Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wishing you a very Merry Midwinter and a Happy New Year

I'll be back posting in the New Year with more interviews from the Sci-Fi Art Now contributors but in the mean time, Oliver Wetter (aka Fantasio) just sent me this cheeky Christmas card you might enjoy! Check out more of his work at fantasio.info




More Christmas cards on my Flickr page, including more from other Sci-Fi Art Now artists such as Lee Gibbons and Neil Robetts!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Glasgow's Hope Street Studios looking for intern

Hope Street Studios in Glasgow are looking for any illustration students interested in a paid internship, who would mainly be doing comic book work but possible storyboarding and design.

Top artist and Sci-Fi Art Now contributor Gary Erskine, who is heading up the hunt, tells me they're looking for someone from Glasgow and Edinburgh (or within nearby area) as some work involves being on hand at the studio.

Sequential art experience is preferred but not essential.


To apply, please send a link to your Deviant Art site or similar and provide a contact email address.

• Email Gary at garyerskineonlineATbtinternet.com He will follow up with interested parties as soon as possible.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Read Duncan Long's Masque of the Red Death for free

Duncan Long has released his Christmas gift for his fans - a newly illustrated version of Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death (in PDF format).

"A Poe story may seem an odd choice for Christmas," he notes, "but in fact it’s in keeping with English tradition of telling ghost stories around the fireplace on Christmas (yes, an arguably odd tradition – as are most).

British readers will confirm this - the BBC has recently revived A Ghost Story for Christmas, screenings of ghost stories, most by MR James, an idea the broadcaster first came up with in the 1970s. (There's a fan site about them here: www.ghoststoryforchristmas.co.uk)

If you missed them, Duncan has previously released illustrated versions of Poe’s Eleonora and The Raven.

 When not creating his own editions of Poe’s stories and poems, Duncan works as a freelance magazine and book illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Fort Ross, ISFiC Press, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors.

• Check out his book illustrations at: http://DuncanLong.com/art.html

Sci-Fi Artist Emma Alvarez stands up for Human Rights in new exhibtion

Some months ago, Sci-Fi Art Now contributor Emma Alvarez was asked if she wanted to take part in a travelling exhibition for the Human Rights in Alicante.

The exhibition, "El Arte Con Los Derechos Humanos", features 30 pieces of art from different artists, who all had to choose an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and create their artwork based on it.

Emma's choice was Justice, based on the Declaration's 7th article.

"I chose this because I think that in some way it comprises the essence of Human Rights," says Emma. "Everyone has the same opportunities, and everybody can have the same education. It is just that we all can be the same."

The works of art by sculptors, photographers, water colour and collage artists and more aim to explore and inform people people about the words and images of human rights.

Promotional poster for the exhibition
The exhibition opened in the exhibition hall of the Panoramis Centre in Alicante on Human Rights Day, 10th December, the anniversary of the day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was approved on back in 1948.

"There were plenty of people at the opening," says Emma, who received plenty of prase for her work on the night, which was both flattering and embarrassing - like many artists, she's a modest about her work!

The exhibition, orgnaised by Amnesty International and local art organisation Espejo de Alicante (EDA) was opened by Vicente Perteg├ís, co-ordinator of Amnesty International, Consuelo Giner, president of the EDA.  (If you're curious, the EDA blog, in Spanish, has a full list of artists involved here - be aware the blog is pretty sluggish to view, there seems to be some animation slowing down loading time).

"We got lots of signatures for several human rights issues," she adds. "I'm very happy of participating in this."

More about the exhibition opening on her official blog

More about the exhibition on the Espejo de Alicante blog (in Spanish)

More about the exhibition on the Spanish Amnesty International web site (in Spanish)


Read our interview with Emma Alvarez

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sci-Fi Art Now Creator Interview: Max Bertolini

Max Bertolini's cover for
Nathan Never #9
Max Bertolini is a self taught cartoonist, working in the comics business and illustration field. He's the artist on the Italian comic Nathan Never, a 94 page, black and white comic, which means he spends half his day working in black and white and the rest painting in full colour, working on comic covers, Fantasy and Sci-fi books. "My mind is split in two, I would say," he feels.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?

Max Bertolini: I begin drawing the characters with a pencil that helps me to create the shades as well. Than I scan them into Photoshop and put on the colours.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Why?

