both of you, and thanks for the wisdom re: BRITISH SUMMERTIME (more soon, re: your followup emails, which were much appreciated)...

Jetse De Vries...great(!) INTERZONE party...I'm convinced he's conquered the need to sleep...how does this man do it?

Cheryl Morgan...from FinnCon to Worldcon, and she doesn't skip a beat....clearly, sleight-of-hand that I've yet to master...thanks for all the wisdom, Cheryl...

Kevin Standlee...speaking of wisdom...presiding over a successful WSFS meeting must be like simultaneously tracking the paths of 400 airplanes in your head...mad skills...also thanks to Deb Geisler, Pat McMurray, and Donald Eastlake...

Tom Kidd...I love Tom's paintings and it was very cool that he was the one who introduced the Artistic Achievement Chesley, and handed me the plaque...

Bob Eggleton...I enjoyed that impromptu talk we had on Sunday...I really appreciated that.

Kenn Brown...glad we finally met...very good to see you and Chris Wren...

Greg Ketter...DreamHaven rocks...thanks for the COVER STORY signing...

Alan Dean Foster...I'll Google "Ivan Aivazovsky" later today, and thanks for the kind words re: the SAGRAMANDA cover...

Bill Christ...by chance, started the show hanging out with you, and by chance, ended the trip crossing paths with you at the airport....see you in Minneapolis sometime down the road, hopefully...

Andrea Senchy, Jannie Shea, Mike Willmoth...and all with ASFA...it's an honor to be this year's Artistic Achievement winner, and I'm very grateful for the consideration...another great ASFA suite, and thanks for everyone's hard work for me and all of the other artists...

All Art Show staff...Joni Dashoff, Laura Domitz, Jerome Scott, Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink, Ted and Bonnie Atwood, and all who made this beast run smoothly for the artists...thank you!!

Good to see folks like James & Jeanette Gurney (absolutely loved seeing your paintings, Jim), Mark Kelly of LOCUS ONLINE, Charles Brown, Karen Haber, Cory Doctorow, Robert Silverberg, Deborah Layne, Paula Guran, Jeremy & Jason, Jim Lively, Ian McDonald, Paolo Bacigalupi, George Mann of Solaris, Kay Kenyon, Mike Resnick, Fiona Avery, John Scalzi (glad we finally met), David Louis Edelman (ditto the previous), Liz Gorinsky, Jim Frenkel, John Joseph Adams (the Metal God himself), Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, David Hartwell (congrats and long-overdue Hugo), Jaime Levine, Jane Frank, Alan Beck, Erik Gist, Ben Yalow, Betsy Mitchell, Betty Ballantine, Marty Halpern, Edward Morris, Samantha Ling, Lisa Rogers Lowrance, Jae Brim, John Lorentz, Jill Eastlake, Craig Miller, and I-know-I'm-forgetting-people-but-it's-time-to-draw. It was a dynamite show.


I returned home late Monday night from Worldcon in Anaheim. It was a spectacular time. More on that very soon.

First, back to that word, "wow."

This is one of those occasions when that tiny word is the only thing that could remotely communicate how I feel. Last Thursday night at Worldcon in Anaheim, I won a Chesley Award. This time, it wasn't just A Chesley Award, but The Chesley Award for Artistic Achievement. I wasn't speechless because I know I said a few words when I accepted, but outside of thanking my fiancee Traci, I don't quite recall what those words were. I was so grateful at that moment, and I still am. The great Tom Kidd presented the award to me, and that made it all the sweeter. My fellow nominees in the category this year included John Jude Palencar, Real Musgrave, David Hardy, and the late Keith Parkinson.

In case you're wondering, this particular category is basically ASFA's acknowledgement of an artist's body of work over the previous calendar year. I grant you that the phrase "Artistic Achievement" makes some folks think "Lifetime Achievement" and I heard that comment a few times at Worldcon. I don't think I'm finished quite yet though...:)

In fact, this award only makes me want to work even harder. Take a look at the history of past winners in this particular category, and you'll see what I mean.

Like I said.


