Fri, 22 March 2013
In a marketplace where digital is increasingly becoming the production standard for book covers and sci-fi/fantasy art, there are artists still dedicated to bringing fantastical visions to life with oil-to-canvas.
One of those artists is Dan Dos Santos!
In our conversation, we discuss working within the ever-changing field of sci-fi/fantasy art, his mentorship with illustrator Steven Stroud, love of comics, and the virtues of hard work instilled in him by his parents. Dan also relates his founding of the Muddy Colors blog and what the future may hold for it.
Dos Santos has worked for clients such as Disney, Universal Studios, Scholastic Books and Wizards of the Coast, and can be found online at dandossantos.com. He posts regularly on the aforementioned Muddy Colors blog as well, along with his fellow contributors.
Mon, 12 November 2012
On this podcast, we talk to tons and tons of creators. The vast majority of which have had long and very fruitful careers. They've seen it all and done it all, too.
Well, we thought it was high time we got off our asses and created a format where we could bring some relatively new talent to the fore. You know, guys and gals who are on the front ends of their careers, but show incredible promise even now. Hence, Rise & Shine: Their stars are on the rise and we wanna give them some shine. So, here goes!
First up is Jane Radstrom. Without giving too much away here, Jane is an artist and illustrator based out of Austin, Texas. She's a grad of the Ringling College of Art and Design and now works, not only as a freelance illustrator, but also as a drawing instructor for The Art Department (TAD).
Don't be fooled, though. Jane's real secret weapon is her personal work. Not to downplay her skills as a commercial artist (she's got 'em), but her fine art is amazing. You can find the charming Ms. Radstrom on-line right here. Do click now.
Next up is sensational young comic artist James Harren. James hails from Doylestown, Pennyslyvania, but received his formal art training at The School of Visual Arts in New York. And as fate would have it, legendary artist and inker (and past SiDEBAR guest) Klaus Janson was one of Harren's instructors while he was in school.
After SVA, James cut his teeth freelancing for a year at Marvel Comics, then settled in nicely with the folks over at Dark Horse. So far, he's done a killer job on titles like Abe Sapien, Conan the Barbarian, and of course, B.P.R.D.
Mon, 10 September 2012
The amazing Thomas Blackshear has finally graced these esteemed microphones and we are elated! Thomas has been on the short list of wanted SiDEBAR guests for eons (or at least since Dwight and I first started the show back in 2007).
He is a former illustrator, and now, fine artist, and his large and eminently respectable body of work has garnered him legions of dedicated fans (many of whom are his peers).
After more than two decades of working as a professional illustrator, Thomas switched lanes to jump into the collectibles market as a designer and sculptor. That endeavor, too, has been ridiculously successful. (Check out his Ebony Visions series, folks.)
This is a real treat and a coup for us. Blackshear doesn't do an awful lot of interviews, podcast or print. We're honored to have spoken with him. Thanks to him for chatting with us, and thanks to you all for checking it out.
Wed, 9 May 2012
Gerald Brom has a lot in common with Prince, Madonna and Sting. No, he’s not a musician (that we know of). But his art so singularly represents him that one name, his last name, is enough, really. And it’s a kick-ass name, too, by the way!
Born here in Georgia, and raised all over the world (a military brat), Brom has gone on in his creative endeavors to become a fantasy writer and artist almost without peer. The author of amazing books like The Plucker, The Child Thief, and his upcoming Krampas the Yule-Lord, his fans are legion. You can count all three of us in that group, too.
In today’s interview, we cover some background on Brom, TSR and life in rural Wisconsin, working traditionally, picking up the writer handle, and everything in between.
Plus, we talk a bit about him being a special guest at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live which is going down in just over a week in Kansas City, MO. We’ll be there as well and hopefully we can grab a beer with the guy. He was awesome.
Can. Not. Wait.