Max: I began with oils years ago but finally turned to the PC because it's faster and you can fix colours quickly. Now I have a lot of fun drawing with Photoshop, much more than traditional ways.

New Beginning
by Max Bertolini
Sci-Fi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?

Max: When I was a child I wanted to bring to life the characters that kept running into my mind. I wasn't satisfied until I managed to draw them exactly. When I grew up I started enjoing all kind of art, not only comics and fantasy novels, and that helped me so much expanding my artistic views.

Thor by Max Bertolini
Sci-Fi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?

Max: I was given a lot of advice. The one I remember best was a talk with Neal Adams, that explained me the importance of photo reference among many other hints I had from him.

Iron Man by Max Bertolini
Sci-Fi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?

Max: John Buscema, Neal Adams, Klimt, Martiniere, Sparth, Marko Djurdjevic and many other I can't even remember.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What is the appeal to you of science fiction as an inspiration for some of your work?

Max: Sci-Fi is the place where anything can happen, so you can draw anything.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?

Max: There's a cover I made for an Italian comic book called Future War. I like the colours and the mood of the piece.

Future War by Max Bertolini

Sci-Fi Art Now: In your career, have you had any bizarre experiences while creating your art?

Max: Once I drew a background watching the reflection of my room on the monitor!

Daredevil by Max Bertolini
Sci-Fi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?

Max: That I'm never good enough.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What keeps you going despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?

Max: I have tons of stuff still to learn and I want to know them all!

Sci-Fi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?

Max: Learn to observe reality around you, never give up, study different styles of art, not just those you're used too look at, and draw, draw and draw!

• Check out more of Max's superb art at: www.maxbertolini.com. Contact Max via maxATmaxbertolini.com

Check out more about Nathan Never on publishers Sergio Bonelli Editore web site

Sci-Fi Artist Spotlight: Andrew Skilleter

Andrew Skilleter is an artist who doesn't feature in Sci-Fi Art Now but I'm hoping that if there is a follow up volume he might be in that. I first worked with him back on Doctor Who Magazine in the late 1980s and I admire his work; he's a dab hand at both original and licensed art commissions, particularly Doctor Who (for which he's best known) - and some of his Dan Dare pieces, inspired by the Eagle comic character, are tremendous fun.

Anyway, after much planning and labour and little help from his friends, his new website is now live, including extensive galleries, bigger and better images, a blog and shop with online secure checkout if you want to buy any of his prints, such as his Narnia range.

As well as Doctor Who, Andrew has worked in numerous genres and you'll find a kaleidoscope of multi-genre images on this new site.

• Check it out at: http://andrewskilleter.com

Monday, 13 December 2010

ILEX Manga title wins Harvey Award

UK publisher of Sci-Fi Art Now Ilex’s bestselling The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga has been announced as the winner of the 2010 Harvey Award for ‘Best American Edition of Foreign Material’, and was also recently shortlisted for the prestigious Eisner Award.

Written by Helen McCarthy, the book is the first authorised English language biography on Japan’s most celebrated artist of the 21st century and I think it will interest followers of this blog. I also worked with Helen on Manga Max magazine a few years back.

Osamu Tezuka has often been called the Walt Disney of Japan, but he was far more than that. Tezuka was Disney, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Tim Burton and Carl Sagan, all rolled into one incredibly prolific package, and he changed the face of Japanese culture forever.

This book reveals what makes him one of the key figures of 20th century pop culture. Packed with stunning images, many never before seen outside Japan, it pays tribute to the work of an artist, writer, animator, doctor, entrepreneur and traveller whose insatiably curious mind created two companies, dozens of animated films and series, and over 150,000 pages of comic art in one astonishingly creative lifetime.  

ILEX call The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga "an amazing adventure for the manga and anime neophyte, an essential reference for the confirmed fans, and a visual treat for anyone who loves art".


The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga is on sale from amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sci-Fi Art Now Creator Interview: Oliver Wetter

Oliver Wetter, online often referred to as fantasio, is currently working as freelance artist & illustrator from his studio in Konz, Germany. His passion is to tell visual stories inspired by quickfire ideas.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?


Oliver Wetter: Pencil, Paper and Photoshop CS5, occasionally clay and a camera.



Sci-Fi Art Now: Why?


Oliver: Pencil on paper is the very first and fastest way to get an idea out of my head, everything else is secondary.
 Some pieces scream for being rendered in high definition, others want to be roughly painted and some others are meant to be in between. With the mixed media, I have reliable options to fulfill these demands.



