content by

John Picacio

Shaun Tan, Armand Baltazar, and Gregory Manchess on Artists Becoming Authors and the Future of Graphic Storytelling

I’ve been illustrating covers for major science fiction, fantasy, and horror publishers for two decades, but after I won my first Hugo Award in 2012, I decided to start creating my own worlds and stories. In between cover jobs, something was building—I was inspired by the icons of the classic Mexican game of chance, Loteria, that I grew up playing with my family. So I started drawing. I’ve been producing very limited runs of the artworks as giant-sized art cards called “Loteria Grandes”—and it’s a joy to watch that fan base grow. What I didn’t know is that the pictures contained secrets and stories, and the more that I drew, the more they revealed themselves.

So I started writing them down.

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A Visual History of the Best Professional Artist Hugo Award Winners

The Hugo Awards started in 1953, however, the Best Professional Artist category wasn’t created until 1955. Since then, seventeen pro artists have been recognized with the award in that category (eighteen if you count Leo and Diane Dillon as individuals—debatable because they considered themselves inseparable—even though each was/is a powerhouse individual artist). It’s a helluva list.

Two Sundays ago, I became a part of it, prompting me to put together this visual history of the winners of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. After assembling this set of images, the first thought I have is “get back to work….go get better.” And the next—“this still feels like a dream.”

[A visual history of the Best Professional Artist Hugo winners]

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