Sat, 31 March 2012
I do not believe in providence. Not at all. Doesn’t matter that we’ve been fans of illustrator David Grove for forever. Doesn’t matter that out of nowhere, a friend of the show emailed us and basically offered to hook us up with him. Doesn’t matter that while he wasn’t a podcast guy (at all), David graciously agreed to chat not knowing what it would entail. And it doesn’t matter that a wonderful career-spanning art book on Grove came out not four months ago. Nope, that ain’t providence.
Okay, thinly-veiled sarcasm aside, this interview was a coupe. If you’re at all a student of illustration, and by that I mean the hey-day of it, you know David Grove. He worked throughout the 1970s and ‘80s and left a trail of broken art-loving hearts when he finally retired from commercial work in the ‘90s.
Book covers, editorial illustration, national ad campaigns and movie posters were his bread and butter — and he knocked them all out, folks! The Outsiders, Pale Rider, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Vision Quest are just a few of the films Grove painted posters for. And they made him a star of his industry.
We would be telling a big fat lie if we said we didn't have an awesome time on this one. David was witty, warm and charming, and he told terrific stories. And if you know anything about his life, you know he’s got a few. Last year, Norfolk Press put out an art book called David Grove – An Illustrated Life. It is chocked full of drawings, sketches, color illustrations, photographs, and yes, tales from Grove’s past that will curl your hair.
Do grab a copy of the book from his site. It’s well worth the asking price ($35). And while I don’t believe in providence, I do love and believe in great art. David Grove’s kind of art.
Mon, 19 March 2012
The fortunate son makes his debut on SiDEBAR (okay, that’s a little too cheesy even for me).
Former illustrator and now fine artist Eric Fortune stopped by to hang out with us and we’re happy that he did. We’ve known this young lad for a couple of years now, so it was 'bout time. Eric is an Ohio-based artist and a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). He tells us in the interview that being an Ohio resident has had its unintended perks. Over the years, he’s become friends and colleagues with two other local guys, who at one time, were his artistic heroes: Chris "C.F." Payne and John Jude Palencar. Payne is the dean of illustration at CCAD where Eric received his BFA, and Palencar has been a visiting speaker and lecturer at the school (both are awesome, by the way).
Take a looksee at Fortune’s beautiful and ethereal paintings and we’re sure you’ll agree with us when we say, "they are the stuff that dreams are made of". Gorgeous!
And check him out on-line at his blog and website, or at Muddy Colors, the art blog he contributes to with other lauded painters like Justin Sweet, Greg Manchess, Jesper Ejsing and Daniel Dos Santos (just to name a few).
Yeah, it’s like that.
**As fate would have it, we recorded our talk with Eric the day after legendary illustrator and designer Ralph McQuarrie passed away. At the end of the episode, there's an Easter egg discussion between us on the life and career of McQuarrie. It wasn't something we really prepped for, but it was from the heart.
Tue, 6 March 2012
We used the word "legendary" in the tagline on this one, and for good reason. Mark English has earned it. After years of brilliance in his chosen field, and after influencing an incalcuable number of younger artists — it applies. Period.
Mark is someone who has been on our radar for a very long time. Dwight and I (and now, Adrian) delayed asking him on the podcast until now because we wanted to make sure that we were ready for such a talk. That our collective skills for gab were up to the task. That (and this is being completely honest), that we wouldn't sound like three chickenshit art nerds with nothing of substance to say to an artistic hero. After all, Mark is someone who entered a field where guys like Austin Briggs, Al Parker and Bernie Fuchs were already doing it real big. And he not only held his own with those fellas, but made his own mark (no pun).
Over his career, clients like RCA Records, GE, Ford Motors, Redbook, McCall's, TIME and Sports Illustrated were all well served by English’s talents. And he went on to receive hundreds of awards for his work, at one point being the most awarded illustrator in the history of the Society of Illustrators. Also important to note, in 1983, Mark was elected to The Illustrators Hall of Fame in New York alongside venerated predecessors like Maxfield Parrish, N. C. Wyeth and Frederick Remington.
