Chris McGrath is the artist for, among many other things, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I noticed on his website that there will be a 2009 calendar, available in August, dedicated to his work on these books, so, I threw him a couple of questions:
How did you get the first Dresden commission?
“I had done a couple of these futuristic detective covers for Roc at the time and they had a gritty urban look that they thought would work well for the Dresden series. They really didn’t know what they wanted for the cover, other than the main character standing on a street corner in Chicago with his staff, hat, and duster jacket. So, I did a few sketches and they picked one that I ended up changing a bit. In the end they loved the cover and had me redo the rest of the series plus the upcoming titles. That book was a definite turning point, not just for my career, but artistically as well. I really had found myself and “style” with that illustration.”
What are the pleasures and pains of working on an ongoing series?
“The Dresden Files is a fun series to work on because it’s a cool concept with a cool character, but after eleven books it can be difficult to come up with new ideas. I’ve started to bring in some of the background characters on the cover I just finished, letting covers evolve and open up a bit. I do drop by the Dresden forum once and a while to get some feedback from the fans—they have a lot of cool ideas that I need to balance out with Roc’s Marketing Department. I’m always excited when the project comes around every year.”