Friday, February 13, 2009


It's done. Here's my final cover illustration for the forthcoming Pyr edition of Mark Chadbourn's AGE OF MISRULE: BOOK 1 / WORLD'S END, the first of a spectacular epic fantasy series that debuts in the US this May. Blogs and websites all over the net have displayed a preliminary version of my cover illo that was provided for solicitation purposes. The version you see here is a first look at the final, finished illo you'll see on the books when they release.

One of the big improvements for this final version is that I did a much better underdrawing of the god Cernunnos and you can really see the difference when compared to the prelim. Also the little figures at the bottom of the final are more active than they were in the prelim. The drawing of Cernunnos is just plain old pencil on 17"x22" Crescent board, and I'll likely display it at a convention or two later this year, as well as having prints of the final art for sale.

Here's the final front cover design layout with everything in place. Pyr's editorial director Lou Anders and I bantered back and forth a lot about layout decisions. Together, I think we finally got it right. (Special thanks to Diana and Lee for last-second insights.) Can't wait for these books to hit the stores.....they're amazing.


Blogger ces said...

That is one impressive cover!

I like the figures at the bottom, especially done in silhouette.

And the god is definitely more interesting with more detail!

And I love the sky work!

all this despite the fact that green is not even a favourite colour of mine. (unless it's a forest green)

11:00 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Christine! :) I really appreciate it. Hey, that does bode well for this piece if you don't like green and you still liked it. I'm pretty happy with this one too. Hope you have a great birthday weekend!!

12:31 PM  
Blogger Mair said...

Outstanding, the shadow and direction of the light...hope I get to see the underdrawing somewhere this year...

And congrats on the Drood sell-out, too.

6:45 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Mair. Let's see.....looks like this year I'll be in the following cities for convention appearances (thinking off the top of my head)....Biloxi, MS; Spokane, WA; Montreal, Canada; Austin, TX; Huntsville, AL; Denver, CO; and San Jose, CA. So the closest city this year to you would be Montreal for Worldcon. You gonna be there? The only trouble with that city is I'm not sure if I'm actually exhibiting artwork up in Canada. It's really difficult dealing with customs up there so I may have to attend Worldcon without an art show. We'll have to see. It's highly likely that this drawing will be exhibited at World Fantasy Con in late October in San Jose. Any chance you're gonna try to hit WFC this year, even though that's a long ways from Philly?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Charles said...


6:15 PM  
Blogger Mair said...

hey, I flew to San Jose for a concert once - anything's possible. Of course that was in my younger days when paying bills wasn't so important! Ha!

I am way overdue for a visit to dear friends in Southern Cal - maybe I could make a big California trip out of it. San Jose is more likely over Montreal...October is far enough away that I can plan for it...and have never been to a WFC...could be the right time.

And I just re-read your reply - I have a best friend that lives in Helotes - have to see how far Austin is from her...

6:51 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Hi John, James from the UK here.

I'm a new fan of your work, having first seen your amazing artwork on a copy of 'Canticle for Liebowitz' that I picked up in the US. Have been a big fan ever since and intend on picking up a copy of 'Cover story'.

Anyway congratulations on another outstanding piece of cover artwork, I just don't think there is anyone out there that has a style like yours. Hopefully you are illustrating the other two books in this trilogy?

Lastly, am very much looking forward to receiving my Sub Press copy of Drood - My favourite author and artist together! Can't wait to see what the cover for 'The Terror' looks like.

Keep up the great work and take care.


6:17 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Charles. :) Now you see one of the big reasons I haven't finished our interview yet. Soon though. Thanks for the patience!

Hi, Mair -- Let me know if WFC becomes a serious consideration for you. If you've never been there before, it's a different kind of con. Lots of authors, editors, publishers, illustrators, etc. and they actually cap their attendance because they want the con to stay intimate. It's a great con every year. Don't worry about it "capping out" anytime soon though -- you've got plenty of time to decide. As for Helotes, it's much closer to San Antonio than Austin, but it's still only about 1 to 1.5 hours from Austin, and Armadillocon is a really good little con every year.

9:11 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hi, James --

Extremely kind of you. I really appreciate it. Yup, you're right -- I am illustrating the covers for the next two books in the AGE OF MISRULE trilogy. Will be working on the cover for DARKEST HOUR a little more this week, in fact. And today, I'm hoping to get some work done on THE TERROR cover so that's definitely on the front burner. Glad you were able to reserve a copy of the DROOD limited.....those seem to have sold very quickly. Thanks for stopping by! Holler anytime. :)

9:17 AM  
Blogger John D. said...

Jaw on floor...



9:05 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, John.....'appreciate it very much!

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...


Nice illustration on this cover! It's awesome that you start your illustrations with pencil and paper. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of your work.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Mair said...

John - do you have plans to display a shadowbox at Armadillocon?

1:04 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Brad! I appreciate it!

Hi, Mair -- Hadn't thought about Armadillocon yet since it's not until August, but the nice thing about that show is it's close enough that I can drive to it, and therefore, take my art with me. So of all of the shows this year, this is the easiest one to bring shadowbox work. You thinking about making it down to Austin for the show? Let me know. If you actually come all the way from Philly for this one, that certainly would sway me to bring at least a couple of shadowboxes so you could see 'em.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks for the reply John.

One of the best things about becoming interested in your work is that it's given me the chance to check out some writers that I'm not sure I would have otherwise come across easily. I've now read and enjoyed books by Rudy Rucker, Robert Silverberg and Jeffrey Ford this way. I guess this is one of the side benefits of having a great artist design your covers for you...

Am excited to see your ideas for the Terror, and on that note you must be thrilled that Sub Press are now going to do a seconf print run for Muse of Fire. Congratulations for that.


8:00 AM  
Blogger Mair said...

John, I am definetely considering Armadillocon. My friend out there is graduating with a degree in Communications in May and I owe her a visit...although I hear it will be quite sweltering out there in August. If I do decide to do it, I'll surely let you know.


1:21 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Yeah, that's a crowd-pleaser, right there. Kick-ass, man.

5:47 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Alex. :)

8:12 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I'm really impressed great art work much better than the original covers released here in the uk. Where can I get prints?

6:59 AM  
Blogger Kristanna said...

Great post! I saw this, and thought it was a wonderful thing to do, the board did a smart thing with this I think! Thanks for telling everyone about it.

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5:59 AM  

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