1985 Carl Lundgren
1986 No winner
1987 Alex Schomburg
1988 Frank Frazetta
1989 Don Maitz
1990 Don Maitz
1991 Michael Whelan
1992 James Gurney
1993 James Gurney
1994 Frank Kelly Freas
1995 Frank Frazetta
1996 Thomas Canty
1997 Don Maitz
1998 Vincent Di Fate
1999 Bob Eggleton
2000 Stephen Hickman
2001 Frank Kelly Freas
2002 Donato Giancola
2003 Tom Kidd
2004 Todd Lockwood
2005 Omar Rayyan
2006 John Picacio

Congrats to all of the nominees and winners this year! It was a stellar list of Chesley Award winners this year, and I'm incredibly proud to be amongst these individuals. (List courtesy of The Art Department, Irene Gallo's must-read blog.)

Hardcover: Stephan Martiniere for Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Paperback: Tom Kidd for The Enchanter Completed edited by Harry Turtledove
Magazine: Donato Giancola for Prometheus on Asimov's
Interior: Brom for The Plucker by Brom
3D: James Christensen for Sleeper Lost in Dreams
Unpublished Color: Charles Vess for Companions to the Moon
Unpublished Monochromatic: Paul Bielaczyc for Nightmare
Product: Justin Sweet production design for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Gaming Related: Gabor Szikszai & Zoltan Boros for Blazing Archon, Magic The Gathering card for Ravnica: City of Guilds
Art Director: Irene Gallo
Contribution to ASFA: Julie Faith Rigby
Artistic Achievement: John Picacio

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Here's the cover illustration I recently finished for Rebecca Ore's forthcoming novel TIME'S CHILD. Look for this one February 2007 in trade paperback from HarperCollins/Eos. Editor-extraordinaire Diana Gill has more about this book, plus the finished cover with typography, over at Eos' spiffy new blog.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My Worldcon Schedule

(Left) The marquee over at BookPeople, Austin, TX.

Quick shoutouts and thanks to all at BookPeople, Austin Books, Adventures In Crime and Space, and Edge Books. These folks all were heavily supporting COVER STORY: THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO, and I really appreciate it. ArmadilloCon 28 was great.

Next week I'm off to Anaheim for Worldcon and the Chesleys and Hugos. If you're in the area, I hope to see you at any of these or at the bar. I'm looking forward to the two panels that I'm moderating. Should be a great time! Here's the rundown:




4PM, 60-90 minutes
David A. Kyle, John Picacio(M), Frank Wu, Dave Seeley, Irene Gallo
Precis: Artists and art directors talk about what makes for a good cover illustration, an eye-catching design, and increased sales




1PM, 60-90 minutes
Bob Eggleton, Jane Frank, Karen Haber, Dave Seeley, Margaret Organ-Kean, John Picacio(M)
Precis: Over the past 70 plus years, science fiction illustration has changed dramatically. The '30s and '40s had their flashy, lurid covers. The '50s and '60s sported high tech space-scapes and abstracts. The '70s and '80s have brought us photo-realism. What were the trends of the recent decades? What lies ahead?

2:30PM, 60-90 minutes
Title: PYR: A LOOK FORWARD with editorial director Lou Anders





Wednesday, August 09, 2006


SF Signal just reviewed COVER STORY: THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO, and gave it a 5-star review! Wow!

And by the way, if you haven't bookmarked SF Signal yet, you really should. They're a terrific one-stop pop for reviews, news, and buzz in genre fiction and media.

Coming to Austin, Texas

So tomorrow night (Thursday), I'm doing a signing for COVER STORY: THE ART OF JOHN PICACIO at the mighty BookPeople, in Austin, over at 6th and Lamar, at 7pm. It's one of my favorite bookstores anywhere, and I'm looking forward to being there. If you're in the area, I'd love to see you.

Then this weekend is ArmadilloCon 28, and again, if you're in the Austin area, you really should come out because the FACT folks always put on a great show. I'll be displaying work in the Art Show and I'll be on several panels there. Here's my panel schedule:

Sa1200DZ Comic Books and More
Sat Noon-1:00 PM deZavala
Roberson, Fountain, Cupp*, Benjamin, Hale, Picacio
What comics should you be reading?

Sa1400PN The Fine Art of Illustration
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Phoenix North
Picacio*, Anderson, Foster
What is fine art? What is illustration? Our panelists discuss the differences.