Sci-Fi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?


Oliver: I think it was a fascination with provoking reactions from a viewer, and the possibility to control those reactions to a certain degree. Early caricatures and comic strips from teachers and classmates are a proof for that.



Sci-Fi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?

Oliver: 
I was going the hard road, so advice was rare, the only advice that last until today and which I pray like a mantra is from artist Greg Spalenka, who once said to me: "Every kind of promotion is important." I had this quote in big letters over my desk for a long time, now I think it's ingrained.



Sci-Fi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?


Oliver: More often than not, I´m inspired by an artists work rather than the artist himself. But if you want a comprehensive answer, my influence-map should give you a good overview.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What is the appeal to you of science fiction as an inspiration for some of your work?


Oliver: It gives some of my works a fitting frame and therefore eligibility to exist. OK, they could exist without, but that definition makes it easier for my works to be widely accepted.

Sci-Fi Art Now: 

Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?

Oliver: 
It's always difficult to pick one favorite, but mine is 
The Disquisition, which was done throughout one week of work - non-stop. At first it might not look that  compelling, but the intention was to bring it upon a 70x170cm canvas. The photoshop file is around the 1.4 GB mark!

It's my favourite, because it's a tribute to many of my inspirations, like Michael Parkes, Pascal Blanche and Salvador Dali.

The Disquisition by Oliver Wetter
Sci-Fi Art Now: 

In your career, have you had any bizarre experiences while creating your art?

Oliver's 2005 still life...
Oliver: Creating my art is always a bizarre experience. To give you an example, I'd like to refer to a still life I did, back in 2005.

-- and the sculpture
'in amp' it started
out as. (Full Pic)
Originally, the headpiece was actually intended to be a sculpture that can be described as a torso that has three arms instead of a neck, that should hold the headpiece. For some odd reason I found an old guitar amp, but I had removed the speaker because I needed one for my car. It was so clear to me that this headpiece needed to be in the amp instead
!

Sci-Fi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?


Oliver: The most frustrating fact is probably, that I use to or need to have the knowledge of around 15 professionals (marketing expert, copywriter, web developer, clerk, etc) but getting paid for one only!

Sci-Fi Art Now: What keeps you going despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?


Oliver: The hope that one day I'll get paid the same kind of money I would for all those 15 professionals I have to be...

Sci-Fi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?


Oliver: "Get the fundamentals down, otherwise the fancy stuff isn't going to work." (The advice of the late Randy Pausch)



• Check out more of Oliver's work at http://fantasio.info

 or his blog or deviant art space. You can contact Oliver via  fantasioxATgmail.com or via Twitter: 
http://twitter.com/fantasiox

Brian Eno, Jason Bruges and other UK artists in Yota Space digital exhibition

Volume by UVA and 3D
Never mind heading to New York for a shopping trip before Christmas (if you can afford such trips, that is) - now about travelling East for some stunning digital art?

Yota Space, an exhibition of digital art that includes works by Britain's Brian Eno and Jason Bruges, has just opened in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Described as one of the greatest collections of digital art ever assembled, it features the work of over 20 of the world's most cutting edge digital artists including onedotzero and the legendary Brian Eno. Some of the works  have been commissioned especially for Yota, over five floors in a converted building in the heart of St Petersburg.

A prominent contemporary art enthusiast and the founder of his own video design studio, Lumen, Eno creates video installations which are accompanied by his own compositions from the the late 1970s.

His "77 Million Paintings" project – a program that creates endlessly unique digital "paintings" with individual audio accompaniment - will be presented at Yota Space.

"This is a great platform for digital art and music, which in my mind have a natural cohesion to one another," says Eno. "I'm also delighted that it is being held in Russia as I have always had a connection with the country. As an art student my favourite period was Russian painting of the early 20th Century.

"I also lived in St Petersburg for a short while. This is the first time my work '77 Million Paintings' will be seen in Russia, which combines art and music, my two great loves.

The event, which will run annually, has been created by Russian wireless 4G broadband company, Yota and the festival brings together a never been seen before level of interactive digital art and brings many of Europe's best artists to Russia for the first time.

Visitors enter to be greeted by 'Volume', a collaboration between design collective United Visual Artists (UVA) and 3D from Massive Attack, which consists of 47 columns of light, each with their own audio output. The visitor determines their own pathway through the columns affecting and creating their own unique journey through light, nature and space.

