The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
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April 17, 2015
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April 16, 2015
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Showing posts by: Gregory Manchess click to see Gregory Manchess's profile
May 23 2014 9:00am

The Dust and Grit of Our Interstellar Future: The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon

The Art of John Harris: Beyond the HorizonTitan Books has released another fabulous art book of a contemporary science fiction artist. The Art of John Harris, Beyond The Horizon is as beautiful as the images contained in it.

Titan gives Harris’ work a high-class setting, the staging it needs to allow the viewer to wander through the reproductions without a sea of grey-typed mind-splitting critique that tells us what to we’re supposed to glean from or accept about it. Explanations are minimized and give just enough information to understand what Harris was thinking. In short, it focuses on the gorgeous work itself.

[Take a look at that gorgeous work close up]

Aug 21 2012 2:53pm

Remembering Sergio Toppi

Artist Gregory Manchess remembers Sergio ToppiFew handled a page full of characters, designed a visual flow, or drove a narrative quite like Sergio Toppi. He was a clear master of pen and ink. He worked in full color as well, but it was his black and white work that showed his broad vision and phenomenal drawing skills.

[More on Sergio Toppi]

Aug 8 2012 2:00pm

Painting Stubby the Rocket in Space

Stubby the Rocket in space by Gregory Manchess

For their 4th birthday this year, commissioned a new illustration based on their logo (affectionately called Stubby the Rocket). I designed the rocket with Irene Gallo four years ago. Every year in honor of’s birthday, which just happens to be NASA’s moon-landing day, July 20th, a new story about Stubby’s adventures will be released. The first one was recently published, “A Tall Tail,” by Charles Stross.

[And it required Stubby to actually fly in space]

Jul 12 2012 2:00pm

Behind the Scenes: Creating the Art for a New Swanwick Story Series

Behind the Scenes: Creating the Art for a New Swanwick Story Series

Sometimes, paintings just need more work than you set out to give them. They reflect your state of mind so well, that at times we manage to ignore what’s in front of us, when we should follow what’s going down.

This is the sequence of painting two images of a six story run for The stories were written by Michael Swanwick and art directed by Irene Gallo. (The first one, “The Mongolian Wizard,” was just published.) They have a touch of steampunkiness to them, along with vaguely recognizable historic elements. I read them both about three times each, then started as usual, with a slew of thumbnails.

[Read how Manchess went about creating the imagery]

Jun 8 2012 10:00am

At the Edge: An SFF Exhibition

Dorian Vallejo looking at Frank Frazetta’s work.

At the Edge opened this past Saturday in Allentown, PA. I was smacked right in the eyes when I turned to look at the first piece on the first gallery wall: a beautiful pen and ink by Franklin Booth of a ship of the line, followed by an original Arthur Rackham. A first class collection of first class fantastic art, all luscious originals that spanned the past two hundred and twelve years.

[Read more]

Jan 12 2012 1:00pm

Painting John Carter

The 100th anniversary of A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs is here, and to celebrate, John Joseph Adams has edited an anthology of all new adventures of John Carter, set on that seminal planet. Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom will be released early February, full of great writers and specially commissioned contemporary illustrations. This is my contribution to the story entitled, “The Metal Men of Mars,” by Joe R. Lansdale. Other artists include Charles Vess, Molly Crabapple, John Picacio, Mike Kaluta and others.

[Read more and watch a demo video]

Nov 14 2011 11:00am

The Year’s Most Fantastic SFF Art: Spectrum 18

The world appears to be full of skilled artists working with fantastic images. As proof, I can point to the latest, slightly thicker edition of Spectrum 18.

I was one of seven judges this year, which I consider an honored privilege. Getting a glimpse of the state of the genre’s art at large is daunting: five thousand entries displayed in a room full of tables.

The process runs like this. Each judge carries a cup full of beans, ordinary ol’ navy beans. As the juror passes down the aisles of tables, scrutinizing each and every entry, she places a bean into the cup next to the entry she likes. One bean is a yes vote. The juror can’t see who’s voted and who hasn’t because the cup is inverted, with a small hole in top to pass the bean vote through.

