I’m pleased to have a guest blog interview over on the Just Write Right website, about cover art and design, my creative process and working with self-publishing authors.
The Best of British Science Fiction 2020 anthology from NewCon Press, edited by Donna Scott, is due for release on 27th July and can be pre-ordered from the NewCon Press website, in paperback and limited edition signed hardback formats.
I am delighted to see my digital painting Daybreak featured as the cover to this collection, which genuinely contains an illustrious selection of science fiction writers.
Daybreak is one of my personal favourite pieces, so it is particularly rewarding to have it used on this anthology.
I often create artwork with the possibility of cover licensing in mind, but this didn’t happen to be one of them – it’s a landscape piece for a start. But when Ian Whates at NewCon Press sent over the proofs of the cover, I was pleasantly surprised at how well Daybreak lent itself to cover art – particularly on the hardback format, where the solid dark blue perfectly wraps itself around the dust jacket. I couldn’t wish for it to have a better home.
Reconnecting with both my love of Doctor Who and my old passion for illustrating Doctor Who has proven to be very rewarding during this strange and troublesome year.
I’m absolutely delighted to have contributed several exclusive illustrations to Terraqueous Distributors’ Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1989, which is available today – the show’s 57th Anniversary – via Lulu.
The annual follows the styling of the vintage Doctor Who annuals, and since they were discontinued by the time Sylvester McCoy took over the part, this one feels long overdue! It features stories and illustrations by fans, as well as contributions from well known names in the Who world, such as Alister Pearson, Dominic Glynn, Jessica Martin, Mike Tucker, Andrew Skilleter, Andy Walker, Stephen Wyatt, plus a foreword by Doctor Who’s script editor of the time – Andrew Cartmel.
Here are a couple of my illustrations:
Next up, is John Collier’s follow-up book to Blackpool Remembered – this time entitled Blackpool Revisited. Work is well under way collating content and contributors, which further explores the legacy of Doctor Who exhibitions in Blackpool, in particular the more recent Doctor Who Museum which ran from 2004–2009. For more information, keep an eye on the project website or follow the Twitter account for all the latest!
Meanwhile, here is my cover art, which is an update of the original mono cover illustration from Blackpool Remembered.
Today sees the release of Blackpool Remembered – John Collier’s long-time ambition to create an extensive book about the original Doctor Who exhibition in Blackpool.
I have illustrated the front cover and several exclusive interior pieces, as well as producing the year-by-year floor plans and providing several written pieces – it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this epic project. Blackpool Remembered is a digital publication, with over 400 pages and 80 contributors, and it’s all available for free!
The August Bank Holiday weekend was a time when the Collier family would traditionally be making their way up to Blackpool – which for young John, meant it would soon be time to descend those famous stairs once again, to see the year’s new exhibits at the Doctor Who exhibition, hidden beneath the surface of Blackpool’s Golden Mile.
It is now time to re-live those moments, as John’s long-time ambition to compile an expansive book about the Blackpool Doctor Who exhibition has finally come to fruition.
Enter the TARDIS and defy the Daleks once again, as Blackpool Remembered is now available! It is most certainly bigger on the inside – you will find over 400 pages of memories, photographs, interviews, floor plans, nostalgia, memorabilia, artwork and much more. For those fans who visited, this is the opportunity to go back in time, and for the generations of fans who missed it, your visit starts here!
Download Blackpool Remembered from the project website.
Here is my latest cover art for Alice Sabo’s forthcoming book, Willow’s Run. This cover is quite different to what we’ve done before, which made a refreshing challenge. Our first idea didn’t work out, but then Alice changed direction and the title of the book! We agreed that the new cover should feature a map with a few subtle items from the story overlaid.
For more information about Alice’s books and to keep up with the latest news, you can follow her on Facebook.
Don’t forget, if you want a tour de force of my cover art for Alice, you can download The Art of a Changed World for free!)