Guests will then receive a stunning and totally immersive sensory experience across a further four floors of installations and works that include:

• Brian Eno's "77 Million Paintings" which provides a unique and almost infinite perspective for each visitor
Chris Levine's specially commissioned "Alright Now" installation which projects images to the observer's peripheral vision(see video, below)
• In Jason Bruges' specially commissioned "Peasouper", visitors will appear to float through the space as passers-by in the foggy streets of London
• onedotzero has taken over an entire floor to showcase a collection of handpicked artists. Works include a digital interactive photo-booth produced by Cassette Playa and Kin Design and works by Hellicar + Lewis, AntiVJ, Quayola and more
• United Visual Artists' "Volume" is an immersive experience that was created in collaboration with 3D from Massive Attack.
• The interactive Body Paint installation from MSA




The exhibition was launched with a multi-media party headlined by Grammy award nominated British electronic band Hot Chip. They were joined by up-and-coming acts Masters of Skweee and SCSI-9.

Yota has curated the event itself as a way to ensure that it stays at the cutting edge of contemporary culture and cultivate the creativity that sits at the heart of the brand.

"Yota Space has been created as part of our mission to transform people's lives by giving them access to new ideas from across the globe,"  explains Dennis Sverdlov, Yota CEO. " Yota aims to be a company that inspires, so we've invested in bringing together some of the most inspirational people in the world for this event.

"We hope the people of St Petersburg enjoy what promises to be one of the most unique events that Europe has seen this year."

• The exhibition will continue at the Yota Space until 19th December 2010. For more info (in both English and Russian), visit space.yota.ru. (Be aware the web site is a bit cranky, certainly from my experience)

Sci-Fi Art Now Creator Interview: John Ridgway

John Ridgway.
Photo: Jeremy Briggs
Acclaimed comics artist John Ridgway, whose credits include work for Commando, Doctor Who Magazine, Warrior, Torchwood Magazine and Age of Heroes (which will be re-published in STRIP Magazine next year), was originally trained as an engineer and that strongly influences his approach to machines and such in science fiction.

"I like things to be practical and thought out," he says. "I like working with CGI. I dislike cities and love the countyside. I love Austria – beautiful forests, great mountains, good food and clean air."

Sci-Fi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?

John Ridgway: Most of my work is black and white linework, or coloured linework. I draw on 2 or 3 ply Bristol card (I used to use Oram and Robinson Academy Line board, but that company went out of business).

The linework is scanned into the computer and coloured in Photoshop. To draw, I use HB leads – very sketchy at first just to get the idea down. Then I tighten up bits where accuracy is essential prior to inking those parts – so I’m pencilling and inking as a go along.

For inking I use Rotring ink with a dip pen with crow quil nibs (mapping pen nibs). For areas, or where a thicker line is required, I use a Pentel brush-pen. For large areas I use a cotton-bud.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Why?

John: Those are the tools I am comfortable with.

A sample Doctor Who page featuring
Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor
Sci-Fi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?

I always wanted to draw and create my own stories. It always seemed a natural development.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?

John: I didn’t have any advice.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?

John: Hal Foster, Frank Hampson, Burne Hogarth, Frank Bellamy, Frank Frazetta, Sydney Jordan...

Sci-Fi Art Now: What is the appeal to you of science fiction as an inspiration for some of your work?

John: The sheer variety, wonder and immensity of space – the exploration of what is possible. The list of exo-planets is constantly growing. It’s only a few decades ago people thought there were no other worlds out beyond our solar system.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?

John: It is yet to be done.

No Place to Land by John Ridgway
Sci-Fi Art Now: In your career, have you had any bizarre experiences while creating your art?

John: No.

Proving Ground - a cover for
DC Thomson's Commando.
Sci-Fi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?

John: Getting stuck in a rut drawing stuff that requires no imagination – often written by writers who have no idea how their scripts restrict what can be done with a page.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What keeps you going despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?

John: Deadlines.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?

John: Get another job to give you an income you can rely on. Then practice, practice, practice, until your work is good enough to sell. Then decide whether you want to work for America or Europe – and push. Never give up.

• John Ridgway is on Facebook and the downthetubes British Comics Forum. To get in touch, email him via johnATridgwaydesign.fsnet.co.uk
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