Today’s Best Professional Artist Hugo nominee profile:
“I am always excited when I receive the call for a new commission. The chance to research new content and explore new challenges has been the most inspirational aspect of my career as an illustrator. Every painting is approached with sincerity as I delve into what can make this image unique and faithful to the narrative content provided by my client.
In particular instances, ‘Shaman’ (pictured above, left) provided the greatest conceptual challenge as a cover for a novel of short stories titled A Book of Wizards by the Science Fiction Book Club. My initial reaction was to produce a classical male wizard, casting spells. Yet upon reading the a few of the short stories of the manuscript, the protagonist of two of my favorites (My Life as a Swan by Tanith Lee and What Tune the Enchantress Plays by Peter S. Beagle) turned out to be women, and not the classical spell-casting type. Could I put a woman, a primitive ‘witch’, on the cover of a book titled wizards? A quick dictionary check on the word and a cross reference to ‘shaman’ laid the argumentative ground work that, yes, I could! The wonderfully collaborative and good-willed nature of the art director Matthew Kalamidas turned this image into one of my favorites from 2008.
‘Archer of the Rose’ (pictured above, right) is another favorite, created as the third image in the set of the ‘War of the Rose’ novels by Kathleen Bryan from Tor Books. Irene picked this sketch as a cover for the third book when I delivered it as a rough idea variation for the first book in the series. Her choice was obviously a good one, as this work just received recognition as a finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s Annual Salon for classical realism painting and will appear in Illustrators 51, the juried annual representing the best of contemporary illustrative art. ‘Archer’ was a tremendous challenge compositionally and technically, and a pure pleasure to render the shields as Persian manuscript covers. I love the subtlety that there are book covers within the book cover, and that knights might love to read rather than fight.
Overall, 2008 open many new doors to me artistically and I hope this inspirational growth continues through the rest of my career as an artist.”