"Who Am I?"
Photo by Vernon Price, 2006
Charles Vess was born in 1951 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He has been drawing ever since he could hold a crayon and crawl to the nearest wall.
Charles graduated with a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and worked in commercial animation for Candy Apple Productions in Richmond, VA before moving to New York City in 1976. It was there that he became a freelance illustrator, working for many publications, including Heavy Metal, Klutz Press, Epic Comics and National Lampoon.
His award-winning work has graced the covers and interior pages of many comic book publishers including Marvel (Spider-Man, Raven Banner) and DC (Books of Magic, Swamp Thing, Sandman). His work now is found more in book illustration, such as “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” (Bloomsbury), “Coyote Road – Trickster Tales” (Viking), and “Peter Pan” (Starscape).
Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' “Stardust," an illustrated novel with 175 paintings, was made into an acclaimed film by Paramount Pictures in 2007, directed by Matthew Vaughn. The impressive cast includes Michelle Pfieffer, Robert DeNiro, and Claire Danes.
Charles' art has been featured in several gallery and museum exhibitions across the nation including two exhibitions in New York City: "Modern Fairy Tales"
with Michael Kaluta at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and
Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art" at the Museum of
American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. In Europe he has shown in Paris, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK.
Charles' awards include the Ink Pot, three World Fantasies, the Mythopoeic, two Spectrum Annuals - a Gold and a Silver, two Chesleys, Locus (Best Artist), and two Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.
Charles art is featured in a newly released book written by Charles de Lint, "The Cats of Tanglewood Forest," (LittleBrown, 2013) boasting 71 paintings. Other recent publications are "Blueberry Girl," a picture book for mothers and daughters based on a poem written by Neil Gaiman, and “Instructions,” also from a Gaiman poem. Both made the New York Times best-selling picture book list for many weeks. And “Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess” a lavish, 200-page retrospective of his art, was published by Dark Horse Books (2011).
Outside of publishing, Charles completed a 3-year project in 2009: the design and co-sculpting of a 16’ bronze fountain based on “A Midsummer Night's Dream” for the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA.
Currently Charles is putting the final tweaks to “The Greenwood,” a contemporary middle grade novel told with a unique combination of text, illustration and sequential narrative art.
He has resided on a small farm in the southwest corner of Virginia since 1991 and works diligently from his studio, Green Man Press, in Abingdon.