Sa1600PN Fannish Feud
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Phoenix North
Friesner, Antell, Czerneda, Mitchell, Gill, Hogan, Kruger, Bobo, Babcock, Picacio
Join the fun at our game of trivia.

Sa2100D Illustrating Stories
Sat 9:00 PM-10:00 PM deWitt
Foster, Anderson*, Mitchell, Picacio
How one goes about doing illustrations for a story.

Su1300PC Autographing
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Phoenix Central
Kenner, Latner, Picacio, Richerson

Sunday, August 06, 2006

RE: The Hugo Best Artist Proposed Amendments

If you care about the Hugo Awards' future in the Artist categories (Professional and Fan), then I highly encourage you to check out the following two blogs re: the proposed amendment by Irene Gallo and Donato Giancola: Kevin Standlee's Livejournal and Irene Gallo's blog). Irene and Donato are proposing Hugo Award rule amendments that, if passed, would hopefully increase the chance for an informed vote for the Hugo Artist Awards in coming years. Irene and Donato are working on amendments to provide a framework so that blind voting based on reputation-only is no longer accepted in the Artist categories. The Hugos are very diligent about making sure that written works in other categories were published in the previous year, and the two Artist Hugos are supposed to be acknowlegements for an artist's body of work over the course of the previous year. Personally, when I look at the spirit of Irene and Donato's effort here, it seems to me like they're trying to help the Hugos ENFORCE their own rules, rather than CHANGE the rules themselves. If you think about it, all of the "one-person" Hugo categories (Best Professional Editor, Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Writer, and Best Fan Artist) should ALL be subject to the same standard and should be afforded the same diligence toward the previous year's work as the other categories. I'd like to see all of these categories receive the same rules amendments, so that all of them will have the same level of diligent qualifying as the other Hugo categories. In the end, it just helps the future of the Hugos, and increases the appreciation for its recognitions.

So I'll be keeping a close eye on this discussion and hopefully lending a hand to help the process. I do care about the Hugos, and I'm grateful and very honored to be nominated in this year's awards. However, I think the process can be improved and I'd like to see it happen. You can help too. You can take part in the discussions on the blogs above (or here) and let your opinion be known, even if you don't agree. Or better yet, you can attend the Business Meetings at Worldcon in Anaheim this August, when these votes will be administered. Either way, please let your voice be heard!

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear from you here.

Austin Gorum and a Few Congrats...

Two things:
1. Photographer Austin Gorum took this impromptu photograph of me at San Diego Comic-Con, and he recently sent me a copy of it. The funny thing is that I first stumbled upon it in a gallery of photographs of Hollywood folks over at Wireimage, in an array with Hilary Swank, Edward James Olmos, Bryan Singer, Lucy Lawless, and Snoop Dogg. Strange. But cool!

2. The 2006 World Fantasy Award nominations were announced this weekend. Congrats to all of the nominees, but especially to Chris Roberson, Lou Anders, and Jess Nevins for their first nominations. I'm really thrilled for these guys to be recognized. Also, congrats to all of the nominees in the Artist category this year -- Kinuko Craft, James Jean, Dave McKean, Les Edwards, and John Jude Palencar. World Fantasy Awards rules dictate that previous year's winners are ineligible the following year in the Artist category, so I was out of the running this year since I won last year. I guess if there's a reason to be left out, that's the reason everyone wants, right? So I get to kick back and root for my friends this year. In the Artist category, I think all of the nominees are phenomenal. Kinuko is wonderful, and it seems odd that she's not a World Fantasy Award winner yet. James Jean is a first-timer, and he'll no doubt be back again. McKean won back in 1991. Les Edwards' work in his Edward Miller persona always knocks me out. However, deep down, I hope that John Jude Palencar gets the nod this year. He's been nominated for this award many times, but never won, and I think his stellar contributions to fantasy book covers over the last decade should be finally recognized. I'd love to see him added to the roster of World Fantasy Award winners. Good luck to all.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Arriving in 2007: FAST FORWARD 1!

