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Creating Fan Art: The Artist’s Perspective

It is truly interesting that fan art is this week’s topic, since it is something I am not only intimately familiar with as an illustrator, but this week my freelance life centers around that very idea. One of the things I enjoy doing is interviewing the cover artists for Apex Magazine, and I am sending several this week. Fan art questions often come up with those artists, who create fan art for various reasons. Along with that, I am also working on a piece of fan art this week, in the hopes that it will be published later this year in a book filled with art based on the 1982 film The Thing.… Read the rest

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The texture of zombies and the dead

One thing I love about art is seeing the different interpretations that artists have. A different take on a sunset, or a new way to paint buildings, and even new ways to paint monsters. These new methods and creative views drive what I love in art. Let’s face it, especially where monsters are involved.

It can be tricky, especially if the basic idea of a type of monster is fairly well laid out. Since Zombie Month is upon us here at Apex (and it’s just eating at me to talk about it), we can take a look at the dead.… Read the rest

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The strangeness of trying to give something away

As it turns out, I’m an artist. An artist that has, luckily, convinced others that he can do art. Thus, I produce covers, interior illustrations, and whatever else folks need. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’m not done beating it into the ground just yet, but it can be an up and down game. One that’s filled with happiness, regret, satisfaction, depression, and quite a lot of other feelings.

Having done this since the late 90’s (published, at least), I can see the trends of my career so far. They are, to say the least, very loopy.… Read the rest

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A solemn moment and a quiet gift

I get asked a few times a month for my current commission rates, for folks interested in having me do cover work, or maybe an ink or acrylic piece. Sometimes they hire, sometimes they don’t, that’s just business.

But there’s an underlying element often of folks who don’t want to pay anything. Ever. They just want free art, because they feel they are entitled.

Originally published by Apex Book Company, August 2012

Folks, “entitled” is what we in the business call a “bullshit word”.

There is no such thing as entitlement.… Read the rest

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This Week’s Art: Cornwell’s $2,000 Reward

I love the illustrators of the early-mid 20th century. Rockwell, Wyeth, Pyle, and many more, they just have this great sense of drama and storytelling in their work. Even without knowing the stories that they went with, as is sometimes the case, the images still cause a reaction.

Case in point, this image by one of my favorite illustrators, Dean Cornwell. Cornwell had a great way of fitting in to nearly any subject, and still bringing beautiful, emotional work to the table. Here’s his painting $2,000 Reward (Oil on canvas, 1921), featured in Cosmopolitan in 1924 with a story by Alma and Paul Ellerbe.… Read the rest

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Let’s talk about art and rights

I’ve been a published artist for 15 years this week, for both cover art and interior art. I don’t say that to brag, I just want to set the stage for a discussion about the rights that go along with using my artwork.

Now, to get the obvious out of the way, I own the full copyrights to every piece of art I’ve ever created. Copyright law will give you a serious migraine if you attempt to study it fully, but it is clear in the statement that a work is immediately copyrighted by the creator on its creation.… Read the rest

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New ink art and Alphabeast: J is for Jikininki

I’m gradually starting to get caught back up, after a disastrous few months. I decided that I didn’t want to end 2011 with nothing completed, so I manged to kick out two pieces of art in the last couple of days. The first was the skatedeck art, The All-Mighty Dollar (see it here), and below is the second one.

This one doesn’t quite catch me up to the current Alphabeasts letter (it’s about to be “L”), but hopefully I can start the week with an “L” image. This one is for “J”, and it’s based on the Japanese mythological character of the jikininki.… Read the rest

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New art and experiment: The All-Mighty Dollar

For awhile now, I’ve been interested in trying new materials to work with, something other than canvas or paper. A few artists that I know paint on wooden skateboard decks, and I thought that would be something very interesting to try.

My friend at the local Rendition Gallery (go check it out folks) ordered a few skatedecks for the upcoming show at the gallery, so I picked one up from him to get started.

It’s a bit of a departure from the canvas I’ve been painting on (with acrylics).… Read the rest

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New cover art & design: Fleshbags

I’ve been busy for some time now, and I haven’t been able to post the newest ebook cover that I created a couple of months back. I thought it was time to show it off, so here it is.

For those that follow this blog (both of you), a few months back I was in the middle of creating a very nice, calm seascape (see it here). I joked on the social networks that, while I was creating this nice art piece, at the same time I was creating what might be my goriest and most horror-filled piece ever.… Read the rest

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The Big Commission Rates Mystery

For many years, coming from both illustration and graphic design, I’ve heard different discussions about what people charge to do their work. Sometimes it even sounds like a big, secret mystery, as if you aren’t supposed to talk about it in front of anyone.

Which, as all of you who are consumers would be quick to see, makes it difficult to know what it costs to do the business that you need to. From the side of the artist or designer, I’ve been told not to post rates as it’s simply not done, that you want to start that conversation and not lose them with costs.… Read the rest

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New Ink Art: The Fox

My good friend Patrick Douglas has a new book coming soon, and I created a new art piece for him to use as a signature sheet. The book itself is great, and tells the story of an outcast girl who has stumbled into a lost tribe in a cave system.

Signature sheets, at their base level, just need to have a space for authors to sign, place notes, or even have numbering. Otherwise, they are pretty open to interpretation, from simple designs through highly elaborate designs. In this case, we decided simply to highlight one of the characters, a tribesman known as The Fox.… Read the rest

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My art technique and artist bookshelves

A few years back, I wrote an article about the art technique books I have (it’s here). I thought it might be a good time to revisit that, as well as post some of the artist books that I have as well.

However, reading a bunch of text is probably pretty boring, and artists are visual people, so I decided to just take photos of the books I have. There are plenty of books that, if you’ve seen them here, might now be easier to recognize in the stores.

I’m particularly picky about the books I buy, I’m looking for great quality and for books I’ll probably flip through on occasion.… Read the rest

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