Above, you can see a teaser for some of my illustrations for John Collier’s upcoming free ebook, Blackpool Remembered. This exciting project is one for Doctor Who fans everywhere, but particularly those, like myself, who went to the original exhibition in Blackpool in the 1970s and 1980s.
With 70 contributors, the book is going to be around 300 pages of memories, photographs, interviews, floor plans and a whole feast of other Blackpool exhibition-related nostalgia. As well as the front cover and interior illustrations, I have also contributed three written sections and produced the year-by-year floor plans.
The project will have its own website, where the book can also be downloaded in PDF format, from 28th August. Watch this space for details!
I’m pleased to announce a new, free digital publication, The Art of a Changed World – a detailed retrospective of the cover art I have produced with writer Alice Sabo, since 2014.
The Art of a Changed World brings together all my concept art, final cover illustrations and designs for Alice’s thirteen books to date – spanning science fiction, fantasy and thriller genres. It contains the stories behind each cover, as well as insights into the creative process alongside contributions from Alice, plus a wonderful foreword by Richard Hayes.
This project celebrates creative collaboration in the world of independent publishing – whether you are an aspiring or established writer, artist, publisher, fan or reader, I hope you enjoy The Art of a Changed World.
Click the button below or the image above to download in PDF format.
For this year’s Novacon (report to follow…), I was invited to provide the cover art to the traditional convention chapbook that each attendee receives in their welcome pack. This year’s Guest of Honour was Mike Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts and the Felix Castor series (among others!).
This year’s chapbook – limited to just 250 copies – contains two short stories; All That’s Red Earth and Second Wing. Both stories are featured in The Complete Short Stories of Mike Carey, from PS Publishing. However, this was an opportunity to illustrate one of them, and All That’s Red Earth was the selected, as it is the story that ultimately spawned Mike’s forthcoming novel, The Book of Koli.
I usually ask writers or publishers for a synopsis and chapter or excerpt, as I rarely have the time to read a full manuscript prior to illustrating a book cover. However, this being a short story was ideal, as I could read the whole thing. Mike was particularly keen on one of the scenes towards the end, where the story’s protagonist Tari, summons a snowstorm by magic. We also agreed it would also work well as an image to provide an overall feel for the story.
Mono draft sketch:
One of the many enjoyable things about this cover for me was that it was a little different to what I’ve done before, and I also wanted to reflect that in the colour scheme. While the scene needed the onset of a blizzard, too much snow wouldn’t work, and I really wanted to capture the colours of a wintry sunset. The character of Tari is an unusual one, which took a couple of revisions to get right – such is the joy of working digitally!
It was a real pleasure to be able to give All That’s Red Earth its own cover art – and here it is.
Here is my cover art for Greenvale, the latest offering from Alice Sabo, and the second book in her new fantasy series, Tales of Haroon.
I’m delighted to reveal my cover art for The Call of the Aïdin Planet, by L.Z.Dàin – book one of The Legacy Saga from Seattle-based publisher, Tales of the Horizon.
“Nine-hundred thousand years ago, seven Galactic Humans discover a mysterious Time singularity on planet Earth. But, obscure powers beyond the many worlds of the Galactic Union will not stop until they control it. Thus, the seven must make a choice, a choice that will not only affect their evolutionary future but the destiny of Earth itself.”
As much as I love the opportunity to come up with initial ideas for a cover, I really like it when the author or publisher have a clear vision of what they’d like on the cover. It is their book after all! Sometimes this process can be flexible, depending on what ideas I may have or that I feel could add impact, and on other occasions, simply my own interpretation of the initial brief does the job. It is important to me that the finished work is typical of my style and approach to a distinctive cover but more importantly, what I come up with has to match their vision – and good collaboration and communication is key to that. The cover for this book is a fine example of a project perfectly coming together, despite us being on opposite sides of the globe!
Even when there’s a clear brief, I’ll always work up a quick black & white sketch, to make sure the composition and my interpretation are correct.
Finally, I took the various elements of the illustration and created an animated reveal for the cover art: