Monday, December 24, 2007

Day 4: The Four Days of Ford

Here's the full unabridged cover triptych for Jeffrey Ford's forthcoming WELL-BUILT CITY trilogy. Final dimensions 19"H x 36"W x 4"D. You're looking at the art for all three covers as they should appear when the front covers sit side-by-side (sans ornate frame). Jeff intended these novels as a set so the cover art reflects the same. Golden Gryphon Press designer Lynne Condellone will be doing the typography design on these and I'm curious to see what she comes up with.

A few words about the making -- thanks to Jan at New Century Graphics who did yeoman work photographing the final art, even though she was suffering through viral pneumonia. Way to hang in there, Jan. Many thanks to Gary Turner at Golden Gryphon Press for keeping the faith and allowing these covers to find their way. We made it to the finish line, Gary! Throughout 2007, the making of these covers has been interspersed between the making of all of my other cover art this year, including the massive work for the first Del Rey/ELRIC book. In some ways, the WELL-BUILT CITY triptych has been like my little vacation when I would need a 20-30 minute break from another illustration. I would paint a little here, glue a couple of pieces there, and dream about what this thing would be when it's done.

I've always wanted to be an illustrator that straddles between media, and who can be adept within different contexts. So I may be most proud of the fact that while I was working in the found-object / assemblage / oil-painted reality of THE WELL-BUILT CITY, I was simultaneously Faber-Castelling my way through the finished pencils on the ELRIC interiors and at the same time, doing my traditional/digital combinations with covers like Michael Moorcock's THE METATEMPORAL DETECTIVE; Lou Anders' FAST FORWARD 1 anthology; Bruce McAllister's THE GIRL WHO LOVED ANIMALS, and a boatload of other covers. I'm not unique in being able to bounce between media and contexts simultaneously, but I do think it's increasingly important to what I do. One problem-solving context can unexpectedly inform the other when you least suspect it.

A couple more notes -- the work for these three covers would not have been possible without the imagination of Jeffrey Ford. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if I wasn't already working in this business, I would still be collecting this guy's writing because he's one of my favorite authors on the planet, bar none. Thanks, Jeff.

And lastly -- Jaime Bishop, this one's for you. I've asked Golden Gryphon to please respectfully dedicate these covers to your memory. You and I never knew each other. We never met. We were aware of each other's work, but on the day you passed away, I learned that we were not only both cover illustrators for companies like Golden Gryphon, but shared some very similar interests and influences. When I was working on this piece, I thought about what you said about what artists are supposed to do in this world, and when I struggled and got tired, I thought about it even more. We both passionately believed that art could change the world for the better. I still do, more than ever.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could I not be gratified, John, and Jamie would have been tremendously honored by your regard and by this highly decent gesture. Blessings upon you.

Michael Bishop

2:19 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Michael --

Wow, thanks for stopping by. Very best wishes to you and your family today and into the New Year! We'll be in touch, I'm sure.

For anyone else out there who might want to learn a little more about Jaime, here's a link via The Roanoke Times.

The headline of that article really struck me..."Jaime Bishop: He talked about changing the world with art"....

11:42 AM  
Blogger francis tsai said...

Very nice work man! I have a really old comic book that you and some other people did, I think it was called Words and Pictures.

10:55 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, Francis --

Nice of you to stop by. Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, I like the range of your work and saw you had a few pieces in SPECTRUM this year. Re: WORDS & PICTURES -- wow, you've got a terrific memory.....that's going back to 1994/ was a comic book that I co-self-published a couple of years after I finished college. My first love was comics, and unexpectedly, the work I did on those comics led Mojo Press to give me my first book cover job and I fell in love with the book cover biz. I haven't done any of my own comics since then, but maybe someday....

Hey, Happy New Year to you and I look forward to seeing more of your work in 2008! :)

7:55 AM  

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