Mon, 22 August 2011
I wish I could say this roundtable was full of nothing but insightful comments and informed opinions. It isn't. Oh, some of that stuff is in there. You just have to listen for it in between the gushing and awe. When Drew Struzan's art is the topic of conversation, gushing and awe abound.
One of our first, and I mean very first interviews on this here podcast, was with Drew (Episode 16, September 2007). It was magical. Dwight and I, to this day, are floored that he made time for us. He was and still is — "The Man". We were just two art nerds in the basement talking on the phone. Still, he did do it and we will always be forever grateful to him for that.
If you don't know Drew's work, you suck (you really do, trust me on this one). He's a master illustrator of over 40 years, primarily having worked in movie posters. He's retired now, but without a doubt, his bibliography will smite you: Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Police Academy, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Cannonball Run, Masters of the Universe, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Harry Potter... The list is glorious and it is legion.
Back in 2005, an artbook of Struzan's work came out called Oeuvre and I scooped it up right before we spoke to him. Great book, beautifully put together. Sadly though, it never made the splash in the mainstream that was intended. Dreamwave, Oeuvre's publisher, went bankrupt before the book ever made it into stores.
Well, a new version of this collection will be available as of October 4, 2011. This time from Titan Books, the company that brought us 2010's brilliant The Art of Drew Struzan. Titan and Drew have "re-mastered" Oeuvre (if you will) and it features a new cover design, 50 new pages, and text written by Drew himself and his wife, Dylan.
With both books being released in such close proximity, we got super excited and decided to chat about them. Sort of. We only had the older version of Oeuvre, so some supposition takes place in our conversation. Still, Drew and his art were celebrated mightily and we had an awesome time doing so. We hope you enjoy it.
And please — whatever you do — get yourself copies of these two books. No art lover's shelf should be without them. That would be a crime.
Sun, 14 August 2011
First, a confession: Prior to last year's Dragon*Con, I had absolutely no idea who John Picacio was.
Rewinding back to that particular convention, I remember Dwight strongly urging Swain and myself to check out the Art Gallery, post-haste. After much hemming and hawing (all by me), I followed Dwight over to take a look.
Now, speaking honestly, I've never been a sci-fi/fantasy art fan — by any stretch. But after we stopped by Picacio's booth and I saw his work for the first time, those words no longer rang true.
Dwight and I ogled his original drawings for Michael Moorcock's legendary hero, Elric, and let me say, they were something to behold. Seeing those grayscale images up close was an experience unto itself. And it was made more so by John's eloquence and giving spirit.
We had the good fortune of having him sit down and join us for a quick chat at our booth (as chronicled on Episode 136). Turned out he was an avid listener to SiDEBAR and we all became fast friends.
Picacio's lauded resume of over ten years includes illustration for all the major publishers of science-fiction, fantasy and horror. And at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, he debuted his latest project from Random House: the 2012 George R. R. Martin calendar for A Song of Ice and Fire.
John says the Martin fans at Comic-Con absolutely loved it and this was his best year ever. He describes them as "hardcore and beyond passionate". We believe him!
Our conversation covers the creation of the Ice and Fire calendar, as well as a look back at Picacio's formative years as a young artist. We also get into his thoughts of the ever-changing landscape of contemporary illustration, some process talk, and his amazing artbook, Cover Story.
Cover Story was published by Monkeybrain Books in 2006. And after meeting John at Dragon*Con, I promptly went home and ordered myself a copy. It's a treat for fans of sci-fi/fantasy illustration. Awww hell, fans of illustration period. Trust.
Lastly, from August 17-21, John will be set up at Worldcon in Reno, Nevada. The con also hosts the annual Hugo and Chesley Awards. This year, he's nominated for a Hugo for Best Professional Artist and three (!) Chesleys for his cover and interior illustrations. Good luck to John and the rest of the nominees!
** Stay tuned after the interview for an extra special Easter Egg celebrating Dwight's recent birthday!
Tue, 2 August 2011
I've been a Duncan Fegredo fan ever since his American comics debut on DC's 1991 Kid Eternity series. The original Kid Eternity was (at best) a book featuring a forgettable, terciary Golden Age hero. However, the '90s makeover it received from Duncan and writer Grant Morrison was extraordinary, and KE ended up being a precursor to what we now call the Vertigo line.
One of the things over the years that's kept me locked in on Fegredo's art is simply watching it evolve (as it should be with any artist). He wore some heavy duty influences on his young sleeves when he first broke into comics, but his stuff quickly crystallized into something singular and all his own.
If you wanna see some great drawing by the man, scoop up back issues of Enigma, GIRL or a story in Spider-man's Tangled Web called "Flowers for Rhino".
The Rhino tale is a charming, little riff on Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" — one of my favorite short stories as a kid. On it, Duncan teams up with his frequent collaborator, writer Peter Milligan.
And let's not forget about his sublime cover work. Fegredo crushed it on books like Lucifer, Books of Magick, Shade the Changing Man and various Star Wars titles.
Having spent the last four years exclusively telling Hellboy stories, we caught up with Duncan as he was finishing up "The Fury", his final run on the series. Mike Mignola, the book's well known creator, will be back to take over art chores on the new arc.
So, what's next for Duncan Fegredo you ask? Listen in and see, folks. But also covered in our chat with him are his opinions on formal art training for comics, how he and Milligan began their working relationship, and those early days at DC/Vertigo.
We also find out how he feels about working traditionally vs. digitally, bad coloring jobs, and Intersections, his experimental artbook mash-up with fellow artist and pal, Sean Phillips.
**This episode is cheerfully dedicated to our friend, John Robinson, at Graham Crackers Comics. Graham Crackers has been our sponsor for almost two years now, and John's always been super supportive.