Nowadays, Mark is retired from the illustration game. After three decades of knocking them out of the park, he decided to start painting for himself. And yes, he kicks ass at that, too. Have you seen his personal work? Geez.
We hope you enjoy our interview with the legendary Mark English. Again, he’s earned that title.
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!
Mon, 25 July 2011
Jeff Preston is many things. He's an illustrator. He's southern. He's old school. He's also our pal and a fun guy to hang out with!
Dwight and I met him at a Dragon*Con a few years ago (Adrian has yet to) and we've all been buds ever since. It's cool being friends with someone who's been doing this for 26 years, and whose artistic lineage goes back to Howard Pyle (yep, that's right).
Looking at his gallery, you'll notice Jeff has a penchant for the macabre — monsters, ghouls, zombies. Basically anything that goes bump in the proverbial night. Which is funny considering many of the assignments he's gotten over his career have come from religious publishers (drawing Jesus by day, and Dracula by night).
And hey, don't let the old school comment fool you. This man does work traditionally (his marker technique — oh my God!), but he also rocks the digital tools. He taught Photoshop courses for a while at a college in his native Tennessee.
Prepare to regaled by Preston's rich stories and tall tales. I say tall tales in jest. Jeff's experiences are all honest and real. In some cases pretty funny, too. He was a hoot!
And we do get into some process for all you tech-heads out there. Jeff wields a Copic marker like Thor wields his hammer — and there's just as much thunder and lightning as a result. You can quote me on that!
His partial client list: Famous Monsters of Filmland, Darkhorse Comics, Lifeway Christian Resources, The United Methodist Publishing House, MGM/UA Home Video, Haunted Hill Productions, Spencer Gifts, Harcourt Publishing, McDonalds, Flynn/Sabitino/Day Advertising, Fantasy Flight Games, 5/3rd Bank, U.S. Post Office and more.
Here's a link to Amdale Media's latest in their Masters of Art Video Tutorial series. A DVD featuring Jeff and his incredible marker technique. Gobble it up, folks.
Sun, 29 May 2011
The eye of an illustrator is a real particular thing. When I was a youngster, I didn't pay that much attention to what was what in art — comics, cartoons, movie posters, an image on a lunchbox — it was all just cool pictures to me.
But after a few years of maturing and taking a closer look at what falls under the artistic umbrella, illustration, as with all the disciplines, has its own lane. And it requires a very specific skill set, too. You gotta have the "magic eye" like Denzel Washington tells Ethan Hawke in the movie 'Training Day'. Our pal, Jason Palmer, has the magic eye.
Jason lives out on the west coast in California, where he was born and raised, and has been a professional illustrator for over 20 years. He's worked on a variety of projects in his career: Star Trek comic books, prop art for various TV shows, licensed artwork for Warner Bros., Universal Studios and Lucasfilm properties, storyboards, ad designs, and more.
And as we cover in our interview, he recently worked on the new Wonder Woman television show that was in production over at NBC. This was the one, of course, being helmed by David E. Kelley and featured actress, Adrianne Palicki.
Other than commercial gigs like the ones mentioned above, Jason creates images for his own business featuring the liknesses of many of his favorite sci-fi, fantasy and pop culture icons. If you go to his store or if you see him at a convention, you'll likely see merch with characters from Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, Smallville, Firefly and The Matrix.
When we first met Jason and his wife Yelena at Dragon*Con a few years ago, we ended up being their booth neighbors. Jason told us he was a fan of the podcast and how much he enjoyed it. And we were floored at how good his art was. After about ten minutes, we became bestest buddies and the rest of the weekend was a complete hoot!
In our chat with Mr. Palmer, we get to hear about everything — his early days working in an art store, his encounters with guys like LeRoy Neiman and Dave Stevens, becoming a professional illustrator, and what it's like to be considered Drew Struzan's protege (yes, that is correct).