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tales of the zeppelin artwork by frazer irving

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Finding artists to work with

Posted on Feb 9, 2014 by John Scotcher
One of the most enjoyable tasks I have, in the coming months, is finding an artist to illustrate both my book cover and create promotional images for this site. I have started my search at the excellent, if dubiously named, www.deviantart.com.

The site is an online community of artists, where each can upload artwork to an online portfolio.  There are literally thousands of artists using the site and I strongly suspect there are over a million pieces of artwork. 

Now with such a huge amount of artwork to view it goes without saying that the quality and skill of the pieces varies considerably.  There are youngster’s first attempts, right the way up to industry professionals; I found at least a dozen professionals working for the top games, animation and film companies around.  This means that there is a lot of searching.  Fortunately, the search filters are pretty good, so I was able to concentrate my search in the digital and traditional painting sections looking at the highest rated over the past month.

One word of warning if you do decide to browse yourself; there’s an Adult filter, so switch it on if you want to avoid the rude, teenage fan boy and on occasion, fairly freaky stuff.  There only so many badly drawn versions of naked marvel characters that anyone should have to deal with. Once you’ve got the distractions out of the way however, there is some great stuff to find. 

So, as I mentioned, I’m looking for an artist I can work with to visualise some of the aspects of my novel.  Having recently read Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’, which has a pen and ink illustration at the start of every chapter, I really like the idea.  So I am looking for an artist (or possibly artists) that can work in both full colour and pen and ink comfortably. 

One can spend hours, if not days, on Deviant Art.  My criteria have been relatively loose, mainly going with what I liked as a starting point.  I am hoping for love at first site.  I had that with an artist’s work years ago – Frazer Irving, who I worked with on some comics in the 90s (the illustration at the top of this page, at the time of writing, is one of Frazer’s), but Frazer is now very deservedly a top comics artists and I suspect his hourly rate would terrify me!   Besides, I want to work with some new people.

I am leaning towards artists that have quite a painterly style.  It's also important to me that the artists can capture both female and male characters, which is cutting out a lot of great artists who seem great at creating muscle bound heroes, but whose styles somehow lack humanity.  Of course, I also have a few monsters to get illustrated, so that's a factor.  Increasingly I am thinking I will be working with more than one artist to get what I need

Next week, I am heading to The Midlands Comic Con, where I’m looking forward to hunting down aspiring comic artists who will inevitably be there in droves, portfolios in hand.  In the mean time however, I have narrowed my initial search to six artists that I felt would be a fantastic fit for the front cover of the book and hopefully more.  My next job is to contact them, see if they are interested and find out their rates.  I’d love to know what you think.  Do drop me a comment to let me know. 

Cornis by sidwill-cg (See full gallery)

Cornis by sidwill-cg

Sam! by Miles-Johnston (See full gallery)

Sam! by Miles-Johnston

Fever by AlexPascenko (See full gallery)

Fever by AlexPascenko

Hiro Protagonist: Snow Crash by IzzyMedrano (See full gallery)

Hiro Protagonist: Snow Crash by IzzyMedrano

Skinwalkes by michalivan (See full gallery)

Skinwalkes by michalivan

Hantise by czarnystefan (See full gallery)

Hantise by czarnystefan


Hey John From the ones you have mentioned here, for me I would be looking closely at IzzyMedrano, love the use of light in that image you selected! However - this is a little different from any of the ones you have identified above, but do take a look at http://ursulaapplebaby.deviantart.com - she is a very good, and very old friend who has a really raw talent that I love! She has worked for me in the past on a book that we had published on Karate for Kids and she definitely knows how to deliver on a brief in my opinion! Good luck with your search - tough but enjoyable job you have on your hands here!
Cool - ta Tim. I'll take a look.


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