[Read more]

Jun 17 2011 3:31pm

Joe Cleary & Boy’s Life Magazine

I found it fascinating when I was a kid that Boy’s Life Magazine embraced science fiction.  Strong illustrations, like this one by Joe Cleary, made time travel stories my favorite.

[Read more]

May 19 2011 11:35am

Jeffrey Catherine Jones 1944-2011

Jeffrey Catherine Jones 1944-2011One of America’s greatest artists died this morning. Jeff Jones was among science fiction and fantasy’s premiere visual story-tellers. He handled oil paint and brush as if he was merely revealing the magic and beauty held within the canvas, like wiping away the white to show the color beneath.

Nothing ever felt labored in his work. His prolific output made it seem as if he had to get the stacks of ideas out of himself, through oil, watercolor, or pen and ink. As Jeff’s abilities grew, so did his sophistication, and yet I always felt the exploration in his concepts to capture a child-like playfulness, no matter how serious the subject. This leant a certain agelessness to everything. From his early Frazetta influence, he pushed the work more toward his own star and progressed to one of the genre’s most unique voices.

[Read more. Some NSFW art below the cut]

Feb 23 2011 1:15pm

John Schoenherr’s The Tuvela

I could never resist the beauty and whimsy of this Analog cover by the inimitable John Schoenherr, illustrating a two-part story originally titled, The Demon Breed, by James H. Schmitz.

Two giant otters along with their human friend, Nile, pause high in the tangled limbs of a water world. The strength of the sweeping curve of the main otter draws the eye upward to the adorable animal’s face, placed perfectly next to the magazine’s masthead. Nile is mysterious and sits tantalisingly just off-center for a sense of scale.

[Read more...]

Jan 17 2011 9:14am

The Art of Hammer

The Art of HammerTitan Publications just released The Art of Hammer, by Marcus Hearn. The amazing thing about the book is that it made me realize how powerfully artwork can out-creep the movies they advertise. The singular vision of so many examples of art has tremendous impact.

Hammer films were the reason my closet was haunted as a kid. Just looking at the artwork on the outside of the theater, presenting attractions for the next shocker, was enough to send me home with nightmares. Perhaps my imagination was acute, but I think the artists that made these visions so frightening were having the time of their lives. They had no idea they were stirring deep primordial fears within children everywhere. Or, well, maybe they did.

[Warning: deep primordial fears ahead]

Jan 5 2011 4:56pm

Constructing the Art for The Satan Factory

The Satan Factory drawn by Gregory ManchessI was an early fan of Hellboy. Forget the comical name or the character himself. What grabbed me from the moment I spotted it was it’s graphic appeal. Mike Mignola designs his panels, pages, story, and dialog. They are impeccable and luscious. I want to linger on every page because my brain is always happy to fill in the blanks he leaves practically everywhere. The mark of a superior designer and draughtsman.

It’s the risks he takes with leaving things out that makes the difference. Huge explosions with barely an indication of detail, and large areas of color that he and Dave Stewart, an excellent colorist, work out together. Creatures and settings drawn from simple outlines or slightly modified cut-outs as figures. That takes commitment to leave out all the dang detail.

[Process sketches after the jump]

Dec 3 2010 12:49pm

Constructing the Art for The Sky People

Art for The Sky People by S.M. Stirling

I used to work at a studio of illustrators. One of our catch phrases at the time was, “generally, your first impression for an illustration idea is the right one.” Logic follows that if I just put down one sketch, it would likely be better than any that followed. And of course, this isn’t real.

The impression of the idea may be correct, but the solution is rarely so. It takes exploration, and as soon as I find a great solution, five more pop into my head. Each one leads to another. They start slow, then cascade. Solutions evolve.

