|PORTFOLIO >> Illustration|
In 1999 Robert Kruger, founder of the online e-book publisher ElectricStory.com, decided to reprint my father's Nebula Award-winning novel No Enemy but Time on his website. Again, thanks to nepotism, I got the call to do the cover art, and Bob (Mr. Kruger) gave me total control and artistic license over the project. The first draft, if I recall correctly, that I submitted is exactly the same artwork that one finds on the NEBT e-book itself. I received a nice check and about 15,000 shares of stock in the company. I wonder how those are doing...?
A year later, in the summer of 2000, the same Bob Kruger approached me and requested that I put together another digital collage-based cover for the Godzilla novel Gojiro by writer Mark Jacobson. This job wasn't nearly as "easy" as the last one, as I had to work in a cramped, hot, air-conditioner-less one-bedroom Married Student Housing apartment at UNC and, more importantly, Bob required several makeovers of my original and secondary designs before we agreed upon the final work. Since then, I've used this experience several times in conversation to illustrate just how productive and educational such collaborative experiences can be. I learned much from working with Bob and really think that the end result benefited from his critiques. (I can't remember whether he gave me more stock to go along with the check. To this day, I've only had one other paying job that has paid more than ElectricStory.)
I met Jason Lundberg at the Trinicon Writer's Convention in Durham, NC in 2000, shortly after my wife and I moved to the area. We talked a bit then and planned to get together sometime after the convention, but it may have been an entire year (at the next convention) when we actually saw each other again. A few weeks later (in October 2001), he showed me some of his work and we discussed colloborating as writer and artist. His chapbook, The Curragh of Kildaire, comprises 7 of his short works and 10 original pieces I designed for the visuals. For each chapter I created an "electronic woodcut" which does its best to illustrate some aspect of the story. Jason took my illustrations and had the project printed at Kinko's, making about 30 copies, which he distributed as fancy Christmas gifts. He did a fantastic job with layout and organization, and, if you ask me, this is one of the finest self-published works out there I've seen.
Sadly, I don't recall much about the genesis story behind this work for Golden Gryphon Press. The project, I'm sure, began in a fashion similar to those of previous times when my father had a book in the making and wanted cover art -- art that he could "count on." (There've been several occasions when his books came back with covers that upset him, and getting me to do the dustjackets gave him at least the guarantee that he'd see my designs and have some say in the final work before the book went to press.) In any event, I completed my first "wrap-around" book jacket on May 1, 2002 (from the Photoshop time stamp). Marty Halpern, the editor, and I exchanged ideas at times, but my final "digital painting" for Brighten to Incandescence deviated only slightly from my original concept. The letter I received from Gary Turner, Golden Gryphon's publisher, on May 5, 2003 will remain one of my favorite pieces of correspondence for a long time: Along with 3 copies of the book, the biggest check I've ever seen for artwork, and 30 extra book jackets, he included one page of GGP letterhead, and under my address, Gary wrote: "Dear Jamie: WHEEE!!!" Amazon, by the way, still has copies of the book for sale, and you can order it here.
It's now been over a year since I first received word that I'd be doing the cover art for a short story collection that would be published by Prime Books. In April 2004, Mike Jasper posted the following to his Journalscape weblog:
I remember, at the time, considering that I should call Mike (since he was and is a friend of mine) up and see if he'd thought about having me do the cover after the first artist reneged. I decided against it because I figured he might have someone else in mind and didn't want to be overly egotistical and overstep any bounds. To my pleasant surprise, Mike wrote me an email a day or so later and invited me to contribute artwork for the book. That day he posted another entry to his online journal entitled No Longer in Search of a Cover Artist, and over the next two weeks (a heady and dreamlike 14 days, I might add) the two of us did what the Internet and email are all about, collaborating our electronic backsides off. We came up with a fantastic finished digital painting that, I will readily admit, was better because it wasn't left entirely up to me. Please order Gunning for the Buddha here at Clarkesworld Books!
Although Peter Crowther of PS Publishing had selected me as the cover artist for my father's collection of previously published works of non-fiction a full week before I knew about Mike Jasper's book (which went to press in December 2004), I'm still waiting for A Reverie for Mister Ray's release. I was incredibly excited about the upcoming project but wrote the following words in my online journal not only to give some background about the book but also to express some trepidation regarding the job:
Oddly enough, the visuals for Reverie came out in a mad rush, and I finished the job, I think, in a span of two short days, having spent perhaps eight hours to complete the final wrap-around cover painting. Unfortunately, despite my quick turn-around time, the book hasn't hit the presses yet, but one can preorder it from the publisher.