the primary way in which i became familiar with other artists' work when i was in middle and high school was through art books. in fantasy, some very influential ones for me as a teen and pre-teen included the art of dragonlance, the art of advanced dungeons and dragons, boris vallejo’s fantasy art techniques, and michael whelan’s works of wonder. each of these books really inspired me, along with d&d products and the fighting fantasy book covers of richard corben and richard courtney (the modern reprints feature largely new covers by different artists). since then of course tons of other such books have kept me inspired.
one dream i think every young fantasy artist has is of someday issuing his own monograph, a privilege most “regular” commercial illustrators never really get. back then i think i figured it was something you just worked really hard for and then some company would tap you to do one. i’ve since learned that this is only partially how it works. the other way, which has been done successfully by other artists, is to produce your own and either have a publisher pick it up or get help in distributing it. while the first way has a sort of prize-winning aspect about being chosen, the second helps to maintain control of the timeline, process, and content. risks and investment also vary by type.
which is all to say that over the past couple of years a question has been creeping up at events i attend: “do you have a book out,” or its alternate, “when’s your book coming out?” thankfully, the frequency of the request has been increasing. it got me to thinking about the whole process. i’ve been recently aware of the fact that i’ve been illustrating now for 11 or so years, an amazing statistic for me to ponder. while i’ve put out a lot of stuff I wouldn’t want compiled (as does any artist), is it possible that there’s enough to fill, say, a standard 128-page book?
turns out the answer seems to be: just about. we went through most of my archives of paintings and culled out the best of the best in an attempt to fill out a 128 page book, to see what it might look like if it released today. this is just paintings, and doesn’t include preparatory drawings or studies or photos that might accompany them. i was surprised to see that the collection is coming together, even if it only exists as a folder of jpgs on my computer at the moment called “book images.”
we’ve talked some about what format the book might take, what i’d like a book of my work to be like, and have reviewed the books of others to see what we liked or didn’t—an ongoing process.
which is all to say that the answer to the question of when my book is coming out is: well, not before 2007 that’s for sure. this whole living abroad thing certainly makes logistics difficult for something like that, which might include warehousing and other demands. however, it’s in its earliest planning stages. progress will be slow going, done with what time remains after painting and maintaining daydream graphics.
the good thing is that looking over the folder of images, there are certainly pieces in there i’d rather replace with better ones and, Lord willing, i’ll have time to paint new pieces that would do just that so that, when it does release, i’ll probably be pleased with the result.
if you see me around ask about the book. it was the queries of some good folk out there that got me this far, and certainly more encouragement could do nothing short of speeding me up! as thoughts arise or progress is made i’ll mention them here.
6 days ago