Here's another cover that I recently finished. Above is the wraparound art for the forthcoming cutting-edge sf anthology, FAST FORWARD 1. This one comes out from Pyr next February, and it's the latest extravaganza from the brilliant mind of Lou Anders. Once again, he's bringing together some of the best authors in the business with all-original short fiction.

I did the typographic design for the front cover as well. Check out some of the authors he's got lined up for this! I'm always proud to do covers for Lou's anthologies because he cares so much about what science fiction's doing, and where it's going. This may be his best effort so far, and that's really saying something.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I blame Blaschke

Thanks to Jayme Lynn Blaschke, I've been tagged with this book meme....

1. One book that changed your life?
SCULPTING IN TIME by Andrey Tarkovsky

2. One book you have read more than once?
EINSTEIN'S DREAMS by Alan Lightman

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
I'll cheat and say Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER 1 thru 7. I've never finished it, and always wanted to...

4. One book that made you laugh?
GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

5. One book that made you cry?
I can't recall any....I once heard Mike Moorcock say that silverfish ate one of his vintage hardcovers autographed by H.G. Wells, and THAT made me want to cry...

6. One book you wish had been written?
Any undiscovered writings by Jorge Luis Borges....especially anything even remotely in the spirit of DREAMTIGERS...

7. One book you wish had never been written...
Anything by Ann C.

I won't even give her the benefit of typing her last name, but it rhymes with "dolter." Actually, I don't mind that her books exist, but if she continues to write outrageous works of fiction, then why do bookstores keep misshelving her books in nonfiction? Just one of those mysteries, I guess...

8. One book you are currently reading?
Re-skimming Rudy Rucker's THE HOLLOW EARTH before I do the final cover for MonkeyBrain's upcoming release....waiting for the new Shari Tepper manuscript to be overnighted so I can start reading and researching before beginning that cover illustration....

9. One book you have been meaning to read? See #3.

10. Five people to pass this on to....no, no, no....let the madness cease.

Back to work.

Emerald and Brown

As if losing David Gemmell this past week weren't terrible enough....I'd like to take a moment and acknowledge two more notable losses in recent days....

1. Cheryl Morgan announced this week that her much-loved webzine EMERALD CITY will soon be ceasing publication. It's a real loss for our industry and I'm very sad to see this happen. Her work has been one of the few bookmarks that I visit daily and her blog is a joy. She's amongst a select few in the genre literary industry that really keep everyone in touch with the latest news, opinions, and happenings (LOCUS and LOCUS ONLINE being another obvious, venerable example). I'll miss EMERALD CITY very much, and wherever Cheryl goes next, that place will be better for her presence.

2. If you've ever heard of the poem "Why Am I So Brown?," then you probably know who Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. was. He died Sunday, July 30th, at age 63 here in San Antonio, of post-stroke complications. Besides being a distinguished poet and author, he was a teacher, mentor, and social activist who did a lot of good for a lot of people. His death was especially shocking to me because I had just re-connected with him five weeks before, when he came to a book signing for my art book. We had met back in the mid-90s when I was doing the WORDS & PICTURES comic book, and at that time, I was just finding my way and he was an already-legendary poet. He took time to offer encouragement and kind words, and we never saw each other again, until he came on his own to see me at my signing in June. His memory was sharp, and he had the kind of sparkle that you see very rarely. The guy was just luminous. He looked to be at the top of his game, and he was as warm a human being as you can ever imagine. I was really floored that he took the time to come see me, and I never would've imagined that's the last time I would see him. Thanks, Trinidad. I hope I can pass on some of the generosity you gave to me.

Click here to read more about this great man.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


This was a blast. This is the cover illustration that I recently finished for Simon & Schuster/Pocket Star Books for Chris Roberson's forthcoming paperback novel X-MEN: THE RETURN. As a teenager, I loved the UNCANNY X-MEN comics, and back then I treasured the Claremont/Byrne/Austin run. If someone would've told me back then that I would eventually get to do my own take on the X-Men, I would've been beside myself with joy. As if that weren't great enough, it's even better that Chris is writing the book, and the great Jennifer Heddle is editing it. The only thing better than illustrating a dream cover is illustrating a dream cover, with your friends involved. Look for this as a mass-market paperback release in bookstores everywhere around April 2007. Excelsior!