Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Blog: The Best of Modern Art, 1800-Present

Nice surprise this morning. Noticed that my cover illustration for George Zebrowski's MACROLIFE is one of today's featured works over at Art Blog: The Best of Modern Art, 1800-Present. Check out this quote wherein the blog's creators describe what kind of art they like, and don't like:

"Most of what has been outstanding art in the past hundred years has been disparaged by modern artists as 'mere illustration.' We find that term to be insulting, and more often than not, a snide attack from posers who cannot produce quality work. Let us be clear, we have no issue with pushing the boundaries of art, whether it be composition, medium, or otherwise. But for us at least, art must still fulfill its aesthetic role. In short, it must be beautiful, inspiring, sublime...or at least something that doesn’t look like vomit on canvas."

Says it all, doesn't it? :) Today's entries also include works by Jacek Yerka, Arnold Bocklin, Carlos Schwabe, Ray Caesar, and Luis Royo. Art Blog's past archives make me want to spend all day there, with more than a few works I've never seen, and will probably research later on my own. I'll definitely be visiting this place often.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

R.I.P. Philip Jose Farmer

Just found out about this via Chris Roberson and Win Scott Eckert. We've lost another literary giant. Phil Farmer passed away this morning at 4am in Peoria, Illinois. Never got to meet him but many of my author pals count Farmer as a humongous influence. Chris, Win, and Christopher Paul Carey come immediately to mind. Best wishes to all who loved Phil and his work. Pictured here is my cover for MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSE FARMER'S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE, edited by Win and published by MonkeyBrain Books about four years ago.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Coming to IlluXCon 2!

I've accepted an invitation to be one of the exhibiting artists at IlluXCon 2 this November. Here are the details, and safe to say, this will be the sf/fantasy illustration event of the year. Pat and Jeannie Wilshire are the organizers and they've invited a who's who of sf/fantasy art including, Michael Whelan, Bob Eggleton, John Jude Palencar, Brom, Boris Vallejo, Todd Lockwood, Dave Seeley, Vincent Villafranca, Jon Foster, Les Edwards, and many more. It's gonna be amazing, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

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.

DROOD Limited: Almost Sold Out!!

Wow, Subterranean Press has announced that the limited edition of Dan Simmons' DROOD will be sold out upon publication. Amazing! What a testament to Dan's writing and popularity that an $80 limited edition of his latest novel will be a complete sell-out despite the wretched economic times we live in. Congrats to Dan and to Subterranean Press on yet another big success. I'm really thrilled to see the trade edition of Dan's book in stores (published by Little, Brown) and it's not only selling well, but the reviews are ravingly fabulous (deservedly so)!! Way to go, Dan. And if you need a copy of the DROOD limited edition, and haven't ordered one yet -- there's still hope. Subterranean says the best way to get one is to order directly from them, but apparently retailers and distributors' orders were overwhelming, so they had to cut those down in order to have a few left to sell directly. If you want one, you might want to do it very soon.

Con*Stellation XXVIII in Alabama!

Good news -- this week, I accepted an invitation to be the Artist Guest of Honor for Con*Stellation XXVIII in Huntsville, AL. That'll be Sept. 19-20, 2009, and I'll be sharing the GoH stage with stellar authors David Weber and Jack McDevitt as well as Fan GoH Gary Shelton. Very cool!! Many thanks to Sue Thorn and the kind folks over at the North Alabama Science Fiction Association. One of the great things about this one is Pyr editorial director Lou Anders will be there and we'll be partying on his home state's turf. I'm looking forward to it!! :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Art of Living

The photo you see here isn't my work or my studio. This is the studio of Barnet "Barney" Edelman, and his last painting. Today's my mother's birthday, and while I certainly don't need prompting to appreciate her greatness, I've had a couple of recent reminders of the value of appreciating what I have while I have it. Today, I received an email from author and SCI FI editor Scott Edelman. He reported the passing of Barney who was a veteran art director at McGraw Hill and Scott's dad. He asked that his father be remembered and while I normally wouldn't mention friends' private matters here, it's the least I can do since Scott requested it. This image of Barney's last painting really hit home and gave me pause this morning. The picture speaks for itself, doesn't it? I'll leave the tributes to Scott who wrote a beautiful memorial to his dad.

My pal Bob Eggleton lost his mom last week and I still think about him days after it happened. He posted a photo of he and his mom from his wedding day, and knowing him, I bet her memory will fuel his paintings in ways the rest of us can't imagine.

Continued best thoughts and sincere condolences go out to Scott, Bob, and their families. Today's a work day like any other here, but tonight when I see my mother, I'll hug her a little longer and stay a little later.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Shoutouts, News + Notes

Good stuff to share, while I continue cranking away on lots of new work:

* Congrats to FAST FORWARD 2 which was just selected as one of 2008's best anthologies by LOCUS' latest Recommended Reading List. Several FF2 stories were also cited amongst the year's best including Nancy Kress' "The Kindness of Strangers"; Paul Cornell's "Catherine Drewe"; Ian McDonald's "An Eligible Boy"; Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Gambler"; and Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow's "True Names".

One very important clarification: to anyone considering Paul Cornell's story "Catherine Drewe" for Hugo Award consideration, LOCUS has the story listed as a novelette but by Hugo Award word-count standards, Cornell's story (6,674 words) is best considered a SHORT STORY. So if you're nominating "Catherine Drewe" for a Hugo, please slot it as a short story (thanks to Mr. Cornell himself for the clarification). However, when LOCUS conducts its online Locus Award Poll, they'll likely slot the story as a novelette because their word-count standards may have suddenly changed from what they used to be. Whew -- 'make sense? Hope so. :)

* Subterranean Press recently unveiled the finished front cover layout for their limited edition of Dan Simmons' DROOD. I did the cover illustration, but I'm not sure who did the typography. Probably Desert Isle Design, but I won't know until I receive comp copies and see the credits. At any rate, this book is getting rave reviews including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Congrats to Dan and to Sub Press! :)

* I just registered as a member of the community. It's looking like I'm going to attend their March workshop. More on this soon.