Day 4: The Four Days of Ford
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.