[Read more]

Nov 23 2010 6:06pm

Pictures from SteamCon II

SteamCon IIJust back from SteamCon ll and I was completely underdressed. Nearly everyone there was dressed to the nines. Say, about 1909. Certainly 1869, as this year’s event was titled, “Weird Weird West.” The best kind of weird. Like Custer with goggles, or The Lone Ranger with jetpack weird.

This was my first SteamCon and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The level of whimsy, and flat out awesome seemed to hit a new genre high. It was grand, creative fun!

Next year I’ll dress the part, and party like it’s, umm, 1899.

[Below the cut, a selection of photos from SteamCon II]

Nov 18 2010 12:39pm

Weird Wizard of Oz

Spectrum 17Spectrum 17, the premiere annual showcasing the best of science fiction and fantasy art of the year, is out and it’s my good fortune to have painted the cover image. Especially on a nice white background. (Thanks, Arnie!) I’m a fan of white backgrounds. Probably an influence from the Saturday Evening Post and a decade of the best paperback covers in the world.

[A breakdown of the cover after the cut]

Oct 13 2010 11:30am

The Art of Drew Struzan

The Art of Drew Struzan from Titan BooksA gorgeous new book about the movie poster work of Drew Struzan The Art of Drew Struzan, has just been released by Titan Books. It’s written by David J. Schow, book and film writer, and Struzan himself. It’s visual chocolate for every lover of movie posters, and every type of working and wannabe illustrator.

[Read more]

Oct 11 2010 5:22pm

Something Wicked This Way Comes art by David Grove

Something Wicked This Way Comes art by David Grove

“First of all, it was October. A rare month for boys.”

Every October I ritually watch Something Wicked This Way Comes as a way of ringing in the Halloween spirit that pervades the month. It’s not the best film, but over the years, despite it’s stilted and cliched dialog delivered by two twelve-year-olds trying to act, I’ve come to adore it.

The flavor of the story is beautifully captured in the movie poster by my once teacher, once mentor, and long-time friend, David Grove. Its near magical method of loose paint flows into rich, saturated runs of color, giving the illusion that it was painted in a quick, haphazard session. Besides those passages that underly the delicately rendered focal points that bleed light and life into the entire composition, the painting and I have a bit of a special connection: it haunts me.

[Read more]

Sep 2 2010 5:24pm

Bob McCall’s “Escape the Morning”

In the 60’s, Boy’s Life Magazine was my window into adventure. Nothing was a bigger adventure then than going to the moon. To me, the space race was the pinnacle of what we could achieve as human beings.

[Read more]

Aug 25 2010 1:02pm

An interview with colorist Dave Stewart

The Amazing Screw-on HeadToday, Dark Horse Comics releases Mike Mignola’s latest endeavor, “The Amazing Screw-On Head,” brought to vivid life by virtuoso colorist, Dave Stewart.

Dave has been the colorist for the Hellboy series from Dark Horse for over a decade, and I’ve been a fan of his work from day one. His use of broad flat color laid into Mike Mignola’s simplified shapes and volumes adds just the right amount of graphic power to the pages to keep any lover of the comic form turning those pages late into the night.

When most colorers in the business work to give three dimensional effect to thousands of pages each week with complicated rendering, Stewart has the audacity to create depth from flat color.

Dave has to take a virtual sea of black and white ink and make volumetric sense of it. He has to give it the depth that Mike is seeing and then add his own touch to it all. The result is strikingly subtle, yet visually powerful. When looking at the structure behind it, you won’t find a formula or a secret cryptic method. You’ll find a singular strong vision developed from years of experience. Dave keeps the skills honed and sharp.

I caught up with him to ask a few questions about his latest work for The Amazing Screw-on Head.

[Read more]

Aug 17 2010 1:18pm

The Zero Stone, with a cover by Jeff Jones

The Zero Stone by Andre Norton, cover by Jeff Jones

This was the first all-white cover that I remember seeing in the science fiction section. Yes, there had been some spy novel and thriller covers that were all white. (James Bama comes to mind. Another artist I’ll get to soon.) Even some racy murder mysteries. But none that I felt were as unforgettable as this one.

[Read more]