PORTFOLIO >> Illustration
Galleries
(All items load in a new window)


No Enemy but Time
by Michael Bishop


Gojiro
by Mark Jacobson


The Curragh of Kildaire
by Jason Erik Lundberg


Brighten to Incandescence
by Michael Bishop


Gunning for the Buddha
by Michael Jasper


A Reverie for Mister Ray
by Michael Bishop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in 1998, thanks entirely to my father Michael Bishop, I got my first opportunity to create cover graphics for a book publication. That year he was publishing a collaborative detective novel with Paul Di Filippo, a friend and colleague, and the two of them wanted to give me a chance to do visuals for the dustjacket. I worked diligently on the project for a couple of weeks, came up with the design seen here on the right, and turned it over to Longstreet Press for consideration. I even remember driving over to Atlanta to deliver the artwork in person.

The publisher was nice enough, but it didn't surprise me too much when, three days later, I got word from him that my cover was a little too "dark" for his tastes and that Longstreet was going to go with something a little more "humorous." (The link is to the actual cover art.) Later, fortunately, I ended up getting paid for the text design because, without asking me, the publisher DID take that from my work and put it on the book jacket nearly duplicating my layout exactly. Oh, "Philip Lawson" - the author of Would it Kill You to Smile?- is, by the way, a pseudonym combining my father's middle name "Lawson" with a derivative of Paul's last name "Di Filippo" for the first.

 

 

I honestly cannot remember whether the cover assignment for my father's poetry colletion, Time Pieces, came before or after Would it Kill You to Smile? Regardless of the chronology, the artwork shown here on the left was the first "complete" paying job I ever had. I digitized the watch by hooking up my High-8 Sony Handycam to what was called a Snappy device and importing the digital scan into my Toshiba PC. I still have a photocopy of the check Stephen Pasechnick from Edgewood Press made out to me on May 30, 1998.

No Enemy but Time

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...?

Gojiro

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.)

The Curragh of Kildaire

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.

Brighten to Incandescence

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.

Gunning for the Buddha

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:

"In other news, I'm trying to help out my publisher for my short story collection. The really cool cover art we were going to use isn't going to work -- the artist didn't want to cooperate. So we're looking for an artist who's willing to do a cover or has a piece of art that would work for my mixed-genre collection."

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!

A Reverie for Mister Ray

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:

"Last week I received official word from Peter Crowther and PS Publishing that I will be the cover artist for my father's (Michael Bishop) collection of previously published works of non-fiction. The book is titled A Reverie for Mr. Ray and opens with a short, reverent reflection of my father's literary and writing influences. To whom the book's title alludes, Ray Bradbury (and particularly his short story anthology A Medicine for Melancholy) played a major role in his [my father's} development as a reader and writer of science/speculative fiction. Designing the cover graphics I think, will be an incredibly challenging project because I have an absolutley blank slate to work with: I've received only a few suggestions from the publisher and my father and therefore anticipate that the first move of the mouse will be the hardest." (April 28, 2004)

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.