Notes from the Studio

Summer…

Summer time and the living is easy, or, at least its supposed to be. I’m busier than ever, smack in the middle of compiling loads of material for ‘The Art of Stardust’ book that Titan will be publishing next year and getting ready to jump into my next illustrated book project, ‘Honeycomb‘ a big fat novel full of original fairy tales written by Joanne Harris (Chocolat, The Gospel of Loki). And, I think a lot of people must have liked my last book project, ‘The Books of Earthsea‘ because it and my art are up for loads of awards this year (Locus, Chesleys and the Hugos). I can’t be everywhere but I will be at my very first World Con in Dublin, Ireland in August. I expect it will be loads of fun whether I win or not. Meanwhile, some of you may have noticed that its been a long, long time since I had a working website and a blog but I’m happy to have both again. I want to use this blog-space to talk about my art and the process I use in making it as well as about the books and the movies that I like. I’m even bringing back my archive of older posts that detail the creation and construction of the 16ft bronze fountain that stands in the center of my hometown as well as lots of other unusual projects. It’ll be fun to hang out with you again.

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Companions to the Moon

Companions to the Moon Process

I thought that I would try to lift aside the curtain for you and reveal some of the mysteries of the thinking process that I make in producing a piece of art. This, my first, full-fledged commission, “Companions to the Moon” began as an inquiry from an art buyer asking me if I would consider painting a piece like my iconic Stardust’ image for him. He had seen the painting at the previous San Diego Comic Con and had been disappointed when told that it wasn’t for sale. I love that particular painting, and knowing that I might be tempted to sell the piece at some point, I had given it to my wife as a gift and was just simply displaying it at my table. So initially I declined the offer. Over the years I’ve been asked numerous times about commissions but had never felt like I had the necessary time in my work schedule to pay proper attention to such a piece. Then too, I had never wanted to be just a hired hand, drawing or painting whatever that particular client dictated. Ideally, what I most wanted was to be paid to do “art from the heart.” I had just been thinking about several images that had been floating around in my head for some time. And also wondering if these images might never be painted because of constant deadlines with my book publishing work. So I wrote this particular client back and described one of those “art from the heart” pictures. I quoted a price that would allow me the time to lavish the attention that the image deserved and still be able to pay the bills. I also gave a timeframe that was flexible enough to work such a painting into the present workload. There was

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Earthsea Cover

The Books of Earthsea

For four marvelous years, I worked in close collaboration with the writer, Ursula K. Le Guin, doing my very best to slip inside her mind so that I could draw her world of Earthsea as she had always envisioned it. We shared laughter, stories, and much delight during those busy years. The Books of Earthsea was released in October of 2018 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first book in her award winning series. This exhibition at the William King of all 56 color and black and white illustrations for the book will be the last public showing of my work before it becomes a permanent part of the extensive collection of Le Guin’s papers at the University of Oregon. Earthsea Cover Title Page Earthsea page #104 Earthsea Page #42 Earthsea Page #147 Earthsea page #210 Earthsea Book 2, page 48 Earthsea Book 2, page #93 Earthsea Book 3, page #41 Earthsea Book #4, page #266

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