I'm thrilled with the way the bloggosphere has been focusing attention on SF&F illustrators lately, between artists' blogs and blogs about artists, and a rash of interviews with artists. Now, Up Againt the Wall has just posted "Shadowboxing with John Picacio," an interview that ranges from his first Moorcock assignment to his current one - the forthcoming Del Rey Elric reissue I personally can't wait for! John talks about his process:
"I definitely start with reading the book.... I’m generally looking for things that are evocative more than things that are representative. If an author has described something in very, very vivid detail, I tend to shy away from images like that. I’m going to look for the moment that is either before or after something has happened. I’m going to try to find something that is complementing the manuscript rather than trying to mimic it. It’s not much fun for myself as a reader to read something and then see a picture that says exactly what I’ve just read, or tries to. I would use the phrase 'you steal the reader’s right to imagine' by doing things like that. There’s a very fragile line there."
Meanwhile, a few days ago Irene Gallo posted an interview with Stephan Martiniere on her blog, The Art Department, where he talks about a career highlight that was also a turning point, directing the animated Madeline specials:
"It was really the first time I was able to realize a vision and direct without all the battles and the politics associated with bigger project. The show ended up a success and received numerous awards. Directing "Madeline" was also decisive in my career. It forced me to reevaluate myself as an artist. In this business it is seldom that one is given this kind of opportunity to work on something really meaningful and rewarding. It was likely that my next animated project would end up being another political battle with mediocre results. I decided to shift gears and go back to design. I went to work for a theme park company as a concept artist. It's always amazing to realize how small things sometimes can have a huge impact in your life."
I don't think it's any secret that John and Stephan are two of my very favorite artists, as anyone can tell from a glimpse at the Pyr catalog. Stephan has done 8 covers for us, with two more on the way, and Picacio has done 10, with two more also on the way. My personal favorites displayed above. Working with both of them is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.